Humanitas Movement: Inside Philly's Best Vintage


 

 

My good friend Pia Panaligan has been working on something wonderful. She has been putting together a diverse range of thoughtful fashion events focused on social impact. She has culled some of Philadelphia's coolest designers, makers, and collectors.  This Saturday she is hosting a vintage Pop-up at the Bok Building from 12-5. She is featuring some of the city's most stylish vintage shops. She also produced a zine for the event ( what?!?). I was happy to help out in any way I could, below are some of the questions we sent to all of the collectors.

 

As You Are (Dana Rich & Kait McGinn) -

  1. How did you become a vintage collector/ seller and what lead you to this line of work?

Kait: From an early age I loved going to vintage shops. There was one shop in particular I would go to in Lancaster where I grew up. It was packed from the floor to the ceiling with so many gems. The different uses of pattern, color, and texture excite me. So it has always been a passion and hobby for me but as long as I've known Dana we talked about collaborating and combining forces, which brings us to As You Are!

Dana: My mom. I remember growing up and I would buy current items at the time and she would always say, "I owned something that looked like that, what goes around comes around.” That sparked my interest! I started to thrift and I loved finding items that were unique that I knew no one else had. In college I met Kait, my partner and we had a mutual love of vintage and similar aesthetic so it was a no brainer! 

  1. I love that every piece of vintage comes with its own history, tell me about some of your own favorite pieces.

Kait: If I had to choose first thing that comes to mind are my graphic T's, I'm all about a soft, worn in, holey vintage t-shirt. 

Dana: I have to say this is so hard! I love every piece I own for various reasons. The first thing that comes to mind is my patched denim jacket. I purchased the jacket back in college and when I first started dating my now husband we decided to patch up our vintage jackets together. We wanted to make jackets that matched our personalities. I would say 80% of the patches are vintage and it is an on going project. I love it more and more as time goes on. 

  1. I feel that styling is everything, what are some ways you have been putting a new spin on an old piece? What are current style ideas you excited about?

We love layering clothes and playing with different hem lengths. A fun belt paired with long jacket or blazer, mixing textures and patterns, socks with cropped jeans, a good hair bow/ribbon. We want to create fresh and modern looks blending new and old.

  1. How do you feel the vintage/ re-purposed clothing movement fits into the larger fashion scene, how do you feel this will evolve?

Vintage has always been a part of the larger fashion scene in our minds. A lot of what we see on the runway is inspired by the past whether it is the silhouette, the fabric or even concept of collection as a whole. We see more collectors and designers creating with this in mind and it will continue to be this source of inspiration.

  1. What is your favorite decade for clothes and why was it so amazing? 

1920's & 1970's, its so hard to choose! We'll go with 1920's for the evening coats and silk, silk, silk!

  1. What’s your favorite ’90s jam? 

Kait:  My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It) by En Vogue

Dana: Return of the Mack by Mark Morrison 

 

Cactus Collective (Lindsay Fryer)  -

  1. How did you become a vintage collector/ seller and what lead you to this line of work? 

I think the group of us at Cactus that collect vintage all have our own personal stories that led to our love of vintage- the common *thread* is a real passion for the beauty, craftsmanship and immense personality behind these pieces that have lived through so much of history. These qualities make vintage so special to us- when you combine them with the fact that buying vintage is the most sustainable way one can shop, and allows the buyer to completely avoid supporting environmentally harmful and unethical production processes, there is just so much beauty there.

  1. I love that every piece of vintage comes with its own history, tell me about some of your own favorite pieces.

To answer for the collective, I would site one of our overall favorite labels: Gunne Sax. The label was born in 1960's San Francisco, and really revived the classic Victorian, Edwardian, and prairie dressing that is so iconic in 60's and 70's dressing. The fabrication of Gunne pieces is so intricate and special, and the label's designs and silhouettes during this era have remained influential for decades. The label is really multifaceted in its history, in all of the inspiration it pulled from the past and reinvigorated in 1960's SF.

  1. I feel that styling is everything, what are some ways you have been putting a new spin on an old piece? What are current style ideas you excited about?

I think the possibilities are so endless here! We are pulling inspiration and vintage pieces from so many different eras right now, and different combinations create so many exciting new interpretations. 

  1. How do you feel the vintage/ re-purposed clothing movement fits into the larger fashion scene, how do you feel this will evolve?

It's so amazing to see the vintage industry growing in so many innovative ways. It's very much about sustainability, and to see designers and creatives reinventing secondhand clothing is very inspirational. From preserving beautiful vintage pieces and styling them in modern ways, to re-tailoring dated pieces into modern silhouettes, there is so much going on in the world of sustainable fashion that I think will continue to take off and inspire.  

  1. What is your favorite decade for clothes and why was it so amazing? 

At Cactus, we largely vibe towards 60's and 70's era vintage. The music of these times, whether it be rock n' roll, metal, or even a little disco, is a core fiber in our love of the clothing. To think about vintage pieces existing in these explosive eras of music is really magical. 

 

Group Hug Collective (Nicholas Hathaway & Christie Torgerson & Rhiannon Laymon) -

  1. How did you become a vintage collector/ seller and what lead you to this line of work?

Group Hug Collective’s founders and members hail from a diverse background, with one common goal: the preservation of community and craft through sustainable and authentic experiences.  


  1. I love that every piece of vintage comes with its own history, tell me about some of your own favorite pieces.

One of the most exciting and fulfilling aspects of GHC is the future each vintage piece holds once it lands at the Collective.  Our in-house apparel brands and local clothiers specialize in re-worked and reimagined vintage items, with one-of-a-kind-vintage perfection resold as is. 


