It should come as no surprise that New York City is home to primo vintage stores. As one of the world’s fashion capitals, the city offers access to some of the best shopping the world over — whether it be luxury, resale, vintage, or mass market. New York City style is defined by its ever-evolving Rolodex of influences, yet its rich history as a perennial source of fashion inspiration is what makes NYC a veritable treasure trove for vintage wares.
To put this claim to the test we set some fashion lovers loose across to scour downtown for sartorial gems. The mission: find archival Woolrich pieces that have withstood the test of time. The brand is a long-time champion of fit and function and its vintage pieces are a testament to its commitment to craftsmanship.
To help us navigate the world of downtown vintage we tapped Jian DeLeon and Danie Sierra who took a spin around some shops before visiting designer Spencer Phipps at the Woolrich store on 121 Wooster St in New York. In Fall Winter 22, Phipps and Woolrich will launch a capsule collection in conjunction.
"I love the balance that Woolrich has between luxury and function," said Phipps who helms his namesake brand. "They always have such a nice finish and this timeless sense of Americana which I always find inspiration from. As a brand they have really helped define American style for around 200 years which is insane to think about."
What sets some NYC vintage stores a cut above the rest is their ability to cultivate micro-worlds and communities around them. For DeLeon, this is often as important as the merchandise itself: "It's like a good record store, the product is almost second to having an awesome conversation with a knowledgeable owner and developing that relationship where you get a feel for each other's tastes."
Stores become more than just places of purchase, but rather meeting grounds, hang-out spots, and spaces for the exchange of ideas. "Community isn’t something we had to deeply think about, it is just naturally part of how we think about our space, our neighborhood, our team, our friends and family down to a new visitor when they’re in the shop," said Brian Procell, who helms his own shop Procell in the Lower East Side.
With the help of Woolrich, DeLeon and Sierra decamped to two NYC vintage favorites in search of some of the brand’s trademark vintage pieces.
5 Delancey Street, New York, NY
Brian Procell and his namesake shop have been hugely influential in defining the modern landscape of downtown NYC vintage. His is a uniquely New York joint. He credits the city and its diverse spectrum of influences as a perpetual influence: "Because it’s this huge mix of people, everyone’s styles are constantly on display and mixing with each other on the street, on the subway, in restaurants, running errands, biking on the bridge. Since it can sometimes feel like we’ve seen everything, vintage is a way to stand out and be unique." Hidden in the racks DeLeon spotted a vintage Woolrich anorak that vibed right away with Sierra’s earth-toned look.
48 Hester St, New York, NY
This Lower East Side gem is newer on the scene, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t deliver the goods. They specialize in clothing from the late 20th century and always make sure to keep the selection up to par. Frank Carson, who runs the store and sources the majority of the clothes, makes sure to keep the merchandise as relevant and fresh as possible. During their visit, DeLeon admires a vest with outdoor print lining while Sierra sets her sights on a puffer.