Thursday, August 26, 2010

Designing Women: Christina from Second Skin

Meet Christina of Second Skin. Not only is she gorgemous, creative, lover of all things vintage, etsy owner, possibly the nicest person on the interwebs, she's got mad style, and is just an all around cool chick. Recently she was gracious enough to do a lil interview with me for our Designing Women series. Ch-ch-check it owwwwt...

Did I mention she has uh-mazing bananas hurr, and frigging CUTS IT HERSELF? True story.

And a fantastic collection of vintage/thrifted bags, hats and boots? I would fight a b!tch for that bag.

And gorgeous scenery? Girlfriend has mad photograhpy skillz.

Aaaaiiight - let's get to it.

Shannan: I really love how you write about vintage and thrifted clothing, particularly when you talk about passing something on while you still love it (Amy - I believe you have several pieces that you still love that would have a wonderful home in my closet....). No, seriously, it's like you are the keeper of these articles of clothing, and the memories they posess. Do you find pieces that you just cannot pass on because you love them so much, or should I say how often do you find pieces that you cannot pass on. I think it would be extremely difficult for me, because when I see something that I truly love, it's an immediate gut reaction, so since you are finding pieces many times for your etsy store, do you have those pieces that you know you can pass on and those that you know you can't?
Christina: You know, whenever I say something like "its best to give something away while you still love it, so the love passes to the next person as well," (quote from Victorina) I am usually saying it to remind myself of this fact. It is very hard sometimes to let go of things. It feels very unhealthy for me to hold on too tight to things though. I feel like anything you feel like you CANNOT live without, will eventually be stripped from you to teach you that the contrary is true. In the end they are just things. Once I let go, I find that more comes to me anyway. It actually can be perceived as a selfish cycle since I know letting go only turns the wheel in my favor. There are things I find that I decide will be mine for longer than other things. I feel pretty satisfied if I get to wear something one time really well though. Except for my boots. Those are mine. They will be stripped from me eventually and fall apart. I will love them till the bitter end though. I know there will be life after they are gone, but in this case, it has been better to have loved and lost than to have never worn them at all.

Shan: When you're hunting thrift stores, do you have a process that you go through to find pieces that you love? Do you search only for certain items, or just anything that catches your eye? Are there pieces that sell better than others?
Christina: I have trained myself to buy carefully at the shops. My buying motto has mostly been: If I won't wear it, most people won't so don't waste your time. I make exceptions though if the item is particularly trendy. I still take risks. They are cheep risks though. My shopping process is pretty much unchanged from the beginning of my thrifting times: Start at boots and shoes, then go to dresses, then sweaters, shirts, skirts, pants, coats, blankets, and everything else. Look at EVERYTHING. Touch everything. and do it quickly. Split second decisions happen in the gut, not the head. A whole Savers should take less than an hour. I don't try anything on. And if something makes me hesitate, I buy it anyway. As long as there are not stains on it. or holes, or missing buttons.

Shan: One thing I have been searching for lately is a big comfy Navajo print sweater, or just a chunky knit in general. However, it seems like a lot of times the sweaters are in poor condition compared to say, dresses or blouses (i.e., there is a lot of pilling, stretching, holes, etc.). How do you care for them if you find something you feel has potential? I just think sweaters can be kind of sketchy since they tend to hold odors more than a silk or rayon blouse....
Christina: I found a few of those last season and they were in great shape. I just don't buy things generally that require maintenance beyond dry cleaning. If I really love something and it has maybe a hole in the knit or is missing a button, I just won't sell it and I will only buy it if it will be for me only. I hate describing flaws in my listings. I used to buy too much stuff that had "potential" but now I know that it will potentially just sit on the hanger and not get listed, wasting space.

