While Bad Asta Vintage might be a fledgling company, it’s important to acknowledge the climate in which our little project was born—one in which a global pandemic and struggle for racial justice has created a greater awareness of the need for restructuring inherently racist or unhealthy models of production. But what does a little vintage clothing business have to do with any of that?
On the one hand, Bad Asta celebrates a sustainable way of engaging with fashion. We style and sell pieces from our own closet, or thrifted from around the world. On the other hand, we want to make it clear that our passion is for vintage style, not vintage values. We understand that a lot of the old movies we love aren’t progressive, but we believe that engaging with them critically as well as aesthetically can be a way of working intellectually through conversations on race, gender and equality.
Take this look, for instance. The vintage shorts come from my mother’s personal closet (and represent a wardrobe staple of hers dating back to middle school). They have a baggy, 1980s cut and a fun and dynamic print to match— one that obviously brings cowboys to mind. But instead of highlighting a film with problematic depictions of race and gender (take basically any garden-variety Western), we’re steering the conversation a bit differently.
The sweatshirt shown here is from McNally Jackson, an independent bookstore in New York City that I frequented often during my college days in the city. When I heard that good ol’ McNally’s was closed for over two months due COVID-19, I started to worry about the state of this beloved bookstore, as well as countless others around the country. Happily, I found that McNally Jackson was still selling swag through the closure. This purchase not only helped an indie business stay afloat during a difficult time, but also served some bright looks for this cloudy Cali afternoon. A bright tank, tee or sweatshirt would work equally well in styling these uniquely cool shorts.
The make-up look comes from Fenty Beauty, a cult-status cosmetic brand owned and operated by badass Black beauty and style icon, Rihanna. Fenty beauty has long been lauded for its gold-standard foundation shade range, as well as its innovative products for lips, cheeks, and eyes. And the Moroccan Spice palette used here did not disappoint, with a range of bright and highly pigmented shades.
While supporting indie and Black-owned brands represents a crucial step towards a great movement, Bad Asta intends to further that step by taking an active part in conversations about community-based capitalism and racial justice. The often superficial sphere of fashion can feel divorced from these larger issues, but in fact, we believe that all sectors of our world can find ways to participate more significantly in important, action-oriented dialogues. And show off some cool looks to boot.
Asta is the fictional pup of The Thin Man, a 1934 detective novel written by hard-boiled genius Dashiell Hammet, adapted as a film by the same name in the same year starring William Powel and Myrna Loy as Nick & Nora, Asta’s wise-cracking, case-cracking owners.
Bad Asta, on the other hand is the brain-child of Kate Dawson and Nicole Horowitz, two vintage thrifters with a shared love for film. Our Vintage Brand is founded on principles of aesthetics and sustainability, with a little dose of old-timey fun along the way.
Kate and Nicole
Purveyors of Pastiche
Nicole Horowitz & Kate Dawson are the “purveyors of pastiche” behind Bad Asta Vintage. Hailing from LA and Philly, respectively, the two met at Oregon State University while pursuing MA degrees, and quickly bonded over a mutual love of classic film. Their bi-coastal journey into the marriage of film and fashion is Bad Asta's raison d'être. We hope you'll come along for the ride.