When you meet Illy McMahan, you immediately want to hang out with her again. She can energetically converse about any topic and there’s a lovely, chaotic creativity that buzzes about her. McMahan is an entrepreneur, mother, and style icon. McMahan’s fresh to Durango, having moved here about two years ago, but she frequently pops back to her vintage-meets-modern shop, Carousel Consignment, in the Mission District of San Francisco.
DGO talked to McMahan about her fab San Fran storefront and her personal style.
“I have a vintage consignment store. We specialize in furniture, mainly midcentury modern, but we also do clothing. We do pop-up stuff and have a salon in the back with a piano and it looks like an old timey 1800s bar. I had been in Portland, Austin, San Francisco, and it kind of wore me down. I wanted to be around trees and nature and be able to find a parking spot ... My business partner runs Carousel and I now co-own from a distance.
I come from Austin, and there is a huge culture of craftiness there, like the Austin Craft Mafia. When I moved to San Francisco, I lived there about 10 years, I started doing circus work, so I was really inspired by vintage carnivals and circuses, which is how we ended up naming our store, Carousel. San Francisco is great ... I stepped up my game when I moved there because costuming is such an everyday thing.
My style is a mix of vintage and modern but geared toward being comfortable. I really like this shirt a lot. This is my party-up-top-casual-below look. I picked up these suspenders at the Durango Flea Market for a dollar and they’re great. I also sometimes make jewelry. I like to work with rosaries and I’m obsessed with cattle tags. It’s interesting to know that this was once in a cow’s ear.
Nowadays, I lean toward wearing a lot more boots, a lot more vintage Levis, and have a love of vintage Western wear. Most of my clothes are used ... I really like to come from the side of fashion that has already been loved a little bit. My store’s business plan was around not buying new, buying used instead, and noticing the impact that that has on the world.”
Check out McMahan’s SF shop, Carousel Consignment, at www.carouselsf.com.
Interview edited and condensed for clarity.Patty Templeton