Vogue features this Trini model's vintage clothing shop in New York
Created : 15 July 2019
Image: Grace Ann Leadbeater, Vogue
Michelene Auguste is giving New Yorkers a taste of the Caribbean this summer with her vintage boutique, Dem.
Michelene, a Trinidadian model who opened the shop in May, was recently featured by Vogue magazine, who got an in-depth look into how her love for all things vintage turned into a storefront.
As a new model trying to make a name for herself in the business, she said she was advised to add more designer labels to her wardrobe in order to keep up with her peers in the industry.
“My agency said, ‘Oh, you need to have a Chanel bag.’ So I started collecting vintage in London and Paris mostly because I needed to have expensive things.” This quickly turned into a personal passion and eventually a side hustle. She had an online store for some time before opening a physical storefront. “I just got really excited about finding these treasures that have so much history. At the time I was just like, oh it’s a nice hobby, but I also needed to make money.”
Michelene is the granddaughter of the late dance icon Molly Ahye, who she said was her inspiration. “[My grandmother] was a maker of everything. She would make all our clothes, teach us to tie-dye and paint. She really inspired me.”
loopcayman Michelene Auguste feature in Vogue
The boutique features an eclectic mix of items that scream T&T, including "Polaroids of Trinidadian locals, styled and photographed in jewel-toned vintage dresses, hand-painted canvas totes" and "creamy conch shells that overflow with neon earrings."
In addition to clothing and accessories, the boutique also contains household goods including floral tea sets, a selection of books by Caribbean authors such as Derek Walcott and V.S. Naipaul, and art from Che Lovelace.
The magazine lauded her shop as an ode to all things T&T and "a portal into the Caribbean right in the heart of Downtown NYC."