15 May Salt + Bloom :: Bold + Flowing Style
Haute Again would like to introduce you to Chelsea Bratches, owner of the women’s vintage clothing shop Salt + Bloom. I first met Chelsea at the Artist & Fleas Market in Venice, CA back in January of this year. I admire Chelsea’s eye for prints and how she styles them together. Each piece of clothing she chooses is unique. But when she brings them together, she creates an outfit with an uncommon story that transcends trends and encourages her fans to enhance their personal style.
WHAT IS SALT + BLOOM?
SALT + BLOOM is a collection of vintage clothing for women and vintage inspiration for fashion designers.
I guess when I look back there are a few key factors leading up to starting SALT + BLOOM. . . the first is that my mom was an interior designer and loved antiques, so she would take me to the local flea market and thrift shops when I was little, so I got the treasure hunting bug at an early age! I’ve always worked in fashion from the age of 15, from luxury retail to styling to marketing, but over time my love for secondhand and vintage got stronger, and after watching a documentary called The True Cost I committed to wearing only secondhand clothes (with the exception of a pair of Madewell Jeans I purchased in-store!). I started to think that I would like to do something that was aligned with the message from the film. Also, in my previous job as a marketing manager for a brand called Cleobella, the owner of the company was super inspiring and started the brand with very little experience, and many of her friends were also female small business owners, and so it was the first time where I started to think that maybe I could do the same thing too. Also, In that job I learned a lot about e- commerce, marketing, social media, and graphic design, so it gave me the tools that I needed to just go for it. I’m really grateful for that job because not only did it inspire me, and give me the tools that I needed, but I feel like I also began to understand more about myself and what I wanted out of life, and what my passions are, mainly because the team was so great and everyone was really inspiring.
WHAT IS YOUR SELECTION PROCESS FOR PICKING PIECES FOR THE SHOP/PAGE/COLLECTION?
I don’t really have a specific process, but I’m really drawn to specific things- color, interesting prints, embellishments (beading, feathers, embroidery, studs) and interesting or flattering silhouettes. I also pay attention to current trends in fashion, so I will buy things that are relevant today. The thing that I focus on most when I’m shopping is fabric. sometimes I don’t even flip through individual pieces on a rack, I just scan the rack with my eye until my eye catches a fabric that looks expensive or has a cool print or color. I’ve also learned to resist purchasing something I find if it doesn’t fit my brand aesthetic.
YOU HAVE NOW BEEN IN DOZENS, PROBABLY HUNDREDS OF THRIFT SHOPS AND MARKETS, WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST EXPERIENCE AND WHEN?
I grew up in a small town on the east coast called Madison, CT. In the Summer months they had a tiny little antique market on the Town Greene which is like a little patch of grass in front of the church. I remember I was really young, but I wanted this vintage Christian Dior turban from one of the vendors, but I didnt have enough allowance to buy it. So the vendors (they were an elderly couple) just gave it to me because they probably thought it was amusing that this little kid wanted a vintage Dior turban so badly haha.
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE FASHION ICONS?
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FIND UP TO DATE?
That’s a tough one but probably this reversible 1920’s kimono. It’s hard to explain but it’s very unique and out of all the kimonos I’ve seen over the years, I have never seen one like this.
DO YOU FEEL YOU IDENTIFY WITH A CERTAIN AESTHETIC FOR YOUR SHOP/PAGE/COLLECTION?
IF SO, WHAT IS THAT AESTHETIC?
Yes definitely! Color, print, flowers, beach! Because I’m not originally from here Southern California really inspires me. The bright pink bougainvillea, the laid back, carefree vibe of the surf culture, plus Hollywood glamour and retro Palm Springs – my aesthetic is bright and colorful, with interesting, glam pieces that would have been worn by Hollywood starlets, balanced by easy, laid back, bohemian pieces that you could wear barefoot at the beach.
The answer above probably covers this but, the name SALT + BLOOM speaks to the aesthetic/inspiration: I love the ocean (salt) and I love flowers (bloom). Sometimes I want to be at the beach all day, salty haired and barefoot, while other times I want to dress up in wild color and beading and and feathers and go get fancy drinks in the city! So I’m equally inspired by both aesthetics and I think it’s good to have a balance anyway!
WHAT CURRENT VINTAGE DEALERS ARE YOUR PERSONAL FAVORITES?
Guermantes Vintage – I really don’t understand how they find the pieces they find. Lots of 1920’s and antiques.
Gossamer Vintage– I’m so impressed with their E-commerce
ANY TIPS FOR THE READERS?
When you’re hunting let go of expectations! if you have something in your mind you are “looking for” you won’t find it!
WHERE OR HOW DO YOU PREFER TO HUNT FOR YOUR PIECES?
WHAT’S IN YOUR PERSONAL COLLECTION THAT YOU HAVE KEPT FOR YOURSELF AND CAN’T GIVE UP?
WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA INFLUENCERS?
Even though her style is so different from mine, @taylranne is my fave. She’s not just another pretty girl in a cute outfit, she is an artist at heart with an incredible eye for photography and incredible, sophisticated taste. Also @viciously_cyd is the owner of a brand called Stone Cold Fox, and she has really great style and amazing taste.
Thank you Chelsea for taking the time to talk to us about Salt + Bloom and sharing your personal stories with us. Cheers.
P.S. See you at the next show. 😉