Never underestimate the impact of vintage clothing. They might look like simple basics, but it can become your ticket to getting A-list stars to notice your brand. At least, that’s what happened to Back Beat Rags‘ Filipina owner and curator Isadora Alvarez.
Isadora’s brand specializes in selling vintage-inspired clothing and laidback basics made from sustainable materials and means. Born in El Nido, Palawan, she studied fashion merchandising in San Francisco and started Back Beat Rags when she moved to LA. Celebrities like Cara Delevingne and Amber Heard have taken notice of her items when they dropped by the pop-up shops. The brand has also been featured in People Style, Hypebae, and Refinery29.
Let’s get to know the woman behind the successful brand and see how she got Back Beat Rags to where it is today.
After working in an off-price retailer, Isadora started buying and curating vintage finds and sold them at weekend markets. She eventually started designing her own line of vintage tees. She told Cool Hunt LA that the most challenging part was “doing everything myself” and meeting minimums for manufacturing. It’s like Isadora had a Sophia Amuroso moment.
Isadora occasionally writes lookbook blurbs on Back Beat Rags’ blog. But she also wrote a travel article for Fathom highlighting the year-round summer vibe of her hometown of El Nido, Palawan. (The island also topped Travel + Leisure’s list of World’s Best Islands for the second year in a row, FYI.)
“Marched for women and the planet today,” Isadora wrote on Back Beat Rags’ Instagram account. You go, girl!
Worker spotlight! This is Dalia, she is probably my favorite person (shhh, don't tell the others) at the sewing factory. Dalia handles the sorting, steaming, folding and packing of the finished garments. She keeps me organized and keeps me from going crazy while sorting and counting hundreds of shirts. She is always happy and smiling and always concerned that we are working too hard. She tries to practice her English with me and I try to practice the little Spanish I know with her. Thanks for being such a cool cat Dalia! 📸@dustin_tan #whomademyclothes #fashionrevolution #madeinla
It takes a team to create several pieces of clothing for Back Beat Rags, and Isadora always thanks them for their service. In a YouTube video posted by the brand, you’ll see Isadora personally carrying fabrics and interacting with the seamstresses. She and her team also sometimes posts “Worker spotlights” to give credit to the hardworking men and women.
If you’re ever in LA and want quality vintage finds, Isadora listed them down during her interview with The Hollywood Reporter. She cited Bearded Beagle and Possession Vintage in Highland Park, Please and Thank You’s showroom on the Eastside, Rose Bowl, and even Goodwill stores. When asked about additional tips for vintage shopping, she said, “Don’t sleep on it. There’s only one, so if you love it, get it.”
According to her styling portfolio, Isadora designed clothes and accessories for Maria Clothing’s Holiday ’08 collection. The lookbook was shot by celebrity-favorite BJ Pascual and the clothes were styled Isadora herself. Who knows, maybe BJ will shoot Back Beat Rags’ future lookbooks too.
Photo courtesy of Back Beat Rags’ Instagram account