The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

The student media organization of California State University Northridge

Daily Sundial

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L.A. residents swap their vintage clothes toward higher career goals

Young women from across Los Angeles gathered their vintage clothes and participated in a clothes swap on June 24.

Beth Jones, a 27-year-old fashion Web blogger and self-proclaimed society girl, hosted a ‘Society Swap’ in which women exchanged their unwanted outfits for something better.

After separating the items into their respective piles, it was open market for swapping. “The event brings fashion-oriented people and regular community members together to talk about clothes, swap vintage, drink wine and eat cheese.”

Quiksilver sponsored the project in an effort to unite its new woman’s clothing line. In December, six independent and creative women were selected to be ‘Visionaries in Residence.’ The program offers resources and support to showcase their personal projects.

The goal is to take the women to the next level of their career by introducing them to the right mentors.

“Each of us (women) work out of the loft and have free rein to use it how we want,” Jones said. “It’s been an incredible opportunity.”

Quiksilver purchased a 1,800 square-foot loft on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Rampart, remodeled the building and named it siteLA. It functions as a venue for special events and creative programming. Through performances, exposition and educational forums, they showcase their ongoing activity as artists, activists, designers and entrepreneurs.

Jones said she started a fashion Web blog called Vintage Society a year ago for the love of fashion and styling.

“I didn’t have any formal training and experience so I turned to the blogosphere to establish myself in the fashion world,” Jones said.

Vintage clothes and society girls are her inspirations, she said, because each garment is unique and every girl can add her own style and flair, making it a one-of-a-kind. Her blog, written from the perspective of the society girl, incorporates a young woman who loves fashion, embraces her body type, and sets her own trend by shopping at both the flea market and high-end boutiques.

The Vintage Society gained support and notoriety among her fellow fashion Web bloggers who encouraged her to take it to the next level.

“Eventually, my hobby turned into a career path with the help of Quiksilver, and I quit corporate America to follow my passion,” Jones said.

To celebrate the launch of the official Vintage Society Web site, Jones invited society girls from around the world to show how many lives one shirt from the new Quiksilver women’s fall 2008 collection can live. Jones picked five society girls from around the world to participate in the Quiksilver Traveling Shirt project.

Since its completion, the exhibit is on display at the siteLA loft.

Jones said it illustrates her point that one shirt can take on multiple lives.

Quiksilver employee Adam Katz created the siteLA program, which is a spinoff of a previous project he conducted in Italy.

College friend Cammie Staros helped spread the word to promote the venture. By mid-December, six women were selected as visionary residents and in January, the program was officially under way. Staros, the siteLA program manage, is in charge of the day-to-day operations and manages the Web site.

“I am the invisible person,” Staros said. “I work behind the scenes to coordinate all the events.”

The women include: Sarah Anderson, artist and performer; Dorothy Le, bicycling advocate; Jesse Rodato, architect and interior design; Khrystyne Zurian, exterior car designer; Pilar Diaz, singer and songwriter; and Beth Jones, textile artist and designer.

Rodato participated in the Society Swap to support her friend and fellow resident.

“All six of us have created a bond and we try to attend as many events as possible to show our support,” she said.

Her focus is creating and designing a traveling guerilla skate park that can be moved to temporary locations around South Central LA.

The idea is to mobilize a traveling skate ramp around gang-infested neighborhoods to give kids a safe place to hang out and stay out of trouble.

“I am a purpose-driven aspiring architect that believes that art can be a tool to be an activist,” Rodato said. “When I see the joy and excitement in their face, it reminds me that I am doing something good.”

Hilary Lewong, friend and vintage swap participant, said she is hoping to trade her vintage dress for something “?You don’t see others wearing,” she said.

“If it strikes my fancy and it’s comfortable, I’ll snatch it up!” Lewong said.

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