When I first met Salima from Desert Vintage I was enamored, stylistically speaking. She was the most well put together, effortlessly stylish woman I had ever met that was from my generation. Most women I had seen that had the ease and grace that Salima possessed were from a bygone era. But here was this very cool woman, my peer, and she had the magnetism of Lee Miller. It makes sense that Salima, one half of the profoundly curated Desert Vintage works in vintage clothing!
Our most favorite dress we designed was inspired by and named after Salima and we love seeing her wear all the different lengths this piece is offered in. Her partner Roberto Cowan shot these images of her in their home and shop. Enjoy xx
Do you have any daily rituals?
Liter of water and green juice first thing in the morning, I try to move my body in some way — whether it be a 10 minute morning stretch or a more intense exercise class, and a meditation. This routine has helped me set a positive and productive tone to my work days
Describe the road that led you to the work you do now.
I had an interest in and began shopping vintage at a young age....I also began doing costumes for the plays in high school. I became very familiar with ‘period’ pieces - costuming taught me a lot! When I graduated high school I went to college abroad in France and interned at a small vintage and antique shop in Paris. That internship cemented my love for antiques and rarities and led me to the path I am now on.
Do you have any mentors or important creative influences?
I have many! I am lucky enough to belong to a community that is chalk full of creative and inspiring people. Joey Grana of Scout comes to mind, he is a master at bringing together pieces that are beautiful and unique - his mix genius. Emily Bode of BODE, she is creating innovative and thought provoking pieces in the world of menswear. My friend Scott Pask who creates the most transportive theatre sets and environments. His dedication to his craft and general work ethic are a huge inspiration to me. Casey Smith who is a pure dreamer with his interiors; he helped us design our store and taught me how to dream with spaces. Lane Harlan who is an inspiring, creative entrepreneur; I would like to time travel with her. My mom, who is a wonderful painter.
You call Tucson home, in what ways do you feel the city has lent itself to you in terms of inspiration for Desert Vintage, buying and just being? And how important is it as muse?
My aesthetic has grown from a connection and sense of place: the unique and contrasting elements of the desert inspire our styling and palette, and a timeless sensibility that brings together different elements into unity, just as the desert does. It also helps me stay grounded, as I have such an appreciation for the vast stillness of the desert landscape.
How would you describe your and Ro’s buying process for DV? Does the individual garment need to stand on its own, or do you look at how things work together, sort of like a composition of clothing?
I think that both play a role in our buying process. The items that we select speak to the both of us on some level. We buy in the hopes of creating cohesive, dynamic, and beautiful collections of clothing.
What is the most fulfilling part of your work?
Being able to find and select beautiful pieces of clothing and then contextually build a story around them. Also knowing that we are participating in a sustainable and ethical business practice with a very small carbon footprint.
When choosing clothing to wear, what is most important to you?
Proportion and comfort! I am known to love an exaggerated silhouette. I prefer natural fibers that feel good on the skin and hang well.
Sustainability and ethical consumption are important guiding principles for us. How do you interpret and/or practice these principles?
I am fortunate enough to essentially be in the business of recycling! Being able to buy and sell clothing from era’s past is a sustainable business model that helps reduce our carbon footprints. I am so grateful that my line of work is conducive to these principles.
Photographs courtesy of Salima Boufelfel and Roberto Cowan.
Shot on location in Tucson, AZ.