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Castaways Vintage...Distinctive Upcycled Clothing
Why is vintage clothing such a draw for the fashionably adventurous? Castaways Vintage at 70 State Street in Newburyport casts a distinctive net on the category! Store owner Bianca Giacalone counters the fast fashion of franchises with her customized collection of upcycled clothing. This is thrift with a gift of embellishment…a beaded seam on a sheer top, a feathered collar on a jacket, or the juxtaposition of jacquard on denim. Castaways Vintage also features new accessories to pair with each find, and a fun collection of original Plum Island themed sweatshirts, tees, and merchandise.
Castaways caters to what’s fun about upcycling, finding one’s style by fusing the old and new. Of course, it’s socially conscious to repurpose well-made clothing, and a dash of fashion savvy can make it one’s own. But what’s up with Vintage Castaway’s beachy vibe and bright colors? Bianca explains her time in Australia made her appreciate the surfer scene of every shore. Surfer communities have a vibe that is both bold and relaxed, not exactly typical of nautical New England! Yet it gives Castaways Vintage a cache not found elsewhere. People may follow the reels on TikTok or Instagram and drive for miles to explore the store. One customer said she’s become obsessed, returning again and again to see what new treasures await.
The second hand news is that thrifting has gone mainstream. Castaways Vintage has capitalized on this opportunity to put their own spin on the growing upcycled clothing and accessories market. Giacalone curates her collection with specialized buying trips, her own laundering and tailoring process, and supplementing each season’s display with new jewelry, imprinted merchandise, and other adornments. Her store is a delight to the eye with its color coordinated racks and comfy furniture and dressing rooms. Her sales crew is informed and enthusiastic, and as the weather warms, she hopes to add more college-aged assistants to the team.
Castaways Vintage actually started in Gloucester in 2019 as a café, with specialty clothing as a secondary feature. The problems with eating out during the pandemic changed that equation, and Bianca’s focus on fashion grew. Bianca and her sister learned the many aspects of retail marketing from years of working with her mother, Melissa Tarr, who currently owns Design of Mine on Pleasant Street. While the Gloucester-based Castaways Vintage Café had a great following, Bianca was eager to open a second location in Newburyport, one exclusively for clothing and accessories, because of its retail-friendly community. Giacalone says the number of sponsored events like Invitation Nights and Yankee Homecoming help promote neighborhood shopping to residents and tourists alike. She says that kind of support helps make Newburyport a particularly attractive place to do business.
Castaways has both seaside and second life connotations, and both are apt. This surprising store delivers thrift with the gift of panache! Article written by Newburyport.com Correspondent, Adair Rowland.
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