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Brianna Wood. Photo courtesy of Brianna Wood.

Meet the Locals | Meet Brianna Wood: Peterborough’s Electric Lady

Written by
Irene Suvillaga
and
and
November 24, 2022
Meet the Locals | Meet Brianna Wood: Peterborough’s Electric Lady
Brianna Wood. Photo courtesy of Brianna Wood.

 We all know that fashion choices have the power to be bold social statements. Everyday is a new opportunity to reclaim your self, decide who you want to be or simply reinforce who you are to the world. It is a palpable social tool that can either invite people to spark a conversation with you or warn them to stay the fuck away while still allowing them to gaze at you from afar. 

I first met Brianna Wood, the 24 year-old owner of Electric Ladyland Vintage shop, through her clothing. As I excitedly scrolled through the colourful racks of groovy corduroy pants, sun-kissed suede skirts, iconic embroidered vests and sweaters, and anti-conformist, bold leather pants and jackets, Brianna’s mix and match of anachronistic socialite garments took me through a fashion journey that transcended the boundaries of time and space. As I picked a pair of wide-leg, textured, cheetah-print pants (what was to become my first purchase from her store) to check out the price, a little hand-written cursive note caught me off guard - “Mick Jagger would totally wear these,” it said. There I was, pants in hand, shocked by the fact that someone else spoke my language. All I could think was “Holy shit. He totally would.” 

It was clear to me then, that behind these clothes was an eccentric, misfit fashionista; a twenty-first century flower-child.

Brianna’s first introduction to the fashion world was through her grandmother. “She’d always talk about new styles, watch all the fashion shows on TV, and she also used to sew, so she had books like that that I would always look at as a kid,” Wood told me. 

With the encouragement and support of her grandmother, Brianna became a model years later. This became the first real introduction to the fashion industry that would teach her the power of fashion, and a significant step towards finding a place in the world. Falling for the power of fashion, vintage clothing became her weapon to shape and reveal her identity. 

“Fashion is a form of self-expression. And I also just think it's fun. You can wear whatever you like. I don’t know, it's just something that you can only do for yourself, no one else can. I am honestly a shy, introverted person so I like fashion because it is a way I can express myself, without saying anything,” Wood said as we sat outside Revelstoke. She took a sip of her iced hibiscus lemonade and continued: “I don't have to talk to anybody or be outgoing. I can just put something on and let that speak for me.”

“Hand-me-downs” and “second hand” apparel were once notoriously tainted, labelled as tacky and ungraceful by capitalism’s superficial determination of worth as brand new, never-worn-before clothing, slowly morphed into what became known as “vintage fashion.” From the use of old, raggy sweaters by Kurt Cobain that charmed the nihilistic hearts of grungy teenagers, or the mid-sixties fad of second-hand Victoriana, as reflected by Jimi Hendrix, Mick Jagger, and other music pioneers. As a timeless, vintage style congregated in an array of anti-conformist subcultures throughout the twentieth century, it came to slowly infiltrate the mainstream fashion scene. In the modern day, vintage fashion has also become a popular choice as a more sustainable alternative to capitalist-ridden, ecologically-degrading fast fashion. 

As Wood recounted to me during our interview, the beauty of vintage clothing lies in the stories and secrets of its past owners, hidden in-between its stitches and the washed up, faded colours, or little rips often found in vintage clothing act as memorabilia; it is proof of the life, the experiences and the essence of the previous owner or owners. The charm of vintage clothing lies in its imperfection, uniqueness and story. 

As a vintage fashionphile, Wood’s love for good-quality, unique second hand clothing metamorphosed into her very own vintage shop in Peterborough: The Electric Ladyland Vintage. This stemmed from a desire to bring a sense of comfort and confidence in the same way that clothes have provided for her. 

“I just want everyone to feel really good about what they wear. I love when I see someone try something and it fits them perfectly cause I feel when something fits you like that it almost becomes like your second skin, you can feel more comfortable and more confident in it.” She took a minute to fix one of her silver rings before continuing, “I also want them to feel content in the fact that if they are buying something from me they know that it is not going to fall apart, there's not going to be any holes or anything. It's going to be a good, quality piece of clothing. I want to help people express themselves.”

What started as an online shop in 2020, The Electric Ladyland Vintage is now part of the newly inaugurated store The Neighbourhood Vintage located downtown Peterborough on Water Street. The shop is owned by Jacquelyn Craft, owner of Minty Vintage, a collective space shared with other vintage vendors including Looking Back Vintage apparel, Threadtastic Vintage, Elite Motel Vintage, and Novel Beauty Vintage. As a collective initiative, the Neighbourhood Vintage is a project that will undoubtedly revive Peterborough’s fashion scene through chic, bold and environmentally-friendly clothing.

Her vision does not stop there, however. “When I was living in London, England I went to this store that was half a vintage store and half a store where like the other stuff were things made by fashion students, so that’s kind of another goal I have been keeping in the back of my mind because I like that, supporting the community, and also putting money in student pockets.”

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