Inside a brick-walled 100-year-old warehouse opposite the Los Angeles River, there is a small studio space filled with racks consisting of vintage dresses, a white rectangular table, and a long chalk white paper screen. On the window, a pink and red psychedelic floral-printed long cheongsam is displayed next to a pair of dark green platform shoes that feels like it belonged on a Vivienne Westwood runway from the '90s. Beyond the main space, there is a fitting room filled with patent leather knee-high dominatrix boots to Prada square-toed pumps and a floor containing sheer '60s neo-Victorian dresses to '90s does '60s-inspired mod dresses. A fluffy pink shag-like rug is in the center of the room, gushing in a burst of color against the stark white walls and floors. The juxtaposition of old and new; reality and fiction; soft and hard invites you to Stacey Nishimoto's world.

As the owner, founder and stylist of The Corner Store, Nishimoto is best known for her dreamy photographs and extremely refined taste in fashion that evokes a bygone era.

Asides from being her own boss, Nishimoto is also a mother of one and has her squeeze, Clay Gibson, as her right-hand man/in-house photographer and creative director. While The Corner Store might seem like a brand new business, it has been acquiring a steady growth of followers (at the time of the interview, it was 21,000 and now, it's 23,000) on Instagram in the past two years thanks to her past as a former stylist/makeup artist at Nasty Gal and former columnist for the Internet's most-loved beauty blog Into the Gloss, where she posted insanely cool makeup and hairstyle ideas.

Dressed in a powder blue babydoll ruffled cap-sleeve top, jeans and flats, she looks like as if she stepped off the Chloé runway. With sensuous almond-shaped blue eyes, full brows, plump lips, chiseled cheekbones and a jet black ponytail, Nishimoto can be passed off as a 20-something Downtown Los Angeles art world scenester. All in all, you can literally smell her innocently charming aura and sharp hustle from a mile away.

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When did you first start The Corner Store?

I believe I first started it about three years ago, but I wasn't taking it seriously. I was a stylist for Nasty Gal and I started selling things on Instagram just to put my son through preschool, but it was a side thing. Then, I got laid off. I started freelancing and did lookbooks for Forever 21 and Barneys and took on more styling gigs. Then, I started to pay attention to The Corner Store and put my effort into it. It's been a strong two years. I realized how fast and quick money it was selling on Instagram. I put in my full effort because I needed to pay my rent and I started really working hard at it. I've been officially working on The Corner Store for a good solid year-and-a-half.

Wow! That's so groundbreaking how you're selling things on Instagram and I've definitely noticed how publications like The Fader have been paying attention to you. I've been curious to know what brought you to call your store 'The Corner Store'?

For two reasons: one, at the time no one was selling stuff on Instagram and in the platform, it's just a small little corner space on your phone. It's actually more like a rectangle, actually. I just thought it was fitting to call it "The Corner Store". Also, when I was little growing up in the neighborhood, there was a store selling candies and cigarettes and stuff. I was asking my mom to take me to the corner store to buy candy. I like the idea of calling it a name like a candy liquor store.

That's so dope how you were inspired by your childhood! When you're a child, your interests kick in, then when you're an adult, you go out there in your own world. I remember when you worked at Nasty Gal, I really loved the way how you styled the vintage. It isn't anything I've seen before.

Thank you!

You're welcome. You took the vintage designer stuff out their decade and made them look more modern. Do you feel that your styling gig at Nasty Gal has helped you launch your career/prepared you for The Corner Store?

Absolutely, but in a business sense. I learned about e-commerce business, how to run a studio, how to cast models, how to set up lighting and what kind of makeup works. I've had a strong fashion sense and that's why [former CEO and founder Sophia Amoruso] hired me. But when you're styling 50 things in one day, it really refines your eye and it gets better and faster. On the business side, I was starting off on a social media platform just as Nasty Gal did, which was at the time MySpace and Facebook.

It's good to know that you learned so much there at Nasty Gal. You've mentioned in another interview with The Fader that you loved vintage due to its affordability. Why is vintage clothing so important to you?

I tend to be drawn to things that have a past and history. Growing up, I loved art history. It's so mysterious and the past has so much magic. I believe the past is linked to the future. Saint Laurent, Chanel and Dior have these beautiful pasts and just created such a legacy, especially Chanel. I feel like vintage - if you have runway taste, you should wear vintage because that's the closest thing you can get to the runway. Most of what we see on the runway is knocked off from a vintage piece. If you buy a babydoll dress for Saint Laurent for a thousand, you can find the exact same style from the '60s from $30 to $80. I think it's more sustainable to go vintage. There's so much character in vintage clothing; vintage is futuristic and modern.

