Many of you know the incredibly dapper Kelsey Grace Chavarria from the hit reality Showtime series The Real L-Word. But, did you know that she is also a savvy entrepreneur who is gearing up curate a new vintage androgynous clothing line, Vintage by Kelsey? We caught up with her to get exclusive 411 on the collection so that you can be first in line for the one-of-a-kind pieces she will be offering at her online boutique.
DQ: Tell us a bit about yourself.
KC: Where do I start? At 25, I am currently focused on a few projects, one of which is opening an online clothing boutique, Vintage by Kelsey. I want to share my personal style, inspired by vintage clothing, with people who have a hip, unique sense of style that is similar to my own. Vintage by Kelsey will offer a variety of high quality, affordable vintage items from which to choose. To complement the boutique, I will also run a style blog on my website kelseychavarria.com that incorporates vintage clothing items and where you can learn more about my style and aesthetic.
DQ: I understand that you will be curating a new line of vintage clothing for the unconventionally masculine that will be available at your online boutique, Vintage by Kelsey. What inspired you to enter the fashion market?
KC: My friends kept coming to me and asking me “Where did you find that? That’s so cool,” and my response was always, “The thrift shop,” or “Goodwill.” The hunt is fun for me. I love finding unique things that look great and being able to share them with others. My friends would ask me to go shopping with them, because they want to know where I am finding this cool stuff. I think I have an eye for it and I want to share it with everyone. Style is also another way of expressing my eccentric personality.
DQ: How would you describe the Vintage by Kelsey aesthetic?
KC: I choose items from every genre of vintage from 1950’s – 1970’s and even some 90’s neon LA Gear windbreakers! Anything that catches my eye and I know will look great on people is what I put up. My store is based on things that I would wear. Someone who is androgynous, and marches to the beat of their own drum. Comfort is also important to me. Clothes that look and feel great to wear.
DQ: There has been a recent surge in the number of brands that are now designing and curating apparel for our niche market. What makes your brand unique?
KC: My brand is unique because it is entirely vintage clothing that is affordable and handpicked by me.
DQ: One of the biggest complaints that our readers have is that traditional menswear does not fit curvy, female, and transmasculine bodies. How is your line going to address common fit concerns?
KC: I acquire items based on look and feel, so I will cover many body types. Many pieces fit all kinds of frames from large to small, particularly the button-ups and sweaters ranging from unisex small to XXL.
DQ: What is your process for selecting clothing for the line?
KC: I search through vintage shops, thrift stores, flea markets, even estate sales to find pieces that catch my eye and I think others would enjoy.
DQ: How would you define your look? How is your look represented in Vintage by Kelsey.
KC: My look is ever-changing; I usually don’t wear the same piece in the same way. I mix 70’s bell bottoms with fitted tops or cowboy boots. I love vintage and I love wearing vintage in a fresh eclectic way. I dress according to mood. Sometimes I wear a piece just to make me feel better. That’s what clothes are there for, to have fun with. The look of Vintage by Kelsey is hip, vintage, tomboy.
DQ: Has it been a journey defining your style? Tell me about it.
KC: I have always been tall and lanky, so finding clothing, especially that fits with my tomboy style, was difficult. Vintage stores became my sanctuary. There, I have variety and things were made differently in the past than they are today. They fit my body and my aesthetic. I try to incorporate what is happening in high-end fashion with my look in a vintage way.
DQ: Have you experienced any challenges when it comes to dressing dapper queer? What are they?
KC: Sometimes jackets are really difficult to find in masculine looks that fit feminine frames. I have some great jackets in my store.
DQ: I think the images from this photo shoot really capture your style. Can you tell us about the shoot?
KC: This photo shoot was a lot of fun. It was shot by my girlfriend, Laura Wise, who is a talented photographer. She loves shooting portraits and queer women, so she was in her element. It was shot in Hollywood, a day where we hung out and made carne asada tacos with friends. It was a nice day. We try to go about things in a stress-free way. I chose 4 outfits from my own collection that reflected my style. I had actually never worn any of the pieces I wore for the shoot in that combination before it was random and organic.
DQ: What was it like to be shot by Laura Wise?
KC: Being shot by Laura was fun because she is my girlfriend and she makes me feel sexy. She knows aesthetically what is pleasing to the eye.
DQ: Who or what has most influenced your style?
KC: My love of nostalgia: The Prohibition Era, the Great Gatsby, great music, art.
DQ: Who are your fashion icons?
KC: Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Gene Autry.
DQ: What is the one article of clothing you cannot live without?
KC: My fedora. It fits me great and I wear it with everything. It’s rad, burgundy.
DQ: What can we expect next from you?
KC: Well, I have a lot of projects in the works. Right now I am most excited about my store. I will be doing weekly blogs that with serve as style inspiration for people who love androgyny and vintage – like me!