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Retail Realities: Where I Was From’s Online Vintage

Claire Lampert and Stacy Daily, founders of online vintage shop Where I Was From, have a taste for cool denim. On the site, you can find classic pieces with creative wear-and-tear that makes them all the more enviable—torn pocket 501s, hand-stitched patchwork Wranglers and a pair of 519s worn to shreds.

The site is a combination store and creative studio, and the two functions come together as each item is shot for a lookbook or as part of an editorial.

Where I Was From’s latest brand is called B Sides: clean and minimal patchwork jeans made from repurposed vintage styles. Since going to market this spring, the brand has developed close collaborations with three New York boutiques, Assembly, No.6 and Oroboro, and it will soon launch internationally with 15 retailers.

Rivet asked Lampert and Daily a few questions about making and selling their vintage denim duds.

RIVET: Where do your buyers go to look for vintage denim?
Lampert: The Southwest regularly, and occasionally in other parts of the country. Once we came across an amazing collection in Minnesota, of 50s and 60s Levi’s an old hippie had stashed away. We believe the story starts with the sourcing, an attribute you can really feel in the jeans.

RIVET: What are the difficulties of selling vintage clothing online?
Lampert: Once it’s sold, it’s sold—difficulty is in the inventory.

Daily: And in addition to having edited inventory, the biggest hurdle is with our sell-through versus the speed we can bring pieces to market. We invest in each piece that we collect, style and shoot, and turn through inventory relatively quickly. We tend to have a ‘sold-through’ perception for our clients which is both exciting and frustrating.

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And then there is the difficulty of letting go. Claire and I have a few pieces that will stay with the studio. A handwoven Grecian gilet that is best worn inside out to expose the vertical trapunto. An ancient comb our photographer brought back from Ecuador that sits with tiles we collect on our travels. And a few of the original jeans we collected on our first run to the Southwest, some black flags, shredders and overdyed violet gams.

RIVET: Who does the handwork on the B Sides jeans?
Daily: The vintage denim is collected in the Southwest and hand-worked in our New York studio. We carefully consider the silhouette and provenance of the original jean and make every effort to not disrupt them in our design. It’s a lo-fi approach, which is more interesting to us than chasing trends. We do the handwork and fretwork ourselves in the studio, and work with a group of artists and local sewers to re-construct the jean.

Lampert: The beautifully worn denim is approached with a keen vision on construction–resulting in a modern interpretation of traditional patchwork.

Daily: The mark of the brand is made in our studio from a piece of repurposed leather vachetta strapping, shop scraps from friends in The Springs on Long Island who are apron and bag makers. Each piece is hand tooled and hand stitched into the back waistband with natural cotton yarn.