Angelina “Angie” Costello is a third-year at Whittier College with not only her own thrift store, but a talent for graphic design and sticker-making.
Costello has always had a talent and love for art. When she was a teenager, her mom got her an iPad, and she spent her free time drawing portraits of her family or other things that piqued her interest. Before college, Costello wasn’t sure about which art medium she wanted to pursue, or that there even was a variety of artistic mediums. When Costello got to Whittier College, she knew she wanted to take an art class, but the only thing available was an introductory graphic design course. She decided to take a chance on it, and, fortunately, she really loved the course. What sold her on it was her professor telling her she should really consider a digital design major.
While Costello has fallen in love with graphic design, during her time in college, she didn’t always know that she wanted to pursue digital design. Costello said, “Growing up, I also never believed being an artist was something I could do as a career. [ . . . ] Art was always an elective at school; it was never a full-on subject to study.”
It wasn’t until college that she realized there were so many paths artists could take, whether it be an art historian, painter, museum curator, or something else. Costello said there’s a true disadvantage for artists of color growing up because, “As kids, you’re taught that there are more important subjects or courses, especially as POC. From my eyes, growing up, it seemed that to survive you need money and money comes from more ‘promising’ careers not like art at all, but as I got older I gave myself the confidence I needed to take that chance!”
When it comes to Costello’s thrift shop, on the other hand, she was inspired by her negative experiences with both thrift shopping and fast fashion. When it comes to fast fashion, she said, “As someone who was consumed by the market to always buy clothes and then fast-forward to see how fast fashion impacts the world, I knew that a lot of people interested in slow fashion would be able to support my little thrift store.” Costello said thrifting has recently become a trend, and discussed how not too long ago she went to a thrift shop in LA and saw items being sold for over $200, and she said because thrift shopping has become more of a luxury it makes her feel as though she shouldn’t go as often. She said this had an impact on her choosing to maintain lower prices for her own thrift shop. Costello said she feels that, “making money or a profit is one of the least of my worries because it’s more important to get the clothes to someone who will actually use them.”
In terms of how the pandemic has affected her, other student artists, and students with small businesses, she believes, even with the restrictions the pandemic brings, it has also brought a lot of downtime for people to get a lot of things done. She also talks about how there is so much more that can be done with the Internet and social media, and that there’s a good chance that this actually caused a spike in new businesses or creative projects from students. Costello said, for her, it seemed like it would be impossible for her to sell her clothes with COVID-19. However, she realized there were still going to be people who wanted to shop, so her online thrift store was perfect.
If you want to order stickers from Costello, the best way to do that is through her Instagram. As for her stickers, she plans to make a website for them, but she recently made a website of her art portfolio that features her stickers. You can find her number and email there as well, if you prefer to contact her that way. For those who are unable to support her by spending money, she “always, always appreciates who reposts [her] art posts, and tagging [her] really helps.” Just getting it out there that she’s an artist by word of mouth, and mentioning her to anyone who is looking for an artist to hire, is really important to her.
Costello’s words of advice for students who want to start a new business or project? “Don’t be afraid to reach out, it’s really easy to be independent but there are so many helpful communities or even individuals in the same field that you can learn from and get advice from.”
Featured Photo Courtesy of @a.nilegna on Instagram / Emerson Little