Co-owner of The Getup Vintage and new mom Kaylan Mitchell gives her first-hand account of second-hand fashion.
We may be looking for ways to reduce our environmental impact and make our daily choices a little bit greener, but what about fashion? How can we make our clothing options more eco-friendly?
The answer is simple. Buy vintage!
The Getup Vintage is located downtown Ann Arbor and co-owned by Mitchell and Lindsey Leyland.
“Buying vintage clothing is socially responsible, as each garment purchased combats the 14.3 million tons of textile waste per year produced in the United States alone,” Mitchell said. “Eighty-four percent of textile waste is sent to landfills at a cost of $3.7 billion per year, and a majority of this unprecedented growth in textile waste is driven by fast fashion and consumer behavior. Fashion cycles, from catwalk to retailer, move at lightning speed with multiple cycles per year. Add on the fact that our culture is steeped in rapid consumerism, and you end up with disposable clothing.”
Mitchell and Leyland became co-owners in 2015 when they purchased the business from the previous owners. The original store, established in 2005, had moved from its third floor space to the first floor location when these long-time employees made the decision to buy the business.
“It was a really joyous moment for all of us, and we’re so glad to be able to continue the tradition of small business and vintage clothing on State Street. We’ve been there for 18 years now! In a town that’s rapidly changing, that we’ve survived and thrived for this long really feels like a victory in and of itself,” Mitchell said.
The store sells vintage clothing, jewelry and accessories, with an emphasis on the decades from the 1950s to the 1990s. From hippie bell-bottoms to Ramones-style leather jackets to acid-wash jeans from the 80s, if there was a fashion phase, you will likely find it here.
Keeping it clean
Mitchell is always on the lookout for interesting pieces from pop culture. When new/old pieces are acquired, they go through an environmentally-friendly cleaning process before being made available for purchase.
“All our clothes are laundered using only natural products such as vinegar, baking soda, water and the sun. We don’t use commercial detergents, but rather make our own soap for the washing machine using a mixture of completely natural products with no plastic bottle waste,” she said. “We try to do best practices of only running the washing machine when full and line-drying items when possible. Of course, some items need to be dry-cleaned, and we use an organic-process dry cleaner in town for that. Additionally, energy for our shop and warehouse is 100% solar powered and supplemented with green energy credits when necessary.”
The shop also carries handmade items from local artists and makers, many of whom use repurposed materials in their craft.
Recently, they began offering classes for shoppers who want to learn more about the care and repair of vintage clothing, from sewing on buttons to hemming a garment.
Visitors at The Getup Vintage may include students as well as professors. Designers will stop in for inspiration, and professionals and collectors are always on the lookout for one-of-a-kind pieces. Mitchell has also helped wardrobe departments for film and television crews.
Mitchell is currently learning how to balance motherhood with managerial duties.
“It’s been fairly crazy, I must say! But crazy good! I’m very thankful to my business partner, Lindsey, who allowed me to take a fairly substantial maternity leave and then work part-time in order to be with my son more,” Mitchell said. “I’ve really learned how to set boundaries with what I can accomplish in a day. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I can’t do everything. It’s great to work during nap time, until you haven’t showered or slept because the baby woke up early, and now your work isn’t completed and you haven’t showered either!”
She offers the advice, “Be realistic with yourself, and prioritize your sleep and self-care.”
Parent profile: Get to know Kaylan Mitchell
Tell us about your family!
Married to Alex Merz, mom of Theodore (goes by Teddy).
Where are you from?
Where did you go to school?
Favorite way to spend a day off?
Ride bikes on the B2B Trail and go to the Matthei Botanical Gardens.
Favorite A2 restaurant?
Detroit Street Filling Station
Favorite go-to beverage?
Hyperion Coffee. I’m just a black coffee or water kind of gal.
Are you a book person or a movie person?
I have a degree in film studies, but I’ve worked in both bookstores and movie theaters. So both!
A hidden gem of Ann Arbor is…
Advice for other mompreneurs?
I’ve learned to set boundaries with work hours and employees, and also set the expectation that I’m not reachable 24/7/365. I utilize “quiet mode” and “do not disturb” far more often than I used to. Finally, don’t feel bad about disconnecting from work! Usually, the problems aren’t SO big that they can’t wait for a few hours for a proper response.