Meet the Vault: Leslie of adbad goods

Get to know Leslie, the owner of adbad goods featured at The Vault Collective Vermont. We asked Leslie about her early vintage memories, the process of sourcing, and the meaning of adbad. Here are her responses: 

My first experience with vintage doesn’t seem to be a distinct moment. I have more vivid memories of being drawn to experimenting with my personal style, when I was young. I went to catholic school, we wore uniforms, and I took that as an opportunity to make the most of what I was dealt. Without many choices, that era became more about examining the qualities of clothing and how they made me feel confident (or not). Teachers would say stapling up my skirt is considered rebellion. I would say it just “looked right with these socks and clogs”. I’ve never felt rebellious. There were a few years in high school when I would volunteer at the church garage sales, (these were post uniform-wearing years). I was simultaneously shopping while emptying the donation bags onto the tables before the community got their turn. I would spend half of my shift in the locker room trying on clothes with my friend Gab. I sought that euphoric feeling of stumbling upon an item that you couldn’t have known you wanted. And I would wear the few remnants of my parents’ cool tee shirts from the 70’s. Electric Light Orchestra was my family’s favorite band. My mom and my dad went to that tour in 1981. I wore that shirt in high school, and I still have that shirt, and I will never get rid of it. The texture was that perfect soft cotton, and I think that was one of the first items where I was like, “I’m gonna hold on to this.”

Some of Leslie's 'forever pieces' - band tour tees passed down from her parents.

Thrifting is a hopeful time. It’s interesting - buying pieces from the past, but living precisely in the moment, looking forward to the future versions of yourself. It’s a meditation. Hence why I like to shop alone. I am a fledgling dealer, but a long-term finder. My sourcing is ever evolving, because although I feel like I have an overarching style, I am often blown away by a piece that has no business being in my collection. This ceaseless curiosity of the unknown of “what-was-once” or “what-could-be” is by far my ultimate inspiration.

adbad is an acronym for “a door behind a door”. It’s a line from the Daft Punk song “Touch". The idea of a door behind a door, to me, represents endless opportunities. In my mind I picture the doors being separated by a breezeway. We all know the beauty of a breezeway. The place where we take a breath before walking into a party. The place where we make sure there’s nothing in our teeth. The place of grounding, pausing, making sure this is “the right house”. But really it’s a place of knowing you just made it through the door behind you, and your life changes once the next one opens.

Some of the textures, colors, and details that make up Leslie's collection.

When I traveled to New Zealand I started thrifting because I needed more clothes on my journey than I had come there with. I would drop stuff off and then get a new item of clothing. That was my first big city experience on my own. I grew up close to Chicago, but I never went to the city unless I was with friends and we were on a mission to go to The Bean or some house party. But New Zealand, Auckland specifically, is the first place I can remember feeling like, “woah, yeah, there’s some major style happening here.” I still have a couple items from that trip. In terms of selling vintage, I think I just had too many clothes and wanted to make some money. It started slow. But I remember realizing, “well, I’m actually having fun, and building a wardrobe by parsing through and passing on things over time, and curating who I am.” Getting the opportunity from Ruth to come to The Vault was the first time I’ve actually had the chance to figure out a brand of any kind. 

Everybody has hiccups - when I first started at the Vault, my clothes would fall off the hangers, and the tags would fall off the clothes - I had these paper tags, originally. Like I said, It’s a project. So it’s all trial and error and having fun with it. It’s exciting to work through the kinks with labels and branding. If I’m going to keep this business going, I can’t make a quick decision about those things. I always feel like I’m in limbo - the clothes are there, the visions there. So many things we do as humans, we’re just going through the motions, and I just want to take it slow, and be inspired every single step of the way - even down to a tag, or the racks, or the hangers. I’m not a big business, so I sit at home and want to do this stuff. 

You can shop Leslie's collection, adbad goods, at The Vault Collective here!