Thirty minutes with MINT Vintage’s James Wright

Meet James. He’s a fan of nipple tassels, relishes the opportunity to dress like a 90’s drug dealer, and is the man behind the vintage wonderland that is MINT Vintage in Covent Garden, London. Nothing short of a captivating character, we couldn’t help but indulge both him, and ourselves, by spending a bit of time getting to know him, what he’s loving right now and exactly what you should be, too.

Every time I pop in to see you, you’re wearing something entirely different. How would you describe your personal style?

I really do not have a style. I love to get dressed up and have a different look on every week. I could show you an image from three years ago with a Mohican and in the last 12 months I’ve started to wear a suit. Three-piece suits are great things to wear and everything I wear is vintage. I do like to change my style all the time as I think that’s the whole point of clothes – to have a bit of fun with them. I’m definitely not a 40s, 50s, 60s, 80s or whatever. Last week I dressed up like a 90’s drug dealer with a tracksuit on – I think they [the team] were all laughing at me but I thought it was really cool as it was Pierre Cardin who’s making a big comeback.

So if you’re not a 40s, 50s or 60s man, what does that mean you’re into when it comes to music?

I like to hear good music from today. We have an open forum in the shop where everyone can play what they want. If it gets on the other person’s nerves, it’s probably gonna get on the customers nerves so we switch it off. It was Bob Dylan’s birthday this week so we played Bob Dylan for half a day. I personally like new folk, the new folk generation; The XX and First Aid Kit [Scandinavian folk duo], Ray LaMontagne – all that, it’s great. When I was in my youth I was really into a bit of folk, when I was travelling I was a bit of a hippy but then I really like the Jam, conscious dub, old-school conscious reggae. It changes – I’ll maybe listen to an hour of classic FM if I go home tonight and I’ve got 2000 vinyl records in my front from from 1968 to 1989 which I still play.

If you don’t go home tonight, where are we likely to find you? When did you last have a night out?

When did I last have a night out? Oh yeah, I went to a went to Madame Jo Jos in Soho. Great night out. Another good night is on Thursday’s at Gaz’s Rockin’ Blues. Soho’s on my doorstep so I finish work and head there. I’ll go anywhere for a good night out. Torture Garden’s a great night out too, I’m straight and not in to fetish, but it’s really a top night out, with good music and nipple tassels.

What about festivals? Have you any plans to get to some this summer?

I find it hard to recover after indulging and equally, I find it hard to hold back. I hope to go to get to some smaller, low-key ones. Getting stoned in a field is really appealing today, actually. I’m not into raging anymore but I suppose a little toe in the water every now and again doesn’t do anyone any harm. As the owner of the Groucho [the famous club in London] once said, “Nothing good ever comes from staying awake after 3am in the morning.”

What one item should a clubber not be without this summer?

A string vest and you need some good screens if you’re clubbing. You need your phone to get the ammunition in, unless you can use carrier pigeons.

What trend do you think is going to be massive this season?

I think it’ll be Fresh Prince of Bel Air meets late 70’s Harlem, meets Run DMC, meets Harlem Globe Trotters, meets Grand Master Flash. That was revisited in the 90s but it was actually very 70s in the first chapter, then it went onto rave in the 90s and now, we’re ready for it again. It’s like another new rave. Kids into new rave, kids are into getting as fucked up as they’ve ever been fucked up, you know? Every generation wants to be more fucked up than the last one and they think that Special K was a mistake when we all took it, we didn’t really know, but now they’re actually loving Ketamine because it’s really fucked up – they like really getting really messed up. Messed up is good, but I want to highten my awareness, not dampen it down. The new rave will always come again but the retro-rave will always be the thing.

For anyone who wants to try the new rave look out, what pieces do you recommend they go for?

Big gold, sportswear and early streetwear. High-tops and costume jewellery, meets bright colours, geometric, skinny jeans, white, silk printed bomber jackets, double denim and trainers.

With thanks to James and Lauren.