Retro punk kitsch: an interview with Vintage MRKT

One day I went to a popup market in downtown Las Vegas across from the old Fergusons Motel. There is this quaint alleyway paved with the greenest grass and is full of the community’s local businesses. This is where I bought my first shirt from Vintage MRKT: an 11th Street Records t-shirt, the local record shop and recording studio, where my favorite indie surf rock band Rooney recorded most of their post hiatus EP El Cortez. So, I had to grab a little piece of history. The edgy couple of Vintage MRKT (pronounced like market), Jenny and Vanessa (V), always returned with full racks of my favorite staple: quality graphic tees. After working together on photoshoots, home-video inspired vignettes and an independent runway show, I wanted to dive a little deeper and unearth the Vintage MRKT ethos.

During this weird time where coronavirus has rendered many jobless or confined to working on screen, I wanted to take this time to interview the many people in my life that have brought me inspiration and learn more about their story. A deep dive way back, so to speak. So without further digression… I introduce you to V and Jenny of Vintage MRKT:

So what’s happening in self-isolation, the Las Vegas edition?

V: I actually did get ready today. On my second cup of coffee having a smoke outside. Right now I am wearing my favorite vintage high waisted pleated pants, definitely a throwback, my low-top red orange chucks and a white tank top from American Apparel, the OG. I’m also wearing a mustard/green cardigan from All Saints. It’s a pretty nice day out, I wish I could go wander about and such. But, no I am in the comforts of my apartment practicing social distancing, as I hope everyone is doing if they’re not at work. Like my partner / lover Jenny, she’s at work right now. We thought it would be best to answer these separately so you can get a feel for our individual personalities and point of view.

Many thanks to both of you for taking the time to delve into the details. So, let’s get down to it than, shall we?

I have a lot of pieces and quite a variety of clothing. After many times at Buffalo Exchange buy, sell and trading, I thought I could really be doing this on my own. It sounded cool to sell pieces based on my style and what I’ve seen out there.

V

What and who is Vintage MRKT? If you had a mission statement or all encompassing ethos, what would it be?

Jenny: Vintage MRKT to me is a big “fuck you” to outdated beauty, gender standards, and the way we consume fashion. It’s the original idea of V, who was always trading her clothes to make way for new items. I was all for it and started helping at pop ups and managing social media. It evolved to be the love child of two queer people of color who just want to express themselves to the fullest and inspire people to do the same, all while hustling to make a buck or two and staying sustainable. 

V: It was supposed to be temporary, the name Vintage MRKT, I had another one picked out for when I decided to produce my own merchandise. It was just wordplay and distinct from other brands to avoid confusion. But since then we’ve gotten noticed around town with the popup scene, we kept with Vintage MRKT.

To get to the point, if we had a mission statement: we want to provide individuals like us, leaving gender and what your “supposed to wear”, all bullshit aside, to be an expression of individuality. We want to provide clothing to people like that. We also strive to do our part with sustainability: getting away from fast fashion and buying new. Environmentally friendly and reducing waste: we are definitely supporters of.

Who is your customer or muse? They can be classic or current.

Jenny: I am inspired by all the unapologetic weirdos with tattoos, cool hair, rad taste in music, and are probably the black sheep of their family. 

V: I might have touched on this already, but we don’t have one type of muse. We reach out to a lot of locals that inspire us and are probably more of a younger female demographic, but those lines can blur. If we did, it would be that beach goth skater punk going to shows, traveling and is inclined to cool, edgy style, with a little rockabilly thrown in the mix.

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