Velvet Elvis, the new vintage clothes shop at 2 Framwelgate bridge, Durham, surprisingly has a great deal more to offer than just retro clothes. Boasting stylish vintage and retro clothing, as well as handmade unique jewellery and a newly opened tearoom, this shop really does have something for everyone. Owners Dawn and David, as well as all the staff, greet new customers like regulars, and regulars like friends. After five minutes of arrival, we’re offered free scones and coffee* (which obviously we don’t refuse), enormously enjoyed after a friendly chat with co-owner David. The welcoming atmosphere, beautiful clothes, handmade jewellery and delicious food are all reasons as to why everyone should pay Velvet Elvis a visit. I stop by to ask them a few questions.
What made you want to open a vintage shop in Durham?
Both Dawn and I are from Durham, and we originally just owned a vintage clothes stall on Durham market, but we felt we had reached a glass ceiling with that project and had gone with it as far as we could go. Therefore opening our own shop here was naturally the next step.
What are the inspirations behind the clothes?
Mainly 80s and 90s fashion, which is really on trend right now, and we also take a lot of inspiration from Urban Outfitters, which have the same suppliers as we do. We’re not a traditional vintage shop in the sense that we update out stock with new upcoming trends every season, similar to Urban Outfitters.
So are any of your vintage pieces reworked/ made? And do you do this yourself?
Some of our clothes are reworked, but by our suppliers, not by us.
Why do you think people should shop at Velvet Elvis, and what makes it stand out from other clothes shops in Durham?
All our staff are just really friendly and have great craic, not to mention that we have a good mix of clothes and jewellery and an excellent tearoom with some of the best baristas in Durham working here. So basically there’s something for everyone, all at affordable, good prices.
The jewellery (which all is mostly handmade by Dawn in the store) is really beautiful and unique. Can you tell us more about the creative process?
On average it takes Dawn a couple of hours to make one piece of jewellery (which sometimes you can watch her doing in store). People can come in with their own designs and drawings for Dawn to create, and she even holds workshops and classes for £35 each where you can learn to make your own piece of silver jewellery, such as a ring or necklace, and take home with you afterwards. Regular workshops usually take place at the end of the month, which anyone can come to, all you have to do is ring up and ask.
And finally, any more exciting future plans in the pipeline for Velvet Elvis?
We’re quite busy at the moment adding final touches to the shop, and the opening of the café on Saturday was busier than expected, but perhaps in a few years’ time it would be great to open another shop in Newcastle.
Velvet Elvis is open most days 9:30 till 5:3. If anyone is interested in booking a jewellery workshop, contact Dawn on the Velvet Elvis Facebook page or ring 07951295839
*Though I should probably point out to all hungry students looking for free cake that this was a probably onetime offer.