Artwork from local creatives adorn the walls, vases full of wildflowers hang from the ceiling, and clothing racks hold wardrobes from generations past. A pair of blue dance shoes, worn-looking, likely with years of parties under its belt, sits on top of a shelf, awaiting the day when they’ll waltz across the dance floor once again.
“Those are 1940s…they’re amazing!” Brandy Tezak explains. “I wear an eight and it’s so hard to find vintage. Everything was narrow, so it’s very common to find a size six.”
Brandy owns Retromended, a vintage fashion store tucked in behind a courtyard shaded by palm trees, across the street from Lake Ivanhoe.
“It’s 2016, so 1996 is technically vintage now, which is crazy,” she laughs. “Does that mean my prom dresses are all vintage?”
Brandy spent her childhood thrift shopping with her grandmother and hunting for antiques with her stepmother.
“It [vintage clothing] was just kind of in me as a kid and as I got older I was more into whatever was in -the trends,” she says. “And then later in life I really kind of went back to the nostalgic, back to my roots, being more interested in the fabric, the history piece that is attached to vintage.”
Brandy worked as a stockbroker for 10 years before studying business at Rollins College. In November 2011, she opened an Etsy shop to sell her vintage finds while working and going to school full time.
“I definitely had a full plate,” Brandy says. “The Etsy shop was really just a hobby in the beginning. There was a period of time where I didn’t even think of the fact that it could be my full-time job. I just liked it and then it kind of progressed from there.”
That’s when her life took a turn.
“I had several deaths of people close to me right in a row so it just made me change the way I was thinking,” she says. “That’s one of those things that’ll just kind of get to your core and I was like, ‘Man, you know, life’s short. How am I spending my time? What am I doing with my life? I’m doing this job that supports me and is great in a lot of ways but do I feel anything about it?”
Brandy decided to follow her passion -she quit her job and opened Retromended in 2012. Now, she spends her time doing the things she loves: hunting for vintage treasures, hosting charity and sales events in the courtyard outside her store, and getting to know her regular customers while helping them find the perfect outfits.
“That’s the part that I love -the regulars,” Brandy explains. “I get to know them. I get to know their taste and then I reach out to them and say, ‘Hey, I have this perfect piece; I know you’re going to love it. Come in.’ I love dressing clients for events. That’s my jam, the gowns and the events, especially vintage. It’s so unique and beautiful and timeless.”
If you ask Brandy what her favorite decade is she’ll laugh and say it depends on the day.
“Right now I really love ’40s stuff but I like to mix decades too,” she says. “You really can put an ’80s dress with ’40s pumps and a modern hat. Just kind of creating your own look instead of being costume-y with it because I think if you wear ’40s from head-to-toe you’re going to look like you’re going to a themed party and that’s what I don’t want. I want to make it relevant, and take your style to the next level by using a unique vintage piece mixed with it.”
What’s next for Brandy?
“Right now, I really want to focus on getting the online store up,” she says. “I want people to have a similar experience online that they have in the store. So, knowledge, history, etc. I want to teach them about vintage and why it’s cool. That’s really my focus right now and also the events and just continuing to find amazing stuff.”
Story appeared in the March/April 2016 issue (pgs 24 & 26) of Orange Appeal magazine.