After months of hush hush quarantining, vintage hunters emerge from isolation to build their inventory and prepare for holiday shopping. With online platforms like Etsy, Depop, and Instagram’s Shop feature paving the way to digitally reach customers, it’s nothing like making that personal connection to shop owners and observing garments up close IRL. Thankfully Austin has still remained relatively open enough for retailers and small businesses to host a few seasonal pop-up markets.
Last weekend I went to my first popup since the lockdown was lifted in and around Austin. The UT campus neighborhood “The Drag” hosts various budget-friendly shops and restaurants, catering to its mostly collegiate crowd all along Guadalupe Street. Though are you really in a university neighborhood if there isn’t an Urban Outfitters? Urban’s Spaces concept highlights flagship stores in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Austin as hosts to local businesses in retail, dining, and artists in a collaborative architecture made for popup events or workshops. Austin’s 24 Twenty space is mostly outdoors allowing for fresh air shopping, which is recommended as we walk among an invisible virus.
Sandwiched between the UO’s men’s store and the multi-level woman’s/homewares store is Korean fried chicken purveyor, Left Wing at the entrance to the space. Keep walking through the awning where colorful, spinning building blocks make up an interactive art piece leading you out to the spacious backyard. Bananarchy, a local food truck serving up various sweet frozen banana delights is situated among socially distanced vintage tents. “There’s always money in the banana stand.” Arrested Development, anyone? You can also get your caffeine fix next door at Lucky Lab Coffee Co. with their seasonal menu and Austin pride merchandise.
I talked to several of the vendors and got a general consensus that the pandemic made them work extra hard to keep business afloat and the creative instinct burning bright. For the few, slinging vintage is a side hustle, but for many its a full time business. We’re fortunate to be in a place where the local community and small businesses invited (safely) mobile vendors in vintage, home goods, and the handmade sort to set up shop in small collective flea markets. UO’s Yard Sale also hosted a food and clothing drive that benefitted Caritas of Austin, a prominent homeless resource center.
A smattering of vintage t-shirts, acid wash denim, band tees, handmade masks, patches and pins are a collectors heaven. Some sellers even showcased hand painted clothing items as a wearable one-of-a-kind art piece. One of my favorite pieces I saw is this Campbell’s Tomato Soup tee from Lamp Light Vintage a local expert on that sweet feeling of single-stitch band tees. And who doesn’t love a bin of deals to hunt through?
“Rehoming vintage clothes and goods”LGBTQ+ Austin based seller, Jello Mom Vintage
Many other small businesses around Austin have become comfortable with hosting popup markets, especially approaching this holiday season. Check out Facebook and Do512 for more information on Austin event dates and schedules and keep an eye out for more markets and exhibitions from Space 24 Twenty by checking out their Instagram.
Support more local sellers online by surfing their own photo feeds and Instagram shops. Many curators are offering their items on Depop and other online thrift apps. Some even offer shopping experiences by appointment for a more socially distanced and personalized styling engagement. See you next time!
~The Wayback Closet