Siri: Hi Melise! How long have you had your shop, Rosebud Vintage, now?
Melise: Just about a year. It’s basically become my living room, but open to the public, and with access to my closet. I’ve been collecting vintage my whole life, so I feel like it was kind of inevitable that I would eventually start selling the stuff.
S: Is there a time period you favor in terms of fashion?
M: When I was younger, the big draw was Victorian fashion. It’s so easy to romanticize that period, since it’s so hard to get you hands on those pieces. As I got older, the focus shifted to 50’s and 60’s because it’s practical, wearable, and it was easy to find growing up in Miami. Right now I’m fanatical about the early 1930’s and the 1940’s. There’s something about the crazy details and the ridiculous shoulders and the strange fabrics they used. There’s both a playfulness and seriousness to the clothing that you don’t see before or after that era.
S: I love the period when women really started wearing pants, and pants suits.
M: Yes! What you would of course call “pajamas”, because you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing “trousers”, women didn’t wear trousers. There’s actually a great tumblr called Giant Pants of the 30’s that I follow, and it’s amazing.
S: I understand you also have a soft spot for tattooed ladies from the past as well?
M: I love vintage tattooed ladies! I love the idea of women, during a period when society didn’t even really respect them as individuals, going out and saying “this is me and this is what I want to do to myself.” Starting in the late 1700’s and then again in the late 1800’s, well-off women would go and get very small tattoos in places that could only be seen by their lovers or husbands: tiny music notes, little treble clefs, hearts, cherubs. I think it’s a testament to the fact that humans in general, but women in particular, will always strive to adorn themselves in new and intriguing ways.
S: Do you collect anything?
M: Everything. My newest thing is hosiery. I started wearing fully fashioned stockings with garters, and then I bought myself a pair with rhinestones up the front, and just recently I received a box of three pairs of 1930’s fishnets. They’re such an amazing this to collect because a) it’s total nonsense, why do you need them? And b) they take up almost no space at all. I tend to collect beautiful things, and the less sense they make in my life, the more I want them.
Siri: Travis, tell me about the big painting in your living room. Where did it come from?
Travis: This is a piece that my father did, about 30 years ago. He would use pieces of maps, and then reproduce it in a painting.
S: Is your father an artist?
T: He is. He has an interesting story, because he gave up working as an artist in order to raise a family. So he stopped making art for about 30 years, and then picked it back up again in his mid-50’s, full time. Now the basement back home is completely full with paintings, just paintings everywhere.
S: How long have you been working as a composer?
T: I’ve been writing music since I was about thirteen or fourteen, but I’ve been playing music since I was about five, maybe even younger. I actually started touring out of high school with a metal band called Found Dead Hanging. For me, metal just hits that one spot deep inside that no other type of music can really get to.
S: Tell me a bit about your collection of musical instruments. Where did you guitars come from?
T: It’s strange, but I somehow tend to manifest instruments wherever I go. That guitar right there, somebody gave to me on the street. It had maybe two strings on it, it was really really dirty, but I took it and fixed it up, and it’s actually a pretty nice guitar. Same thing for another one of my guitars, I worked at this restaurant briefly in Williamsburg, and a customer came in and gave it to me.
S: And the sitar?
T: When I was seventeen, I was going to start studying sitar quite seriously with this master in New York, but just after I bought it I was asked to be in a band full time, practicing seven days a week, so I just didn’t have time for it. It’s basically a meditation tool. The way you play it, you have to be barefoot on a wooden floor, and the body of the instrument touches your foot which touches the floor, so it’s connected with the earth. I don’t know much about who made this one, but I think it’s at least sixty years old. I could probably sell it for a lot of money and buy a bunch of other instruments, but I don’t quite have the heart to get rid of it.
S: I feel like in your profession it must be hard to get rid of instruments. You never know when you might need a really weird sound.
T: It’s true, you never know.