If you ask us, nothing’s more modern than donning pieces from the past. Not surprisingly, we were oh-so thrilled to learn of new online vintage source Mother’s Daughter.
Launched in the final days of November, the San Francisco-based venture from Hayden Shiebler offers women’s tops, bottoms, coats and accessories from her vintage-collecting adventures in thrift stores and estate sales in such exotic locales as the wilds of rural Tennessee, where the shop founder and longtime collector of vintage is currently finishing up a two-month escape from the City.
Shiebler was kind enough to answer a few of our burning questions. Read on for more on this new online destination for hand-picked vintage apparel and Shiebler’s tips on buying and wearing vintage.
We’d love it if you could tell us how the shop came to be and who’s behind it.
I was selling vintage online from 2007 to early 2009. I had a relatively successful shop through eBay, but I decided to take a break and try something else. After temporarily joining the 9-to-5 world again, I realized I took working for myself for granted and decided if I could do it before, I can do it again. I wanted to take what I learned from selling for those two years and create a new, improved online shop where I wouldn’t be confined by the rules of eBay. The idea for Mother’s Daughter has been in my head for a long time, but has only materialized into a real web site within the past few weeks. I am basically running the entire shop myself. I definitely have help from friends, though. They are one of the main reasons why it even exists. They inspire me daily. Eventually, I will be featuring friends’ prints, designs and really whatever their creative endeavors may be on the site as well.
Can you explain the SF-Nashville connection? Are you based here, living there temporarily?
San Francisco is a crazy place, and I absolutely love it. But I really wanted to quit my job, move out of the apartment I was in and kind of just make an entire life change. So, I decided to take a short two-month break and hole up at my parents house on their farm in rural Tennessee and grind out all the ideas that have been in my head for the past 9 months (or longer). Also, the buying opportunities here are insane. San Francisco does have great vintage, but the south has incredible pieces you can’t find out there, mainly all things Pre-1940. I am based in San Francisco though. I have a new apartment in the Mission with all my things in it waiting for my return in January. I’m excited to continue this venture in the city that inspired the idea.
Does Mother’s Daughter specialize in clothing from a particular decade (or several)? If so, which ones?
Really, I love clothing from every decade. There are certain styles from each decade that I absolutely love, others I absolutely hate. We try not to specialize in any particular era. We are more interested in finding pieces that are well-made and well-designed. I do absolutely love the 1930’s, though. It’s harder to find, but we will definitely try to feature lots of pieces from that time period.
What items on the site right now are you having an especially hard time parting with?
Well first, there is a pair of Victorian ankle boots from the 1900s. I actually would’ve kept them if they weren’t a smidge too small for me. They are amazing. They were purchased at an estate sale I went to in the woods of Tennessee. They are in pretty fantastic condition, considering their age. And they’re in a larger size which is really hard to come by with footwear from that time period. Second, I would say the Cleopatra Ethnic Caftan. I love caftans. I would wear one every day if I could. They are incredibly chic if worn properly and insanely comfortable. The print on this one is really great, too.
What’s your most prized vintage possession?
My mom gave me a long-sleeved sheer 1930’s floor-length dress that is a soft grey-blue and covered in a beautiful flocked floral print. She used to wear it when she lived in Paris in the 70’s. I adore it, and the fact that it belonged to her obviously makes it more special to me. Our shop name is based upon that idea, being our own Mother’s Daughter, wearing her clothes and other mother’s clothes from generations past. It’s an important connection that few actually realize about vintage clothing.
Where do you source your vintage from? Do you scour flea markets, estate sales, hunt down lots on eBay?
I would say my most frequented source is estate sales. They are hit or miss. You have to be discerning. I’ve gone to estate sales where they have no clue of the value of items and gotten ridiculous deals. I’ve gone to others where they do know the value and overprice items. That is the fun of it, though. I’m always on a treasure hunt. Thrift stores too, they still have nice things. I’ve found Valentino for $5 at a thrift store. You just have to find one you like, and go there all the time.
Do you have any tips for buying or wearing vintage apparel?
I think the important thing about buying vintage is to not be confined by the decade, but make your style choices based upon the design. I’ve mixed 80’s high-waisted denim with 60’s crop tops, 40’s day dresses with 90’s platforms. It’s limitless. In terms of the more technical aspects of buying vintage, I would say pay attention to the construction and the fabric. Most dresses from early 1960 and before have strong metal zippers and are made with heavier, more durable fabrics. We try not to carry polyester items, especially double knit. The best part of a lot of vintage is the high quality natural fabric that is breathable and durable. I hand-wash all of my vintage, but you’d be surprised with what you can actually put in the washing machine. I don’t really recommend experimenting with that though, as I’ve had many a mishap with mistaking fabrics and destroying them in the wash. If you are unsure of what kind of fabric an item is, I would just say dry clean it.
Do you have a favorite decade in fashion history or one you’re particularly enamored of lately?
Like I said before, I adore the 1930’s. I am especially interested in this era really because of the fabrics and prints used. 1930’s lingerie is the most beautiful category of vintage fashion. Silk and satin watercolor florals and delicate cream lace inserts? Amazing. I love subtlety, and design in the 1930’s really is the epitome of that.