Retro punk kitsch: an interview with Vintage MRKT

Classic White high top Chucks are always a staple

When did you start collecting vintage items? Was it before you two met?

Jenny: Way before I met V, in my teen years I remember being in high school, going thrifting with the homies. Malls were overwhelming, expensive and didn’t cater to me. It was just a struggle for me to find any clothes I actually liked that fit because I am very petite and I don’t align with being 100% female. When I started finding clothes that aligned with my style and fit, it just happened to be garments made YEARS ago.. that’s when I researched more about vintage.

V: Rewind before I met my partner, I have to thank my mom on that one. As a kid, my mom was always in retail. I would always go into stores she worked in and observed the merchandising, display aesthetics, new seasons, collections and how items cycle in and out. My mom’s wardrobe was pretty broad too – her closet had pieces from the 70s and 80s and she was the one who took me antiquing. I probably didn’t understand it fully back then and just thought: “oh it’s just old clothes.”

Wayback Closet: I can relate to that childish thought process… especially when I wandered through the racks at my local thrift store as kid.

But, eventually I started in retail at 18 and began observing local vintage collectors and street wear enthusiasts. What’s great is that attention has shifted more towards these indie street brands and resale because they’re mindful of manufacturing, reducing waste and using better quality material. Sustainability is thankfully on the up and up.

Jenny and V of Vintage MRKT and an epic leather jacket decked to the punk nines

Did either of you have any prior knowledge or experience in dealing with vintage? 

V: I think I touched on that somewhat, just from prior retail experience and observing what particular brands (big or small) are doing and changing. I’ve seen the good, bad and ugly over the years and that’s shaped me. Right now I work for All Saints and I’ve definitely taken an interest in what they’re doing season after season. I don’t know if I’ll be with them forever, but I feel like I fit in more there than any other company I’ve worked for.

Jenny: I personally didn’t, I just knew I liked dead people’s clothes and also a seller that goes by Dead People’s Shit on Instagram. I think vintage can have many definitions… like every fashion movement and decade leaves its vintage footprint behind. V has a fashion retail background and knows the ins and outs of the industry way better than myself. I’m the weird kid going through an identity crisis that likes to play dress up. But, through the journey of growing a business, I’ve learned a lot from her about vintage and the fashion market in general and that’s what makes us a great team.

One of the many popup setups Vintage MRKT springs into action for local shoppers

What are your favorite pieces to hunt for? What is a key element in a garment that makes you say “YES” this is for our shop?

Jenny: I like limited prints and runs on stuff. Interesting patterns, textures, music and pop culture references. I don’t want mass produced cheap shit. It’s all about quality, durability and versatility. When examining a piece, I like to imagine: “OK, if I owned this, how would I style it? Is it easy to take care of? Will it pair well with things my customer already owns, such as their favorite pair of denim or skirt?” I ask those questions and put myself in my consumer’s shoes.

“I’m the weird kid going through an identity crisis that likes to play dress up


V: That’s all based on my influences: pop culture, movies, bands… could it be a band shirt? I don’t know all genres of music but I can definitely recognize band tees, classic cartoon pieces, funny or catchy phrases and single-stitch t-shirts. I avoid too much name branding. Occasionally we’ll score a designer piece that may have been overlooked and we have the chance to cop the item if it’s a must for the shop. My rule is don’t pass up a great treasure: you have to look at everything, so I can gauge a definite yes or no within a few seconds.

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