Orange Resident Gives Historic Clothing New Life with Sputnik’s Vintage

Photograph by Emily J. Davis

Is there an era you specialize in?
When I started, around 2013, I was drawn to the Victorian era. There was a time when steampunk was really popular, and I started going to these whimsical events and getting costumes together. Corsets, black lace bustles, big skirts, and metal gears. Now I’m focused on the period from the end of WWII to around the death of President Kennedy. That great midcentury, baby boom time period.

Who are your clients?
A lot of professional swing dancers and burlesque artists love wearing our clothing for performances. And a lot of people will wear our clothing as part of their daily attire. There are also some big events normally each year, such as Viva Las Vegas, which is an O.C.-based business but takes place in Las Vegas with vintage fashions. And recently I’ve been selling a lot of nontraditional wedding dresses—gorgeous, embellished, one-of-a-kind gowns but not your traditional white lace.

Why is it important to preserve these fashions?
I’m really passionate about historic preservation. Clothes are inherently ephemeral; they’re meant to be worn for a short period of time and discarded. But these pieces have survived wars and transcended time to serve as time capsules of years gone by, and they’re worth saving. I love finding garments in precarious positions and bringing them back to life. I also donate a percentage of sales to The National Trust for Historic Preservation, which helps buildings that are in danger of being bulldozed or are falling into disrepair. There’s nothing more fun to me than getting dressed up in vintage clothing and (going) to the historic places where they may have been worn.

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