Loyal Vintage – Megan Russell
Megan steps out onto the runway of the Dolce Vita sidewalk, stunning us in even the harsh and direct light of Texas in midday. A faint smell of coffee makes its way outside. She dons a perfectly foggy lavender skirt, dripping with pleats, accenting her waistline, paired impeccably with a faded, graphic crop top. “Are we in LA?”, we start to wonder.
The most vibrant red, cat purse purrs alongside the purple pleats. The eyes, big and mischievous. The handle, unusually long and without care. It’s the extra pop of color you never knew you needed. But Megan carries the cat with finesse and purpose.
And the kicker that brings us back to our lovely, weird Austin: a black, faux-silk cloak that extends to meet the bottom of her skirt. “Is this my grandma’s bathrobe?” No, oh no. This is fashion. This isn’t cool, this is just awesome. And Megan may be the only person we know who could pull it off.
It’s Megan’s confidence that makes the disordered seamlessness work, but each of these pieces is a great find in its own glory. Everything that Megan owns/sells/rotates is that way.
She may not have a fashion education, but she has an eye that manages to marry every decade. It actually works in her favor that her fashion vocabulary is limited. You’d never accuse Megan of staying inside the box. Megan never had a box. She’s not going to give you the history of the textile or evolution of the cut, but she’s an expert in body type and quality.
“Most of my wardrobe has always been thrifted,” she says. “The clothes you buy now fall apart, but that doesn’t happen with vintage, and it’s more authentic.”
Clearly, this isn’t Megan’s first vintage rodeo. She’s been thrifting as far back as she can remember. She indulges us in tales about her grandma volunteering at the thrift store, Hospice, and sneaking her the good stuff before it ever hit the floor. By high school, Megan was known affectionately as the hippie chick. “I would go to the thrift store during lunch instead of eating.”
She tells us in even taller tales about her high school best friend and that one day when she stepped out of her turquoise Ranchero in a jaw-dropping, second-hand outfit that still makes Megan’s toes curl. She was overjoyed that her friend looked like such a bombshell and quickly warned her “Everyone is going to make fun of you, but dang, you look awesome.”
“My grandma is basically the reason I’m doing all of this,” Megan told us. So what is she doing?
She’s selling vintage clothes. Good ones. Out of a bus. She kicked this off as a hobby when she opened her Etsy store, Fly Around Pretty Miss, in 2012. She didn’t have enough room in her closet and needed an excuse to thrift, so she started selling some of her stuff.
Somewhere along the way, Megan came up with the idea to have a traveling, vintage shop and went on a search for a school bus. Now, her roving steel and rubber is an extension of her online store, which has quite the following. The bus gives her an opportunity to interact with her customers, which she didn’t have a chance to do before.
Since she was getting more serious about vintage retail, it was only appropriate that Megan incorporate more of her grandma. The bus, Eleanor, became her grandma’s namesake.
Megan’s grandparents lived in Loyal Valley, TX. They sold their property before Megan was even born, but the countless stories she heard of life on the ranch were a substantial part of her up-bringing. “I wanted to name the company for my grandmother and had been racking my brain for something suitable when I thought of the name Loyal Vintage.”
Megan’s journey with Eleanor will be in full swing by the end of this summer. Keep an eye out for the hippie chick in a short bus. This year, she’s already been spotted at Austin favorites, Sahara Lounge and White Horse. She’ll be wandering the hill country for special events and popping up shop at various locations around town.
More about Megan’s outfit: