These NYC-Based Sisters Are Changing the World With Their Online Vintage Shop
This feature is dedicated to our #NoChangeNoFuture initiative. From the Women’s March, to Australia voting yes to same sex marriage, and the #MeToo movement, 2017 taught us to look beyond ourselves and come together as a collective of powerful women who are writing our own history. Join us as we cancel setting one-dimensional personal resolutions this January and commit to being the change we want to see. Because without change, there is no future.
In honour of International Women’s Day this month, we at Who What Wear Australia have dedicated March to celebrating unapologetic women. These are the women who are standing up, speaking out, and changing the way we think about the fashion industry for the better.
It’s no surprise that we love online shopping and spend a good amount of time scouring the web for the latest trends, and sometimes, along the way we find something unlike anything we’ve seen before. When we recently stumbled upon The Vintage Twin, there was no doubt that this brand fit in with our idea of unapologetic women.
Founded by twins Morgan and Samantha Elias at the meagre age of 19, The Vintage Twin is not only fashion forward, but also morally conscious. By re-creating and selling vintage pieces, the brand helps to alleviate the problems caused by mass-production in fashion. Not only is The Vintage Twin eco-friendly in this way, but it also donates 10 percent of all proceeds to a number of charities, ranging from the World Wildlife Fund to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Feeling inspired yet? We were too, so we got in touch with the twins themselves to tell us a little more about the brand. Keep scrolling to read what they had to say about the brand, philanthropic shopping, and their advice for young entrepreneurs.
What inspired you to start The Vintage Twin?
SAMANTHA ELIAS: When I started wearing vintage clothing, it got so much attention and made it very clear that people were tired of mass-market fashion and looking for something different, something that would be exclusive to the individual. We wanted to quench the thirst for individuality and bring sustainable fashion to the masses.
Part of your mission is to empower your customers’ individuality. What tips do you have for finding a personal style?
MORGAN ELIAS: Only you decide what you can “pull off.” If you think it’s cool, it is. It will be cool because you are wearing it and you need to believe that first, otherwise you might find yourself looking very basic.
What do you look for when searching for pieces to re-work?
SE: Awesome prints, graphics, patterns that have the potential to be awesome if the shape was a bit more relevant.
It’s no secret that fast fashion can be detrimental to our planet. As a brand that works against this paradigm, do you think it’s possible for us as consumers to step away from mass-production?
SE: Absolutely. everything (short of maybe undergarments) that people wear can be bought secondhand. From basics, to statement pieces, they have been produced before and that means that they exist. Thanks to TVT, you don’t have to search hard because we bring it right to you.
The Vintage Twin donates 10 percent of its proceeds to charity. Was it always a goal of yours to give back, or is it something that developed alongside the brand?
SE: Always a goal. No matter your socioeconomic status, in today’s world you can make choices in your spending that are philanthropic. You can also find small ways to donate, like shopping at TVT instead of Bloomingdales, or donating $1 at the end of an Amazon transaction. We are proud to be philanthropic because the concept supports our core philosophy, which is empowering the individual.
You guys founded the brand at only 19. What advice do you have for other young women trying to break into the fashion industry?
SE: Start! We started in our mum’s basement. Just get started! Start selling, start building your customer base, get people to wear your stuff ASAP. You don’t need a storefront in SoHo to do it.
The Vintage Twin has a huge following, what has it been like to realise that your idea is something that (clearly) resonates with others?
ME: It’s amazing! We are just so happy to see that people understand our vision. In fast-fashion and high-fashion, individuality is stripped due to mass production, so TVT brings some glamour and service to the only alternative- one-of-a-kind vintage clothes.
How does your personal style affect the curation of the online shop? Has it changed and evolved over the years?
ME: Samantha and I are polar opposites when it comes to personal style (and most other things) so that has always given the collection a great range. As we focus more and more on building the brand and the inherent promise that our selection is reliably on trend, we have become so much more stringent about every single piece that hits the site and sales floor. We personally select each item in our entire inventory, and from that we select what we believe will sell best online. Even then, some pieces just don’t translate well after a photo shoot. So if we aren’t totally proud of a piece, we pull it. And on a daily basis, our team does examine every single piece. We have evolved by adopting a zero-tolerance policy for mediocrity.
If you're feeling inspired by the interview, and want to purchase some cool re-made pieces for yourself, shop The Vintage Twin online.