It takes a certain type of confidence to pull off a vintage inspired peasant top and Adidas track pants simultaneously. Michelle Salem makes it look easy. Known for her playful approach to high fashion, we meet the Opening Ceremony brand manager on a particularly warm August afternoon in the Lower East Side.
New Yorker by way of Miami, Michelle's style balances high end pieces with an aesthetic that never takes itself too seriously, i.e. a close up of a vintage Lady Dior purse on Instagram captioned "Mrs. Charlotte York Goldenblatt to you". We get to work shooting and simultaneously plotting our next eBay jaunt.
What does it entail to be brand manager at Opening Ceremony?
It changes on a day to day basis. I do everything from planning all our events, to working on our fashion show during fashion week. I also help with casting for editorials, pitching content ideas for our blog and socials, and just contributing ideas wherever possible.
What do you mean by contributing?
For example, if I go out and meet a cool DJ, i'll make sure to get their contact and reach out to them. It's about finding new people to work with constantly.
How much of your career do you feel like takes place on social media?
I'd say a fair amount for sure. I'll find someone who's not necessarily a model on Instagram and say 'hey, we should shoot this person'. Same goes for photographers. A lot of the time Instagram is an amazing place to find new people to work with.
How did you find your way into this role?
I went to school for marketing at Pace which definitely helped. My role expanded at OC over time. I started while I was still in school assisting our then VP of branding. I learned so much from him and I took on more responsibilities. Over time it's grown into what it is now.
Did you always know you wanted to work in fashion?
I didn't go to fashion school because I didn't want to limit myself but it was a really natural transition. I've always been obsessed with clothes and fashion. When I was 12, I'd steal my mom's Vogue. She'd drive me to Barnes & Noble to rifle through the magazines. Luckily things fell into place.
And you're originally from Miami?
Originally I'm from Palo Alto but I spent my formative years in Miami. Miami had some of the best thrifting. I remember making my mom drive me out to Flamingo Plaza and I'd go and spend hours there. It was a really good way for me to figure out my style. It's 40 minutes out but it's worth it.
You're a big eBay shopper, correct?
Yes! These shoes (points to vintage Chanel sneakers) were an all out bidding war.
Any tips for people just starting to vintage shop, particularly through eBay?
Alarms are great for keeping you on track. And also have intention when searching and know what you're looking for.