Nowadays, you can find me in the West Village exploring the vintage and consignment shops that line the streets. This is why I'm SUPER excited to introduce to you a new project called RAD VINTAGE SHIT. I sat down with the founder, Kate J, last week to find out a little bit more about this project and it's benefits...
It all started from my blog, which has been up for a year now. That was the beginning of me wanting to show the world what I’ve been wearing, and the clothes that I’ve been collecting. I still know and follow the trends, I just can’t afford them. Collecting vintage pieces is sort of my alternative to shopping. It allows me to be creative and show that this world of vintage clothing exists and can be really inexpensive.
When did this all begin for you?
I’ve been collecting since I moved out to LA in 2006. Over the years I have sold a lot of my items. It’s literally a recycling process for me. I buy, I wear, I decide that I don’t need it any more, so I sell it. Or I donate to Good Will. Usually, somewhere someone else will buy it. It's become a part of who I am now, like today I went to a huge flea market called The Rose Bowl, and picked up a few things.
Can you part with everything you buy?
Some pieces I find to be one of a kind, or special, and those become a part of a curated collection that I’ve been building. Those are hard to let go of. My style, my taste, and my eye is getting more sophisticated. With that being said, I'm always willing to sell! If I use something on a shoot, or I’m wearing something and someone is interested, I'd be willing to sell it. It's good for me to not get too attached to the materialism. For me it's really about focusing on the message of RECYCLING.
Why do you think it’s important?
This whole thing started out as more of a hobby. The more I got involved the more I was able to look at it from every angle. I didn’t know that I was doing a good thing. I ended up doing a fair amount of research on waste, in general, and recycled clothing. That got me into learning about all aspects of sustainable living, food included. Something that really got me more into this was the concept of Urban Farming. I think it’s amazing that people can grow an entire vegetable garden on a cement block! On that same thought process, I learned that an average of 68lbs of clothing is wasted per person per year and it just goes into landfills. Almost 99% of that can be recycled into new clothes, or blankets, or something else. That's when it started to become more about other people for me. I don’t want a job that I go to work to and collect a paycheck, I want it to mean something bigger.
Who is impacted but RVS or the idea of recycled clothing?
Potentially, it could have an impact on most people. Right now, it impacts people my age with similar taste. RVS is meant to show people something new, in a way that they've never thought about. When people go clothes shopping, they don’t usually think about where it comes from, how long they're going to wear it, or who’s made it. They generally don't think about what country it's coming from either. All of these scenarios have consequences. So RVS exists as a new way of thinking about being thrifty and shopping.
What do you say to people who have hang ups about used clothes?
I know thrift stores can often get a bad rap, like the clothes are "dirty" or "smelly". But you know what? You can clean it. It really is a thoughtful and a more sustainable way of shopping. If you look at the big retail giants, they are continually trying to keep up with the fashion houses. The whole buying process hinges on waste. Buyers are having to think about the winter season in the summer. This way of thought trickles down into the consumer, and it moves really fast.
So what's a consumer to do?
You can keep shopping, continuously and buy a trend one week, and buy another the next week, but the difference with me is that I sell the thing I bought the before. It's a really easy way to keep your closets fresh! So, I'd recommend you to recycle, rotate, renew, sell. Think of Vintage as more of a craft. There is a real thought process behind the designs, and the quality is much better because you had people using their hands. Not factories pumping things out.
What are you most proud of with this project?
I’m only a few days into the fundraising part, but I think I'm most proud of that face that I'm stepping out of my comfort zone and stepping out into the whole world! I'm really just going for it and not worrying about people think. I don’t want to regret not doing this in 20 years.
Where can people donate clothing?
Good Will, Salvation Army, or any of your local clothing collection bins. Depending on the quality of your items, you can find a thrift or vintage shop who will buy from you. Crossroads is another great option, and they're nationwide.
Where can people buy your RVS stuff?
RadVintageShit.com which re-directs to my Etsy page. I’ll be blogging from this on my cross country trip. The site will act as a one stop shop for everything. I'm also fundraising via my Kickstarter page. The donations are going to help with a documentary. (Video clip above)
Who inspires you?
Without a doubt, my parents. Mom and Dad taught me a long time ago that I can do anything I put my heart and soul into. Feels so good to have support from family.
Rachel Zoe is also an inspiration to me because her story tells us that it takes time, and you don’t have to rule the world at 21. She built her career up over a really long time. AndThe Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle really helps to just block negative shit out.
Tell us some of your favorite designers? What makes them your favorites?
The job interview question, haha. Well, first and foremost Rodarte. I finally got to work with them after I got asked by stylist to intern for them. I love their clothes but they are SO out of my price range, it’s ridic. I really like their story. Neither of them went to fashion or design school. They made paper dolls with dresses, and they were infatuated, it seemed, with aesthetically pleasing things. Be it a garden, the sky, a plant, a glass, whatever is is - they have a vision, and it’s art. A lot of their collection is reminiscent of actual paintings. They’re definitely, my favorite high fashion. Having the chance to work with them was really cool!
I also like anything leather, so I like Rick Owens. He is really creative with suede and crazy out of my price range.
I'm into the 60’s look so Ossie Clark is another favorite of mine. He uses crazy bright colors and prints, and I can't get away from that.
Some of my friends are designers which is really awesome. Like, Shaina Mote - her stuff is super awesome! Generally, I don’t care who made it, if it’s a beautiful piece, then I like it. I’ve become a little numb to labels, and a lot more present to construction and fabric; the makings of the piece.
You've got a cross country road trip coming up, tell us about that.
The RVS road trip is a growing passion and love that I'm really excited to do. I'm going to travel around the country and from west to east coast, stopping along the way to buy used/vintage clothing, spreading the eco-concious message!