Customer Spotlight: Alison Stine

[Alison shows off her Prim and Proper Gloves!]

Each time we hold a contest (especially the Name-It-And-Wins), we are reminded that we have the most talented and witty customers in the world. This week, we decided to get to know one of our customers a little bit better: gifted writer and teacher, Alison Stine.

Alison Stine was born in Indiana in a blizzard, and has lived in 15 cities, including San Francisco and Washington D.C..  Her first book, Ohio Violence, winner of the Vassar Miller Prize, was published in February 2009.  She is also the author of the chapbook Lot of My Sister.  Her poems, stories, and essays have appeared in “The Paris Review,” “The Kenyon Review,” “Tin House,” and others.  A former child actress, her plays and musicals have been produced at such theaters as The Cleveland Playhouse, La Habra Depot Theatre, and Off-Broadway for Stephen Sondheim’s Young Playwrights Inc.  She lives in New York City and Ohio, where she teaches high school writers at the Denison University Reynolds Young Writers’ Workshop.

To read our interview with Alison Stine, writer and ModCloth fan, keep reading!

How would you describe your personal style? Do you have a style icon?

I was a hippie chick in high school and there’s still a little of that gypsy girl in me.  I’m still drawn to deep vibrant colors, red and purple and blue, but now I wear clothes that are more fitted.  Tori Amos was a big influence on me when I was a kid–her music of course, but also her style, where she takes just as many risks.  She was the first girl I saw wear dresses over jeans–that’s a huge part of my style now.  She also repositions clothes, wearing vintage swimsuits for shirts and tying wide satin ribbons around her waist for belts.    I’m drawn to empire-waist dresses and baby doll tops and shrugs and headbands, but also, comfortable boyfriend sweaters and jeans.  I like to look girly, but a little mussed: like Alice in Wonderland in the city.  I lived in San Francisco for a while and that really changed how I think about clothes. People looked put-together but also alive, like they could get dirty, play in the park and it wouldn’t hurt their shoes.  You need to be able to  fly a kite or catch fireflies or chase after a puppy and still look good.

What are you reading/listening to/watching right now?

I’m a huge fan of the Inkheart books by Cornelia Funke, about a girl named Meggie whose mother is gone and whose father never reads to her for a very scary reason.  Check them out!  They will keep you up late, huddled under the covers, turning pages.  I’ve been reading a lot of magic realism–which is basically a story set in real life as we know it…and then something weird happens, like a horse lives to be a hundred years or snow falls on orange trees, like, “did that really happen?”  That pretty much sums up the world for me.  Boring bits with everyday sparks of imagination, and weirdness, and beautiful hope.  It’s teaching me to pay attention…

Why do you shop at ModCloth?

One of the things I love about ModCloth is how you encourage mixing and matching, pairing vintage with new.  That’s what fashion is about for me, not the latest expensive fad, but taking one small new piece and blending it, seeing how you can stretch and expand your style while still holding onto YOU.  It’s like borrowing things from your sister’s closet.  I love how ModCloth encourages their fans to be creative, through how fans dress, but also, through art and writing with the Name It and Win It contest, and the Valentine contest, and the ModCloth blog…I have a small sign taped to the inside of my closet, “Life is beautiful.  Dress Accordingly.”  Every day is a new chance to be someone else.

Do you have a favorite ModCloth Product?

The tights! I love the Peacock Feather Tights.  People stop you on the street when you wear those….The Suzy Cute Knee Highs are a new favorite too: perfect for the stormy weather right before spring, when I want to wear skirts without tights but it’s not quite warm enough.  I’m a big accessory girl, in case you can’t tell! […] I’ve had my eye on The Moondance Dress for awhile now. I’m a sucker for party dresses, and it looks like, in that dress, something magic could happen in your story.

Tell us a little bit about your new book.

Ohio Violence is about a girl in a small town with a big secret.  Things happen in the town, as they always do, and people don’t talk about them, but she will or wants to.  A girl disappears up the road from her parents’ house and she knows something about it.  She falls in love with a guy she’s not supposed to, and he wants her to keep that quiet too.  The title makes some people scratch their heads (like my parents)!  But I grew up in a small town in Ohio.  I know what lies beneath those towns, behind screen doors, behind the high school–it’s love and passion and secrets.  Small towns burn with secrets, and I think it’s time for us to tell our stories.

What’s your next writing project?

I think girls should have creative projects going at all times. I think it keeps me busy and active and having fun.  I’m always writing poems and essays and letters to my friends, of course–I’m a big fan of old-fashioned real letters–but I’ve been working on my first novel for several years and I’m really excited about it.  It’s still growing and changing, but I hope it’s the next thing you see in print from me.  All I can tell you is that it’s about a girl and a boy, trying to get it down, trying to make sense of it all, trying to be believed.

What inspires you?

My friends, my family, the rural countryside, the mountains in the distance where I live.  And right now, spring! I love the blending of seasons.  I love the hope that spring brings (and the cute dresses).  I love wearing my leopard-print rain boots and sloshing through puddles. And I love being a teacher because my students really inspire me. They make me laugh.  They challenge me every day.  I write for them, for the girl that I was.

Want to know more about Miss Stine and her work? Check out her website!


About ModCloth

With the combined writing powers of our scribing staff, we bring you oodles of collaborative features starring everything from contests and culture to behind-the-scenes coverage of MC events and shenanigans. You're always saying you want to be kept in the loop. Consider yourself lassoed.

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  1. Avatar
    Hannah 03/12/2009 at 10:18 pm #

    I like this, makes modcloth just that more insightful and personal :]]

  2. Avatar
    Susan 03/13/2009 at 12:58 pm #

    I’ve always thought that ModCloth has the best customers in the world… and Ali is totally proof of that! Tori Amos was a huge influence on me as I was growing up as well. I’m a bit of a Tori-Geek, I’ve seen her more than 10 times in concert!

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