In just a few short months, the coronavirus’ impact on local businesses has already been substantial, creating lasting consequences for black-owned vintage shops in particular. While both global powerhouses and local retailers have shuttered their doors, local businesses have been hit the hardest with staggering financial consequences. Consumer preferences rapidly shift from hedonic to utilitarian as the demand and budget for investment goods dwindle across various consumer demographics. The pandemic’s implications for the garment industry are no different: consumers are increasingly prioritizing affordable, long-lasting essentials over ephemeral trends or designer staples. The need to shop sustainably becomes more crucial than ever.
It is important to recognize that black-owned businesses in particular have been disproportionately affected as the pandemic and resurgence in political turbulence coincide. And as consumers, it is our responsibility to remember who and what we are supporting with our purchasing power. While protesting, supporting grassroots organizations, petitioning, and engaging in conversations on racial justice are crucial for political progress, supporting black-owned businesses is one of the most impactful and sustainable ways to demonstrate allyship. After all, elevating black voices and supporting black communities are necessary to create lasting changes.
Below is a list of ten top black-owned thrift stores and consignment shops, which offer one-of-a-kind vintage staples at accessible costs all over the country. From Fyre Vintage, a philanthropic vintage shop celebrating local artisans, to Small Needs, a vintage wonderland, these stores offer the opportunity to promote black-owned local businesses, shop sustainably, and find timeless statement pieces for your wardrobe. Think carefully about the implications of your purchases, remember the people behind the clothes you’re supporting, promote black-owned businesses and artisans, and have fun digging!
10. Roam Vintage
Founded by Natasha Zoë Garrett, Roam Vintage is an online thrift store based in LA. Natasha hand-picks and curates Roam Vintage’s product assortment of clothing, accessories, and home decor. Roam vintage is the perfect place to browse for intricate, earth-toned garments, chunky knits, and leather accessories.
9. Shirley and Alice
Shirley and Alice was founded by Khalilah Williams-Webb, the personal stylist for Brooklyn-based indy consignment store offers one-of-a-kind vintage staples. From a custom Alexander Wang purse to an embroidered 70s vest, shopping here is like digging through a treasure chest. In addition to being a vintage dreamland, Shirley and Alice supports local designers and businesses through collaborations and partnerships. It also fosters a strong sense of community among its fans through its pop up events, from Wine and Sip night to art fairs.
8. Ephrance Vintage
Ephrance Vintage is an Austin-based vintage store and Depop shop that features bold colors, geometric prints, and androgynous silhouettes. In addition to offering funky everyday staples, Ephrance Vintage is currently donating 75% of its proceeds to Six Square, a cultural center in Austin that celebrates black arts, music, and history.
Founded by Creative Director Arlinda McIntosh, The Sofistafunk label promotes slow-fashion consumption through its versatile, zero-waste skirts, which are all Handmade-to-Order. The brand brings Victorian-style silhouettes to the contemporary market with their funky details and couture prints. The voluminous skirts are designed to be worn for a myriad of occasions. The signature skirt, called The Gathering, is inspired by McIntosh’s childhood memories of her mother working in cotton fields in North Carolina. As Arlinda explained, “I was especially drawn to their full skirts, which seemed to blow musically on the wind, they were passed down and multifunctional. I’d watch them pin the hemlines up to the waist to create a large pocket that would hold various items needed for that day’s tasks, then by simply changing a few things and adding accessories, that same skirt that served them so well during the day seemed to magically transform into the most elegant outfit for other activities throughout the week. These and other memories left me with a full Anthology of future “Skirt Stories” to tell.”
6. Kuration Collective
Kuration Collective, a funky collection of hand-picked Alaskan vintage, is a Depop and Instagram-based second-hand resale shop. The brand prides itself upon its intricately-curated 80s Alaskan aesthetic and timeless collection of vintage Disney staples. The prices fall between $25.00 -$125.00, offering a wide array of styles from graphic tee’s to occasionwear. Kuration Collective donates 10% of its profits to Essie Justice Group, a nonprofit, intersectionalist organization of women combatting mass incarceration reform.
5. Marché Rue Dix
Marché Rue Dix, a concept store situated in Crown Heights Brooklyn, is any creative’s wonderworld. Their brick and mortar location carries quality vintage clothing, along with the work of contemporary Brooklyn creatives. From graphic tee’s and natural beauty products to teas and spices, Marché Rue Dix carries it all.
4. Second Hand Shawty
A global second-hand powerhouse, Second Hand Shawty is an eclectic e-commerce platform that prides itself upon its inclusive, one-of-a-kind wardrobe. Gender non-conforming and inclusive in sizing, the statement garments feature fun colors, oversized silhouettes, and funky 80s styles. Most garments are priced between $20.00 – $40.00.
3. People of 2Morrow
People of 2Morrow is an e-commerce fashion, accessory, and home decor vintage shop. The brand’s core values are centered around environmental sustainability, and it seeks to provide social responsible garments and home adornment for the eco-conscious millennial. With a slightly higher price point than the majority of the brands on this list, the platform features some designer finds. Most of the garments are around $80.00- $100.00.
2. Small Needs
A thrifting fanatic favorite, Small Needs is an online Etsy shop that sells whimsical designer vintage-wear. Its carefully curated collection is enchantingly beautiful, from its vintage 1960s womens clothing and fairy tale dresses and Dior blazers to its plissé gowns, lace corsets, and ornate 70s jewelry. Just a scroll through their Instagram feed will take your breath away. Feminine, Parisian, dreamy, and sexy, Small Needs is the place to turn when you’re in search of a vintage investment.
1. Fyre Vintage
Fyre Vintage is a Michigan-based vintage shop founded by @Daynabyday. Dayna strives to combat the dire environmental impact of fast fashion by encouraging second-hand shopping and supporting local businesses. Through Fyre Vintage, she seeks to promote second-hand consumption and to celebrate local artisans and businesses. 10% of Fyre’s proceeds are used to purchase sustainable, new clothing to donate to women’s shelters in Detroit.
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Photo credits: Roam Vintage, SofistaFunk, Kuration Collective, People of 2Morrow, Small Needs, & Fyre Vintage