I agree. I remember you posted on Instagram and were like, "Gucci is so Corner Store!". I love how the Corner Store doesn't break the bank, which is the best thing ever.

I like dressing girls from like their teenage years to 25-years-old. I'm so drawn to that market because I feel like girls at that age are inspiring, raw, growing, still learning and developing as a woman. At that time in their lives, they're at their brightest, keen and artistic. As they discover themselves and their lives, they express a lot more in an honest way. I grew up poor, but I had well-off grandparents. I had a taste of both worlds. I never had money as teenager to buy extravagant things, I had to go for vintage. I want to be able to offer stuff that you see at the runway from $55 to $200. It doesn't go over that just to keep it in girls' reach mainly because she is in school.

It's nice to buy nice quality vintage. That definitely explains why you have 21.8K followers, too. They're constantly gushing about your clothes, they have like roses, the tears crying out of the face emoji and they'd be like, "I want this!" type of mentality. They go crazy because of the way you style Victorian-inspired pieces from the 1960s. What brings you to selling pieces from decades like the 1960s?

I sell what I feel is relevant at the time. I strongly feel at this time, that the late 1960s and early '70s exudes an elegance that is timeless and modern. I am drawn to their pops of colors and extreme styles. But they also have a certain minimal aesthetic to it, especially the stills I've been posting of the late 1960s. I also jump around decades, too. I also like the year 2000. The early 2000s are super relevant to me. Anything from the late 1990s to 2005 is super relevant as well. If you wear something from 2001, I feel that you are ahead of the game in the fashion world. Every fashion, art and artist has an aesthetic that stays true throughout the years like the Chanel or the Saint Laurent look. My look is definitely a girl that looks like she's going to a private school. It will always look girly and kinda babydoll-ish, a nod to the '60s. I want The Corner Store to keep on and evolving and grow into something that is relevant.

It makes a lot of sense with what you're saying. I remember that publications like Vogue and Galore said that Y2K is back and whatever Paris Hilton and Nicole wore is so fashionable and you're like, "Wow..." They are going back by 10 years, which is funny because those type of "fashions" were seen as garish and tacky. With the late '90s and early 2000s, what did it mean to you at the time?

I was born in San Jose and raised in a little town called Lodi that is out in the country kinda by Napa. I was surrounded by cows and grape fields. I was raised in a very conservative church - we couldn't cut our hair or wear pants, makeup or jewelry. I was born and raised in that church in the third generation; I was so underexposed growing up as a teenager. All I had was fashion magazines. I fed off Bazaar and European Vogues in the '90s... and I would go find vintage to copy that refinedness.

I was really into Marc by Marc Jacobs when it was first out. I thought it was revolutionary - I love how eclectic the fashion was and I didn't realize that he was copying street girls of New York, Paris and London. I've never seen those kind of girls growing up where I was and I just saw his version of the real girl. No one wore a light blue top and a dark blue denim bottom, and an oversized button. Even in the late '90s, Gucci was super beautiful then when Tom Ford had it. I did not like the J.Lo look or the Paris Hilton look instead, I was more of a Marc by Marc Jacobs girl. Even going back earlier, I remember thinking, "fashion is so boring!" It was a time when.. .the '90s were copying the 60s. I thought, "this is so not relevant". Now, I look back and love what was made back then... I didn't like what was beautiful at that time. It took me 10 years to like it.

I read somewhere in a forum that you are redefining L.A. fashion where girls are wearing neo-Victorian pieces with Adidas sneakers (think L.A.-based Instagram celebrity Lauren Alice Avery). How do you feel about this trend taking off?

I think it's beautiful. I honestly think that L.A. is the coolest place to be right now. I feel like there are pockets of artists here that are more progressive than artists in New York.


Absolutely, absolutely. I feel like there are people here that you can identify with Los Angeles in a cool way. L.A. girls and boys have their own aesthetic. It's the new romantic. This new romantic is a tragic girl that is super emotional and super romantic and loves like the fluff and the lace of a cupcake blouse or dress, but they're also very severe at the same time. I think the combination of a romantic blouse but with a severe shoe or a weird hat or a severe makeup or hair or whatever or even the girl looks severe, but she has such as delicate thing on. That combination is so modern and beautiful to me that I think will definitely be noted in the fashion timeline, looking back that was the new romantic that happened from 2014 to two thousand whatever. I think L.A. girls are amazing. They know how to mix a negligee from the '60s, but they wear a cowboy hat - it doesn't look dumb; it looks cool. It makes me proud to live in Los Angeles.

Your beau/creative director Clay Gibson has been helping you shape your dreamy aesthetic for The Corner Store. So, how did you two meet and what was it like for you to collaborate with him?

