Meet the Vault: Maria of Maria Vintage

Get to know Maria, the owner of Maria Vintage featured at The Vault Collective Vermont. We asked Maria about her DIY projects, collaborating with her son, and her journey from The Vault employee to vendor. Here are her responses: 

From the moment I started working at The Vault as an employee I knew I wanted to have a booth. I knew it was a great place to be, not only The Vault but the entire world of vintage and secondhand fashion. Before I moved to Vermont, I lived in California, and I started working in a thrift shop. I started to see the mountains of clothes, and we used to throw the fast fashion away. For me, because I’m not from America, I’m from Argentina, it was like “Forever 21, that’s good clothes.” And then I started learning that those clothes are really bad quality. When I started seeing all these vintage clothes I was like, “oh my god, this is amazing.”

One of Maria's DIY projects: an embroidered flame jacket.

When I’m starting a DIY project, I always see the garment and see what I have in my hands. And sometimes I feel like it’s too boring, so I’m like, “okay, I’m going to do something fun with this.” I’ve always loved art and have always drawn and painted. My type of drawing has always been very inspired by cartoons, so I started mixing fashion with cartoons. It’s like a conversation with myself every time I’m painting or drawing on something. I find it so fun, because there are so many clothes that are boring or simple - I add a little magic. 

I am sewing all the time, so I teach my son to press the pedal on the sewing machine, and tell him to keep going, and when to stop. He loves it. I love vintage photos, so I started making drawings with those, and I am having so much fun doing that. I bring those from the past and add some color from the present. My son will ask me “can I draw too?” So I let him do it. It’s so funny because in his room, all the walls are drawn on. I told him that’s the only place that he can draw on the walls, in his own room. He’s expressing himself, it’s so good for him. One day I will completely miss having it like that. When he stops drawing on the walls I will miss it. So I’m learning a lot from him. He’ll do a drawing and then I’ll do one inspired by that, or drawn over that. And then I put it on a garment or whatever comes to my mind. 

It’s so good to work with people who are so knowledgeable, because it took me so much time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. If I stayed in Argentina, in the same place, doing the same thing, I would have never learned what I wanted to do. Some people just sit expecting the idea of what they want to do to come to their brain. I think that going thrifting a lot, looking around for stuff, makes me learn about myself more and more every day. I know what I like and what I don’t like. A lot of times I come to The Vault with an empty bag and take a lot of things from my booth because things won’t feel like me anymore. But then some days I bring new stuff that I’m so excited by, which feels so good, and I have so much fun. 

Maria's booth at The Vault Collective

I love being alone in the store when we’re closed to rearrange my booth. It’s a great feeling of being alone. I also love looking at what other vendors have - everyone that works here knows about fashion, and that is so cool. And if you don’t know something, everyone is willing to teach you, and that’s awesome. When I first started working at The Vault there were so many things I didn’t know. I learned so much as an employee and I keep learning. I like everything related to secondhand clothes, and all the work that goes into it. We’re not just putting stuff out there - we wash it, clean it, and make it look good; we make it look brand new but with a story behind it for customers to use again. When a customer buys something from my booth that I made, I’m like, “I did that.” And you feel so good when customers try on your clothes or they shop around in your booth. I think that is so amazing. And also, to take care of the environment. That is the most important thing. 

You can shop Maria's collection, Maria Vintage, here!