Passion Series: Celeste Calderon of The Sip & Swap Shop

I first met Celeste back in April, and one of the first topics we ever talked about was how much she loves to thrift shop. Then, she talked about how she had this amazing idea of allowing other girls who share the same interest to shop her closet. You could see the passion oozing out of her.  Her eyes got big, her smile was lighting up the room, and her body language was exciting.  Celeste launched her first event not too long after that conversation, and on July 30th, I was finally able to attend her 3rd event.  


"If you love something do it and with no doubt about it."


Images by Mark Mendoza - Would you mind introducing yourself, who is Celeste?

Celeste -  I am a 27 year old Latina currently residing in the city of Boyle Heights, Ca. I work a full-time sales job in luxury fashion, but I manage to still dedicate time to establish my fashion aspirations. For many years I have up-cycled clothing for the love of it and found that I had started a major collection that I simply could not keep to myself. So, it was not until I was literally giving my stuff away, that a friend mentioned that,  I should have a shop where I could display and sell these items. Being that at the moment getting a store is not likely, I turned to a local bar called The Blvd Bar for a possible space that I could turn into a four hour event called The Sip & Swap Shop.

IbMM - What is Sip & Swap and where did this idea come from?

Celeste - The Sip & Swap Shop is an event that is held once a month at The Blvd Bar in Boyle Heights, Ca with my good friend and business partner Daniela. The idea is that for a suggested donation you are able to shop our closet of over 100 + pre-screened items and are able to participate in the swapping of these goods. The closet is filled with contemporary/vintage clothing, handbags, shoes, and some modified gems.

As you shop, we sort through the items you have brought to swap. We are looking looking for equal quality and condition; classic vintage is welcomed. Once you have shopped and selected your items of choice the swapping begins; item for item. We strongly encourage sticking around for a sip by the bar to mingle and get to know other Swapsters.

Our ultimate goal is to create a shopping experience that saves you money and gives you a chance to experience a fun innovative way to shop second hand. While building a community of like minded individuals.

IbMM - Who are your inspirations?

Celeste - I am forever inspired by the fashion from the 60’s - 90’s. I am amazed at how we went from one extreme to another in just four decades. Of course, with time styles change and that’s what makes thrift shopping so interesting. It gives us the ability to relive life in something created in another era. Sort of like time travel!

IbMM - What do you think fashion does for people?

Celeste - I think fashion works as the best form of expression for many. It brings out their creativity and provides a sense of solace when in need of some clarity.

IbMM - Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

Celeste - In 5 years I see myself actually having established a following for The Sip & Swap Shop. While managing a full blown website that allows women to shop our collection for those that are not able to make it the events regularly or even at all.

IbMM - If you could tell 18 year old Celeste anything, what would it be?

Celeste - If I could tell my 18 year old self anything, it would be to focus less on the perception of others. Many times we find ourselves trying so hard to fit in that we tend to be that of what is perceived in the magazines or the people we surround ourselves with. This ultimately stops us from growing into the person we truly are. It was not until I reached my twenties that I truly started believing that career in Social Work was not for me, but rather fashion was truly my passion.

IbMM - Who are your fashion idols? 

Celeste - Some of the fashion idols I admire are designers like Coco Chanel who liberated the women of her time with her designs. Yves Saint Laurent for also changing fashion culture and for establishing women’s Ready-to-Wear in the 1960’s. Lastly, singer/songwriter Madonna for pushing the boundaries of her time in music and image. These icons are only a few examples of those who empower me to be different and take chances.

Which brings me to my favorite quote by Coco Chanel herself;

"In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different."

The quote says it all, it is the reason for my passion. I want to be known for doing something different, for showing people that we do not have to follow the norm. That in order to make a difference you must strive to do what you love and not do what society deems correct. If you love something do it and with no doubt about it.