HUNTING FOR TREASURES WITH BRITTANY PHILLIPS
BY KIANA MORIDI
We like to think of Saint Paloma Vintage owner and creator, Brittany Phillips as our go-to thrift fairy. From 1970s midwestern honey vibes to dreamy prairie dresses, Phillips curates a brand both whimsical and practical all at the same time. Here, we chat with Phillips about hunting for vintage treasures, her favorite resale Instagram accounts, and the fight against fast fashion.
How did Saint Paloma come about?
Paloma originally started as a passion project between me and a friend. We launched in January 2019 but had been gathering pieces for two months before then. We shared a love for vintage and slow fashion. We were always thrifting anyway, so a shop just made sense. One day, we were sitting in my living room discussing ways to work for ourselves and one of our boyfriends mentioned selling vintage. I had never thought of selling clothes prior to this, but we both looked at one another and a light bulb went on. We started buying pieces like crazy and before we knew it, my green room was filled with three racks of clothes. There were and still are clothes everywhere in my house. I’ve never been happier than I am now, learning and slinging old clothes.
In the beginning, there were discussions of our brand—what it looked like, who the Paloma customer was, what types of pieces we were searching for, what era. I was stuck in this 70s midwestern honey vibe and was living for denim and prairie dresses, bell bottoms and vintage tees. My business partner at the time, Jodi always had a better eye for current trends, so we started searching for pieces that could be both unique and modern, while also being secondhand or vintage. Jodi has since moved on to focus on her floral business, but the evolution of the brand is largely due to her.
Where do you find Saint Paloma pieces?
I thrift locally and always make sure I have time to thrift if I’m out of town. Estate sales are my favorite, although I tend to have better luck with them in other states. If I’m looking for something really special, I’ll search online.
In a time of radical change and reformation, what do you hope to accomplish while using your platform as a vintage store owner?
More than anything, I hope to bring awareness of both political and social injustice by being transparent on where I stand via social media. There is SO much information out there and it can be overwhelming at times. But I think it’s important to know a brand’s ethos and stance of issues on injustice. I also want to make sure that I am giving back in some way to aid those in need. We have started donating 10% of each month’s profits to a different Black Lives Matter charity, although I plan to expand those donations to other movements that I feel strongly about.
Tell me about your process when you’re searching for pieces. Do you have a certain list of pieces you’re searching for, or do you search until something catches your eye?
I don’t really have a process while picking. I go through everything, and hopefully find interesting pieces to bring home. Some days are better than others. I usually always search for denim/tees and dresses, but somedays I search for specifics. I’ve started to learn the power of manifestation and I try to implement that into finding new pieces while growing Paloma.
Who is the Saint Paloma customer? What is his/her aesthetic and how are they spending their days?
A Paloma babe isn’t just female—it’s any and all. They are vibrant, fun, and comfortable in their own skin. They’re a little wild, not afraid to take risks, and that’s reflected in their outfits. I think there are versions of the Paloma customer, but right now, I mostly see someone in a mix of funky modern and vintage pieces—vintage canvas bags, gold jewelry, military pieces. During the day, they’re working in a creative office in the city. By night, they’re dancing at their favorite bar, or spending the weekend with friends in the mountains.
Any resale Instagram accounts to be on the lookout for?
I have a few Instagram favorites. My ultimate is my friend Katie’s shop, @rareheartvintage. She’s based in Dallas and has an Instagram shop, but also has a brick and mortar in Bishop Arts. She has an amazing eye for vintage. A few of my other favorites are Wild Rose Vintage, AmericanReboot, A.La.Reunion and BarnabyJack.
The fashion industry has been working towards being more diverse and environmental-friendly, but there’s still some work to do. What changes would you like to see?
Employees and warehouse workers making a LIVABLE WAGE. More inclusivity in editorials and advertising, as well as a larger push for greener and more sustainable practices. Several brands promote sustainability, but when you do the research, they're barely scratching the surface.
How do you see the future of resale?
I only see it growing from here. With platforms like Instagram, Poshmark, Etsy and Depop - we’re seeing more and more people reselling items. I think as a whole, we are becoming more educated of the benefits of resale, as well as the detrimental side effects of fast fashion.
Favorite piece you’ve found?
I’ve started sourcing dresses from the 1930s-1950s and each one I find is prettier than the next. My two favorites are both from the 1930s, in hues of yellow. One is a golden yellow silk slip dress with a Chantilly lace overlay. My other favorite is a pale-yellow slip dress with a chiffon waterfall overlay. Both are exquisite and I get giddy every time I see them.
Best OKC thrift stores to shop?
Community Thrift, Midwest City Goodwill, and Salvation Army anywhere
What is your relationship with thrifting in your own personal style?
About a year ago, I started thrifting and shopping for vintage more frequently. I started trying to incorporate at least one vintage or thrifted item into each outfit. I can now easily wear all vintage/thrift every day if I wanted to. Vintage pieces just add a certain flair that I need in my outfits. It gives me the edge I was always searching for but could never find in name brand.
What have you learned about thrifting and resale since starting Saint Paloma?
I’ve learned a lot more about who I am and the example I want to set. Resale is hard work and it’s extremely hands-on. I’ve worked harder in the last year than I have in a long time, but it’s gratifying in a way that photography isn't. Not because I love photography any less, but it’s just different. With resale, I get my hands dirty.
I’ve also learned that resale has given me a way to give back and empower. There isn't a better feeling than a customer loving their pieces and feeling confident in themselves in it. Clothing is empowering and everyone deserves to feel that.
If you could style anyone in your vintage finds, who would it be?
Zoe Kravitz – she’s my ultimate girl crush and her personal style is impeccable.
I’d like to rework vintage and custom pieces--and I'd love to have a studio space to work out of and take appointments some day.
Follow Saint Paloma Vintage on Instagram @saintpalomavintage