SOUTHBRIDGE, MASS. – Expectations were high at the La Salle Visitor Center in Southbridge, where the Threadbare Show set up its booths over the past season. As with the May and July shows, each supplier did their best to open Brimfield week and the fall season over Labor Day weekend on September 4th. the building washed away by the parking lot. According to the show’s organizers, attendance for this show surpassed their May numbers, once the best so far, by 20%.
Although a young show in its second year, Threadbare already has its reliable regulars who keep coming back in search of the next big play. Many are other dealers who make the Brimfield circuit two to three times a year, some from as far away as Japan where American vintage is particularly in demand. Others are collectors whose closets could fill several Threadbare stalls, or brand reps looking for clothes to model and replicate. Visitors were even younger, driven by nostalgia for styles from a past they can’t remember and hoping that their sustainable purchases will help secure a better future.
Early buyers rushed at the 9 a.m. bell, heading for the space downstairs or sprinting up the grand center staircase to the ballroom. There were plenty of familiar faces among the dealerships with a few newcomers and a few canine companions who charmed buyers and sellers alike. Dealers such as Olden Yoon, Sweet Dahlia Vintage and Scarlet Lady Antiques were with the show from the start. Others were setting up there for the first time, many of them having come to Threadbare on their own after exhibiting elsewhere, or on the recommendation of friends who had previously had a stand there.
Bern Pit’s Matt Bernhardt was such a new seller, having helped his friend Frank Fina of Save The Rags at a previous show and set up shop right next to his stand downstairs. Although both are from Buffalo, NY, their vintage causal wear varied and made a great presentation on both sides of the catwalk. “I thought, ‘That looks like a lot of fun,'” Bernhardt said of the experience; it was already selling well after opening. The booth was in a location that had historically been difficult for dealers, but Bernhardt worked around the fireplace of the 8ft by 8ft space, creating a cozy fireplace-like environment and arranging his wares to match the existing decor.
Returning to Threadbare for its second show, Rock n’ Pop Vintage of Huntingdon Valley, Penn., featured clothing and textiles from the late 19th to mid-20th century. Rock n’ Pop is also a featured seller on Etsy, owned and operated by Izzy Walls. Threadbare has been the shop’s only in-person show so far. Walls is a sophomore in high school, which somewhat restricts her schedule. We can’t wait to follow her career in vintage fashion.
The party continued upstairs with shoppers tearing up stalls, literally emptying shelves and trying on clothes in the aisles. Vendors matched their energy and helped give out measurements, prices and more stock hidden in bins and boxes under blankets and tables. Since dealerships all have their specific goals, first-time buyers often have their own buying criteria.
Blomma Vintage from Raleigh, NC is a revival of Pintucks & Petticoats, run by Chrissy Blomma. In business for about 20 years, Blomma went on hiatus and only returned last November, selling online and at a local market in Raleigh. It was her first time selling at Threadbare and after some car trouble she was overwhelmed with how willing other dealers were to help her fit and unload her stock. Following the rocky comeback, Blomma was having a great morning selling and said, “I’m happy to be in this community.
Across the aisle was Fox & Fawn, which was also new to the show. Marissa Johnson founded the boutique in 2007 and now has two locations in Brooklyn: Greenpoint and Bushwick. Johnson was pleased with the amount of stock that had already gone missing, including a wicker pig handbag that we were lucky enough to photograph before it sold out. “[The buyer] good business,” she said.
Cathy McLaurin of Labor and Glean (New Hampshire) is an artist as well as a vintage dealer, and often sources clothes in need of repair. This type of repurposing and repairing has seen a revival in recent years, celebrating the construction of old and vintage clothing and giving clothing new life. Labor and Glean’s signature piece was an early 20th century feather duster jacket expertly patched with blue and white striped fabric. “I love the challenge of finding miserable things and making them wearable again,” McLaurin said. His next challenge: an oil-stained LL Bean tote bag with a ragged bottom, likely used to carry tools.
