Irayna Basta Kennedy, Founder of Born To Roam
Born to Roam is a curated collection of men and women's vintage clothing made between the 1960s and 1990s. All pieces are inspired by a deep love of California subcultures.
We love all things vintage, so when we met Irayna through a mutual friend several years ago, she quickly became a great friend. We mix in vintage as much as possible when styling our photoshoots, and Born To Roam is always our favorite stop.
In addition to curating the best vintage, Irayna upcycles clothing by using natural dyes, including rosemary, eucalyptus bark, marigold flowers, and madder root. Her wool fisherman sweaters are an absolute dream. They are a wardrobe staple and a piece you pass down generation to generation.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOUR BACK STORY. WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
I was born and raised in the Bay Area. I grew up in the small town of Glen Ellen, just outside of Sonoma. I moved to San Francisco for art college, then New York City for most of my 20s, and back to San Francisco to start Born to Roam. I’d say I strongly identify as Californian, and my love for this coast is boundless. I even named my daughter California.
WHEN DID YOU START YOUR COMPANY AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO DO SO?
I dreamed up Born to Roam in 2014 when I was living in NYC, working as an assistant stylist. My time in NYC exposed me to the disillusionment of high fashion. It made my interest shift from fashion as an industry to sustainability and style. Personal style and self-expression through clothing have always been my interest. It’s the core of Born to Roam. I firmly believe in responsibility and accountability in both fashion and style. The amount of waste produced through a dated capitalist-driven industry desperately needs to be updated. Selling vintage, finding old items, and bringing new life to them through washing, mending, natural dyeing, this is how I do my part.
WHAT DO YOU VALUE MOST ABOUT THE COMMUNITY YOU HAVE BUILT AT BORN TO ROAM?
I have met so many dear friends, mentors, and collaborators through starting Born to Roam. Several years ago, I was pregnant and refused to acknowledge that I needed to slow down. I am a woman who is slowly learning about self-care, how to rest, and how to ask for support. It was the words and offerings of my vintage community that taught me I can’t do it all, and that’s fine. The honesty, transparency, gratitude, and unwavering support, the community has changed the way I see business and growth.
WHAT DOES WOMEN SUPPORTING WOMEN MEAN TO YOU?
DOWN WITH THE PATRIARCHY! In my family, women have always been in charge. Both of my grandmothers were widowed and raised their children as single moms. Growing up, my dad would sing “She’s the Boss” by Mick Jagger to my mom because she is the boss. I’m endlessly blown away by women and all that we can do. After giving birth to a daughter, that feeling has only heightened. Women supporting women means more than financially supporting their businesses. To me, it means emotionally showing up for women, taking time out of our busy lives to listen to women, empowering each other through shared experiences, and cultivating safe spaces to share all the complexities of what it means to be a woman.
CAN YOU SHARE ONE OTHER FEMALE-FOUNDED BUSINESS WE SHOULD KNOW ABOUT?
Just one? Frēda knows my obsession with Back Beat Co. and founder Isadora Alvarez, but to keep it local, I’d like to talk about Solee Darrell.
Solee is a multidisciplinary artist, jeweler, painter, and birth worker based in Oakland, CA. We met in fashion school through a shared love of reggae music, specifically Bermuda based musicians from where it was born! We collaborated on my first and second vintage pop up shop in SF, and years later, she became my doula, helping me bring my baby into this world naturally.
She has a show opening next week, Sept 17th, called “Cloudburst” in San Francisco at Rare Device.