Best friends Caitlin Varrin and Danielle Annicchiarico met in 2013 while working at Edmonton’s now-closed bar, Public House, and Varrin can still remember what Annicchiarico was wearing (“a black shirt dress and long dress necklace — simple-chic, working girl style.”). So it’s very fitting that, in 2018, the two of them started Lawless Vintage, an online retailer of vintage clothing, together. After years of enjoying the thrill of the find while thrift shopping, the two wanted to share their collection of vintage finds with Edmonton.
Why did you start Lawless Vintage?
Danielle: The idea had been brewing with me for about six months to do something with all of the vintage I had been collecting for the past 12 years of my life and not doing anything with. Caitlin had an equally ridiculous collection with vintage, so we decided to come together and start a vintage re-sale business.
Caitlin: A lot of our favourite vintage shops [in Edmonton] had closed, so we were travelling and finding things we wanted or ordering online, and we just wanted to bring a vintage community back to Edmonton.
What interested you in acquiring vintage in the first place?
Danielle: I started vintage-picking when I was in junior high school because it was my first opportunity, and an affordable way, to buy my own clothes. Picking out my own clothes as a preteen girl felt very empowering. Having those unique pieces in my closet has always been interesting to me.
Caitlin: I’ve always been a collector of a lot of things. I call it being a collector, not a hoarder! Finding those unique pieces is always a thrill. I love the costume aspect of things, I’ve had a tickle trunk since I was born, and dressing up was a big part of my childhood. Thrifting is an accessible way to play dress up as an adult. My place is always the pit stop before any themed party.
How do you decide what to offer in your online store?
Danielle: Anything that we would want to buy. We’ve started to look at things that are on trend right now, and look for a sustainable, vintage iteration of that trend. And, of course, we love Western wear.
Caitlin: This pastel Western dress — it’s like a Dolly Parton show dress made of thick denim with a Western print, with bold shoulders and an A-line skirt. It’s a fun, Western Barbie party dress. Western glamour party pieces always tug at my heartstrings. When I found it I screamed and almost blacked out. It was very dramatic. I found it at this amazing thrift store in Black Diamond called Cool Hand Luc’s Treasure Shop — he’ll let you try on as many things as you want. I spent a full day in that store, I had to leave and break for meals.
Danielle: I had a pair of Versace jeans that I thrifted when I was 19. I rocked those for a long time, and now I don’t know what happened to them — I think I wore them so much they disintegrated. When I was a little kid I had really strong attachments to my clothing.
Caitlin: We also love matching things. We’ve come into quite a few top and bottom pieces — it’s crazy when we find them separately. We found these amazing wool slacks and a month later, at the same Salvation Army, we found the jacket.
Where are some of your favourite cities in which to thrift?
Danielle: The smaller the better. Small towns are the best to thrift in. San Francisco is a fun place to go thrifting, and Portland is the mecca.
Caitlin: When I was in Berlin, I found a jacket that was made in Edmonton! I was announcing to the staff, “I live there!” It was like running into a friend on the other side of the world
How do you engage with your customers?
Caitlin: We have a blog which we we’re really passionate about having alongside our online store and pop-ups, so that we’re getting a little bit more of a platform to share the stories of these pieces. Instagram is great for a global reach, but our mandate is about bringing vintage to Edmonton so we work with local photographers and models, which gives us an opportunity to spend more time within the community.
Danielle: It’s about bringing our own personalities to the forefront of our business. Part of our brand is giving people a slice of who we are. The cowgirl/wild west theme of the business really embodies my personal style. It’s all about having fun.
How would you describe your personal style?
Caitlin: It’s very floral and feminine, I describe it as a mix of what a seven-year-old girl and a 70-year-old woman would wear. I love pastels, and I love oversized clothes. I can usually be spotted wearing some sort of vintage sportswear. I’ve been going to music festivals for years where the style there is its own thing: very loud, colourful, and funky. When I go out dancing I incorporate a bit of late ’70s, early ’80s disco style.
Danielle: I incorporate a lot of menswear into my daily look, but my style changes a lot. Right now I’m very much into early ’90s Marc Jacobs grunge looks. But I’m very heavily influenced by classic ’60s and ’70s style. I love to rock psychedelic mini dresses.
Caitlin: The two of us have a lot of the same clothing, but we’ll each wear them in totally different ways. We’re a constant source of style inspiration for each other.
Bar:Red Star Place to shop in Edmonton: Treats n’ Treasures Thrift Store Label:Gucci Meal in Edmonton: Steak tartare at Woodwork