Videography by @psooch
Creative directed by @juheeanderson
Makeup by @bilana_beauty
Styled by @aliceandirene
Floral crown by @theseriesbycourt
Hair styling by @nottheworsthairstylist
Location in Calgary, AB
Interview with @aliceandirene
"We believe that vintage is to be used and helps create stylish outfits, beautiful spaces, welcoming tables, and visual interest in homes and in fashion - all while keeping still-good items out of landfills."
Who is Alice and Irene and what is the significance of the name?
Our vintage clothing and home goods account is run jointly by dear friends Jess and Sommer, and we first started @aliceandirene in 2014 to share our greatest finds with each other.
We’re multigenerational collectors, both having grandmothers (Alice and Irene, respectively) who gathered, honoured and passed down beautiful quality vintage items. We come from long lines of curators and creatives and have always lived with vintage in our own homes and closets, and gathered quite the personal collection!
Eventually we were ready to pass along our beautiful finds to others, and we signed up to sell at our first vintage market in 2018.
What initiated your love for vintage apparel and design?
It started from a place of wanting to express personal style on a budget, and wanting to avoid disposable fast fashion, single use entertaining items, and cheap furniture that wouldn’t stand the test of time. We have also always loved the thrill of the hunt, and collecting treasures, but were especially passionate about actually “living with vintage”. We believe that vintage is to be used and helps create stylish outfits, beautiful spaces, welcoming tables, and visual interest in homes and in fashion - all while keeping still-good items out of landfills.
What does a typical vintage scout out look like for you? Where do you find such beautifully eclectic items?
We usually have an aesthetic in mind when we’re sourcing, and are really passionate about curating, opposed to just blindly buying anything old or valuable. We buy from thrift stores, garage sales, private collections, estate sales and marketplace, looking for rare and spectacular vintage.
What era speaks the most to your business aesthetic?
We are especially interested in current trends that can be recreated with vintage pieces (think workwear jackets, flowy dresses, high waist denim, brass tchotchkes, coloured glassware, slouchy trousers, tweed blazers, comfy sweaters, chunky boots, tooled leather belts, crewnecks and graphic tees). We’ve always been drawn to the laid back ease of the 70s, but are also having a major 90s grunge resurgence.
Where do you look for inspiration when styling sets?
We always start from a place of fun, even with some of our moodier shoots. We look for aesthetics that we can confidently honour with entirely vintage pieces, but also want to be really playful. We love items with texture, movement and that tell a story in a picture.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of small town thrifting?
We both shop for our own families in thrift stores in the smaller communities we live in and are regularly surprised and pleased at the large quantity of quality pieces that can be found secondhand. The disadvantage of thrift shopping is that there is no predictability to what’s in store, but with some perseverance you can almost always find what you’re looking for.
It is true that the fashion industry is one of the major contributors of plastic microfibres entering the ocean. How do you feel is the biggest way we can reinvent fashion and help reduce this issue?
There are a number of incredibly informative accounts that certainly explain the harms with disposable, fast and unsustainable fashion better than we can (@thesustainablefashionforum, @lifepreloved, @circularfashiondetective), but we ultimately encourage people to try to “choose used” when they can. When considering sustainability, some of the best items you can choose are the ones that already exist in the world, opposed to creating more excess. Re-wearing items several times, buying secondhand, and reworking things you already own are great ways to participate in ethical fashion on an individual level.
Do you have any advice for people who want to give away or throw away clothing? Is there any “right way” to recycle or donate?
To start, buying fewer but better quality items means you’ll have less to get rid of; clothing swaps with friends, reselling online (Facebook, Poshmark), and consignment shops are great options for higher end items you’re done with. As for donating, it’s great to pass along still-good items to secondhand stores...especially ones you like to shop at.
Where do you see Alice and Irene in the next few years?
We have gotten so much more discerning on what we choose, and I think this will continue to be our direction. Really only offering the most special vintage pieces, which we can see seamlessly see in modern living. We’ve also made a commitment towards sourcing the best vintage in inclusive sizing.