Inspire Me: Tara Papanicolas

Inspire Me: Tara Papanicolas

 Tara Papanicolas

SCDC: What is a quote you live by?

TP: “Fashion should be a form of escapism, and not a form of imprisonment” ~ Alexander McQueen

SCDC: How many years have you been in business?

TP: I have been in the fashion business since I started collecting in the late 90’s. But really I have been in the business since I was a little girl in the 80’s. My aunt had two boutique’s in Georgetown in the 80’s. My mother would help my aunt out at the stores so I would go with her. So, I grew up around fashion.

SCDC: What inspired you to become a stylist and collect vintage clothing?

TP: I became a freelance wardrobe stylist in ’97. I was freelancing with local DC magazines. I was an avid collector. I would frequent auctions and estate sales and would source antique furniture and vintage clothing. It was and still is something I live to do. I live and breathe it. That started my obsession with vintage. My styling work really reflects who I am and what I like to collect.

SCDC: What challenges have you met along the way? 

TP: Challenges…if you are thinking about going into a business and are bringing on someone as a partner, DO YOUR RESEARCH FIRST!

Tara Papanicolas

SCDC: Does your business reflect who you are? How?

TP: My vintage business definitely reflects who I am. It’s ever changing. I’m ever changing. I feel the need to look different on a daily. I get bored easily. I collect pieces from the late 18th century through the early 80’s. So it’s a smorgasbord of styles and silhouettes, all very different from each other, all telling a different story. I feel like my styles tells a different story every day. Change is everything.

SCDC: What is your favorite style moment? 

TP: My favorite style moment, that’s a no-brainer. It’s something very near and dear to my heart. When I was going through Cancer treatment and chemotherapy took all of my hair, my dear friend Violetta Markelou shot a photo series of me. One of the images was put on a t-shirt. The rest is history.

SCDC: Do you have any styling tips for our readers?

TP: Styling tips…yes, mix old and new. pick pieces that look like current trends. most contemporary fashion is a reinterpretation of styles from the past. modern designers and fashion houses have massive archives of vintage pieces that they are constantly adding to and from which they draw inspiration. don’t over think it, try it. start with a classic piece, a hand-beaded cardigan or a black dress and build the look from there.

SCDC: What is next for Tara and Los Gitanos Vintage? Also where can our readers find you?

TP: After 3 brick-and-mortars I have decided to go online. Currently I am building an Etsy following, selling on there. Next I will launch my own Los Gitanos Vintage site. I also sell through Instagram, at pop-ups + trunk shows.

SCDC: What is the first thing that comes to mind about Washington, D.C.? Also, do you plan hold an event here? 

TP: When I think of DC I think of the art + music scene. Those two scenes alone influence the industry. I think DC has a lot to offer and we sometimes take it for granted. I mean…DC is the home of GoGo!

Be sure to follow Tara on Instagram and shop ETSY!

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