Recently, fashion trends from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s have reemerged. Vintage fashion is now embraced and celebrated by a variety of generations looking to express themselves through fashion. While the trend is growing in popularity, for native Coloradan, stylist, photographer and art student Celia Rose Caplitz, retro fashion has always been a wardrobe essential.
Caplitz uses fashion as a form of expression which has evolved into a career. She helped make Archives Vintage – a retro thrift store in the basement of Aflorae in Longmont, Colorado – what it is today. Caplitz also works with local designers, models, musicians and companies to create retro-styled photoshoots. Her newest journey takes her to London this Fall where she will attend art school at Central Saint Martins, where she plans to study textile design and creative direction. Famous designers like Alexander McQueen, Katherine Hamnett, Bruce Oldfield, Jenny Packham, Matthew Williamson and Christopher Kane attended this prestigious university. With that said, Caplitz’s future looks bright.
Originally Caplitz was supposed to move to London this past year, but the pandemic halted her plans. Instead, she took the opportunity to emerge herself in building up Archives Vintage alongside her dear friend Rachel Hunter, owner of Aflorae.
During the pandemic, “[Hunter] was able to take a risk and expand her business and she bought a new building on Main Street and then expanded her retail and her floral design. And with that, there was all of this space downstairs,” Caplitz said. “She ended up reaching out to me and being like ‘hey, do you want to help me open up a vintage thrift store and make it super funky?’”
Alongside business partner Natalie Gray, Caplitz strived to make Archives Vintage a place for shoppers to feel welcome and excited about vintage fashion. Together, they ran the store and searched for vintage pieces to sell. Caplitz also designed and painted the mural in Archives, created the record wall and the lighting pieces and found furniture and decorations to create a funky ’70s lounge.
The team’s main goal was to “try to have it be like a genuine hidden gem because it’s in the basement of a flower shop,” she said.
Prior to her big move, Caplitz has worked alongside her partners to create the best version of Archives possible. In the coming weeks, visitors can expect to see new items, decorations and concepts. For example, Archives is now offering band t-shirts from small business Recycled Karma. Overall, Archives is “a mix of vintage, thrift, it’s all second hand and then there’s some new items to maintain the vibe,” Caplitz said.
As a creative, Caplitz is well-rounded when it comes to her artistic strengths. She is experienced in both graphic design and fashion design yet is continuing to expand her horizons. Part of her future is continuing to embrace her own personal love for fashion. Caplitz has been collecting vintage fashion pieces her entire life. “I would always just go to flea markets and thrift stores, you know like vintage markets,” she said. She will often go to “random hole-in-the-wall places and find weird things. I’m kind of a hoarder, but I’ll call myself a collector.”
However, when it comes to fashion, how can anyone be a hoarder? Virtually all of Caplitz’s wardrobe and accessories are thrifted, which allows her to not only express herself but to do her part sustainably.
The fashion industry is a major contributor to environmental waste, especially large corporations that partake in fast fashion. This term defines the concept of rapid clothing production to align with current fashion trends. The result is excessive use of energy and resources to make hoards of items that are unlikely to sell out completely.
To follow emerging trends, often individuals will throw away or give away old items and buy new ones. The environmental impact is detrimental as the fashion industry, according to a Pulse of the Fashion Industry Report in 2019, “fashion generates 4% of the world’s waste each year, 92 million tons, which is more than toxic e-waste.”
“You feel good because when you go thrifting, you support a local business, you’re not buying a brand new from any fast fashion … and it’s also a little easier budget-wise. So it’s like everyone wins when you thrift,” Caplitz said. To address the problem of fast fashion specifically, “I just don’t like to confine myself to a certain trend,” she said. Consequently, thrifting is a way for Caplitz to do her part as an individual while embracing the essence of fashion through discarding trends and wearing what feels right to her.
For Caplitz, the crazier the item, the better. Collecting unique and fun items led her to begin styling photoshoots. This allowed her to make use of her fashion collection and to share it with others. During the past year, Caplitz has organized and executed photoshoots for a variety of different purposes.
In January, Gray invited Caplitz to help style a photo shoot. In turn, Caplitz gained the confidence to style shoots on her own and “create like a little fantasy kind of in a picture,” she said. “Working with Natalie and being around other creative people who encourage me has really helped me get the confidence” to style these shoots.
Her process in developing ideas for each shoot is extensive yet meticulously organized and executed. Caplitz has several sketchbooks, even a small one to carry with her in a purse, to jot down ideas and concepts whenever a form of inspiration comes to her. Mainly, she is inspired by the stories behind the pieces that she finds.
“You know it’s all old, generally owned by someone else, you know it’s [stood] the test of time … it’s always been really interesting to me,” she said. “But I’ll just have initial inspiration from something. And that could be music, film, you know, like any form of art, [even] life itself.”
Her sketchbooks depict mood boards, sketches, potential themes and more. Caplitz will often make both digital and physical mood boards in order to develop ideas for each photoshoot. This allows her to put her thoughts to work and create a process in order to execute a photoshoot successfully.
Some of Caplitz’s styled shoots include a retro bowling alley theme, an ’80s Memphis electro aesthetic, a retro diner, a boudoir shoot and much more. Each shoot is incredibly detailed and reminiscent of a specific theme with fashionable pieces and accessories to go with it. For example, in a bowling alley photoshoot, Caplitz found a vintage jacket that she upcycled with suede stripes.
One of her favorite parts of the photoshoot process is collaboration. “You get to work with all sorts of interesting people and every single person I collaborate [with] is so unique and special to me,” Caplitz said. In such uncertain times this past year, she has found it rewarding to interact with fellow creatives and create unique projects together.
Though Caplitz continues to embark on new and exciting projects, “I’ve always just cared about the way I look as a form of self-expression,” she said. “I’m a very visually based person, like I get excited by what I see.”
Throughout her life, Caplitz traveled back and forth from Boulder to the United Kingdom where she gained valuable cultural experiences. Through travel and being raised by a mother who was an artist, Caplitz was “exposed to all different kinds of people and cultures and the uniqueness of life,” she said. Therefore, her inspiration today often comes from those experiences.
She began to rock the retro looks in high school as a result of her U.S. history classes. Caplitz felt a rewarding feeling in learning about historical events while connecting fashion from then to now. “Because of that intriguing thought process … I was just naturally drawn to the clothes anyway,” she said.
Caplitz is an example for young people aspiring to be creatives and immerse themselves in fashion to take opportunities in order to follow their dreams. She continues to expand her passion for fashion and art in a variety of ways in order to make a difference in her own life and those around her.
During and after art school, Caplitz hopes to continue doing what she does best – working and collaborating with other creatives to create something special. Specifically, she strives to work with musicians on styled shoots. “I think the combination of sound and vision is just so impactful and I’d love to be able to work with people on styling music videos and doing promotional photoshoots,” she said. Before she makes the big move to London, Caplitz is using the month of August to start working with local musicians in order to pursue this dream. The end goal is to continue to follow the same path that she is on, hopefully on a larger scale.
Another angle of her dream is to open up a funky bar and lounge alongside her sister in London. “We actually have a whole sketchbook dedicated to what we would do, how we would support local breweries and distilleries and you know be eco-friendly,” she said. With her interior, textile and graphic design work thus far, Caplitz has the experience to one day create a unique space like this.
We’re “always learning new ways and making mistakes along the way,” she said in regards to supporting sustainable fashion. “But a big part of that again is supporting local and small businesses.” After all, shopping at places like Archives or the brands featured in Caplitz shoots reveals unique pieces that one wouldn’t find otherwise.