Tristan Bego is a thrifting stylist and as of last June, is a new business owner of The Common Collective Co. based in Denver. Bego has reached great lengths in making a very inclusive space within the walls of The Common Collective.
“Our slogan is ‘Make Black-owned, women-owned, gender-neutral, sustainability the common,” Bego’s store is a representation of herself, to have all these aspects combined and come to life is her dream. Through thrift styling and her new storefront, she aims to create a space where every single person can feel completely confident in themselves through fashion.
The Common Collective is based on uplifting Black-owned, women-owned, sustainable businesses and local artists. They have created a space where anyone can find something they love, no matter what their style is and no matter who they are. It’s important to Bego for her vendors to get the same opportunities she does, because without them she wouldn’t have a collective.
“The Common Collective Co. is a collective of small businesses, they are all local. The meaning behind it is it’s a common collective … We are just bringing back what could have been — should have been — a common thing, but it’s not,” she said.
Tristan Bego was born in Columbus, Ohio, and grew up in Charlotte, North Carolina. As the youngest of four, she always wore hand-me-downs from her older siblings. She started thrifting when she was in high school.
“I couldn’t afford to go to the mall, so thrifting was the best way to make new things at a cheap cost, cutting denim into shorts or painting jean jackets,” Bego said. “I want things that are made of good quality, but still are affordable and gender-neutral.”
Bego worked in Corporate America for four years and she loved to dress up for work. “If I look nice, I’ll feel good,” she said. Bego pivoted when she started her @februaryjonesco Instagram account three years ago. Her account began with a mirror in the bathroom of her job where she would take pictures of her work outfits and post them.
“I used to wear that mirror out. I would just want to take pictures and show off my outfits. Sometimes everything I wore from the shoes to the headpiece was thrifted,” Bego said. She worked retail for a while as a part-time job alongside her full-time job. When her Instagram started to do so well, she decided to quit her other jobs to pursue her stylist career and later her own store. Bego has been styling clients for two years now.
On Bego’s Instagram account, she offers more services than just styling. Her services include pick-ups/drop-offs for donations, clean closet organizing, closet building and personal shopping. She will pick up and drop off anyone’s items to donate. The process of organizing closets and building outfits for clients takes time, but it’s an easy way for her clients to have more of a purpose for their clothing.
“I go with my retail mindset and make outfits with what they already have in their closet — but getting rid of things that just need to go. I also go to the mall with people — we pretty much just go and shop for whatever [the client] wants,” Bego said.
Thrift styling is very important to Bego because clothes exude confidence and individuality in each person. Clothing tells a story about yourself and who you are, and that should be attainable for everyone. Bego wants to help all her clients build confidence through the clothes they wear.
“[Being a thrifting stylist] means confidence should be accessible to everyone. If you are confident, then you should be able to help other people be confident. Clothing is just one way that you can use for confidence building … Clothing can create conversations and bring people together … It’s about community and confidence,” Bego said.
Thrifting is important to Bego because fashion can be so wasteful, while thrifting is built around sustainability. It is an easy way to provide clothes for people who don’t have the option of going to the mall. Clothing needs to be accessible to everyone, as it’s the easiest way to express oneself and be creative.
Tristan Bego’s personal style reflects three people that she admires — Tyler the Creator, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Rihanna. “Between those three is a mix of definitely my style. A mix between good designer vintage and good colors — some crazy colors, but I’m also addicted to black,” she said.
Bego gains most of her clients through Instagram messages on her February Jones Co. account. She has in-state and out-of-state clients, but she also gets clients through word of mouth and compliments on her outfits. When someone hires her, they will make a budget for her to style them with — sometimes very specific looks and sometimes more of a broader spectrum. Bego will meet the client, ask their measurements, and usually will already know what their style is. If there is something specific the client wants, she goes through the process of vintage sizing compared to the clients’ size. When she styles she always makes sure to have more than one piece so the client can have options.
“I like to curate more than one thing to try on … I pretty much provide a lineup of everything I found for them in their size, they will try it on and let me know if it works. Any alterations that need to happen I can do myself or they can have someone else do them,” she said.
Purses and shoes are important when it comes to styling an outfit, “I don’t worry a lot about accessories because I am focusing on the purse, the shoes, and the outfit…A purse is extremely important — it can make or break an outfit. Shoes can make or break an outfit. If your outfit is cheap, and your shoes are cheap, but you got a good purse — it doesn’t matter — the purse is the statement piece at that point. That’s the confidence piece,” Bego said.
Once Bego’s thrifting stylist career took off with flying colors, she decided to open up her own storefront. Bego has wanted to do this for a very long time, but “manifesting a store was very farfetched — until three years ago, I said give me some time I’m gonna get me a store. I was about to get my boobs done. My esthetician I would go to told me ‘you don’t need that, you need to focus on your business.’ I made the decision at the beginning of June not to get plastic surgery. About 17 days later I closed on this store … It was the best thing I’ve ever done,” Bego said. In June, The Common Collective Co. was born.
The Common Collective Co. is where Bego’s many vendors can flourish. Her business partner, Jenny Neal, helped find vendors for the store, painted the mural, created the cow podium and did the interior design. Neal helped Bego build The Common Collective from the ground up, “It was a barbershop before we got in here, we had to sell everything and take everything off the walls. It took us about a month to get ready … It was very overwhelming but joyful, a breath of fresh air. We worked all day, we didn’t stop until we opened the doors,” she said.
There is no denying that Bego knows style. If there is one tip she can give anyone about style and wardrobe it’s, “wear anything with confidence. If you’re confident it’s going to look good on you anyways — it will work.” she said.
The future looks very bright for Bego, as she continues to style and expands The Common Collective Co. Her plan is to open another store in Atlanta, but if that doesn’t work out she wants to own a bigger store in Denver. Outside of The Common Collective — she wants to expand her styling business.
“I predict I will be able to work with people at New York fashion week. Work with other really big designers and be their vintage assistant — for vintage material and clothing, reworked items,” she said. Bego is currently focusing on her very own line called FJ Reworks, where she is working with local seamstresses that curate reworked vintage clothes for her.
All photography by Roxanna Carrasco