Carolyn Carrington of The Vintage Label Explains What It Takes to Be A Curator of Style

Carolyn Carrington, the founder of The Vintage Label, was taught about the value of luxury and vintage fashion from an early age. According to Carrington, “[Fashion] represents culture, history, sustainability and, in some cases, is a true art-form.” She has worked to spread this message through her work at The Vintage Label in Dairy Block, in addition to the private showroom she runs.

What started as visiting estate sales and going to auctions, The Vintage Label is now a thriving business where Carrington works with numerous loyal clients. Collecting and curating luxury, vintage clothing and accessories for years led her to consider herself as a type of historian — better yet, a “curator of style.” Not only does Carrington have a keen eye for deciphering the value of fashion pieces, but she also understands the importance of vintage items and their sustainability factor. Her pieces can be found at her brick and mortar location, on her website and some through her private showroom. 

303 Magazine: Where did your journey in fashion begin? Did you always have an interest in this field of work?

Carolyn Carrington: My love of fashion began when I was very young. When I was a little girl, my mother gave me a beautiful Hermes scarf. She showed me the signature and the level and she explained what hand-rolled, hand-sewn edges looked like and why one day, this scarf would be of importance. In fact, I still have this scarf today within my private collection. It was an amazing lesson for me. My mother wore the scarf around her neck, on her handbag, in her hair, and it looked elegant and special every time. I fell in love with fashion anew every time my mother wore that scarf. 

303: What interests you most about fashion? Why luxury and vintage?

CC: I love fashion and style. Certainly, I appreciate designer goods. But vintage clothing and accessories are the ones that have the magical ability to transform an outfit into an experience for the wearer. A vintage piece tells a story. It is wearable art. It is sustainable. It was magical for me as a child and I still feel that magic today.

303: Why was it important for you to have a fashion-based career?

CC: I actually don’t think of my career as being “fashion-based” rather I think of myself really as a bit of a historian and a curator of style. Vintage clothing, accessories, jewelry and even furniture make a statement. These are the pieces that transcend fads and remain resonant, classic and often times unique.

303: Take us through your process. What does it take to find items for your boutique? Where do you find items?

CC: I started collecting in earnest in my 20s. I would “shop” my friend’s mother’s closets and the neighbors – then I started going to auctions and estate sales and on. And I started to make connections. Eventually, people would contact me if closets or attics needed cleaning out, or if people were moving. I’ve nurtured and cultivated these lifelong relationships. Today, I have some of those early pieces I acquired in my private collection.

303: Would you say that The Vintage Label represents a lot of your own style?

CC: My style is represented in The Vintage Label, but it’s so much more than that. My talent is seeing pieces that well represent the specific designer as well as my client’s taste — not so much mine. My talent is seeing the genius in vintage designers and bringing that aesthetic to my clients.

303: Tell us something you discovered about luxury fashion that you didn’t know before owning your own business.

CC: I might have answered this differently pre-pandemic. But, what I have recently realized is that there is a comfort and reassurance that vintage fashions can bring. Vintage is culture, it is timeless, it is sustainable. In the world we live in, recycling is so important. Remember vintage is the ultimate recycle! Fashion is ever changing and luxury fashion will be in demand for numerous reasons. It represents culture, history, sustainability and, in some cases, is a true art form. There are vintage pieces that are collectible and museum worthy, a true investment.

,303: What does the future hold for The Vintage Label?

CC: We are expanding all the time. We have our own line of candles. The Vintage Label is really about that transformative experience. Nothing can be as transformative as scent. I’ve always had this evocative scent in my head — an alluring fragrance with masterful notes of tobacco leaf, vintage leather, bergamot and tonka bean. What better time to create our very own candle collection than with the start of our company? This scent was named “Signature” as it’s our first and signature scent. We have a total of four scents within our exclusive candle collection. This was the first extension of our brand, but it won’t be the last! As 2020 progresses, stay tuned – as we have new ventures and collaborations launching to continue the growth of our business.

All photography provided by The Vintage Label

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