Shan: Do you have an absolute favorite item that you have found while thrifting, or (like me) does that item constantly change? What is your all time best find?
Christina: My all time best find happens every time I go shopping. I always find at least one thing that makes the entire trip worth while. I tell myself "I would pay the entire amount I just paid for this whole bag, for this one thing I got." Oh, I guess the ultimate was either my brown heeled knee high boots or my large woven basket with leather trim purse I show sometimes. But ya, I am constantly feeling like I hit a jackpot. Man this is making me want to go shopping. Does anyone else get the sudden urge to poop when they walk into a thrift store? Like the excitement is too much for the system? Maybe I am alone here. . . poop.
Shan: Christina, you are not alone with the poop thing. My sister has to poop every time she goes into the library.*
Shan: What I love about your use of vintage/thrifted stuff is something I mentioned in a comment on another blog - that you look completely effortless, uncontrived, funky fresh, and modern all at the same time. How do you advise someone to mix thrift and new clothing? What percentage do you think you wear of thrift versus new? I have to tell you since I started reading your blog, I feel this urge to go thrifting A LOT, and thinking about that rather than going to buy new is a pretty big thing for me. It has become pretty addictive!
Christina: I don't think I can give advice! There is no formula. Things just beg to be together. I feel like I am a matchmaker in my closet and all my clothes are horny teenagers waiting for a crack at each other. Some couple up more frequently and just pop when they are together but most of them like to be a little more promiscuous and sample the buffet. When I am wearing a good combo it feels very energizing to me. Like the teenage clothes are having creativity babies or something. I don't know how else to explain it but it gets addicting, making new combos. I guess, just think of it that way when you are mixing things. Remember that everything wants to be loved and paid attention to once in a while. I think thrifted stuff maybe is a bit more horny or something, having been around longer and knowing the "ways of the wardrobe" so I probably wear that more since it really excites and schools my newer, more inhibited things. So, like percentage? Maybe 85% vintage/ thirfted, and 15% new. Hope this has not been too revealing. All this stuff that goes on in my closet and what not.

Shan: To me, your writing is as fantastic (or maybe even better) than your photography and dope wardrobe. Have you done a lot of writing in your life? For me, it really is the writing that truly makes your blog amazing.
Christina: I didn't major in English or writing, or journalism, or what ever that major would be (and I have horrible spelling skills and don't remember many of the rules of grammar,) but got my Art degree instead, and I wrote a lot of papers back then, about artists and other things I was passionate about. One time I wrote a research paper that was like a fantasy gallery exhibition plan using any artist from any era. I wrote curators notes and reasons for why I chose each artist and the specific pieces from each, how the work would be displayed in the gallery, and the overall tone. The requirements for the paper were not that elaborate, I was just very interested in that fantasy space and took advantage of the opportunity to share that fantasy with others. I think that is just how my blog has been for me, a way to talk about what I feel passionate about. Blogging is a double edged pleasure sword (oh that sounds bad) with both thought sharing and visual creative expression. It's like art school all over again. and I LOVED school. I hope that people enjoy the space for either the outfits OR the writing, but in an ideal situation, they would enjoy both. Though it doesn't really matter either way since it is really MY fantasy space where I choose the content and the aesthetic. I love my blog. It does feel really nice to be able to share it with others though.

My professor always told me that creating the work was only half of the equation, having it shown, letting it be seen, providing it an audience, was the other half, and what makes it a true work of art. This doesn't mean the work is good! It just means that the cycle is completed once the work has been seen and is able to be evaluated and digested by the viewer. This is what blogging does for me. completes my creative cycle.
Shan: Christina - thank you again for taking time to chat with me. You are truly an inspiration!
*Sorry Jen - it's the truth...


20 York Street said...

I followed the link from Christina' blog and I'm glad I did. Awesome interview and you've got a very nice blog!


Peetzi Jen said...

I started reading Christina's blog not too long ago because I could stop lovin' on her hair! True story! Once again, GREAT interview, Shannan. She is an inspiration indeed!


Do-it-myself bangs are calling me!

prettyinpdxstyle said...

Agreed, awesome interview! It made me laugh. It also made me want to hit up every thrift store in the area. RIGHT. NOW.

Kimberellie said...

Oh loved this interview! Thanks! Christina is just so fascinating and lovely and fun! Don't you just want to invite her over to a sleepover? Or better yet, invite yourself over to her house for a sleepover and get her to "pass on" some beloved clothes!

ps. I think the poop thing has to do with the musty smell...when I was a little girl it was always when I opened my box of Barbies...which smelled musty...would explain the thrift store/library link. ;-)

Fia said...

Great interview! Oh and the wasted space over "potential" items really resonated with me.