I tend to spend some of my free time browsing Etsy stores. I don’t always look for something to buy, I just like to see what other people find fashionable. It is really inspiring to see great collections of hand made, custom jewelry, one of the kind clothing. Nickie is a local Bay Area Vintage veteran who really knows her vintage stuff. I have featured Nickie’s beloved clogs before and this time I decided to sit down with her and chat. So if you are hungry for some vintage you should read this interview, visit her store and read her fashion blog.
1. When did you realize you had a passion for fashion?
When I was a little girl, my dad used to get me ready and drop me off at kinder garden. My mom would come pick me up and she would be horrified by the outfits he put me in. Plaid pants with floral shirts in completely clashing colors etc. So she decided to let me pick out my own clothes. I guess my awareness of fashion started then. My mom and I used to go to thrift shops and garage sales just for fun when I was in middle school and it was so fun to find cool stuff that no one else had. Growing up in the 80′s was great because there was a lot going on in fashion then, but also in music. Music and fashion really goes hand-in-hand for me and my style has evolved as my taste in music has evolved. So, to answer the question, I guess the interest has always been there.
2. Your store on Etsy carries mostly Vintage pieces. Would you say that Vintage is your true love?
I do love vintage and I love the thrill of the hunt. I love the idea of discovering treasures amongst people’s discards and I love rescuing abandoned things. A girlfriend and I got really into dumpster diving in college. There was this little church thrift shop that used to throw a ton of stuff away for whatever reason and we would find the most awesome stuff in there. It was a very clean dumpster, mind you! I love selling (and wearing) one-of-a-kind pieces that say more about the wearer than the big corporation that produced them. That said, I love to mix vintage pieces with modern pieces to create my own look. I am not into wearing head-to-toe vintage and I’m not a snob about these things. I shop everywhere. There are so many amazing independent designers that I would love to sell some day and I have an endless amount of designs in my head that I would love to produce. I would say my true love is shoes, but that’s another story altogether.
3. How do you find your Vintage merchandise for the store?
I have a homing beacon in my head. No, seriously, things just jump out at me from a pile. It’s like a super power. At this time in my life, the most convenient place for me to shop is at thrift stores. I almost always have my three and four year olds in tow, so to drag them all over town from garage sale to garage sale is impractical. I love flea markets but there aren’t any close to me and the closest one is on Sunday mornings when we are at church. Sometimes I go to estate sales but I find that their prices on clothing tend to be high, you have to get up at the crack of dawn (and I have to drag the kids), people get really pushy (then I have to push back to protect the kids)and they are always hit-or-miss. For instance, the last estate sale I went to advertised “vintage designer clothes“. I got up at 4:00, drove an hour, stood in line in the freezing cold only to find a fairly empty closet with nothing but Jones New York outlet slacks and sweaters. I was pissed. The other benefit of thrift stores is that they almost always support a good cause like a homeless shelter or a church, plus many of them employ people who are a part of recovery programs.
4. I know that you also know how to saw. Do you saw clothes for yourself? Do you do a lot of DIY projects?
I do sew, but I am a pretty average seamstress. I usually only sew something if I can’t afford to buy it, or if it’s a really good idea that’s burning a hole in my brain and I will die if I don’t get it out. I have a reeeeeeaaaaaaaly long list of DIY projects that I want to do, but most of them don’t come to fruition. There’s only so much time in the day. Right now, the DIY projects that I really want to do are homemade pickles, painted boots and a kimono style tee out of a vintage crochet tablecloth I picked up. I have most of the materials, I just need to make the time. I totally believe in DIY, though. I think sewing is a dying art and it’s so sad. Most of my friends don’t know how to sew. Once my kids are old enough, I will teach both of them what I know. It’s really cool to have a vision and to be able to make it yourself.
5. If you could choose, what fashion era would you like to live in?
I definitely am drawn towards the hippie aesthetic, so I’d choose the late 60′s-early 70′s fashion. Of course I like the 20′s, just from an artistic standpoint, but the styles aren’t practical for my everyday lifestyle. I also really like western wear! Jeans, cowboy boots, big belt buckles and I like to mix in leather and Native American style pieces like fringe bags, moccasins, chunky sterling jewelry and feathers.
6. What is your most favorite and most versatile piece of clothing in your closet?
I basically always want to wear the bell bottom jeans I sell in my shop. I take a pair of good jeans and make them into elephant bell bottoms. They are always comfortable and stylish and they are practical for me as a stay-at-home mom who is always schlepping a ton of stuff around. I wear denim jackets a lot too. Living in the Bay Area you really have to layer. It’s always a good idea to have a denim jacket with you! I normally don’t fuss with a lot of jewelry, but I always have a statement ring on. Right now I’m wearing a big sterling and coral ring that my dad bought for me years ago at a Pow Wow. I love sentimental things! My favorite shoes are my Jeffrey Campbell Charli Clogs. They are pretty trendy right now, but to me they are a classic style that I will wear even after the frenzy dies down. I would say those are the three most versatile pieces in my closet. As you can imagine, I have a lot of clothes that I rotate through, but the bell bottoms, denim jacket and clogs are definitely my staples.
This post originally appeared on Moda Epidemic