She later transferred to Delta State in Cleveland to complete her marketing degree so she could manage and be a buyer for the store.
“I knew, by this time, that I would own my own store one day, so I planned to learn as much as I possibly could about how to make it work,” she said.
When Gail’s closed in 2004, the 26-year-old new mom opened her own business in the same location a few months later.
“I carried clothing geared to a slightly younger crowd, as well as my own jewelry line and vintage goods,” she said. “It all just seemed to work. ”
McRight now owns LibbyStory stores in Greenville, Starkville and Ridgeland that sell both new and vintage clothing. The store outgrew its original location in Ridgeland on Jackson Street and is now part of the city’s Renaissance shopping center.
“I got to design all of my dream displays and put them into this monstrous store,” she said. “It’s fully equipped with AstroTurf, columns from an old plantation home, a huge shipping container, a wall made of sweaters and cypress knee wall hooks.
“I love it. It’s different, fresh and creative, and is very literally my playground.”
We talked to McRight about the popularity of vintage fashion.
Q: When did you develop an interest in fashion?
A: I think it was more of a “need” than a like. My grandmother only strengthened this need by taking me shopping a good bit and teaching me about quality clothing and good brands. When I got older, fashion became more of an artistic outlet for me.
Q: How did a fondness for vintage clothing emerge?
A: It began with being around my grandmothers’ clothes. I loved the size of the huge labels and the attention to detail that American designers used to have. With national growth and industrialization, we have lost that attention to detail in most of the products that are produced today. I also have a passion for the stories behind items – the idea that someone from a long time ago use to wear, love and care for them – the idea that some important life event may have taken place in that very item. It’s really magical.
Q: Does your clothing website represent your style?
A: Yes, the website is a direct representation of the way we style things at LibbyStory, which in turn is exactly how I style myself. I would say I am a mixture of every style – bohemian, preppy, edgy. It really just depends on what mood I am in. I am not afraid of any style, I usually just tailor it to make it work for me. And I almost always incorporate at least one vintage item – it’s something I really love to do, and it ensures no one else will be dressed like me.
Q: What are some current fashion trends?
A: Colored denim, cuff earrings, color-blocking outfits, crop tops, hi-low tops and skirts, oxfords, combat boots, collar necklaces, high-waisted skirts, shorts and pants.
Q: What’s hot now that you can find in thrift stores and vintage shops?
A: Most people searching for vintage want something unique. Some are tied to the history and many like the way we alter vintage at LibbyStory to have a modern flare.
It’s hard to find a perfect vintage piece at the thrift shop. That’s why we update, modernize and refurbish vintage items.
Q: Why do you think vintage fashion is on the rise?
A: I think people are realizing (quality) is often missing in today’s market, and I think they also enjoy products that are not mass-produced. People love to feel unique – to find a gem that no one else has, and to stand out.
–LaReeca Rucker, The Clarion-Ledger