“No complaints here,” was frequently heard by dealers after opening, including Amalgamated Costume and Design. Amalgamated is “the Washington DC area’s premier vintage and costume resource,” and its post-rush half-empty shelves strongly supported that claim. Amalgamated has an entire film and television credits page on its website, listing productions that have used their inventory. The shop’s inventory for Threadbare was bright and wearable, with many unique pieces including a work shirt made from hominy sandbags. Colorful graphics printed on the material give a vivid print.
“We’re doing incredibly well,” said Maxwell Corbett of The Quince and Quail who, along with partner Anthony Adamsky, flew in from Ashland, NH, the day before and quickly transformed their booth into a winter wonderland in anticipation of the come. season. Ski jackets hung on scrubbed pine doors and a rack of Nordic sweaters was accented with evergreen branches, even an antique sap bucket perched on the pipes that supported their stand. Corbett pointed emphatically to the pile of knee-high camp blankets that had sold out earlier in the morning, waiting to be loaded while their new owners continued shopping.
Held Vintage & Antiques of Salem, Massachusetts, returned to Threadbare for the second time under the supervision of owner Marie, who set up her stall as a cozy camping closet with quilts and a perfect pair of 1950s furry boots sold at noon. Hosted shows frequently at Salem Flea during summer and had to choose between Threadbare and another market during high season. Luckily for us, she picked the former and had a good day of sales before moving on to Heart-O-The-Mart in Brimfield later in the week.
The next Threadbare Show will take place on May 8. Visit www.threadbareshow.com for more information.
First seller, the Bern Pit (Buffalo, NY) set up around an existing fireplace in the downstairs exhibit space, bringing cast iron pans and matching camp blankets.
This wicker pig purse from Fox & Fawn (Brooklyn, NY) sold out shortly after opening and was priced at $225.
View from the La Salle Visitor Center stage, with patrons rushing around the upstairs booths at the Threadbare Show.
“Look for the Union Tag…” Union tags are a great way for vintage dealers to date their finds, and this shirt from Ally Bird Vintage (Jersey City, NJ) proudly showed it off in a branded example. unusual. It was available for $250.
Waiting for backup; the environmental sustainability of second-hand and vintage fashion attracts young buyers and retailers.
Jonesy Vintage Goods, Syracuse, NY, provided a truckload of vintage denim and workwear, two popular categories at the show. The sling back suit was listed at $650.
Customers carefully inspect garments before purchasing from Demetra Vintage (Providence, RI).
Analog can still be fun; a young buyer entertains himself with old-fashioned products and sells sample clothing at Strongarm Clothing & Supply (New York).
Cathy McLaurin of Labor & Glean of New Hampshire shows how she patched and reconstructed the pocket of an early 20th century dust jacket, priced at $525.
This work shirt was made from repurposed hominy oatmeal bag material, offered for $350 by Amalgamated Costume and Design (Arlington, Va.).
The line of eager early shoppers wraps around the La Salle visitor center before Threadbare opens at 9am.
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The booth at Held Vintage & Antiques (Salem, Mass.) was decorated in the style of a rustic campsite, with hardware to match! The 1950s gold boots were $60 and left shortly after this pic, the long johns were all priced at $40, and the crazy quilt was $195.
Early buyers speed up their first round of racks by searching Threadbare’s lower tier.
The Quince and Quail (Ashland, NH) transformed its booth into a ski lodge, putting shoppers in the right frame of mind to purchase blankets.
Rock n’ Pop Vintage (Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania) returned to Threadbare after playing in July. The colorful 1960s plaid dress on the rack on the left was $190, and the Edwardian dress hung prominently in the back was priced at $645.
Presiding over the scene was this model dressed in lingerie and a crinoline from Gypsy Nation Vintage (New York City).
Back in the vintage market with Threadbare as their first show, Blomma Vintage/Pintucks & Petticoats (Raleigh, NC), made a comeback.
Snoopy remains a popular figure, appearing on authentic vintage branded merchandise or fan-made merchandise. This sweatshirt was $275 with matching boots for $150, from longtime seller Olden Yoon. Both were sold out at the end of the show.