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Welcome to Haystack Stories, a website rooted in nostalgia.
Past. Present. Perfect.

The Queen of Nostalgic Fashion Takes Us Back to 1983

The Queen of Nostalgic Fashion Takes Us Back to 1983

Yours two trulys in classic Built by Wendy T-shirts

Yours two trulys in classic Built by Wendy T-shirts

According to the New York Times, the current Brooklyn "uniform" may rely on No.6 clogs and Salt straps, but the early 2000's version was all about Built By Wendy. In fact, Jayna can still often be found in one of her very many BBW tees. Effortless but also endearingly off-kilter, the brand was founded in 1991 by Wendy Mullin and grew from a line of graphic tees to include everything from buffalo plaid hunting jackets to preppy-chic sailor dresses. Nostalgia factored heavily into her designs. Results included T-shirts featuring scenes from To Kill a Mockingbird and dresses inspired by a vintage LL Bean tote bag. Wearing Built By Wendy meant you knew what was cool, but you also didn't take that coolness too seriously. It meant your fashion icons were Chloe Sevigny and Parker Posey and also your friend's mom in the 70s, but also who fucking cares what other people wore, you had your own style. After taking a few years off, Wendy relaunched the brand in 2016 (yay!). Her Haystack Story is an ode to a much loved (and sadly lost) cardigan and Chicago style popcorn—and Jayna can't stop fangirling over all of it. 

The designer (and the cardigan) in 1987

The designer (and the cardigan) in 1987

Name: Wendy Mullin
Occupation: Designer
Handle: @builtbywendy
Location: New York and Los Angeles

What’s the star of your Haystack Story?
An olive green cardigan with wood buttons that my grandma made.

Do you still have it?
I don't! It was in a storage box that unfortunately was in my storage space in Red Hook when Hurricane Sandy hit. A lot of my stuff was destroyed.

Can you describe it?
It was an olive green wool crewneck cardigan with wood buttons.  

What made it so perfect?
It was comfy and kept me warm. The color matched my eyes and I used to wear it with black jeans and a white tee and black ankle boots. I had a bleached blond pixie cut in the 80's, which I then dyed ash brown, which turned my hair olive green (and matched my cardigan). 

How did it make you feel?
Cozy.

If it could talk what would it say?
I miss you!

When did you get it?
1983. My grandma knitted it. She used to be really crafty and sew and make things. 

Who did you have a crush on back then?
Robert Smith from the Cure.

All your boyfriends also love Built by Wendy, as evidenced by the brand’s yearbook-style  archive

All your boyfriends also love Built by Wendy, as evidenced by the brand’s yearbook-style archive

What did a typical Friday night look like?
Sneaking out to see bands.

If someone gave you $20 to spend, what would you have bought?
Probably an eighth of shitty oregano laced dirt weed.

What show did you rush home to watch?
SNL, but I didn't really rush home to watch it.  I was home begging my parents to let me stay up late to watch it.

What was your favorite snack?
Chicago style popcorn—caramel and cheddar mix.

How are you the same back then, and how are you different?
I'm pretty much the same. I guess I’m just more mature, which make sense since this was 30 years ago.

Photo by Jon Pack

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