Bernie Dexter, The Designer
When I started my own line of clothing, the one thing most important is that it was a collection that would last. The excitement of finding a vintage 1940s or 1950s dress in the present day is so exciting. I have created a line of clothing that is built to last. Most is 100% cotton and all is sponsible sourced . It may cost a bit more but these dresses and my whole range are made with a lot of thought and care. Every dress style has a reason and every fabric has been hand selected by me.
At a very young age, I started going to thrift stores with my mother. I was always buying cat eye sun glasses, pretty 1950s dresses and shoes. That is where the madness began!
I even made my own prom dress in a 1950s style when i graduated high school in 1989.
Bernie Dexter 1989
As a teenager and in my early 20s, I could not afford designer clothing so I would look through fashion magazines and then go to Salvation Army in Santa Monica where I would sift through racks of clothing for hours. I would bring home a big bag full of clothes for $30.00. That was a lot for me to spend back then, but what I did not realize is that I had a keen since of fashion and picking very collectible brands and styles. I always looked for quality and flattering styles and I accumulated boxes and boxes of clothing.
Bernie Dexter 1984 vintage style
Bernie Dexter 1991 True Vintage 1960s style
By the time I was 23, I had been tipped off about a shop on Melrose that bought vintage clothing and THAT was how it all started. I took my first bag of clothing there and left with a big check.
Soon I discovered the Rockabilly & Swing scene in Hollywood. I would go dancing 3 times a week. I would look through LA Weekly to go see any bands that looked like they may be swing or Rockabilly...the perfect place to wear my vintage dresses!
The only problem was, when I started going out to swing dance clubs, I would find my vintage pieces ripping as soon as I hit the dance floor. Whether it be a seam due to dry cotton thread or a full on rip in the fabric starting to decompose, it was such a huge disappointment. Sometimes I never made it out the front door without a disaster. This is when I started to dream of making my own pin up dresses collection.
My first collection was truly inspired by a few of my most treasured vintage pieces. I have had a few vintage formal gowns I loved so much, but there never seemed to be a time to wear them and one was too delicate to wear. So I decide to turn my favorite vintage formals in to wearable day and sun dresses that you can dance, shop, or just feel pretty in.