Full disclosure, Karen is a dear friend and part of a small-business group that feels more like a sisterhood/coven than a business group. We have had many late night, cocktail fueled discussions about the importance and wonderfulness of vintage. We both grew up being much more drawn to what was in the local resale shop than in the mall. Karen and her team are popping up in the shop this weekend, and so I wanted to share with you guys how deeply meaningful vintage is for her.
Your name: Karen Fort
Your pronouns: she/her
What you do: I treasure hunt for amazing vintage and designer clothing. (And owner of Mercy Vintage)
Where you live: Richmond, California
Can you tell me a little about how you got into the vintage business? I can credit my mother Evelyn. She was an incredible quilter who passed on a love of textiles, design and antiquing. It's been a life long, love affair.
You and I have talked a lot about how vintage (and reusing garments) is deeply aligned with your personal values. Can you tell us more about that? Fast fashion is one of the top 5 polluting industries and its devastating effects are felt on a human and environmental level. Recycling clothing is a really beautiful way to contribute to the green, circular economy. You can buy used and resell it again when you're done. I get really sad when I think of how the fashion industry relies on planned obsolescence; this is one way to not participate.
How would you describe your personal style? What are one or two of your favorite vintage garments in your closet? (Okay, but seriously, how big is your closet? LOL): It's pretty big! I am very drawn to color, texture and pattern and I often like to layer all 3 together either unifying through a pattern or color...and lots and lots of rings! My top 2 are a Jean Paul Gaultier denim jacket and a vintage David Bowie t-shirt.
California has a long history with Clogs, do you get and sell a lot of vintage clogs in your store? We do! And I particularly love when we buy BRYR clogs because of the quality.
We're excited for the pop up on Sept 30th. What should people expect to find there from you? We are so excited! Our collection so far is lots of American made vintage Levi's, t-shirts and transitional fall pieces good for layering. Think Doen, Toast and Ulla Johnson and of course, amazing vintage! We are pulling from our Future Vintage collection which we describe as contemporary independent, small clothing brands that will last the test of time.
Thank you so much for having us!
Shop Karen's clog closet below:
Karen's vintage empire include Mercy Vintage & Mercy Too:
Mercy Vintage 12-6pm every day
4188 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA
Mercy Too 12-6pm every day
4155 Piedmont Avenue, Oakland, CA
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