While browsing through a vintage shop, Artemis Mansur found an embroidered vest. She checked the tag, learned that it was handmade in Vietnam in the 1950s, and decided it was so special that she had to buy it, she said.
The second-year communication and psychology student and fourth-year design media arts student Maddy Pease share a passion for collecting vintage clothes that led to the launch of their online shop, Cherry Pickings Vintage. The store operates through the brand’s Instagram and Depop accounts, which they opened in January. Through their affinity for fashion, they hope to sell pieces from the past that hold stories of previous owners, said Mansur.
“It’s really nice … to find customers that are like, ‘Wow, I love this because it’s a piece nobody else in the world has right now.’ And the way I look at clothes, it’s an investment,” Mansur said. “You can put something on to encompass how you feel that day, and I think that’s really special and that’s what we try to do.”
Mansur said it is difficult for her to define vintage clothing because it does not necessarily fall into one fashion category and includes clothes from all places and times. The two founders purchase pieces for Cherry Pickings Vintage when they travel for leisure – their inventory now ranges in origin from Paris to San Francisco, and some pieces were made as early as the 1940s. For example, she found a bag at a vintage pop-up shop in Venice Beach which was made by a designer from Barcelona. The defining factor for clothes they consider vintage, Mansur said, is that customers can only find those pieces from a smaller brand.
Pease said vintage collections also have appeal due to their durability. The durability and quality of the clothes they sell shows in how well they hold up over time. Something bought from Forever 21 usually falls apart after you wash it due to the mass production of fast fashion, Pease said, but vintage clothing sells better because it has survived for so long.
“If a piece of clothing has survived like 80 years, it’s good quality; it’s going to survive for 80 more years,” she said. “That’s the difference between vintage and stuff that’s being made now.”
Because they sell through social media, Cherry Pickings Vintage keeps in close communication with people who order from them. Reagan Zimmerer, a fourth-year student at Pepperdine University and a customer of Cherry Pickings Vintage, said supporting Pease’s and Mansur’s shop feels more personable than buying in-store because she is able to talk directly to the store’s owners. Cherry Pickings Vintage sold her a silk turquoise set for $45 along with a cheetah-print purse for $55, she said.
As vintage fashion becomes more popular, Cherry Pickings Vintage offers clothing that stands out from the bulk-produced options available to anyone at a mall, Zimmerer said.
“I think it’s really cool buying vintage because somebody else has owned this piece before you and there’s so many stories that probably that go behind that purse, or that sweater or that jacket,” Zimmerer said. “People have lived their lives through (the pieces) and then you get to have it and continue its history.”
Cherry Pickings Vintage tries to differentiate the shopping experience from shopping at thrift stores, Mansur said. To make it easier for the customer, Mansur said the shop showcases the pieces by styling them as a part of a complete outfit and creating a cohesive look. Buying from Cherry Pickings Vintage helps customers avoid spending hours searching through clothes on a rack, Mansur said.
“It’s time-consuming to go to thrift stores or go to vintage stores and sift through things (to create a complete look),” Mansur said. “So by us curating it ourselves, making an outfit out of it and modeling, it pretty much puts it right in front of the customers – here’s how you can style it, here it is ready to buy.”
To advertise and sell their pieces, Mansur and Pease separate them into different collections. They have recently released a line titled “LA Times” which is meant to encapsulate the business-chic customer who pairs dresses with blazers, Pease said. The clothes in this collection have more structured silhouettes, Mansur said, as opposed to their spring collection which will include looser slips, see-through styles and pastel colors.
Pease said a vintage aesthetic is something Cherry Pickings Vintage also focuses on for their marketing. She takes photos for the brand, sometimes implementing her own film photography style. For example, she said they took the photos for their business-oriented collection in Downtown LA and hope to do a future shoot for a Western line in Joshua Tree National Park.
Mansur said Cherry Pickings Vintage’s future growth will come naturally with the tendency for people to buy their clothes online. Even though the pieces are old, Mansur said, they are still styles that have remained relevant and can be worn today.
“I wouldn’t say that any of our looks that we style are archaic. You know, it’s like you could wear (their pieces) today, and it would be relevant today,” Mansur said. “It’s just the way that you mix the old and the new that really makes it what it is.”