28 May Love Vintage Fashion with a focus on Slow-Fashion? Get to know FONDNEST!
Vintage curating is an art and not everyone has the patience to sort through bins or estate sales. That’s why we seek the expertise of those who are passionate about the hunt, the discovery, and the history behind finding true vintage fashion. As the demand for more sustainable practices in fashion increases, so does the vintage fashion industry. We had the pleasure of getting to know more about this process and the labor of love behind curating vintage and second-hand clothing, accessories and more from Jeanette Fernandez, the mastermind behind the newest vintage shop on the block, FONDNEST. Fernandez shares some insight into the world of vintage, tips for shopping and identifying true vintage.
Jeanette Fernandez of FONDNEST. Photo courtesy of Jeanette Fernandez
SLTV: Hi Jeanette! We’re so happy to have discovered you on social media! Tell us about FONDNEST. What was the inspiration behind starting the company?
JF: FONDNEST is an online store where you can find vintage designer and fab unlabeled clothing and accessories for one-of-a-kind looks. I have been buying vintage and secondhand for years. Honestly, I had grown tired of walking into traditional retail stores and walking out with an item that everyone else was also walking out with. And, buying clothing that I was only wearing for a couple of seasons until it fell apart because it wasn’t well made, or just wasn’t special to me anymore, didn’t feel right. Investing in vintage pieces allows you to create unique one-of-a-kind looks while helping the environment because now you’ve got well-made clothing and accessories that will stand the test of time and you can wear over and over again. It’s time for us to start thinking about how we shop.
SLTV: I noticed you mention slow-fashion in your tagline on social media. What are your thoughts on fast-fashion vs. slow-fashion and the direction we’re heading by presenting more sustainable fashion options to consumers?
JF: Listen, I think we all know the effects that fast-fashion has on our environment, and it’s not good. Fast-fashion is second only to oil as the world’s largest polluter. I understand the attraction of buying new and the joy you get from walking into a store like Zara and seeing all the latest seasonal fashion. But, have you ever wondered how stores like that are able to produce so many new items every single day? True story – at one of my first retail jobs back in the day, I worked in the stockroom at a very popular clothing store and you would be amazed at how many new items were delivered on a daily basis. It was staggering. Brand new inventory was put on the sales floor from the moment the store opened until closing – every day. How many of those pieces end up in landfills? At least 85%. Working slow-fashion into our daily lives is such a big deal. You may think that buying one vintage or secondhand piece of clothing isn’t going to make a difference, but it does. It’s one more piece that’s kept out of landfills.
We are definitely headed in the right direction in terms of correcting our fast-fashion obsession. Designers like Stella McCartney, Eileen Fisher, and brands like Reformation are dedicated to taking a more sustainable approach to fashion with eco-conscious materials and limiting the number of items produced seasonally. Recycling old textiles and garments has also increased over the past few years. It was recently announced that Miu Miu and Levi’s have partnered up to offer vintage Levi’s pieces with Miu Miu adornments. Pretty cool.
Vintage sequin dress & 80’s Norma Kamali yellow coat. Photograph by Max Martell-McCoy
SLTV: It really is cool! We’ve seen a lot of conversation about the lack of diversity in the eco-fashion world. As a Latinx entrepreneur, did you find it challenging to break into the sustainable/vintage fashion space?
JF: Not really, fortunately. Women of color are here for each other and are ready to support one another to the fullest. There’s always risk involved when it comes to starting your own business so having a good support system is essential. Having an understanding of startup costs involved, the time you’ll need to invest, marketing, etc. before you jump in is good to know. You’re going to hit frustrating roadblocks, so give yourself time to pause and then find a solution to get around them.
SLTV: The is wonderful advice. So, what is your selection process for the vintage pieces you curate?
JF: I do a ton of research on designers, labels, and styles from the 60’s to the 90’s. That doesn’t mean I don’t look at items prior to the 1960’s. In fact, I recently acquired some amazing 40’s and 50’s Guatemalan and Mexican skirts and tops that will drop soon. I seek out unique pieces – some are rare finds – ranging from daywear to evening wear. There are designers/brands who aren’t well-known because they’re not currently producing but their lines from decades ago are treasured, gorgeous pieces that deserve the spotlight. I look at the construction and materials. What type of condition is it in? I have a soft spot for no-label, handmade pieces, as well. For every curated piece, I know there is someone out there who is going to fall in love with it.
80’s Geoffrey Beene velvet and tinsel dress. Photograph by Max Martell-McCoy
SLTV: Gotta love a good rare find! How would you describe the esthetic of FONDNEST?
JF: FONDNEST bridges the gap between fashionistas and those simply interested in vintage pieces. It’s a place where people can find vintage haute couture, couture, daywear, streetwear, and more. I try to curate pieces that work for every lifestyle.
SLTV: What is your advice for those who are new to purchasing vintage clothing?
JF: Invest in pieces that speak to you, that you can see yourself wearing over the next few years, if not lifetime. Look for things that you can easily incorporate with what’s already in your closet. Be sure to check the measurements as vintage sizing runs smaller than modern sizes. Look at materials to see if it works with your comfort factor and climate. Most of all, know that when you buy vintage, you’re buying something that not a lot of people, if any, own. So not only are you creating a distinct style for yourself, you’re making Mother Nature smile.
70’s Elsa Schiaparelli floral tie. Photograph by Breanna Castillo
SLTV: Those are fantastic tips! How can consumers identify true vintage?
JF: Anything over 20 years old is considered vintage. Some pieces can easily be identified as vintage upon first glance – like a lemon yellow polyester dress. But other times, it can be difficult to know if an item is truly vintage. If you’re seeking high-end designer vintage pieces, you’ll have to do some research and investigating. There are brands who change the look of their labels/logos over the years. For example, a Pierre Cardin or Geoffrey Beene 90’s label looks different than their 70’s label. And, of course, there is always the fake vintage handbag or belt. Again, this is where you’ll want to dig in on research on whether or not what you have is a real designer vintage piece, and if so, the true age of it. High-end handbags and belts come with serial numbers that you can look up to determine the authenticity and age. Look for the Made In tag, placement of the logo, zippers (is the logo on the zipper?), etc.
Vintage jumpsuit. Photograph by Max Martell-McCoy
SLTV: These tips and tricks are gold, Jeanette! So, what are your plans/hopes for the future and for sustainable Fashion?
JF: My plan is to continue to grow FONDNEST with curated vintage pieces that speak to people with the online store. I’m also working on offering a fun gathering experience for those in San Antonio where I come to your home and you and all your fly friends can try on vintage clothing while learning about it and maybe buy a piece or two. Like a cool and fun way to shop for vintage with your friends in the comfort of your own place.
My hopes for the future of fashion is that more designers and retail stores transition to offering more eco-friendly clothing. We’re starting to see that now and that’s a wonderful thing. I also hope that people will really start to look at what fast fashion means for the environment and understand the huge impact that choosing to reuse has. Really consider quality over quantity.
Pair of vintage earrings. Photograph by Jeanette Fernandez
Secon-hand shopping used to be considered a bit of a taboo, but with the growing collective consciousness for more sustainable options, vintage, consignment and secondhand have become a hot commodity. Finding a true one-of-a-kind piece is a very special experience and having more options with different styles allows us to know exactly where to go to find what we’re looking for. We hope you love FONDNEST as much as we do! Be sure to follow them on social media and visit their site to shop for that special piece while also doing your part to reduce your impact on the planet.