San Jose vintage clothing event celebrates affordability, exclusivity of second-hand clothing

Andrea Infante, Reporter

On Oct. 3, a pop-up vintage clothing event attracted a packed crowd of around 1,500 people to the tents outside of the Smythe Clubhouse – Boys & Girls Club in San Jose to find rare vintage fashion staples. 

Dre Lucero, event coordinator, was inspired by another Bay Area clothing and goods event and wanted  to bring a similar experience to his community, while ensuring a safe environment.

“I was amazed by the amount of enthusiasm that people had to go shopping for this type of stuff,” said Lucero on participating in a previous event as a vendor. 

All the collected peddling fees from vendors were being donated to the Boys & Girls Club.

It is no secret that vintage fashion is notable for being sustainable, as it extends a clothing items life cycle, while also offering unique pieces to one’s wardrobe. 

Theresa Dang, attendee from San Jose, purchased several T-shirts, a pair of vintage Levi’s and a distinctive zip-up sweatshirt.

“It had some Swarovski crystals all over it and the zipper was also made up of Swarovski crystals which I have never, ever seen in my life so that was pretty special to find,” Dang said.

Dang mainly attended the event to support vendors who she follows on Instagram. 

Cohen Guzman, vendor of Cocothrifts, created his shop back in late March of this year. 

Guzman said he has always loved going to thrift stores and finding unique items since high school and thinks that vintage clothing has become more popular due to it’s affordable prices.

“I usually try to be fair on all my prices,” said Guzman. “You know everyone’s looking for a good steal but also a good price.” 

Vendors and shoppers will often look for factors including the style, design, how old the piece is, the year it was made and the brand.

“I think some of the staple pieces are T-shirts,” Sophea Choun said, vendor of Colors Secondary Market. “People look for, say for instance, old anime shirts, some people look for bands, some people look for rap T-shirts, it really depends.”

Typical places to find items to sell are through thrifts shops, garage sales and online, Choun said.

“The quality of clothes that comes from used items is different nowadays and I think a lot of people are seeking that just because it gives a more worn softer feel,” Choun said. 

Thrifting is the most inexpensive way to get in on the look of the “vintage wash” said Kelsea Villanueva, attendee from San Jose. 

Similarly to Dang, Villanueva also found the event through Instagram and decided to take part in it because of the novelty of the event for the area. 

“Hopefully we’ll be able to expand as we are given the green light,” said Lucero regarding another pop-up event. “I think we’re kind of setting the foundation for that and then when things can really get bigger, we will definitely be ready to bring bigger events to San Jose.”