I sat down with Brooke Goldberg from Pussy Willow Vintage to ask 5 Questions about vintage and if she thought shopping vintage could save the world!
Merica: Okay, so five questions about vintage. How did you get into vintage?
Brooke: My sister is eight years older than me, and I remember when she started shopping at thrift stores and I insisted on her bringing me because she started looking so cool.
Brooke: I was like, she looks like a rock star’s girlfriend.
Merica: Oh my God, okay.
Brooke: I want to look like that - I’m just now getting that right - I feel like, okay, I’m kind of looking like a rock star’s girlfriend.
Merica: Oh, fuck yeah.
Brooke: It only took me 25 years.
Merica: Listen, it takes a long time! And then what do you love about working with vintage?
Brooke: I love everything about it. I love the individuality of the pieces I find and that it’s not what you’re seeing all over the streets. And that it has a history to it. The quality was so much better because people just gave a shit and took their time and things were made with more integrity. I have so many vintage pieces made in the US, or made in France, and they’re 100% cotton or 100% silk and I will sell them to you for a fraction of the price than those big department stores.
Merica: Right. It’s not just like an Old Navy Oxford or whatever.
Brooke: Yeah, fashion has turned more into a consumption thing as opposed to expressing yourself through what you wear.
Merica: Yeah. Also, I feel like with vintage you get pieces that, generally, nobody else has.
Brooke: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Merica: Do you think buying vintage could be the answer to the problem of so much waste in the fashion industry?
Brooke: Yeah, I do. I think you hit the nail on the head. I have to go into a Zara or Top Shop for work sometimes and it’s just it’s sickening to see all these things that are just thrown on the floor. The way things are treated, it’s like nobody cares because it’s not special. Everything seems disposable in a way. I also feel like all the fun has been taken out of fashion because it’s just so accessible. I remember before I would be so stoked to find a pair of platforms because that was a rarity. You had to find it. Things have become really boring because they’re everywhere, and it’s just - I don’t know. I like to express myself with fashion through every fucking decade. But mainly the sixties and seventies.
Merica: Yeah, the best years! And then what do you think is the difference between thrift clothes and vintage?
Brooke: Thrift clothes are, I would say second hand, but then the vintage is hand selected. I’ve done my homework for the past two decades of what’s special and where things come from, and why, and what to look for, and designers, and different eras. My specialty is I will do the dirty work to make someone look cool.
Merica: I feel like because of your background with your family you have a honed skill.
Brooke: Yes you are right. You’re right. I have a very strong connection to the past. My parents had a packing business, and I remember when I was nine I started packing with them and this family called the Yaffeys, who were crazy, but the woman gave me this disco shirt and the tags had kisses on it.
Merica: Oh my God.
Brooke: ... with these big red lips. It’s a black gold metallic halter with a cow neck.
Merica: Oh my gosh.
Brooke: I was nine.
Merica: Do you still have it?
Merica: No shit, do you?
Brooke: Yeah, it’s so great.
Merica: That’s so fucking cool.
Merica: Wait, one more question for you. Do you have any tips on vintage, or thrift store shopping?
Brooke: Well, I’d say, When I comb through a rack, I just find a print that really appeals to me, and then I touch it, and then I see if it’s worth looking at the tag and then if something ... I don’t buy things that are made in China because I generally think those are poorer quality and not really vintage if it’s made in China. But, if you find something that was made in Hong Kong, or made in Korea, those things were when China was not mass marketing clothes at that point.
Merica: They’re special pieces?
Brooke: Yeah. You can tell if something is vintage by where it’s made, generally.
Merica: Oh, okay. Boom. Perfect.
Brooke: Yeah. Always shop USA, baby!
Merica: Yeah, baby!