Etsy is a wonderful place to find vintage items. I've never been one for getting those magnificent finds at the thrift store, but have always been jealous of those that have the ability to hunt down treasures. Jules Mae Clothing is a store that fascinates me because Julie not only has an obvious talent for finding vintage items, but also giving them a new lease on life. She has unique style and an eye catching way to display her products that's definitely worth checking out.
How long have you been creating garments and how did you get started?
Well, I grew up around it all. My mom was a magnificent seamstress and specialized in formal gowns. So, I suppose you could say that I was doing it as soon as my mom would let me have at her sewing machine (which is as long as I can remember.)
How would you describe your style? It’s an outward expression of what ever whimsy I may be experiencing at the time, usually vintage inspired. Past eras are enchanting.
What do you look for when shopping for vintage items to reclaim?
I try to envision the possibilities with any particular item. I suppose like most other designers I find that the fabrics sort of speak to me. They serve as the platform for inspiration.
Do you buy vintage items with a concept in mind or does the item generate an idea?
It depends, but usually I would have to say that I let the items inspire me. It feels like a more organic/natural process … sculptural, you could say.
What inspired you to use vintage men's ties to create pieces for women?
The ties themselves. It’s an empowering thing to find new uses for old items, especially when taking something that was made with men in mind and transforming it into something more feminine.
Working with vintage items, do you feel like they are telling a story?
Hmmm, I suppose all design is telling a story in one way or another, regardless of the materials used. So, yes. I also find humor in injecting small phrases into my work to evoke some kind of imaginary story the consumer can play out in their own mind. See my “He Walked Me Home and Then I Passed Out” headband. [inset right]
What's the story behind this item?
This little number was my own original design definitely inspired by the fabulous hobble skirts of the early 1900s. I included pin tucks down the front to emphasize a lengthy leg and the kick pleats in the back to capture that enchanting vintage elegance. The fabric was from a collection that my mother had tucked away for maybe a decade or more. When she passed away I got all of her bins of sewing paraphernalia. So, I suppose you could say that this piece (and all of my work, really) is an ode to her.
Do you craft things other than clothing?
I’m an artist at my core, so anything that crosses my path runs the risk of me altering or “enhancing” it in some way. I’m also a freelance illustrator -*cough* shameless plug – www.candyappleillustrations.com
Any tips on how to find a deal when shopping vintage?
Shopping vintage is pretty hit and miss, but mostly great deals are easy to find if you frequent the right places. Many thrift stores have a “fill a bag for $5” sale from time to time, especially the smaller local type stores. When buying vintage, try to imagine what it could become with a few minor alterations or enhancements. Move the hem up, take the sleeves off, add some beading or ribbons or other embellishment. The possibilities are endless.
If you could live in any era, what would it be and why?
I like this era just fine. It’s fantastic to live in a time when women are recognized as equals to men (more or less in our culture) and have access to all of the fabulous and inspirational art pieces (fashion included) of eras gone by. I don’t suppose I could trade “equality” with the glamour of the 40s, or the free love of the 60s, or the (what were we thinking) style of the 80s.