One of our favorite items on the line right now is a printed patchwork dress from MIXD.  Comprised of four different vintage dresses sourced in Philadelphia and re-made by hand, this item is a prime example of the brands re-imagining vintage garments for the modern wardrobe. 


  1. I feel that styling is everything, what are some ways you have been putting a new spin on an old piece? What are current style ideas you excited about?

Group Hug’s brand identity and aesthetic is washed, easy and casual.  The brands capitalize on current market interest in re-worked denim and soft product.  It’s been exciting to experiment with screens on vintage garments, washing and re-screening, combining work wear with athletic-inspired sportswear.  The brand also seeks to blend the line between genders, with items made for all.


  1. How do you feel the vintage/ re-purposed clothing movement fits into the larger fashion scene, how do you feel this will evolve?

The Collective believes that this speaks to a larger trend in the apparel industry.  As brands like Zara and & Other Stories simultaneously increase the breadth of their assortment and speed-to-customer, mills and factories overseas will suffer and cannibalize one-another.  It is our belief that the customer will grow tired of pasteurized retail product, realize the environmental impact of fast fashion and seek smaller, more thoughtful and intimate retail experiences.  


  1. What is your favorite decade for clothes and why was it so amazing? 

The fabrications, prints and denim production of the 70’s have to be the most inspiring.  

  1. What's worse, Looking Jealous or Acting Crazy?


I’d rather be crazy.

Senpai+Kohai (Melissa Choi & Pia Panaligan) -

  1. How did you become a vintage collector/ seller and what lead you to this line of work?

Pia : We scratched the surface with our ‘Design Your Denim’ idea by wanting to find a way to upcycle beautiful hand-woven textiles Melissa found in India. Denim jackets are classic and we wanted to carry through the idea of re-purposing by thrifting denim jackets and pairing this with our found textiles. 

  1. I love that every piece of vintage comes with its own history, tell me about some of your own favorite pieces.

Pia : definitely my 1970’s Bandolino peep toe shoes, from my mama.

Melissa: . One of my favorite vintage pieces I own is a 60's electric red qípáo (Chinese style dress) that has flowers beaded on it. I wore it for my wedding and even though it covers me from my neck to my ankles, it looks really sexy on.

  1. I feel that styling is everything, what are some ways you have been putting a new spin on an old piece? What are current style ideas you excited about?

Pia: As a personal style, I really like finding ways to merchandise new with vintage. I like the balance of having a piece that’s been around for a long time, remain timeless or livens up a “modern” or trendy outfit.

Melissa: I’m excited to see individuals being more daring with self-expression through style. Hunting for special pieces that break trends and gender barriers, I love it!

4.How do you feel the vintage/ re-purposed clothing movement fits into the larger fashion scene, how do you feel this will evolve?

Melissa: I like seeing vintage clothes reworked and tweaked to make them more modern.  Vintage clothes tend to be better constructed than new clothes- I think it's great to rework them instead tossing them simply because they look dated. 

  1. What is your favorite decade for clothes and why was it so amazing? 

Pia: I’m very inspired by 1930’s, when women started rocking pants more!  

Melissa: I love the mid-late 60s, particularly mod. I love the look of short dresses with long sleeves and graphic, colorful bold dresses.

  1. What’s your favorite ’90s jam? 

So many… But Jettin’ by Digable Planets just crossed my mind.

The Likes of You (Rebecca Ebner)-

  1. How did you become a vintage collector/ seller and what lead you to this line of work?

It definitely all started with my grandma, Flo or Mema as I call her. She had this wondrous closet that seemed to go on for infinity. I would spend hours looking through every box, zipped bag, drawer, and trunk and ask her one million questions about where she got something and why. It was like the ultimate fun time for me as a kid and pretty much nothing has changed. Finding the crazy spots and the amazing pieces still maintains its excitement for me. I like the weight vintage clothes carry with them, their accessibility, and the individuality they offer in this increasingly homogenous scene. 

  1. I love that every piece of vintage comes with its own history, tell me about some of your own favorite pieces.

I don't attach much sentimental value on vintage clothes specifically. Only if I have an important memory that is associated with a piece so I keep it forever. But I think one piece that I love and definitely will have for eternity is my magenta rabbit jacket. It's so soft, so comforting, and makes me feel the best even on the worst day.

  1. I feel that styling is everything, what are some ways you have been putting a new spin on an old piece? What are current style ideas you excited about?

Most contemporary designers are influenced hard from vintage, so I naturally style older pieces as if they were new. You can see the cycle of cuts, colors, and textures through time. I think texture is everything. Mixing texture - just, max texture. Whether that’s communicated through the clothing or the environment - or BOTH! I'm excited about still life photography and cornucopias, and spotlights, so I think that's where I’m headed.

4.How do you feel the vintage/ re-purposed clothing movement fits into the larger fashion scene, how do you feel this will evolve?

Hmm, good question. I think it's a separate scene and will probably maintain its separateness, for the most part. The two worlds are also congruent because 'new' fashion is influenced by something that already happened, pretty much 100% of the time. I think what's important to talk about in terms of the worlds fitting together is sustainability, like how to use discarded clothes to make the fashion industry less polluting and terrible for the environment. 

 

  1. What is your favorite decade for clothes and why was it so amazing? 

For me, it's not about the decade, it's about the lines and fabrics!

 


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