He graduated from Cal Arts and moved as a sculptor, he moved to Mexico for a few years to do work in galleries. He found me on Instagram through Audrey Wollen, this redheaded girl that was my muse I shot before, and they're friends. He does tattoos and he messaged me, "I'm moving to L.A. Would you like a tattoo?" I was like, "Oh yeah, I've been wanting a snake. Sure". He tattooed me and we became friends and then from that friendship, it became romantic. He's not a photographer - he has not been in the fashion business full-time. He is an amazing artist. He would pull images and we bounce ideas off each other. He's been taking The Corner Store to the next level with the photography. The photography made the store look slick and beautiful. Since he's a tattoo artist, he has ideas for makeup. He's drawn paisleys on the faces or like "Baby" all with liquid eyeliner. It's so fun to work with someone with have technical ability and beauty direction.

That's really amazing, though. I saw the "Baby" one on Instagram down here [gestures to neck] and someone thought that it was a real tattoo.

[Laughs] I know, it's pretty crazy! But I think what has made The Corner Store successful is the casting of the models to the photography. Going through shooting the looks on my phone to shooting it on a real camera against paper allows the clothes to pop more.

You have a dreamy retro vintage aesthetic that is inspired by European magazines, vintage cinema like Suspiria and some vintage Catherine Deneuve. What brought you to be drawn to this particular aesthetic?

The core of my passion in styling and style in general is a timeless, classic look. That's my foundation. I feel like those types of images have such timeless beauty. I am drawn to whatever is relevant and beautiful forever like a Renaissance painting, a piece of classical music that stays relevant century after century. I feel like I want to create fashion that will forever be timeless. Even for people down the road... when I've passed away, they will go find archive images from The Corner Store and it's like a circle that keeps going. I want to be part of that circle. In order to do that, you want to produce a product that is substantial and without time.

I agree with how time goes on. You are correct, though, as a retailer and a stylist, you always have to keep on circulating images. It's good that you put them out because at least I can get a picture of what is your aesthetic like, who you're drawn to in particular, whose looks do you always reference and it's really nice to see that. Whereas with a lot of stores, you kinda have to go figure out for yourself.


Given that you have a very excellent taste, it's no secret that your clothes are selling at a breakneck rate.

How do I feel about things selling so quickly?


I think it's fun. I get excited when the girls get excited.


It makes it fun when I get shot down by 50 e-mails and "How much? How much? How much?" and it makes me so happy that I'm producing an image that evokes and inspires a want and a desire. That means I'm putting out my heart. What you see on The Corner Store is my dream girl. I hate to say that, but as an artist, to put out my fantasy world and for people to be drawn to it that makes me so happy, keep at it and keep working. [Note: Stacey doesn't like platitudes.]

It's amazing how you are able to do that at a quick rate. It's good to sell clothing quickly.

That's part of the success of having an Instagram store. People are just ADD on their phone and the Internet and don't have the span to go on a website. On Instagram, it's fast fashion. They see it and say "I want it! I want it!" and e-mail me over it. I don't know how that's going to transition into the web 'cos putting things out is like throwing meat out to the lion's den and they gobble it out, you know because I'm throwing out so much in a discreet manner. There's no heading on Instagram, so you know you have to e-mail and it's kinda exclusive - I like it like that. It's kinda like an underground store type feel where it's not so public, it's growing and that's great. I hope it transforms on the web as well as it does on Instagram.

I hope so, too! When it comes live, I wanna see it! Now, as a mother, stylist, makeup artist and business woman, what challenges have you faced with running a small business by yourself?

In the beginning, being a single parent - it's just me and my little boy - was really difficult raising a toddler. A toddler ages insane. They're climbing all over the place, they're throwing fits... it's intense wanting to shoot when they're watching cartoons. I think being by myself was super hard. Being a mother, shooting, e-mailing, doing the makeup and hair, which is basically wearing every hat in the company... was really difficult. Now that I've finally have a partner - it's so ironic, he's a partner in my business and life - made the biggest difference. I'm taking interns now. I just have this horrible habit of doing everything by myself and I don't ever think outside, like I should get help. I don't think like that. But yeah, the most difficult part is trying to do everything at once by myself...that's very difficult. [Laughs]

Lastly, where you do you see The Corner Store in five years?

A brand that's selling new and vintage. I want to make the Corner Girl a very specific girl that is not available in the market. It's for the new romantic that loves fantasy, loves clothes, but is super intelligent that doesn't dress to be sexy and dresses to express herself. I feel like I want to start developing a line of clothing and make The Corner Store a high fashion label. I want to make it as high fashion as possible, but stay close to the heart and the roots, which is beautiful affordable clothing.

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