This weekend I was hanging out with my friends Danielle and Lucy. All three of us took French in college and Danielle and I were reminiscing about how every time we had class, Lucy would show up (fashionably late, of course) and have to sit at the very front of the class because all the other seats were already taken. But it didn't even matter because she always would immediately respond to our professor's next question in confident, fluent French.
Some things came naturally to Lucy, including owning fabulous wardrobe of vintage clothing. It's no surprise that she's now owner of her own fashion venture, Hood Hippie Vintage, an online store curated with the coolest finds. I'm already obsessed and can't stop wearing my Mia kimono. (Fellow short girls, learn how to style that floor-length kimono you've always wished you were tall enough to wear.)
I snagged Lucy for an interview, to pick her brain about her personal style, what owning a small business is really like, and why she thinks vintage clothing has such an appeal.
How would you summarize the Hood Hippie Vintage collection?
Hood Hippie was born in Los Angeles, California, so there is a definite West Coast influence to the brand. However, growing up in New York and now living in Brooklyn, there's an East Coast vibe as well. Hood Hippie Vintage is inspired by rock and roll, hippie subculture, and old school hip hop, made for the girl who is effortlessly cool and entirely unique. My debut collection of vintage is eclectic, funky, romantic, and totally weird with a mix of bohemian, grunge and surf/skate-inspired pieces.
How did you come up with the name?
The concept for Hood Hippie came to life while living in LA, actually. I had just moved to the West Coast after college and was truly coming into my own style and sense of self. I was so inspired by my natural surroundings and California’s historic surf/skate culture (specifically Venice beach). Music and fashion ruled my world, but I was particularly inspired by the sartorial scene in the 70’s, 80's and 90’s. I was just this free spirit who loved classic rock and hip-hop, this girl who looked and acted as if she had been born in the wrong era. One day, my friend Jess turned to me and said, “You know what you are Lucy? You’re a ‘Hood Hippie.’” The name just stuck with me after that and I knew I could use it to potentially brand myself and my work.
Image via @downtoearthoriginal
What’s your favorite piece from the collection?
“The Rad Jacket” is totally my favorite piece! I found it at one of my favorite vintage shops in Chicago that specializes in ultra-funky sportswear from the 80’s and 90’s (Kokorokoko Vintage). When I saw it I had to have it! I use the word “rad” all the time too like I’m some 80’s skater kid, so it made me smile. This bomber is ultra fresh and actually has a very cozy fleece lining.
What’s the most rewarding part about starting your own business? What’s the hardest part?
The most rewarding part about starting your own business is that it’s all yours – you created something from a vision and have the power to mold and grow it as you see fit. That’s something to be proud of, because a lot of people dream of doing things and never execute. The hardest part is also that it’s all yours. With great power comes great responsibility. When you start a business, you need to account for every single, small detail that pertains to your industry. It doesn’t matter whether you have a team or are doing this on your own, because everything you do becomes a reflection of you and your brand.
Advice for other 20-somethings looking to start small businesses of their own?
Starting a business can be scary and overwhelming, but ask yourself several questions in order to get a clear grasp on your mission, motive and purpose. “Who is my target consumer?” “What are their hopes, desires and dreams?” “What message do I want to convey to the world?” “What do I represent personally, and do my products/services represent that as well?” I read a book, You Are A Message: Meditations for the Creative Entrepreneur by Guillaume Wolf, before I launched Hood Hippie that really encouraged me to know and understand every single aspect of my brand. Not everyone will love my products or my vibe, but I know my tribe. Once you feel aligned with your purpose and your brand, I promise it will motivate and drive you to deliver, despite the obstacles that will eventually arise.
What do you think are the reasons people love vintage?
Personally, I’ve always loved anything vintage because it allows me to travel through time. I’ve always had a strong nostalgia and fascination for decades past, even if I never lived through them. This is not exclusive to clothing, but also includes music, décor and knick-knacks. I remember scouring my grandmother’s closet and going to yard sales at a very early age. I wanted to know the story behind every piece. Who used this? Who wore this? What happened to them? I am a little bit of a weirdo, but I'm sure there are those out there who think like this too.
Most people these days love vintage for several reasons:
- Cool factor - it’s becoming trendy to mix vintage pieces into a modern look
- Shopping vintage is the most eco-friendly form of consumerism
- It's relatively affordable. I’ve worked in a lot of different parts of the fashion industry, and all roads have lead me to what, in my eyes, is the most interesting and inspiring form of fashion.
Favorite vintage shops (online or brick-and-mortar) aside from your own?
I’ve always loved Spanish Moss and Waiste Vintage for romantic, bohemian pieces, and I shop a lot through Etsy as well – I love Coyote Club, Videotape Vintage, Poorly Curated and Daddys Credit Card. Both LA and Brooklyn have insane vintage scenes. I always had crazy luck at the LA Goodwill on Santa Monica Blvd and S Barrington Ave. I love Animal House in Venice and Iguana in Hollywood. And let’s not forget the Rose Bowl and Melrose Trading Post. In Brooklyn, I’m obsessed with Harold and Maude in BedStuy, Awoke Vintage in Williamsburg and Urban Jungle in Bushwick. My best kept secret is Unique Thrift on Long Island. The selection is insane and so cheap!
Any advice for people who want to start thrifting but might not know where to begin?
Thrifting can definitely feel overwhelming. So many items to sort through….piles, racks, rows! It really is a skill I’ve developed over the years. My tips are to go feeling energetic, rested, and never rushed. Thrifting can actually be very unenjoyable if you’re feeling crappy or unable to focus. While scanning the racks, I always look for colors, patterns and textures that intrigue me. I don’t look through every single item or I would be there for hours! And I always look through the men’s section too….many Hood Hippie pieces are menswear. I love the look of an oversized work shirt or boyfriend denim.
Your own personal style is fantastic. Where do you get your style inspiration from?
Thank you! My personal style is something I’ve curated over the years and I constantly work to better it every day. There is, however, no way to describe it. My mood changes constantly and I can be all over the place according to what vibe I’m feeling that day. Inspiration is everything and I need it at all times. I’m actually inspired by many things – my fashionable friends, people on the street, and yes, sometimes influencers or brands on Instagram (I’m very careful about who and what I follow, but there are some great accounts out there). I’m also inspired by vintage photographs! I love looking through tumblr or even google searching a specific vintage style, artist or occasion. I have enough clothes in my closet that I can usually make my vision come to life!
Image via Lucy's instagram @iamhoodhippie
There’s a fire and you can only save three items from your closet. Which would you choose and why?
Is it sick that I’ve actually thought about this before? I would definitely grab my distressed Wrangler jean jacket (I lost it once and I cried real tears), my Metallica band tee (holey and worn to perfection!) and an army jacket that I handpainted. All mens pieces!
Favorite micro trend of summer that you've been rocking?
I’m so into a scrunched sock with loafers or sneakers. It looks great with shorts or a mini dress.
What’s something you’re looking forward to wearing this fall?
I’m totally into a sharp, power shoulder. Can you feel the 80’s vibes? I just got an incredible 80’s brown leather jacket off Etsy and I can’t wait to pair it with my Levi’s 501 jeans... it is just too damn hot right now. Bring on the fall!
Image via Lucy's instagram @iamhoodhippie
As a treat for That Time I Wore readers, Lucy is offering 15% off all purchases from Hood Hippie Vintage. Enter code BLOGLOVE15 at checkout!