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Featured Shop: Vaux Vintage

Mar 9, 2016

by Aleksa Brown

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

Leave it to a pair of fashion graduates with years of professional experience sourcing costumes in the film industry to bring the best of both backgrounds to their utterly timeless, anything-but-kitschy vintage clothing business. With a deep knowledge of materials, silhouettes, and construction, Vaux Vintage‘s Aly Barohn and Lou Tillery focus on finding and restoring minimal pieces from every era that will blend seamlessly into a contemporary wardrobe — and won’t slip off the style radar at the end of the season. “We really want to escape this mentality where trends move so fast that every six months you have to buy a whole new wardrobe,” Lou says.

Aly and Lou got their start in the vintage biz when they each opened their own shops back in 2009, as a way to unload items from their personal vintage collections – and pieces leftover from film jobs – that were taking over their closets. “We had all of these clothes that didn’t actually fit us, but were too beautiful to take to a thrift store,” Lou says. “The obvious answer was to start selling them on Etsy.” Since then, selling vintage together has become their full-time job – and one they’re both extremely devoted to. “We have so much freedom running our own business, Lou says. “It’s been such a pleasure to be able to pursue this avenue as a career.”

We got in touch to learn more about the items they’re drawn to, their view on sustainability, and how they learned to let go of the incredible pieces they’ve found along the way.

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How would you describe your aesthetic?
Lou: We’re focused on minimal vintage clothing made from natural fibers. We want our pieces to fit in alongside fashion today – we don’t want them to feel dated, and we don’t want anyone to feel like they’re wearing a costume.

Aly: As much as we love incredibly unique vintage pieces, what we wear day in and day out is more like a simple white t-shirt and a cardigan. We want to push that side of vintage – the everyday pieces that build a wardrobe.

Are you focused on any particular decade?
Lou:
We have stuff in our shop from the 1800s up through the 1990s. We really feel like every single piece can work together, despite the decade.

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What is your workspace like? Is it a retail space, too?
Lou:
We rent a studio space right now – we call it a showroom. People can set up appointments with us and come shop if they want to, but we shoot photos almost every single day, so we treat it more like a studio. The space itself is part of this artist community here in Denver. There are dogs running around and people coming in and chatting. Our days are very busy. It always surprises me how busy we are!

Where do you source items for your shop?
Lou:
We source from all over, but mostly estates and private clients who come to us with special pieces. Sourcing is really fun, but we don’t do it that often because we always end up getting more than we budgeted for. That just speaks to the fact that there’s so much beautiful stuff in the world.

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Where does sustainability fit into your mission?
Lou:
Fast fashion is a huge problem – we’re buying clothes for cheaper now than ever, and people are working under terrible conditions for really low wages to make low-quality clothing. We’ve all had the experience where we buy something and it falls apart after one wash and then we throw it away. It’s crazy that that’s how we’re buying clothing nowadays – with the mentality that we can just toss it in the trash.

Aly: That’s another reason why we try to choose pieces that are really timeless: We don’t want people to throw them away after one wear.

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What is your process like for getting an item ready to sell?
Lou:
When we process a new item into our inventory, first we take a look at it and determine if we need to do any mending. We also clean everything, so we think about how we’re going to launder it – whether it can be hand-washed at home, dry-cleaned, or machine washed. Once the item has been cleaned, we put it on our processing rack, which is always stuffed full. Right now, we probably have about four or five models that we work with when we take photos, so we section off all the items based on who’s going to model them. The last step is shooting the garment on the model and writing the item description.

Is there a lot of research that goes into writing your item descriptions or dating your finds?
Lou: Dating an item is something we never really even question anymore – we just look at each other and know. People are always surprised when we can immediately date something. I think it stems from our costume background – when you study the history of clothing, you really get the styles down in your mind. You can also tell a lot from the label, the fabric content, and the way it’s made, like if it has metal zippers. Also, if something was hand-sewn then it was probably made in the ’70s or earlier. There are a lot of small clues.

