A BOXING champ has swapped his dream of being king of the ring to become a self-taught guru – of the vintage fashion industry.
Less than a year after Jason Draper’s unusual U turn, his Stony Stratford clothing shop Gone Retro is a knockout success and about to open its THIRD outlet.
And much of the Camden Market-style vintage quirkiness is down to Jason’s other talent – running up designs on a sewing machine.
The muscle-bound 26-year-old spends his days sifting through silk shirts, cropping vintage Levi jeans into shorts, ironing lace collars and styling decades-old dresses into catwalk must-haves.
“I love it. I’m fascinated by the individuality of vintage fashion,” he said.
At night Jason, who’s also a judo black belt, swaps all thoughts of fabric for the cut and thrust of the boxing ring.
“I still train and I teach boxing and judo a couple of nights a week,” he said.
“I suppose it’s a bit of a strange mix – I’m certainly not a stereotype!
Jason left school at 15, all set to become a professional boxer. But a year spent travelling when he was 23 caused a change of heart and he returned determined to set up his own business.
“I had £50 left in the world so I started selling my own clothes on ebay to raise cash.”
Jason then began scouring car boot and jumble sales for bargains to convert on his sewing machine. Soon his goods were so popular he was having clothing sales in his bedroom. Last September he scraped together enough money to rent his shop, sleeping on a sofa in the stockroom while he waited for business to boom.
Now he has a second outlet in Northampton and has been offered a third concession in Towcester.
“It’s all happened very quickly. I think it’s proved that retro style is just what Milton Keynes needed.”
> See Jason’s products at Flashback Fever, an evening combining funky music and fashion at The Buszy on May 12. Details are on www.facebook.com/#!/gone.retro.