- vintage clothing from the 1940's and 1950's
Originals is run by Martin and Kaye. Digger met up with them
at their Sheffield premises; Two people more into the
forties and fifties scene he is yet to meet.
Kaye and Martin
With a genuine excitement for
what they are doing that only comes from a real passion,
Martin and Kaye offer fabulous authentic-looking clothing and
footwear for those with an eye for vintage style.
Here Digger talks to
Martin and Kaye about what they
Digger: What is your background Martin?
Weíve both been interested in everything from the1940ís and
50ís scene for decades Ė since our teens.
Digger: Can you please tell us how Rocket Originals started and how
it has developed into the business it is today?
Kaye first started the business in 1988. It was called
Rockhouse Clothing Co at first then after a few years the name
was changed to Rocket Originals.
In those days the bulk of the business was from selling
T-shirts that she screen-printed herself as well as vintage
American clothing, footwear (some manufactured and some bought
wholesale). No websites back then - so she had a stall at rock
'n roll weekenders, car shows and worked at Santa Pod
racecourse regularly, and also sold mail order. After running
Rockhouse Clothing/Rocket Originals for approx seven years, she
went back to working in an office full time for a few years.
In 2006 Kaye was made redundant from her position as PA/Office
Manager, so we decided to start Rocket Originals again. So the
website was built and we were up and running.
Martin came on board full-time in 2009. At the time heíd been
working as a Regional Health and Safety Manager for a large
Rocket Originals was run from our home at first with stock
stored in a self-storage unit, but since 2010 weíve had our
own warehouse. Itís big enough to store all the stock and has
an office in there where we work from. Customers come there
occasionally to buy from us direct.
Digger: Please tell us more about the clothes, shoes, bags and
belts you have on offer.
Rocket Originals is a brand; all stock is manufactured
specifically for us. All products are copied from
1940ís/1950ís designs, which are taken from either a vintage
pattern or an original item of clothing or footwear, and is
copied as closely as possible to the vintage version.
Rocket Originals donít sell wholesale so all our own brand
products are only available from us direct.
We decided that all the products we have manufactured would be
limited editions, with only a very limited amount of shoes,
sweaters etc. being made in any style and colour.
Digger: Sourcing British is very important to you, isnít it?
Rocket Originals use British manufacturers whenever possible.
All the sweaters and shirts are manufactured in England. The
menís shoes are made at one of the oldest footwear
manufacturers in England, the menís socks are made at one of
the oldest hosiery manufacturers as well.
Digger: I know you are passionate about the forties and fifties.
What is it that particularly appeals?
Everything about the 1940ís and 50ís appeals to us, the music,
cars, bikes, clothing, home design. We also particularly like
art deco designs for homes and interiors.
Digger: Why do you think retro, vintage and nostalgia is generally
so popular with so many people these days?
A lot of people prefer it to the Ďmoderní way of life (us
included), because itís far more interesting!
Digger: And, besides clothing, what are your other personal retro
Listening to and collecting music from the eras weíre into,
and going to events. We like to support local rock n roll
clubs, and attend loads of events on our scene and weekenders
all over the UK and abroad.
We love watching old films and collect books on all things
Weíve always liked old cars and owned at least one classic car
at any one time over the years. Our current vintage car is a
1931 Ford Model A that we have hot-rodded in the style of the
Digger: Who are your Ďtypicalí customers, where are your customers
coming from and what customer feedback/comments do you get?
Our Ďtypicalí customers, and the majority of customers are the
ones that wear 1940ís/50ís styles on a regular basis. Through
the website weíve sold to over 25 different countries so far.
We get a lot of excellent feedback, itís lovely to receive and
we always appreciate it. To receive good feedback/comments
from customers saying how happy they are with our products and
service makes it all worthwhile, and shows weíre getting it
Digger: What should people be looking for when they are thinking
about getting into the forties and fifties look?
Itís important to look as authentic as possible if you want to
get the look right. It doesnít necessarily mean wearing all
vintage, as thereís a lot of good reproduction versions out
there at the moment (unfortunately, it has to be said, thereís
also a lot of bad reproductions!)
Old films and photographs from the era are of course a good
source and there are a lot of good reference books.
Digger: What would you say is special about the service you
We value our customers and try our best to give them good
products that are well made and good value for money. We think
you should provide a good service and one you should expect
Digger: What are the best and most enjoyable aspects of running
Itís good to do a job selling products that you have a genuine
interest in and are enthusiastic about. Itís great being your
own boss and having control over what you sell and do. We also
like working at all the different events and meeting
Digger: What are your plans for the Rocket Originals business in
We have lots of ideas and new products in the pipeline. Weíve
no plans to expand the business, we just want to keep it small
as we feel the bigger a company gets it sometimes loses that
Rocket Originals - vintage clothing from the 1940's and
Rocket Originals was originally
formed back in 1988 and after a break of a number of years
(and also due to redundancy from a "normal" job) we're
back! Our on-line shop opened in 2006.
We're based in Sheffield in the U.K. We've been collecting
and wearing vintage clothing from the 1940's and 1950's
and been on the "scene" for over 30 years now since when
were teenagers - and we don't intend to change now.
As for our business, we have our own range of Rocket
Originals' shoes for men and women manufactured, we're
very fussy in trying to get things right (yep, we drive
our manufactures up the wall at times!) and try to get
them as authentic
as possible, they're made from original patterns in most
The men's shoes are all made here in England, as are our
men's socks and belts. We're proud to be doing our bit in
helping keep our British industries alive and try,
whenever possible, to have our stock manufactured in good
Our ladies' Belts are also manufactured in England. All the
designs are taken from vintage knitting patterns, and one
of the companies we use still has a vintage mechanical
knitting machine, so we have some of ours knitted on that
(very authentic!) We get asked "don't you knit them
yourselves" - well, no we don't (we can't knit that well,
it would take forever and wouldn't look nearly as neat!)
As well as selling through our website we like to get out
there and meet people and sell at various events, and
we'll be having a stall at quite a few weekenders etc this
year, which will be listed on our homepage as and when
We also have an eBay shop.