ramona west vintage Q&A!

 With the recent surge of online vintage shops, it can be difficult for one to stand tall among the many. But Southern California's Ramona West Vintage is easily a top player. This carefully edited collection of vintage clothing and accessories is handpicked for style, quality and authenticity - all the while keeping in tune with both current and emerging trends.

I spoke with the curator of Ramona West Vintage. Here is what she had to say about her gorgeous little enterprise. 

What's the story behind your business? How did you get started?
Well, I'm a fashion designer by trade. When I graduated from design school, I worked for a few years (for a couple of different companies) before quitting it all one day. I just wanted the freedom to do my own thing every day. I was searching for a really simple, beautiful life, which is exactly what I have now. I'm thankful beyond belief every single day (never give up on your dreams!)

Anyways, I started making dresses and bags from vintage fabric that I sold to some local high end contemporary boutiques. While constantly sourcing vintage fabric, I began to come across amazing vintage dresses along the way. I always thought "that would be amazing if it was 10" shorter - or if the sleeves were removed - or ..." and I started picking up these pieces along the way, making the necessary adjustments to satisfy my eye and put them up on etsy. To my surprise, they began to sell. So I added more. And this continued until I was fortunate enough to be able to open my own Web site. My customers are amazing.

You have some really unique, standout pieces that are in great shape. Where do you source your pieces and what are some of your qualifications when choosing items to stock?
Thank you! Everything in my store is handpicked. My sources are top secret. If you have the patience though, vintage can be found at thrift stores and flea markets. You kind of have to go every day though.

When choosing items to stock, I look for cut, quality, wearability, and timeliness/current trends. I have my own aesthetic, but I keep up on current runway and street trends and adapt accordingly. I like to offer my customers a unique one-of-a-kind alternative for the best current trends (as well as classic silhouettes) at a really great price. That's my goal.

There are a number of emerging vintage shops these days - what sets your store apart from the rest?
Maybe the fact that I didn't really intend to start a vintage shop. Since I have a background in fashion design, I approach it like a clothing line. I try to present a cohesive collection.

What is your favorite piece that you have in stock?
My favorite piece in stock right now is this army green silk short sleeve jacket/mini dress.

What's would be your ultimate vintage find?
Some kind of Parisian couture, for sure. But I get really excited about the perfect little dresses and coats that I find all the time.

If you could live in any decade simply for its clothing, which would you pick?
The late 60s/early 70s. Or the 20s.

In your opinion, who is the ultimate fashion icon?
As embarrassed as I am for saying this, I love to see what Mary-Kate Olsen is wearing. I just love the way she puts things together. She mixes vintage and modern flawlessly. I don't know about the term "icon" though. Because fashion is always changing, it's hard to look back and say that someone had it all at any point in time.

Any suggestions for those looking to add vintage pieces to their wardrobes?
A vibrant 60s mini dress adds just enough interest peeking out from under a chunky cardigan or military blazer.

A vintage coat makes a great statement piece layered over your daily basics.

A beat up t-shirt balances out a pretty vintage high waist printed skirt.

Vintage is the perfect way to make your wardrobe unique and special. Just balance it out with current staples.

Want more?
Shop more on Etsy.
See the Blog.
Follow on Twitter.
Fan on Facebook.



March 2, 2010 at 6:05 PM Every Little Counts said...

great story...i love hearing about the people behind the shop. some of these pieces here are utterly amazing. going to check out the shop now...


March 2, 2010 at 6:10 PM Sarah G. said...

What an amazing story! I love the pieces in your post and the site doesn't disappoint. Everything is so current and beautiful. Really lovely.

March 2, 2010 at 9:49 PM diane said...

Cool vintage site, good pricing. What more could a girl ask for?
Thanks for the tip.

March 3, 2010 at 7:00 PM Anna said...

Happy you ladies liked the shop!! xox

March 3, 2010 at 11:24 PM Kristin said...

I am so intrigued by the fact that she approaches it like a clothing line!

March 4, 2010 at 12:12 PM cabin + cub said...

reading and looking at these great looks makes me want to go vintage shopping really badly! i haven't been in ages.. i think the time has come!

March 4, 2010 at 6:57 PM Elaine said...

What a great interview! I love her collection!