Laura of Suburban Revival shares how she got started, her inspiration and tips for a modern vintage look.
What is most appealing to you about vintage clothing?
Everything about vintage is so appealing. The history behind it, the quality and craftsmanship. Wearing a one of a kind piece that no one else has, and making it your own unique style.
If someone is new to vintage what's the best piece for them to start with?
If you're starting to look for vintage, go for an accessory to add to your contemporary outfit, you can never go wrong with a vintage bag or statement necklace. Look for pieces that are trending and find a vintage one, example scarves are trending now, and wear in an unexpected way i.e.: on your wrist as a bracelet .....
What’s the easiest way to mix vintage with contemporary?
Mix and matching vintage with contemporary is really an easy way to add uniqueness to your wardrobe. Again, looking at what is trending or just what speaks to you! If big statement earrings are trending, why not find a vintage pair from the 60s or 80s and always wear with confidence!
How has your view of vintage clothing, or the world's view of it, changed since you started buying it?
The vintage culture has always been out there. Possibly starting in the late 50s early 60s when young college students with little money, used their imagination and realized thrifting could add newness to a tired wardrobe.
You also have people who collect pieces as they would invest in art. Back in the late 70s early 80s, vintage became very popular and many shops popped up. One that was well renowned was Harriet Love as many considered her the first lady of the vintage clothing business. Her boutique was shopped by many celebrities, like Faye Dunaway, to Bette Midler. Many designers were also inspired for the relevance of vintage at the time.
Today, vintage is making a come back again, not only for its uniqueness and inspiring silhouettes for designers to interpret but it is another way to reduce the ecological footprint that so much fast fashion and throw away clothing has caused to add to our environments pollution.
So what has changed most is how vintage is being looked at for its quality and timeless designs that withstand time.
What’s the difference between vintage and thrift?
Thrifting is shopping second-hand, but not necessarily vintage, or antique. You can visit a thrift store and find a great piece, but it could be current and from Home Goods or Target. But if you're a hunter, you may just find an iconic vintage piece from the 1990s, which would be a SCORE!
What made you open a store?
I started out with the idea of Suburban Revival in 2009 when the Fashion Industry as I knew it was collapsing. Having worked among designers and textiles for years, I decided I would use my expertise and talents to help others learn how to use what was around them in their homes and in their wardrobes. I came up with the name Suburban Revival, having always been a suburbanite, but also a NYC commuter (best of both worlds!). And thought why not show that Suburban NJ can be just as relevant as its NYC neighbor. There is so much history and stories, in these suburban homes. I opened an Etsy Vintage Shop in 2009, mostly to find a new home for many of my inherited pieces that I couldn't possibly keep. And in 2016, I began to introduce vintage clothing. Passing this vintage tin-ceilinged storefront, that is now the Suburban Revival home, gave me the idea of bringing my shop to life for all to experience!
Who inspires you when you search for vintage items for your store?
I am inspired by keeping on top of the design world through runways shows, social media and yes I still like a glossy magazine, to keep me on top of current trends and what will be next. Exactly as I did during my career in the fashion industry. Again Fashion in cyclical, and design is always derived from a previous decade, but worn differently or modified in some way. Of course, the silver screen and glamorous icons are always an inspiration. I have a love for anything from the 1920s,1930s, and 1940s. Lately, I've been inspired by the late 60s and early 70s Mid Century Glam, think Valley of the Dolls. And of course, the Iconic and flamboyant 80s will always steal my heart...Look out, cause its baaaaaack!
What is the stylistic difference between vintage and new?
In vintage, there is usually more handwork, more attention to detail and a durability that you don’t see much any more in contemporary fashion. Definitely not in fast fashion. With a vintage piece—you likely won’t see anyone else wearing or carrying that same bag or dress. Newer and or more contemporary pieces that I have in the shops are anywhere from 2000 up until today. I am selective in what I bring in, looking for uniqueness, and quality above all. If it has a vintage vibe, even better!
What is the condition of your vintage pieces?
Our staff examines all pieces and selects only the best for the store. Occasionally, the finest representation of a piece may have flaws. We will point out anything which affects the wearability or value of the item. We professionally clean and repair all items as much as possible so we rarely accept or sell anything in less than Excellent Condition, unless it is an extra special piece, a collector's item, or an exception due to its age or era.