SPACE INVADER: WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND
the owners talk shop about the new wave of vintage.
What Goes Around Comes Around has been showing New York the best vintage finds for 20 years (celebrities like Lauryn Hill shop there in bulk on the reg), but like most things we love to wear, the best vintage doesn't come cheap. Which makes complete sense; rare Chanel pieces aren't exactly lining the shelves at the local goodwill store.
That said, today's edition of Space Invader brings some really great news to vintage lovers, which I can assume is all of us? What Goes Around Comes around opened their third location on 440 Lafayette at Astor Place in NYC and it's chock full of price-friendly vintage—rejoice!
I talked to the owners Gerard Maione and Seth Weisser (who, by the way, gave me my first internship at their vintage archive when I was still in college) about the affordable finds that fill up their huge new shop. Listen to these guys, they're experts:
A GREAT PLACE
It's always been a great place—there's NYU, The Bowery is building up, the East Village is close by, and there's a bunch of development with all of that. It's kind of a new generation (at least from our perspective—we've been doing this almost 20 years!) and especially for this concept we're moving forward with, it's really important because we've always been an upscale vintage concept and with the economy and certain trends that going on in fashion...between the H&Ms and TJ Maxxs and these moderately priced brands that are blowing it out. We have that ability on a vintage level and saw such a need. So the whole philosophy for this area is that there's a perspective with vintage and people want to get some deals! People are thrifty and they want that!—Gerard
The way we have to look at it, we've seen basically everything there is to see in vintage from the Victorian era to the '90s. We were never doing '80s and '90s because we opened in '93. There wasn't any '90s yet! So now we're offering new things that have become available. When you're doing '90s rayon floral printed dresses and you're doing any '90s categories that are hot and that this generation is wearing—those are accessible and you don't have to pay a ton of money for them. If you want Victorian items, if you want really rare rock jeans , if you want 1930s pieces, if you want specific designer pieces—those are things you have to spend a lot of money on. We have to spend a lot of money to get that stuff and it's really selective and very competitive. In categories like outerwear for example, it doesn't always have to be the 1940s wool coat with beautiful detailing or amazing fur pieces from the '90s. We needed to start comparing some of our prices to companions like H&M, Topshop and Forever21. —Gerard
We've edited it down to accessible, but good stuff. You don't have to get committed to any piece—it's disposable in many respects. But it's still good, hand-selected vintage that we pick. We're not putting an of the junk out—it's still good stuff that may have no made the cut or we didn't have room for it at the SoHo store.—Seth
Listen, we know what's going on out there—most people want disposable fashion. The thing for us is, our model in SoHo worked well for what it is, but it's very exclusive and a lot of people can't play with that. We've known for years, we've had this idea, we just haven't been able to execute it. We've been busy with the collecting, we've been busy opening our LA store, but it's just the right time. First, we tested our idea out in Williamsburg and it did really well. We could have stayed there but we got led here and were so much happier. In Manhattan there's so much more exposure and a much bigger audience in terms of the business capability, so were really excited.—Seth
PLACES I REMEMBER
I was working at the Ralph Lauren mansion in '91 and '92, so I used to the aesthetic of this sick mansion, but of course I was making no money. I was a cashier and I was like, "I gotta go buy vintage. I gotta find some cool pieces because I can't afford designer stuff." Even with the Ralph discount, it was still expensive, so I would go to Family Jewels which used to be on 23rd and 6th before there was a fire and they had to move around the corner. I used go to the Andy's Cheapies, I used to go to flea markets, and to David Owens. I used to go extract these great pieces and people would be like "oh my god, where did you get that?" Because it was vintage, I probably got it for $49, even though it would be this crazy whipstitch leather jacket. I was always good at extracting and then I was like, "wait, why do these places only have like one good piece? They all had lowly merchandizing, wire hangers, no service…you'd walk in there and no one really knew what was going on and there was no one willing to help you. All these things can happen and that was the inspiration for doing this.—Gerard
WHAT COMES AROUND
As the generations evolve, the 20-year-olds consider '90s to be vintage. So, we've taken our vintage blinders off and opened ourselves up to putting forth good quality, used mercy. It's stuff that most people consider vintage. From our standards, we wouldn't necessarily always qualify it as that, but under the new definition that we play with I think we're squarely in the spot that we're supposed to be in and we'll continue to push deadstock, '70's, '80's, and all forms of easy price-point vintage into the mix.—Seth
Cheap vintage is just the best thing our fall wardrobes could hope for this season. And since we're styling mixmasters no one will ever know that we didn't break the bank to get it. (If you see a small brunette walk out of the dressing room with about a hundred pairs of beat up Levi's and vintage tees, that would be me).