‘Each piece of clothing has a past, and they are ready to be passed on to someone else to start a new chapter.’
Tiana Schwenker, Babylon
“I guess you can say I have always been an old soul because of my dad, who has always been my inspiration. My dad has been an antique collector for as long as I can remember. Ever since I was a little girl, he would bring me to antique shops and flea markets, which is where my fascination for antiquing began.
“I attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, where I learned about the modern fashion industry. I remember my first time stepping into a vintage clothing store, and it was at that moment that I knew that I wanted to do something different, not work in modern fashion, but vintage.
“In January of 2020, my junior year of college, I started curating a collection, and that’s when my journey as an online vintage seller began. I started traveling all around the United States and growing my inventory, which then led me to vend at vintage shows in both Manhattan and the Hamptons.
Each piece has a past, and they are ready to be passed on to someone else to start a new chapter.
“Before I knew it, I was planning to open up my very own vintage shop in my hometown, Babylon Village. In April of 2022, my dad and I began renovating the 100-year-old space and making it my own. By removing the modern walls that were built over the years, my dad was able to reveal the original brick walls and wood-plank ceiling, giving its true vintage feel. My dad and I had a vision, and he brought it to life.
“When I see a luxurious 1930s old Hollywood glamour gown or an Edwardian lace cotton voile lawn dress, I am always in awe. The construction, silhouette, material and quality of these garments are always impeccable.
“Learning about the origin of these pieces of clothing, as well as connecting with the original owners, will always be inspiring. Each piece has a past, and they are ready to be passed on to someone else to start a new chapter.
“Opening up my store has allowed me to connect with new people that have similar interests and learn about past experiences. I will forever be grateful for this opportunity, and I hope that more and more people will appreciate vintage and its true authenticity in the same way that I do.”
Interviewed by Maggie Rose Melito