Project Beltway Interviews: Cath & Kata of Listopad

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Project Beltway

Cathy Chung, 29, and Katerina Herodotou, 23, are the ladies behind Listopad Vintage, the roving clothing and lifestyle shop that stocks some of the most wearable-and-well-priced vintage in the city. The two friends recently launched an online shop, run an addictive blog, and are throwing a party next month that YOU are invited to. Read on to find out what “listopad” means (hint: it’s right around the corner) and how buying cute clothes can be good for the environment.

What does this lovely and mysterious name listopad mean?
November in Polish, falling leaves in other slavic languages. Katerina is half-Polish so that’s how we came up with it.

What’s your vision for Listopad and why did you decide to start selling vintage?
Listopad is an evolving umbrella of activities and products. We want to bring awesome, wearable vintage to DC ingenues, rockstars and newbies, while keeping it affordable. In addition to staking out the hippest vintage in the area, we want to encourage the budding cultural panorama of DC; we want to collaborate with the movers and shakers in DC, promoting the best shops, bars, restaurants, djs, and artists in the area while bringing a superior product to the streets that people desperately want. That’s why we do our vintage cocktail parties, but those are only the beginning.

Tell us why you love vintage.
KH: I love vintage clothing because it’s one-of-a-kind. I hate mass fast-fashion retailers because they peddle inferior products and push one look on the entire public. Vintage gives you the opportunity to express yourself uniquely, while keeping your consumerism more ecological and supporting independent, local businesses. I think people are getting tired of seeing the same H&M t-shirts all over and people don’t want to be caught wearing the same outfit as someone else. There is growing desire inside people to discover new things and new forms of expression, and vintage clothing can be a part of that.
CC: I agree. There are sound social reasons why recycling fashions is a great idea. Also, there is something really magical about taking a historical piece and reinventing it as your own. It is not about living in the past but recognizing that there was pride in the workmanship and that there were so many creative ideas flowing around. Great vintage is timeless – when you score a special piece it feels good to know you can revisit it every year.

It seems that some folks have hangups about wearing vintage clothing: I don’t want to wear other people’s clothes/looks too weird/unwearable/I can’t wear that to work. Advice for the vintage-shy?
KH: My advice is to take risks. You’ll never know what doors you can open up when you try something new. And I always find that vintage clothings better made, lasts longer (obviously) and can fit perfectly with modern purchases while adding flair.
CC: No matter how you perceive yourself, everyone has a sense of knowing what looks good on them. There is this kooky perception of vintage that it has to be costumey or garish but these days major designers directly take from vintage looks. If you are hesitant, start with a tie or scarf (Vera scarves are making a comeback), grab a classy vintage clutch, or an interesting piece of vintage costume jewelry. Mixing and matching vintage and new items can be really fun.

Where do you like to shop?
KH: I refuse to buy clothing which I can’t trace to a sweatshop free manufacturer, so that really dictates where I shop. Obviously, I love Mercedes Bien’s vintage offerings and I scour thrift stores often for good finds. I love the Moonblood tees at Smash!, and the Keep shoes at Commonwealth. I always hit up Gomi in NYC when I visit for Majestic Tees (organic and produced in a geothermal factory) and adore Scout .
CC: Mercedes does have a quality vintage selection and I have found some great pieces at Meeps. I am drawn to the style direction at Circle Boutique — they have Lover and Karen Walker, a few of my favorite designers. Wild Women Wear Red for shoes. American Apparel for layering pieces and Loehmann’s if I feel lucky that day.

How would you describe your style?
KH: Retro comfort? I love the classics but I also love bright colors.
CC: “Mood-oriented” : I love experimenting and matching clothing according to my mood. I was accused of being Little Edie the other month with the headwraps. These past few weeks, it has been about the weather and high-waisted shorts or silk.

What are you craving for fall?
KH: Black PVC Celine ankle boots. from Hu’s Shoes
CC: Nice fitted vintage peacoat, Rachel Comey wedges.

Favorite designers?
KH: I love Erotokritos dresses, Hussein Chalayan’s artistry, APC basics, Acne jeans, Marni shapes and Stella McCartney shoes.
CC: Alexandre Herchcovitch for his creative yet wearable usage of eclectic patterns and fabrics, Karen Walker for her cool sleekness, Peter Jensen for a classy new historical vision, and so many vintage designers, especially Ossie Clark.

What are your thoughts on style in Washington?
KH: It’s better than most places, though could use some work in the risk-taking department.
CC: If you look outside of the happy hour/weekend circuit, there is quite a bit of style floating in D.C. neighborhoods. And the more options there are for style, the better it will get.

Project Beltway

Mark Your Calendars: Vintage Clothing Party at Red Onion Records & Books
When: September 13, 2007; 6-9 p.m.
What: Unique and affordable fall and winter vintage and slashed prices on summery items sharing space with Red Onion’s offerings (good music, good reading).
Why: Well, duh–but also, delicious snacks and desserts offered by Middle Eastern eatery Yazuzu, and the sweet sounds of DJ Name Names—the infamous music stylings of DC institution Ian Svenonius.

Red Onion Records & Books
1901 18th Street NW (18th and T, next to Lauriol Plaza)
Listopad Vintage

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