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Is it ever hard to let go of the things you find?
Lou:
What’s beautiful about what we do is that we find these gorgeous pieces, and instead of wanting to hoard them or collect them, we know there’s somebody out there who’s going to love them, someone who’s going to wear them every day. If we put everything in our own closets, it might just sit there; I would rather see this stuff out in the world being appreciated by our customers.

What (or who) are some of your main sources of inspiration?
Lou: There are so many style icons we love, like Anjelica Huston and Diane Keaton. Both of them were doing daring things with fashion in their youth; as they grew older, they maintained that aesthetic and that boldness. Aside from style icons, our biggest influence is contemporary fashion design. We don’t want to get so lost in the past that we can’t see what’s happening today.

Aly: Yes, we really do try to stay up on current designers and what’s walking down the runway. We shoot two lookbooks a year – one for Fall/Winter and one for Spring/Summer – and we love pulling inspiration photos for those. When we do, the majority of the images come from contemporary fashion. We look to the future more than the past.

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Speaking of the future, what are some of your goals?
Lou: We want to buy more high-end vintage so we can have a full collection of designer pieces – and in general, to think of more ways to create special collections. As Aly mentioned, one of our favorite parts of what we do is creating highly stylized editorial lookbooks; we really want to get more into that. Maybe in the future, we’ll also start working with artists or contemporary jewelry designers, bag designers or shoe designers. We would love to start doing more collaborations and keep experimenting.

Keep up with the latest from Vaux Vintage on Instagram and Tumblr.

Studio photos by Vaux Vintage, portraits by Morgan Levy.

Shop Vaux Vintage

 

 

