My train to Paris leaves in forty five minutes. “I think we can do one more look each!!!” I yell to Melissa who’s knee deep in vintage jackets in the basement. “Okay!!” she panics when I sprint down the steps to assess the situation. To be honest, I’m not sure if either of us is physically or mentally capable of putting together a sensible outfit at this point. We’ve just spent the majority of the afternoon dashing in and out of vintage stores in Marseille, spanning a trajectory of several intricate neighborhoods, my luggage trolling behind us, and taking pictures in the blaring Mediterranean sun. It’s safe to say we’ve lost steam, and right now: TIME.
I met Melissa Hagerty two days earlier during the The Grand Parade and summer season opening of the SCAD campus in Lacoste, a picturesque town just an hour north of Marseille. She hadn’t been back in eight years. She was one of three featured alumni atelier ambassador who would be hosting workshops for faculty, staff and students until the end of August. “I don’t really know what my title is,” she thinks long and hard. “Sustainable multi-media artist?” That sounds about right. She studied Illustration and Printmaking in Savannah. After college, she toured all over the US with her musical projects and bands in a bus known as “The Caterpillar.” Earlier this year she traveled with musicians, artists, and permaculturists as the group “Permajam“. And her latest endeavor involves bees and weaving. She wants to build an international network of giant beehives constructed entirely of hexagonal Ojos de Dios – as seen in this shoot – all made with sustainable and recycled materials. “The hive is a vehicle to talk about our human connection to bees and the importance of the hive mentality in our world today,” she explains. “It focuses on the importance of the individual’s role in the local and, ultimately, global communities.”
When we met, Melissa was wearing a 70s Gunne Sax summer dress, which obviously raised my fiendish eye-brows. “I have always been an avid thrifter and vintage lover!” she smiles. “As a performer, I have gravitated towards unique clothing that might not be the most “practical” off-stage, whatever that means… My closet seems to be filled with either that or clothes covered in paint and wax! Since starting this [bee] project though, I have made an even deeper connection to vintage because it is sustainable! The more I learn about the current “fast fashion” industry, the stronger I feel about not supporting these companies. I get so much more joy knowing that my clothes were made with love, by people working in fair/safe conditions, and using environmentally conscious practices. I believe “we-ar(e)” the change, so we should wear it!!”
As I manage to put my hand through the arm hole of a teeny bright yellow rain coat I realize: this is ludicrous. We’re thirsty, we’re sweaty, we’re hungry and I can’t miss that train. I tell Melissa to drop the plaid pleated skirt she’s about to put on, and beg her to race to the station with me. All ends well. And Melissa has since spread her wings as well. At the time of our interview she was sitting on the terrace of a cafe in Barcelona “with the best cappuccino to date!!” And this very minute she’s in Strasburg, France “in an adorable Airbnb that has a big white comfy bed and a stained glass window overlooking a canal with tunnels that are covered in flowers and light up pinks and purples at night! Haha!” Spoken like a true bee.
MARCEL ET SIMONE: 30, Rue des Trois Mages – very affordable, fun, easy!
SPACE: 2, Rue de la Grande Armee – specialized in dead stock shoes, some classic designer pieces, and a shit load of amazing vintage pieces. A must!!
LA FILLE DU SELECTA: 15, Rue des Trois Mages – pretty, soft and color-coordinated 70s to 90s finds.