I cannot pinpoint exactly when my love affair of oversized, flowy, cotton, Indian dresses began. I do remember shopping for them, in college, from a small dealer inside our local mall and scouring second-hand shops in Raleigh and Chapel Hill. I wish I saved my stash. I began wearing them again after the birth of my daughter. I feel most like myself when wearing these ethereal, non-restricting dresses. This is typically how I introduce color in to my wardrobe as well. Several years ago I splurged on a one-of-a-kind, vintage dress from Stone Fox Bride. Through the discovery of Molly Guy I found Just Say Native and Linde Sayles. I have been dying to interview Linde for years and finally it all worked out to do so. Linde’s eye for unique pieces, beautiful prints, texture, and, of course, that undeniable bohemian 60s and 70s vibe is right on. We have never met, but I feel like I kinda know, through years (literally) of back and forth emails, Linde’s humble, funny, don’t take yourself too seriously, kind self. Thanks Linde! Hope to meet you soon. Shop Just Say Native through Instagram. Hint: You better be quick! –SoS
SoS: Your story between fashion and TV/film?
There really isn’t a connection. I moved to CA to work in entertainment and eventually became a DGA Assistant Director in Film/TV. During that time, I started JSN as a hobby with my friend, Hillary Justin. She wanted to start selling/working at the Rose Bowl Flea Market and needed someone to help her so I was recruited and/or volunteered. We started at the Rose Bowl selling someone else’s goods and eventually started selling our own finds from trips back home to Michigan. We begin focusing our style and aesthetic and around 2011 Just Say Native was born. We ended our partnership in January 2014. Until April of 2016, I ran Just Say Native on my days off or during hiatus while still working as an AD on various TV shows. I actually kept the two lives very separate…I think.
SoS: Describe Just Say Native in three words.
I want to say Print, Pattern, Texture but that’s probably not it. Uhhhh….Bohemian, Wearable…I’m bad at this. I also want to say Bohemian Luxury. Gahh!! I don’t know. Maybe that’s something I should think about business wise.
SoS: When did your love for vintage begin to bloom.
I grew up with a love of flea markets and antique malls courtesy of my mother. She has always had an eclectic, found object and art focused sense of decor for our homes. She also appreciated the history of family heirlooms whether it was furniture or pictures or art. I would say I naturally grew to have the same style with my own decorating. I would rather have an older piece than something from a big box retailer. I also really loved going through like every rack at TJ Maxx or a department store sale…trying to find the best pieces at the best prices so I guess the hunting has always been there but I was never into vintage clothing. I came to appreciate it from selling at the Rose Bowl with Hillary (who had a lifetime of experience thrift shopping). Honestly, I think it’s still the love of the hunt for me. I think that’s also why JSN is very wearable and not necessarily “dated” to a certain time or place. If someone is knowledgable about vintage, they may know your JSN piece is vintage but they may also think it’s contemporary picked up at Barney’s or some beach side boutique from your recent trip to St. Bart’s. I like the ambiguity and don’t actually consider myself a “vintage” clothing dealer (don’t tell anyone).
SoS: Best part of your job?
I think it’s still the hunt for me. I love finding something I’ve never seen before or a beautiful new print. That’s part of what I love about the Indian pieces, they come in so many forms and prints. It’s a thrill to see one that you’ve never seen before and they’re all so beautiful. I also love, after working 18 hour days, the ability to be my own boss and go grab a coffee if I want to. I also love traveling for shopping and shows.
SoS: Do you have a hard time letting go of pieces?
I don’t. People are always really surprised but I don’t actually wear vintage that often, mostly just for events and shows, so my collection is quite small. Maybe 15 pieces? I also cycle through them occasionally when I find one that feels even MORE me than the last. I shop in a color scheme so it has to fit a few basic criteria to even make it into my closet to start. I also really enjoy finding someone something for clients. I get more pleasure out of knowing the exact piece that’s going to make someone feel just right. So sometimes my personal pieces go to new homes that way. I just sent one of my first Indian dresses to one of my first clients in NY because she emailed looking for “a dress like the one you were wearing when we first met.” I hadn’t worn it in over a year so off it went. She’ll probably wear it way more than I ever did.
SoS: Person, past or present, you would love to dress?
I’m not much of a “stylist” per se so I don’t know…..any woman who wants to feel glamorous and unique but totally casual and contemporary at the same time. Someone who appreciates the beauty of something old and understands how difficult it is to source a collection like JSN. I have celebrity clients, designers and clients who save for months to treat themselves. I like dressing them all.
SoS: Not to miss vintage show on the East coast? West coast?
I really only do one vintage show, A Current Affair, which is in both LA and NY. I haven’t been to many other shows. ACA is great though. Well curated for a contemporary customer and/or designer. The NY is my favorite just because I think NY is really lacking in “good” vintage shopping and the energy at the show is incredible. Plus NYC always has my heart.
SoS: Tips for shopping vintage?
Buy anything you love instantly. Look at literally everything if you have the time because gems are sometimes hiding and what may be a pass for someone else may be the hidden treasure for you. Know a good tailor and you can fix/make most anything work within reason of course.
SoS: What are your customers looking for and loving for spring?
Hmmm. I’m not that strategic but I think for spring, great new floral prints in new points of scale (either really big or really small). Crochet, ruffles, and textured layers.
SoS: Playing in your studio?
Like music? I’m a strange bird in that I don’t listen to music. If I have an appointment I turn on spotify or play a show playlist (I share an office space with A Current Affair).
SoS: Do you have a motto?
Well JSN has had a catchphrase from day one. “Native of a place, time and spirit as individual as you.” Which is where Native in the business name comes from (the first two words are a combination of my and Hillary’s last name…we never really thought the business would become what it is and it seemed like a cool name at the time). Lately I’ve been repeating a quote my dad sent me. “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Van Gogh
I’m changing the way I view my business this year. I work by myself….JSN is purely a one woman show and sometimes I get really overwhelmed with all that has to be done to push the brand forward. This quote has really been helping me stay focused and helps curb my anxiety too.
SoS: What’s the difference between vintage and second-hand?
I have no idea. I’m sure hard core dealers have a definition but I just buy what I love so you can call it vintage or second-hand.
SoS: Misconceptions about vintage dressing?
That you have to look like you’re wearing a costume or you have just walked out of a time period movie set. I really think you can wear vintage without anyone knowing and that’s the direction most vintage shopping has gone in the last few years. I think that trend will continue.
SoS: Something surprising about you?
Can I plead the fifth? I’m really an open book and also super boring. I’m not sure what to say? I worked for The Gap for 7 years? Sometimes that surprises people. BORING!
SoS: Favorite travel destination? Why?
I went to the Greek Islands three summers ago and I still daydream about going back. I’m a fire sign but a water baby at heart. The water there is so incredible…the clearest, darkest navy and I have never met a navy I didn’t like. Also the food was amazing. I, also, secretly want to marry someone who will be willing to go to every restaurant ever featured on Chef’s Table so….
Image: Isabel Parra Photography