Thrilling, a Black and women-owned online vintage marketplace, connects shoppers with nearly 1,000 independent vintage boutiques across the country. Founders Shilla Kim-Parker and Brad Mallow started Thrilling in 2018 with the aim of elevating women and POC-owned vintage boutiques. Today, they’re announcing the launch of their Studio Services program, which will allow industry creatives like costume designers and stylists to extend their resources for television and film projects, while supporting small businesses from over 200 cities across the US.
To celebrate the launch, Thrilling partnered with Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter as their first-ever ambassador, unveiling a campaign that highlights Thrilling pieces. Carter is known for her work in movies such as Black Panther, Malcom X, and Do The Right Thing.
Kim-Parker says that the studio services program came out of the idea of connecting and helping creatives. She notes that while vintage is a desired market for many costume designers and stylists to source from, the logistics of tight turnaround and exhausting local resources sometimes brings the search to a dead end. “It was just a natural, organic idea," she says. "Maybe we help these storytellers in accessing vintage in an easier way, while supporting a mom-and-pop-shop and helping the planet.”
Working with Carter on the launch has been a dream realized for Kim-Parker. “All of us at Thrilling have been raised on the visual aesthetic and cultural language that Ruth has defined for decades. I think we all screamed when she answered our call, it’s been an enormous privilege to work with her.”
Asked why vintage is so essential in her costume designing, Cartier simply replied: “You can’t make it up. It’s real. The fabrics, they don’t exist anymore. The fabrics are a study of time and place.”
Once a vintage power-seller herself (“I LOVE vintage!”) Carter is so excited about the prospect of expanding resources in her costume sourcing with discoverable boutiques through Thrilling’s platform. “We have a lot of go-to places [to source] but after so many years, those collections don’t necessarily refresh. This portal is always refreshed.”
The average shopper on Thrilling is 1,200 miles away from the physical store they purchase from, which helps expand the horizons of creatives like Carter with television and film production primarily operating on the coast. Kim-Parker sees the value in propping up smaller businesses that may not get the attention due to their location. “We’re trying to bring in new customers to these stores to help support their livelihood and help them survive and thrive. We believe that the survival of these local vintage shops and sellers is critical to the culture and economy of these local communities.”
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