Posted by Claire Brandon on

I was defeated in every way when I first visited the Delta on my own.

I needed new, yet familiar faces, open road, and cheap beer.

I had just turned twenty five when I first realized I didn’t know what the hell I was doing anymore, much less who I was. Having belittled major parts of who I was at the hope of being approved by others for years, all of that stifling had bubbled up and bubbled over and I was unhappy.

It’s a story for another day, but I quit everything, put my things in storage, and traveled alone for two straight months.

This company began as a lifeline to validation. Having completely lost myself in a year filled with grim, earthly realities, I thought I needed an excuse to do what I enjoyed and I thought I needed to monetize it.

When I think back on this version of myself I get a lump in my throat because I realize why it was that I identified with this region. I returned to the Delta because its contradictions are endless, music is its communication, and, to this day, it is trying to figure out how to honor the past and move forward into a new season; it was just like me. My mom is always wondering how the name and inspiration of this company all came together and I guess now I finally have an answer for her.

I never knew why I felt this way, but I always said I wouldn’t leave New York until I had my own thing to bring back down South.

That being said, I don’t know how to make something and have people care about it. I can research what people are buying, or which fonts have been used recently or how to make a beautiful photograph, but I don’t know how to make anyone care about what I care about.

All I know is that the Delta is the most bad ass, spooky, beautiful place I’ve ever been and I think it’s worth revisiting.

I wish people knew about it. 
I wish people respected it.
I wish people honored it.
I wish people gave back to it.
I wish people did more than just visit.
I wish people loved the people there.

I’m tired of the narrative it’s given.
I’m tired of adding to it myself.
I’m tired of being told, “the thing you need to understand is…”
I’m tired of worrying that people will pass Delta up because it’s trying to do too much.

So here we are, doing two things at once. Delta Vintage is an apparel company built to create representation and support in a written off region. It is with a belief that change is slow and relational, that I owe the people of Mississippi a validated experience by better understanding my own.

What began as a savior complex has left me with confidence in the fact that I need the Delta more than the Delta needs me.

We stand on the communities that make up the Mississippi Delta and yet we are often caught believing that we don’t belong to its narrative.

There is painful history and a large part of the locals just wish we could talk about something else, seeing as they, too, are viewed as a characterization, given their willingness to stay. I am of the belief that Mississippi and its residents are not only worthy of our attention, but have much to offer. However, they are most successful in doing so when we re-associate ourselves with the place we want to look at the least.

People always say to try and make the thing you’d most like to participate in -- If this isn’t it, I don’t know what is. Welcome! Send me a note, say hi, and let me know what you might be looking for.