Lessons from the Wardrobe Professor
This week at Premierlife.ca we’re premiering (ha, get it?) a new column entitled, “Faces of Fashion”. We’re beginning with Western University graduate, Chanelle Ramsubick. If you know Ramsubick you know the girl’s got style—like, serious style—and now, she can help you style yourself and even sell you clothing. We caught up with Ramsubick just as she was launching her online store. Read up on our conversation below.
LC: You’re a Western grad, what did you study here?
CR: I was studying Biology. If I could do it again, I’d probably pick something a little more interesting. To be honest, you can’t do much with a bio degree other than research and white canvas jackets are not my jam.
LC: Tell us all about Wardrobe Professor and why you started it?
CR: Wardrobe professor is an online database of different outfit ideas. I style the outfits myself, and try to explain why I paired the pieces together. My sister Brittney, or best friend Tori, takes the photos for me. I hope that my photos help inspire outfits for individuals who are sartorially inept. Although the title ‘wardrobe professor’ seems a bit pretentious, I really don’t proclaim to be a fashion guru. I just think styling clothes is fun. I never take it too seriously. My site also mainly features thrifted or vintage clothing, which I’m into big time. I also try to feature brands that aren’t well known but deserve air time—I’m obsessed with labels Vlieger and Vandam, mishca and my friends Kevin and Alyssa have started a clothing line called Chaos Theory. I’m super excited for them to release their first pieces.
LC: Why don’t you include faces in your photos?
CR: I don’t include faces because the site is celebration of different outfits; it’s not a modeling portfolio. I don’t want to detract from the clothes and the images by including my face because I want people to imagine themselves in similar outfits. Without faces it makes the images stand alone, instead of having people scrutinize what I look like, or try to imagine who I am.
LC: Why do you like vintage clothing in particular?
CR: I initially got into vintage because I’m poor. A hundred dollars at Value Village can get you a full winter wardrobe and you’ll still have money to get you hair did! I love seeing the expression on peoples faces when I tell them I bought my sweet snake skin pants for less than it cost them to get on the street car. The thrill of finding a one of a kind piece at a thrift store is an amazing feeling. You want to tell everyone and their mom about it. It’s great to find a sick blazer at Zara, but I get turned off from the garment after seeing three other girls in line at the fitting room holding the same one. But seeing a sweet blazer at VV and knowing it is probably the only one out there, now that’s dope.
On your site you coined the slogan “All Vintage Everything” When referring to an outfit that is comprised of only vintage. Can you give us a few examples of “all vintage everything” outfits? I can do that! Except for the shoes. I don’t have any vintage shoes.
LC: What sparked your interest to start selling vintage clothing online?
CR: I hate to be redundant but, I’m poor. Unfortunately blogs don’t pay the bills. There’s an art to vintage shopping, I’ve been honing my skills for the past five years and it was time for me to make some coin off my talent. Most people don’t have the patience to sort through racks and racks of ugly shit (Fact: 99% of the clothes at vintage stores are offensively ugly). The trick is you don’t want to look like you shop at Value Village. A lot of people think they know how to vintage shop but usually come out looking like Mrs. Doubtfire. Anyway, a bunch of people have asked me to take them vintage shopping. By selling clothing online, I can bring the clothes to them without actually having to take them around. Plus, if I took them vintage shopping they would find my favorite vintage stores. And then I’d have to kill them.
LC: What’s the biggest challenge you’ve encountered?
CR: A lot of my guy friends have been complaining that I don’t have enough men on my site. In fact, if you’re a hunk with dope style that you think deserves the lime light, get at me!
LC: Who have you collaborated with during the beginning stages of this project and whom do you wish to work with in the future?
CR: At the start it was just me and my little sister snapping pictures in and around my apartment building. She’s a trooper, without her I would definitely not be where I am today. I also have to thank my best friend Blair, she’s the one who go the site off the ground, before her I didn’t even know how to spell Tumblr. Ha, this is starting to sound like an acceptance speech. In the future, I’d like to collaborate with anyone who is willing—not to sound desperate, but…I am. As long as I can style the models, I’m down. I would also love to style my best friend Gill but she moved to London early last year and we’re finding the ocean to be a bit of a hurdle.
LC: What sets you apart from any similar companies?
CR: I found that the major problem with selling clothing online is that a single picture rarely does justice to the garment. So, I sometimes post multiple photos of a garments at different angles, and styled differently to give a complete view. I also found that the majority of online stores have the garment on a hanger or on a mannequin. I put the garment on a model and style it with my own clothes, to give the customer an idea of how to wear it.
LC: Where do you see the company in the near future?
CR: I’m in the midst of moving my stock to a condo space at King and Shaw in Toronto. This way people will be able to try on clothes before they buy it. I’ve also started doing personal shopping for people. That has been a lot of fun, and I hope to get a few more of those clients.
LC: On a personal level, are there any other fields of work that you can see yourself getting into?
CR: Like modeling, designing, etc. After graduating I really had no idea I’d be selling vintage five months later. I’m actually applying for med school at the moment. Ten years from now I’d like to be an anesthesiologist living in the Manhattan, rocking sexy suits to work. Saving lives by day and frequenting fashion events by night. Perhaps designing on my days off. I doubt my life will look like this, but a girl can dream.
Check out Chanelle’s blog, the Wardrobe Professor: wardrobeprofessor.tumblr.com