Silkworm spins home for vintage attire

CHARLOTTE RESIDENT CALLIE McGarghan recently brought her love of vintage apparel to Bristol’s Main Street, with the opening of vintage clothing store Silkworm Studio. The shop, which has operated online since 2020, offers men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories from previous eras at a range of prices.  Independent photo/Steve James

BRISTOL — Upon entering Callie McGarghan’s new shop at 27 Main St. in Bristol, customers might feel like they’re taking a step back in time. The vintage clothing store, Silkworm Studio, offers a variety of pre-loved clothing items, shoes and accessories that have been around longer than the shop’s 29-year-old owner. 

“How I like to describe our collection is anything that I would wear, that I like, that is beautiful to me is going to be on our sales floor,” McGarghan said. “We’re inspired by the ’60s and ’70s but have pieces from all sorts of decades.”

The term “vintage” is used to describe secondhand items from a previous era, typically pieces that were made between 40 and 100 years ago. At Silkworm Studio, McGarghan is hoping to pass older items along to new owners who will use and enjoy them for years to come. 

The name of McGarghan’s shop embodies this mission. The silkworm, the store’s namesake, is an insect that metamorphoses four times throughout its transformation from egg to moth. McGarghan is trying to encourage a similar life’s journey for the clothing and accessories she sells, giving them new life with new owners. 

“Our mission is to extend the life cycle, and inspire the metamorphosis of curated, pre-loved treasures,” Silkworm’s mission statement reads. 

And those that come by Silkworm Studio will find plenty of secondhand offerings to give new life to. McGarghan’s offerings include vintage men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, bags and other accessories. 

McGarghan handpicks every item that ends up on Silkworm’s sales floor. She said she sources items from sellers like other consignment shops and online secondhand marketplaces like Poshmark. 

Items that wind up at Silkworm range in price.  

“I have baseball hats that are $12 and Dolce and Gabbana pants that are $650,” McGarghan said. “Since we have an online storefront as well, I’ve been able to curate things and choose what we sell and how we price things, so we have something for anyone.”

CALLIE MCGARGHAN STANDS outside her vintage clothing store, Silkworm Studio, which recently opened on Bristol’s Main Street. The store is filled with pre-loved treasures like clothing, bags and shoes, all from previous eras. 
Independent photo/Steve James

McGarghan, a Charlotte resident, started Silkworm with close friend and business partner Sarah Henry in 2020. She had recently moved back to Vermont from the West Coast, where she was working in the Los Angeles fashion and consignment sector. 

“We started curating our own collection and made a website to start selling our own stuff. We really loved it and it started doing pretty well so we started thinking about what it would be like to open a brick-and-mortar store,” she said. 

This fall, the duo found the perfect spot for a Silkworm Studio storefront on Bristol’s Main Street and signed a lease in November. 

The store had a soft opening earlier this month, and McGarghan is now open regularly Thursday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Currently, she’s getting everything up and running on her own, though she hopes to take on another teammate at the store when she can. 

“Possibly over the summertime, definitely eventually when I’m able to support myself and someone else. But right now, it’s just me,” she said. 

McGarghan said she’s hoping to cultivate an inviting atmosphere at Silkworm’s storefront, one that’s welcoming for all the experienced and new-to-vintage shoppers that come by. 

“I’m excited to create a unique space,” she said. “In Burlington, there’s a lot of secondhand options but there aren’t too many curated boutique-vibe spots, and I’m excited to create a warm shopping environment, something cozy and nice with beautiful things.”

McGarghan said she’s enjoyed the welcome she’s received from the community so far, including that of the other local business owners that make up Bristol’s Main Street. 

 “Everyone knows each other and is working together, just having that sense of community. That’s very different from what I’ve experienced in Los Angeles,” she said. “The response (from the community) has been really, really great. I’ve been overwhelmed actually.” 

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