Vintage 80s Sheer Nude Organza Oversized Blouse
Vintage 80s Sheer Nude Organza Oversized Blouse
vauxvintage
$78.00 USD
Vintage 90s Ivory Linen Safari Shirt | S/M
Vintage 90s Ivory Linen Safari Shirt | S/M
vauxvintage
$48.00 USD
80s White Short Sleeve Asymmetrical Button Up Blazer
80s White Short Sleeve Asymmetrical Button Up Blazer
vauxvintage
$72.00 USD
Vintage 70s Mustard Sheer Cotton Tunic | S/M
Vintage 70s Mustard Sheer Cotton Tunic | S/M
vauxvintage
$56.00 USD
Vintage 60s Silver Metallic Block Heels / Low Heel Shoes / 6.5
Vintage 60s Silver Metallic Block Heels / Low Heel Shoes / 6.5
vauxvintage
$65.00 USD
Vintage 70s Crochet Round Bamboo Handle Clutch
Vintage 70s Crochet Round Bamboo Handle Clutch
vauxvintage
$58.00 USD
Vintage 80s Sheer Silver Genie Pant | L
Vintage 80s Sheer Silver Genie Pant | L
vauxvintage
$58.00 USD
Vintage 90s Polka Dot Belted Shirtdress
Vintage 90s Polka Dot Belted Shirtdress
vauxvintage
$64.00 USD
Vintage 90s Silver Mesh Triple Strap Slingback Heels | 8.5
Vintage 90s Silver Mesh Triple Strap Slingback Heels | 8.5
vauxvintage
$55.00 USD
Antique Edwardian Cotton Mutton Sleeve Blouse | XS
Antique Edwardian Cotton Mutton Sleeve Blouse | XS
vauxvintage
$154.00 USD
Vintage 90s Beige Printed Silk Blouse | M
Vintage 90s Beige Printed Silk Blouse | M
vauxvintage
$48.00 USD
Antique Edwardian White Cotton Shirt | M
Antique Edwardian White Cotton Shirt | M
vauxvintage
$88.00 USD
Vintage 70s Camel Town Coat | S
Vintage 70s Camel Town Coat | S
vauxvintage
$68.00 USD
Vintage 90s Ivory Silk Flat Front Trousers | 2/4
Vintage 90s Ivory Silk Flat Front Trousers | 2/4
vauxvintage
$62.00 USD
Vintage 90s Coach Black Leather Saddle Bag
Vintage 90s Coach Black Leather Saddle Bag
vauxvintage
$74.00 USD
Vintage 70s White Canvas Straight Leg Pants
Vintage 70s White Canvas Straight Leg Pants
vauxvintage
$64.00 USD
Vintage 90s Berry Pink Silk Belted Dress
Vintage 90s Berry Pink Silk Belted Dress
vauxvintage
$64.00 USD
Vintage 90s Ruffle Tie-Up Blouse
Vintage 90s Ruffle Tie-Up Blouse
vauxvintage
$58.00 USD
Vintage 80s Navy Drop Waist Shirtdress
Vintage 80s Navy Drop Waist Shirtdress
vauxvintage
$58.00 USD
Vintage Large Clear Glass Decanter
Vintage Large Clear Glass Decanter
vauxvintage
$55.00 USD
Vintage 90s Black Close Neck Dress / Sleeveless Wiggle Dress / Small 4
Vintage 90s Black Close Neck Dress / Sleeveless Wiggle Dress / Small 4
vauxvintage
$49.00 USD
Vintage 80s Linen Oversized Cropped Bomber Jacket
Vintage 80s Linen Oversized Cropped Bomber Jacket
vauxvintage
$88.00 USD
Antique Edwardian White Cotton Bed Jacket
Antique Edwardian White Cotton Bed Jacket
vauxvintage
$124.00 USD
Vintage 80s Fuchsia Carlisle Pleated Shorts | 26
Vintage 80s Fuchsia Carlisle Pleated Shorts | 26
vauxvintage
$74.00 USD
Vintage Stacked Beaded Palm Necklace
Vintage Stacked Beaded Palm Necklace
vauxvintage
$38.00 USD
Vintage 90s Brown Leather Heels / Square Toe Pumps / Size 8
Vintage 90s Brown Leather Heels / Square Toe Pumps / Size 8
vauxvintage
$48.00 USD
Vintage 80s Gold Lame Belt / Skinny Waist Belt
Vintage 80s Gold Lame Belt / Skinny Waist Belt
vauxvintage
$18.20 USD
Vintage 90s Textured Cotton Knit Button Up Dress w/ Cutout Back
Vintage 90s Textured Cotton Knit Button Up Dress w/ Cutout Back
vauxvintage
$74.00 USD
Vintage 90s White Denim High Waist Shorts | 4
Vintage 90s White Denim High Waist Shorts | 4
vauxvintage
$45.00 USD
Vintage 70s White Patent Leather Kitten Heels / Pointed Toe Heel / Size 7.5
Vintage 70s White Patent Leather Kitten Heels / Pointed Toe Heel / Size 7.5
vauxvintage
$68.00 USD
Vintage 20s Peach Silk and Lace Camisole
Vintage 20s Peach Silk and Lace Camisole
vauxvintage
$78.00 USD
Vintage 90s Olive Cropped Stretch Trousers / Flared Pants 8/10
Vintage 90s Olive Cropped Stretch Trousers / Flared Pants 8/10
vauxvintage
