RIVA New York was our first venture selling jewelry direct-to-consumer. We didn’t have a lot of experience but there was one thing we knew for sure: we were going to be ethically sourced and manufactured. We take great pride in knowing our metals are certified recycled, other materials are traced and ethically sourced, and our manufacturing is done by artisans that are valued and compensated appropriately. This is one way to make sure a business is having a positive impact on people and the planet, but it’s not the only way.
Another way to run an ethical business is to sell items second hand. Waste is a huge problem in the developed world and the fashion industry is a huge culprit. But when we stumbled on @Kailauli’s Tiktok account, we were introduced to another way: centering a business around deadstock vintage. While most vintage is pre-loved, deadstock vintage is vintage that was manufactured over 20 years ago but was never sold to the end consumer. Instead, it sat in a warehouse or packaging facility due to over stock, being discontinued, or the company closing down.
Kaila founded Brillies Sunglasses with the intent to sell deadstock sunglasses in a way that made them appealing to the modern consumer. The retro-inspired website has dozens of sunglasses intended to be sold in the ‘90s/’00s that never saw the light of day. They range in style from dark micro-sunnies to loud, rimless colorful shades with pieces in between to match any style.
But one of the most attractive aspects of Brillies is the affordable pricing. While other brands might price their pristine vintage at insane markups, most shades on the Brillies website range from $20 to $30. When asked why she keeps her prices so low when she could easily charge more she said, “It’s because I’m scared of global warming. There is so much vintage and second hand stuff in this world that it might actually be a viable option to fast fashion if we make it accessible to everyone.” That sentiment is why we were honored to support Brillies as a brand and Kaila as an entrepreneur.
"There is so much vintage and second hand stuff in this world that it might actually be a viable option to fast fashion if we make it accessible to everyone.”
- KAILA ULI, OWNER, BRILLIES SUNGLASSES
We styled two outfits incorporating two pairs of Brillies sunglasses. The first pair are oval micro sunnies with a brass frame and black lens. We styled them with our Midi Hoops in 14K gold, sterling silver SoHo chain necklace and our gold Wall Street chain necklace with the cushion-shaped Invisible Clasp in purple enamel. The purple enamel clasp complemented the plum corduroy jeans and shimmery gold tank top that our model (Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Teydie) wore. To complete the look we proceed to add our gold and silver TriBeCa bracelets, Wall Street bracelet and gold cushion clasp. This shoot was actually what inspired our two tone collection that we recently released! (Click here to view our new two-tone pieces.)
For our second look, we went for a Y2K-inspired look. These sunglasses are a textured gold frame with oval lenses. The quality of these glasses are incredible; we were genuinely blown away! With the gold frames being much bolder than the first pair, we decided to tone down our styling to truly let the sunglasses be the center piece. Again, we chose our Midi Hoops...yet this time, we added our gold hinged ear cuff for a little bit of edge. For the neck and wrists we kept it very simple with our Chelsea necklace and Chelsea bracelet in gold, with the Wall Street bracelet added to the stack. Our model wore a skin-tight denim jumpsuit giving that ‘00s flare... So to complement this blue look we decided to attach a pair of our cute little lapis lazuli charms to the Wall Street bracelet!
Seeing an entrepreneur turn deadstock vintage into a viable business is truly exciting and we hope to see this business practice grow exponentially in the near future. Perhaps we can also discover ways to incorporate vintage into our business model! If you’d like to stay up to date on everything we’re doing and learn more about other awesome small businesses, please subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on Instagram!
Article by Rebecca Doudak
Photographed by Angelo Kangleon