Sunny Walker is the owner of "Painted Bird" vintage store in San Francisco and now Los Angeles. She recently moved to LA from SF to open her second Painted Bird location in Silver Lake. She hinted to me that Las Vegas is the best place to thrift! ;)
Describe your personal style
I'm a mess. I can't really commit to any one particular style. I avoid the preppy look, like a trouser and blouse combo. It just doesn't suit me.
Who are your favorite designers?
I spend so much time thrifting, shopping for my stores, I rarely come across new designers, but I do love many old designers. I love Andrea Jovine, Albert Nipon and Norma Kamali. Nothing fancy. I love Margiela. Do I own any Margiela? Nope.
What are your favorite places to shop (besides your shop)?
Thrift stores, flea markets and a bunch of high street shops. I like other stores that are similar to mine, like Black and Brown in San Jose and Fox and Fawn in Brooklyn.
Who are your style icons?
Kurt Cobain/Patti Smith when I'm dressing down. Lita Ford/Martin Rev when I'm dressing up. Maybe even a splash of Bowie for some color.
Are there any key pieces you find yourself wearing constantly?
I wear the same things over and over again, like a uniform. I've gotta break out of that! Jeans, old soft tee shirt and these vintage motorcycle boots, which I cut into an ankle boot. Now that I'm in LA, it's shorts instead of jeans.
What is your most recent purchase?
A cute crushed velvet Jou Jou jacket from a place I was ready to leave as soon as I got there.
Do you have any stories about amazing deals you've gotten on awesome pieces?
So many great scores at various thrift stores. I found a long black wool/cashmere Vivienne Westwood coat for $7!
I worked at Beacon's Closet in New York for a few years and the most amazing stuff would come through. This ancient man brought in a huge rolling bin filled with treasures from the '20's. He just wanted to get rid of everything. I went home that night with an insane monkey fur coat and a Whiting and Davis chain mail purse in my arms. I don't think any of his stuff ended up on the racks because every person working that day went a little nuts!
Can you give us smart shopping advice?
I don't know if this is smart but I say buy what you want! You work hard and you only live once. Clothes have several lives and you can re-sell it to stores like mine.
What's the best thing about your job?
I love curating my stores with clothes that get people smiley and happy, because it's affordable and just what they're looking for. I also love to travel and to collect amazing clothes. The search can be crazy but it's always rewarding.
Which beauty products do you recommend?
I like the Burt's Bees blemish stick and orange oil face wash, which is great for me and I love the smell. I've also just started using dabs of olive oil on dry spots. The jury is still out on that one, but I think it's working well.
5 things you can't live without.
doctor bronner's eucalyptus soap