LSU alumna Rachel Shoun shows off her unique style through her photography and vintage clothing on her Etsy shop, Messy Deco.
Shoun studied library and information science at the University because she liked going to libraries and believed becoming a librarian would be a good public service. She is a Young Adult Librarian who works on programming, collection development and other programs.
While working as a librarian, Shoun also runs her Etsy shop, Messy Deco. Shoun takes all of the photos posted on her Etsy shop and Instagram account and enjoys using photography to showcase her style. She also collects vintage items to express herself through her clothing.
“On the weekends, I love dressing up. I feel like Louisiana in general is very causal. If I had the opportunity to go to more balls and more dress up events, I would wear the craziest things, but I don’t really feel like there’s a place for that here so photography is more of an outlet,” Shoun said.
Shoun has been on Etsy since 2010, with Messy Deco formerly called Nu Moon Vintage. She’s always had a surplus of vintage items. She’s been buying and refurbishing vintage clothing for so long it’s like second nature to her.
Messy Deco is one of a kind, fashion forward and colorful, and its name represents these things and shows her personality, Shoun said.
“I was trying to think of something that sounded like me and I really like art deco, architecture and all the shapes and the aesthetic,” Shoun said. “I just kind thought of messy and deco together because I guess I consider myself kind of a messy person. Art deco is very clean and structured, and I just like the juxtaposition of the two words.”
Shoun takes inspiration from different outlets like TV, movies, magazines, music videos and interior design. Her fashion icons are Mary-Kate Olsen and Fran Drescher in “The Nanny.” She is a fan of the costumes in the Netflix show “Glow” and Ryan Murphy’s “American Horror Story” and “Pose.”
In regards to interior design, Shoun enjoys set decorating and buying vintage furniture for her photo shoots. She also is inspired by a store from London in the ‘70s called Biba.
Shoun draws a lot of inspiration from photographers from the ‘60s, ‘70s and ‘80s. Being a fan of Vogue, Shoun found her favorite photographer Guy Bourdin.
“I love looking at old photographs and old Vogue magazines, which you actually can do at the LSU library by the way,” Shoun said. “There’s just a lot of stuff I like aesthetically, so I feel like all that really influences the pictures I take.”
Shoun shops at thrift stores and estate sales to get the items she sells on her Etsy shop. When it comes to advice for shopping for vintage clothing, Shoun said to look for tags that say made in the U.S.A. Overall, she sees thrifting as a good opportunity to shop responsibly and to help the environment.
“I think people should secondhand shop more because there’s a lot of good clothes out there that just need a second life. I would say be patient and look for stuff that appeals to you and that you can see incorporating in your wardrobe,” Shoun said.
There’s plenty of places to shop vintage in store and online, but Shoun’s store embraces her own unique style and aesthetic, with her photos incorporating all of her interests and allowing her to showcase her artistic abilities.
When it comes to the future of Messy Deco, Shoun wants to continue to use her styling and photography skills to possibly have her own physical store one day.
“I hope to design t-shirts soon. I’ve been working on some designs and to eventually move it off the Etsy platform and have my own retail shop,” Shoun said. “I would love to have my own physical space, that would be nice but you know we’ll see.”
Shoun described her dream career as either owning a space, costume designing or styling costumes for movies. She continues to do a lot of photo shoots for her store and for fun in local places like Baton Rouge, Lafayette and New Orleans. Her photos always have a vintage spin to them, and she’s constantly looking for people who like to model and collaborate.
Find Shoun’s stylish store on Etsy MessyDeco and on her Instagram @messy.deco.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this story mistakenly stated that Shoun was a journalism major during her time at LSU. It has been updated. The Reveille regrets this error.