$48.00 USD
Vintage 80s Crinkle Ruffle Blouse / Bright Yellow Top / Ruffles
Vintage 80s Crinkle Ruffle Blouse / Bright Yellow Top / Ruffles
vauxvintage
$31.00 USD
Vintage 90s Black Long Sleeve Shirt / Oversized Shirt / Shell Button
Vintage 90s Black Long Sleeve Shirt / Oversized Shirt / Shell Button
vauxvintage
$48.00 USD
Vintage 80s White Striped High Waist Cotton Paper Bag Shorts
Vintage 80s White Striped High Waist Cotton Paper Bag Shorts
vauxvintage
$58.00 USD
Vintage 60s Brown Lace Up Panama Hat
Vintage 60s Brown Lace Up Panama Hat
vauxvintage
$64.00 USD
Vintage 90s Brown Suede Pointed Toe Pumps / Anne Klein Heels
Vintage 90s Brown Suede Pointed Toe Pumps / Anne Klein Heels
vauxvintage
$33.50 USD
Vintage Small Abstract Ceramic Vase
Vintage Small Abstract Ceramic Vase
vauxvintage
$22.00 USD
Vintage 90s Taupe Silk Grommet Shell Tank | 8/10
Vintage 90s Taupe Silk Grommet Shell Tank | 8/10
vauxvintage
$54.00 USD
Vintage 70s Vinyl Chain Handle Handbag
Vintage 70s Vinyl Chain Handle Handbag
vauxvintage
$42.00 USD
Vintage 90s Linen Cotton Ribbed Knit Top
Vintage 90s Linen Cotton Ribbed Knit Top
vauxvintage
$44.00 USD
Vintage 90s Beige Lightweight Oversized Shirt / Rayon Button Up Blouse
Vintage 90s Beige Lightweight Oversized Shirt / Rayon Button Up Blouse
vauxvintage
$29.40 USD
Vintage 90s Navy Kitten Heels / Pointed Toe Pumps / Strappy Heels
Vintage 90s Navy Kitten Heels / Pointed Toe Pumps / Strappy Heels
vauxvintage
$48.00 USD
Vintage 70s White Striped Cotton Skirt | XXS
Vintage 70s White Striped Cotton Skirt | XXS
vauxvintage
$48.00 USD
Vintage 80s Turquoise Leather Scallop Belt
Vintage 80s Turquoise Leather Scallop Belt
vauxvintage
$34.00 USD
Vintage 80s Cream Leather Tapered Trousers | 6/8
Vintage 80s Cream Leather Tapered Trousers | 6/8
vauxvintage
$39.00 USD
Vintage 70s Black Jumpsuit / Minimal Jumpsuit / Pant Romper
Vintage 70s Black Jumpsuit / Minimal Jumpsuit / Pant Romper
vauxvintage
$74.00 USD
Vintage 60s Beige Sleeveless Shift Tunic with Belt / Modern Vest
Vintage 60s Beige Sleeveless Shift Tunic with Belt / Modern Vest
vauxvintage
$36.40 USD
Vintage 60s Woven Straw Bag / Black Handbag / Picnic Purse
Vintage 60s Woven Straw Bag / Black Handbag / Picnic Purse
vauxvintage
$78.00 USD
Vintage 90s Ivory Jacquard Pants / 1990s High Waist Trousers
Vintage 90s Ivory Jacquard Pants / 1990s High Waist Trousers
vauxvintage
$72.00 USD
Vintage 80s Black Fringe Tank / Flapper Fringe / Fringe Top / Small
Vintage 80s Black Fringe Tank / Flapper Fringe / Fringe Top / Small
vauxvintage
$78.00 USD
Vintage 90s Blue Chambray Culottes / High Waist Cotton Shorts
Vintage 90s Blue Chambray Culottes / High Waist Cotton Shorts
vauxvintage
$48.00 USD
Vintage 80s Sheer Minimal Tank / Poppy Red / Large
Vintage 80s Sheer Minimal Tank / Poppy Red / Large
vauxvintage
$22.00 USD
Vintage 60s Givenchy Tan Wool Smock Jacket / Designer Vintage Outerwear
Vintage 60s Givenchy Tan Wool Smock Jacket / Designer Vintage Outerwear
vauxvintage
$110.60 USD
Vintage 60s Charcoal Wool High Waist Straight Skirt | XS
Vintage 60s Charcoal Wool High Waist Straight Skirt | XS
vauxvintage
$30.00 USD
Vintage 80s Silver Knit Oversized Short Sleeve Top
Vintage 80s Silver Knit Oversized Short Sleeve Top
vauxvintage
$44.00 USD
Vintage Wicker Basket Rectangular Handbag
Vintage Wicker Basket Rectangular Handbag
vauxvintage
$48.00 USD
Vintage 60s Navy Blue Linen Belted Safari Shirt
Vintage 60s Navy Blue Linen Belted Safari Shirt
vauxvintage
$72.00 USD
Vintage 60s Black & Brown Striped Midi Dress with Bow and Collar | 2
Vintage 60s Black & Brown Striped Midi Dress with Bow and Collar | 2
vauxvintage
$128.00 USD
Vintage 90s Salmon Pink Pointed Collar Shirt
Vintage 90s Salmon Pink Pointed Collar Shirt
vauxvintage
$48.00 USD

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