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The Vintage Section

Images + Post By: | October 7, 201131 Comments

Free People vintage selection

Over the years retailers have experimented with vintage sections as a side note to their mainstream of contemporary inventory.  A couple of places are globbing back onto that trend – to varying success… 

I remember the by-the-pound thrift bin at Urban Outfitters downtown in the 1990s quite fondly. It was an affirmation for my thrifting at the Good Wills and church basements that the Bronx had to offer, which, of course, was not the mainstream for my guido compatriots at that time. When they stopped having any vintage at all I knew the times were a changing.

Interestingly  Urban is doing vintage again, alongside American Apparel and Free People (Urban’s sister company).

The thing to know about this market is that these designers are constantly buying vintage – both for fabric inspiration and style when they are designing the clothes that get made for their new stock. So a lot of the time their ‘vintage-only’ section complements and provides a semblance of the real thing on par with the style they are putting forward at the moment. Free People especially has that vintage inspired look.

Free People vintage selection


Free People today

In turn, Urban up-cycles their vintage section calling it “Urban Renewal” – selling vintage pieces that have been altered or remade with vintage fabrics. There are also a few items that are untouched. Biting off what many of designers have been doing for years, their renewed vintage seems to do pretty well- would be interesting to know how well.

I like that American Apparel simply buys a lot of dead stock – bringing life back to the left overs. They definitely have the vintage as a suggested compliment to their pared down basic offerings. They are good on aesthetic cues. They call it “California Select” and you can get specific pieces online (they have taken my advice on Dooney & Bourke thankfully) – but mostly their vintage accessories are mixed into the displays at their stores.

Vintage swatches available at American Apparel

All in all I am for it. But I do prefer if a vintage find is had with a bit of sweat off the ol’ brow.

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