We are so excited to be welcoming Cousin's Vintage to Moon+Arrow for the month of December. As the new year approaches we are loving Cousin's Vintage, silky Edwardian dresses and retro garments that the likes of Nina Simone, Barbra Streisand, Lisa Bonet, and Liv Tyler would adore.
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?
If our business had a tagline, it might be: “Cousins by marriage, friends by choice.” We met 13 years ago when Dorit began dating Caroline’s cousin—now her husband of 11 years—and immediately bonded. Our backgrounds and upbringings couldn’t be more different, and celebrating those differences is part of what we feel makes Cousins Vintage shine. Caroline is a nurse practitioner and 20+ year Philly jawn who grew up in Maine, plays classical piano and has a background in fine arts. Dorit is an LA native with a background as a film, TV and theater producer-turned-meditation-teacher who moved east to NY for love and then just a little bit south for family (we now have three sets of cousins living in West Philly!). We’ve both dedicated our professional lives to uplifting our communities: a trait we bonded over long ago and which we bring to our curatorial ethos. We’ve become parents together in more recent years, and now run this small family business which we love so much.
Q: Why did you start collecting and selling vintage?
Both of us have lifelong relationships to vintage, following family footsteps in collecting, wearing, and LOVING old, beautiful things. Caroline comes from a family of vintage collectors—from antique books and Marimekko to midcentury and European pieces. Dorit’s first foray into vintage was shopping with her mom at the Salvation Army as an 11 year old for 3-piece vintage suits to wear to bar and bat-mitzvahs. Our experiences trained us to seek out different aesthetics, but we have a shared vision of what makes a piece special and powerful. We both got hooked young, and when we met years ago Dorit’s passion for shopping and collecting kicked Caroline’s into high gear. We’ve both been collecting beautiful things that speak to our different personal styles our whole lives, and once our collections reached a critical mass, we started selling! Caroline got things started years ago on Instagram (as @halfskein, where she still showcases her handmade projects), and after a few years of plying, got Dorit on board to create Cousins Vintage!
Q: What attracts you to sourcing Vintage? Do you look for anything specific when you’re searching for vintage pieces?
As any vintage seller will tell you, there’s an incredible rush you get when you know you’ve found something special. We often spend time wondering aloud about the lives that were lived in the pieces we’ve collected and love imagining how our buyers will give new life to the old. We’re looking for things that are wearable, and notable—no use buying and selling vintage that’s meant to be kept in a closet or on a shelf. We make sure to keep people’s basic seasonal needs covered (turtlenecks and coats for fall and winter? We gotchu!), while also hunting down one-of-a-kind pieces that can upgrade your closet and make you feel like a WINNER. We make sure to be size and gender inclusive, but as is true of all of us in 2021, we’re always looking to do and be better. Our intention is that our clothes are for EVERY-body.
Q: Where do you find inspiration, who are your style icons?
We think a lot about undoing the deeply embedded patriarchal beauty standards we were raised with and both feel passionately about using fashion and style to empower and rewrite outdated narratives. Growing up in the 90s, we think we hold onto the ‘come as you are’ and ‘anything goes’ notions of the time which definitely inspire our collections. The retro garments we source put us in touch with those we consider style greats: Nina Simone, Barbra Streisand, Lisa Bonet, Liv Tyler, Ana Maniani. While our more romantic, ethereal garments evoke Merchant Ivory films, and all the great re-imaginings of 1900s fashion from the '20s, '70s and now. We also deeply appreciate world styles, and all the unique ways people embody power and beauty across the globe. What we love most is when all these things come together in a burst of color and form!
And who are our ultimate style icons? Why, our beloved community members, of course! We’re most inspired by how people use Cousins Vintage to tell their own stories and feel good about themselves—and we’re forever cheering everyone on!
Q: What does the future hold for Cousins Vintage? Anything fun or exciting on the horizon?
The million dollar question! We both have full time day jobs, but often fantasize about opening a small space in West Philly where our family business can thrive and we can interact live with our beloved local community. We shall see! For now we’re enjoying building momentum as an online store, curating for shops coast to coast, and attending local markets. We had a blast on 10/23 at Philly Vintage Flea, and often roll our $5/10/15/20 rack out to Clark Park when the weather’s good (and childcare is available!).
Beginning January 2022, Dorit will be offering *personal styling* - you provide inspirational images, and Dorit sources and curates a *style bundle* just for you! (email firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to our personal styling client list :)
What we know for sure is that our love of vintage will never change, and for as long as possible we’ll continue bringing our best finds to those we meet along the way! XO