Walking into Fanny Adams Vintage the first thing I noticed was how entrenched in 80s and 90s pop culture it was, with the walls of the staircase covered in movie posters. Stepping into the kitchen area, murals by different artists covering the walls, my eyes were drawn to the enchanting replication of a large tree – its blue, purple and green hues gave it a mystical element. In the adjoining room racks full of denim, t-shirts and pants sat ready for purchase, all of which had their own original and personal flair, customised to maintain originality. Fanny Adams Vintage is also home to Project Awesome, a collection of colourful, pop-culture influenced, customised denim by local Adelaide artists, with each design being unique and never again to be replicated.
I sat down with Tiphany (owner of Fanny Adams Vintage) in the kitchen area, parallel to the television which played Dirty Dancing, while Blondie’s Atomic played in the background.
When did you initially set up the store and what did you envision it would become?
It started off as being online and then a pop-up store at the Fringe which was located just on Pirrie Street. I always wanted it to be a physical location. Online, [it] was just easier to start that way but I always just wanted my own space. The pop-up store went quite well. I was supposed to stay there for a little bit longer, four weeks of the Fringe and then the option to stay on but at the last minute it was offered to a big chain store, so I had to bump out the last day of the Fringe – that was a bit of a panic. This place popped up within the next week which was lucky. It just snowballed into that and so now in this premise because it’s a little bit bigger we can do events and stuff.
When Fanny Adams first started it was just vintage clothes as that was my first passion. I personally like vintage clothes because they’re unique, nobody else has got it… I don’t like looking like everyone else with what I wear. I like having things no one else can have. I started seeing all this customised denim on Instagram and it didn’t seem fair that only models get customised denim jackets. I want one as well. And I know I can’t make one but I can definitely get hold of jackets and I know people who can make one. That’s how Project Awesome started. I just found five artists that were willing to come on board and give it a try. And I was working at another vintage store at the time so I stocked the jackets through the store as well as on Etsy just to sort of test the market and to see how well they would actually sell in Adelaide and they did really well so that was the beginning of 2017 and the by mid-year I did a second run of denim jackets and then by the end of the year I was gearing up to do the pop up store at the Fringe so I had twenty artists on board by the end of the year.
I just kept going with it. People seem to like it. It’s a popular concept and that grew again because all of the artists involved kept saying how much they would like to connect with other artists and that it can feel quite isolating working as an artist you don’t really get that often a chance to connect to other people and to talk about contacts and processes. So we had a catch up drinks and that went really well.
The Project Awesome crew – or the Fanny Pack as I like to call them – they’ve grown into quite a little artist collective. Everything that is stocked in the shop now that’s all ‘Pack’ merchandise.
Now we’ve got the events as well. We had a music gig last Saturday, [the 28th of July]. Again, the musician was one of my artists.
Have there been any changes to the original vision?
Yes, definitely. It just keeps growing. I didn’t set out with the intention of being an artist collection. And I certainly didn’t set out with the intention to do events either. That’s all just sort of formed from the response from the artists. They’ve just been so wonderful to work with I just wanted to help the artists themselves and [offer] different ways of getting them out to a further audience than to what they would do on their own. I have no idea what’s coming next but that’s part of the fun.
Where did the name Fanny Adams come from?
I wanted a name that was like an old school saying you’d hear your grandparents but wanted a name that wasn’t as typical as a lot of the names around at the time. I liked the fact that it broke down to FA the beloved Aussie slang ‘fuck all’. Fanny Adams was one of the first things that popped into my head and it kind of just stuck. It was catchy and a little bit risqué on some levels.
What do you want your customers to feel when they enter the store? What experience do you want them to have?
I would love Fanny Adams to be seen as the ultimate safe space for self-expression and creativity. I want them to feel happy and comfortable and inspired which seems to be happening and seems to be the feedback I’m getting from a lot of people which is great. With the clothing in particular I’ve always had the mindset that it’s not male or female. It’s unisex. It all should be unisex. I want anyone that comes in that is on any kind of journey of self-expression or self-discovery to feel free to be able to try anything on. If you put it on and it feels good and it fits then wear it. It’s not ‘oh I can’t because that’s a girl thing’. I want to try and cultivate that kind of mindset, to help be more inclusive.
What do you feel sets Fanny Adams out from other stores?
I think it’s the combination of the product offering. I try to keep the stock quite specialised to 80s and 90s but Project Awesome really is the standout and that’s really what I want the focus to be on helping Adelaide and the Adelaide artist crew. The jackets are such unique pieces, having a specific collection from a group of so many different people, so many diverse styles, in one direct spot.
What project have you been most proud of?
The jackets and the fact that the artists have got together so beautifully and that has become a collective has become incredibly rewarding and that definitely has become a driver for me and I’ve realised that what I really want to do is not just have a shop but the real joy comes from working with these amazing, creative, talented people of so many different backgrounds and all of them have been a delight to work with and so willing to participate.
If you could tell your customers one thing before they entered the store what would it be?
Just to not be shy. Come in and experience all of it. Don’t be afraid to try something different, to find the inner you, to let it come out whether that be through art or clothes or whether that’s through your choice of music. I’m a lover of pop culture because I believe it is a reflection of our time and can be a reflection of yourself and that’s really important to discover and be true to.
Could you please explain your involvement with SALA and what do customers and festival attendees have to look forward too?
We have a registered SALA event and is called ‘Radelaide on Denim’, which does have a hashtag and does have an Instagram page as well. It is a collection of 15 of my artists involved. There will be a hung exhibition of their artwork. We are launching on 11th of August which is our opening night and on that night, we will also be holding a little mini fashion parade, showcasing all of the jackets and we will have all of the hair and makeup done by Colour Cosmetica.
The exhibition will remain hung until the 31st of August. All artworks will be available for sale. The shop will be trading as normal. Kick off at 6 o’clock. Doors open at 6, parade at 7 and we’ll be going through until 10. It’s a free event as well.
Are there any future projects we can look forward too?
During Feast Festival we are hosting an installation by Danny Jarrett, who’s one of my artists. He will be commandeering this kitchen space into what I believe will be called ‘Queerzone’. We will definitely have a launch night for that and are looking into booking a second event to tie in with the Feast Festival.
I’ve wanted to start aiming for an event a month, so we’re probably going to try and do some more music gigs.
Can’t wait for Fringe, God knows what we’re going to do.
I personally cannot wait to see what Fanny Adams will create next. Not only are the clothes on offer original, fantastic and vintage, it has become a refuge for artists and a place where art can flourish. Adelaide’s local artist scene plays such an important role in a unique local business, making it a business to definitely look out for and support.
Words by Georgina Banfield
Photos courtesy of Tiphany Wheatley-Dawson