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Vintage Hoochie, FOREVER!

Influenced mainly by the Burlesque retro era in fashion, Tonika Howard of The Vintage Hoochie likes to have fun with the juxtaposition of old and new, translating styles from the glamorous era of fashion to modern day zeitgeist. 

I really dug her 'DreamHouse' shoot, so I reached out via social media to ask a few questions to dig into who/what Vintage Hoochie is.  Turns out, she's super into the business side of fashion; think marketing and sales, among other aspects of the industry.

Raisa: Who/What is Vintage Hoocie?

Vintage Hoochie: Vintage Hoochie is a concept brand I’ve developed via social media. Growing up, I would come up with titles to express the style phases I'd go through. The first one was around 2005, called Tokyo Punk Rock, inspired by Gwen Stefani’s Love. Angel. Music. Baby.  

As I got older, I wanted a name I could truly utilize online FOREVER.  I needed to decide on the underlying inspiration behind my style by digging deep inside myself.  Alas, Vintage Hoochie became the perfect title to embody my overall vision, style, and aesthetic!

The Retro eras in fashion influenced me a lot, especially Burlesque. I feel a connection with women who are rebellious, misunderstood, and go against what society wants them to display themselves as. They created glamorous images of the standard for elegance, while staying sexy.

My goal with the Retro era is to take the glamour of it, and translate it to the modern day zeitgeist.  The look is always elegant and celebrates the female figure. Anyone that falls in line with the aesthetic,  is a Vintage Hoochie!

R: What Do You Do?

VH:  I’ve worked in customer service / retail since graduating college. I’ve learned so much by comparing and contrasting marketing strategies of companies to see what works, verses what doesn’t. My goal has always been to apply what I've learned, to Vintage Hoochie.

Currently, I have lots of people hitting me up to do creative work for them.  So that, along with modeling, is the focus for Vintage Hoochie on Instagram. My personal career interest is Marketing and Data and I’m currently looking to further my education to obtain a position where I can gain experience in said field.


"The industry has changed, fast fashion and underground designers are taking over, that's where the moneys going."


R: What was the Inspiration behind the shoot?

VH: I have albums on Pinterest that I set up to express a variety of themes. This particular look was a combination of my albums ‘As if’, ‘Narcissist’  and ‘Barbie Dollhouse’.  I titled the look Dollhouse because, appropriate props. The Blazer from @carpe_luxevintage was a blatant undertone from the movie Clueless. The boots were used to make the shoot modern. So besides having the Pinterest albums to draw inspiration from, I didn’t put much thought into this look, it was spontaneous. 

R:  How do you feel about the current state of fashion ? Mainstream? Underground? Or are they combined?

VH: I feel like Mainstream designers have been putting less effort in, due to decrease in sales. The industry has changed, fast fashion and underground designers are taking over, that's where the moneys going. And its bc social media. I’m noticing that Social Media Iinfluencers, are the new celebrities! Companies are are taking new approaches by collaborating with said influencers in order to stay in business.

Meanwhile, Underground Fashion thrives for the authenticity.  People like brands that provide personal interaction while being affordable, AND in line with whats trending at the moment. They're no longer buying things because you tell them to, but because the item is a must have that won’t break the bank!  Matte Brand and Kloset Envy, are two underground companies I’ve been studying.  Now that American Apparel and Nasty Gal are going through "The Struggle", I think online boutiques are laughing and dominating.  But don't get it twisted, there are so many other Markets! When I worked at Vince I noticed people would invest in pieces based on exclusivity and quality material.

R: Are Seasons Out?

VH: The industry has become over saturated and all over the place. I used to be able to keep up with everything going on, easily, now I keep focus on designers that inspire my brand. For example: Cushnie et Och is just one of the brands on my 'Ones to Watch' list. But, I seriously don’t know a good answer to this question, the industry is very overwhelming to try and keep up.


 "If you meet a possible good guy, let him know that you and your career come first."


R: What should the fashion industry add, What's missing?

VH: I love seeing advances in technology. A lot of people are so fearful that it will take jobs, but I see the bigger picture. First off there's lots of pressure to make sales in retail. Workers may become emotionally hostile in order to meet sales goals. I think one solution to alleviating the stress on sales workers, while remaining cost efficient, is incorporating things like Rebecca Minkoffs Connected Store Demo.  May get people back into the malls.

R: What Are Your Goals?

VH: My goal is to combine my career interest, knowledge and experience with monetizing my brand. 

R: What would you like to tell your younger self? Younger girls? 

VH: I would tell myself to take my time, figure out what I really want to do. While life is not a race, I could have saved a lottime had I chose a direction when I was younger, instead of going to college with no real focus. 

When I began to narrow down my career choice, I considered problems I wanted to solve in the world.

If you want to do fashion, but can't/don't attend a fashion concentrated school, look into studying business.

My last piece of advice is to resist these boys, they are wired differently. Be understanding of men, but don’t fall for their tricks or dream selling tactics. If you meet a possible good guy, let him know that you and your career come first. He should understand and if he doesn't, that’s not the guy for you. Invest in yourself first!

Shot by: @_da.photos

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