We hope to introduce you to all the great etsy sellers to be found right here in Toronto. Here at the T.E.S.T. blog, we plan to interview them all. This is the eighth in our series, an interview with foundlingsvintage.
Why vintage? What would you say to someone who has never shopped vintage before?
I've always been a scrounger and lover of things of olde. There's something about the discarded that I find intriguing; the mystery, I suppose. I can't pass a junk shop without poking my head in and rifling through a few boxes. The hunt is as rewarding as the find! I'm a collector, but my obsessive neatness prevents me from hoarding! Etsy is the perfect place to share my treasures. To the new vintage shopper, I would say don't be afraid to mix decades. A true time traveler shouldn't be afraid to wear a wacky wardrobe or fill their home with a mish-mash of kitschy goodness!
When were you first introduced to vintage? What is it about vintage that you love? How do you qualify an item as vintage?
I come from a family of collectors. Growing up, my mom loved all things fifties, and my dad was a bibliophile and anthologist - a book collector and assembler of short story collections. The collector gene was passed down to me, I guess. I also have really great memories of rooting through the garbage as a kid! A discarded piece of furniture or clothing has a history. I've always loved imagining the story behind a particular vintage piece. I get the same feeling when I look at old photographs. It's not just a material object, it's a chunk of the past.
Technically speaking, the cutoff that marks the distinction between contemporary and vintage is twenty years. That would make anything dating back to 1990 vintage, and everything after that contemporary.
What is your criteria for choosing a piece? Are there particular things you look for? Where or when do you find your best pieces?
Aesthetically, I am more attracted to certain decades, particularly within the fashion realm. The seventies were pretty ugly - enormous lapels and brown polyester. Few can pull off this look without looking a little silly! The sixties, on the other hand, were fantastic! An eye-popping psychedelic print can be a real statement. An outfit should be a work of art! I look for pieces that are original and eye-catching, often the fabric is key here, though construction does come into play as well.
I saw in your etsy shop that you create your own original pieces using vintage materials and supplies. What is your creative process for repurposing materials
I source and up-cycle old old drapes, sheets, and tablecloths, transforming and giving them new life. Eco-friendly options are appealing to me, and I am attracted to vintage prints. Combining the old with the new is really what Foundlings is all about - whether it's a new take on an old look or simply re-introducing the old to contemporary life.
Can you tell me more about your designing background? How long have you been designing? Have you always been attracted to vintage styles? How important is recycling and sustainability to your designs?
I studied Creative Fashion Design and got my start ten years ago in the costume design world, as a sewer for "Mamma Mia". I discovered that ABBA was a vintage rock better left unturned! Eco-conscientious design is tremendously important to me. Repurposing is an excellent way to create something stylish and unique, while at the same time squeezing a few more years out of a scrap of fabric that would otherwise be discarded.
How do you strike a balance between designing vintage pieces and sourcing them? What brings you the most joy?
I enjoy both! It all depends on where my feet lead me on a particular day, and what treasures I stumble upon.
Can you share your top five tips for choosing vintage? What should I look for and how do I care for my vintage purchases?
1. Don't be afraid of a little dust.
2. Do mix and match decades.
3. Fill your home and wardrobe with prints and colours that make you smile.
4. Use your imagination.
5. Don't think about what Stacy and Clinton would say!
When it comes to fabric care, polyester is pretty much indestructible! Generally, I suggest hand-washing and laying garments flat to dry. Watch for sun-damage when re-purposing vintage curtains (I learned the hard way).
What's next for foundlingsvintage?
In addition to my Etsy site, Foundlings is also available at Fresh Collective in Toronto. Look for Foundlings at The Clothing Show Spring 2010 Show and Sale May 14-16.
Interviewed March, 2010 by Melanie Hillier