February 18, 2016

Words and interview by Maria Mora of
Out with the old, in with the new. Many people live by that mantra in hopes of starting anew in life. But some believe that not everything created in the past is useless but rather of greater value. Meet Sara GourlayFrankie Collective‘s creative director. The Vancouver babe created a vintage clothing brand of her own and gave it a modern twist. Gourlay has a gift of choosing staple items from the 90s and making them appear current as ever. She spoke with MISSBISH about her making a career in vintage fashion and more. Check out the interview below.

Tell us how you started getting into vintage. Recount what that journey was like.
When I was a teen I interned for a pop-up vintage market in Vancouver before I became a partner. During that time, vintage markets seemed to have exploded onto the scene. They were the hangout spot for every stylist and artist selling their collections and treasures. Eventually, I started my own vintage company, FATE Vintage. Instead of hustling clothing at markets, my new model was to curate a higher end vintage collection which was then sold in boutiques. The vintage hustle helped finance the first year of my business degree haha.

Where do you draw your daily inspiration from?
I look to the past a lot for inspiration. I love looking at vintage editorials and ads. I’ve been listening to a lot of UK Grime and the raw energy sets the pace for my day.

What are some memorable projects you’ve worked on in the past?
I worked on Eco Fashion Week’s thrift challenge where I created a runway collection with $500 from Value Village. This was a great platform to speak about my passion for up-cycling clothing. I was left feeling inspired to continue to find ways to close the gap between social consciousness and fashion consciousness. After that, I launched a line of new designs created from sustainable and deadstock/vintage material.

How did the Frankie Collective come about?
It all started when I was introduced to Jesse and Drew Heifetz from F as in Frank Vintage. They own two flagship vintage stores and were running a men’s vintage site F as in Frank. At that point, I was designing my own line and the boys were sitting on a massive women’s clothing archive, it was a natural fit that we launched F as in Frank’s sister company, Frankie Collective.

Was there a point where you hit a roadblock in the creating process of the brand? How did you move forward?
Creating a vintage brand that didn’t rest alone on nostalgic feelings was the biggest road block. For people born before the 90s, they were old enough to experience that decade vs. a younger market. For example, lots of people remember Biggie rocking Coogi sweaters, where a youth might look at that sweater now and not understand the appeal of the sweater out of context. Because I didn’t have the luxury of capitalizing on nostalgia for everyone, I had to view the collection through a modern lens.

What would you say is the key to finding great pieces while thrifting?
Patience but mostly luck. To be honest, I have a lucky pair of underwear I wear.

How do you stay true to yourself?
Because trends come and go so quickly, it’s important to stay true to yourself. That means not hopping on every trend, but picking and choosing what relates to your style the most. Although, working in fashion, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve and explore all these trends. So it’s really about finding ways to take hints from these trends and make it genuine to your personal style.

What are some of your beauty must-haves at the moment?
To combat dull winter skin, I add on an Alpha Beta Peel by Dr. Dennis Gross to my skin care regime, prep skin before makeup with Laura Mercier’s Radiance Foundation Primer, and sneak in some subtle colour withJosie Maran’s Argan Liquid Gold Self-Tanning Oil.

Best piece of advice you’ve received in the past year.
I actually bumped into a fellow MISSBISH at a party, the designer behind Beth Richards Swimwear. We were arm in arm, deep in our wine glasses, talking about our projects in 2016. She told me there are lots of people that want to do things second, but it takes panache to be an innovator. Keep creating. I think it’s important to not rest on your laurels.

What does MISSBISH mean to you?
For me, MISSBISH is a collective of like-minded positive women who strive to put their best foot forward.

Photos by: Jeremy Jude Lee

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