At some vintage stores you feel like you’re pulling off a heist–you find a pair of iconic sunglasses for $10 and keep your poker face until you get outside and start smiling. Like good fishing holes, however, you keeps their names and locations to yourself. Then there are the stores that are open secrets, like Mister Freedom in LA. Everybody knows how good they are and they’re frequented by industry types trying to find the perfect canvas coat to knockoff or Japanese collectors ferociously hunting for a pair of 1940’s Red Wings. For certain design-obsessed types money becomes irrelevant (though it helps if you’ve got the corporate Am Ex).
Stock Vintage, set in a late 1800’s building on East 13th Street, is the type of place where you know what’s there is going to be good–and priced accordingly. Melissa Howard opened Stock in 2006, and there’s evidence of the telltale signs of a talented hoarder: stacks of clothes on every available surface, talk of buying trips, and rumors of an overstocked warehouse in Brooklyn. The store turns over a lot of boots, leather belts, flannel shirts, and canvas bags. There are also unique items like a 1920’s LL Bean tartan coat or a 1950’s Wrangler chambray shirt. Melissa has a keen eye for menswear, functional antiques, and interior design. Her collector’s habit still kicks in when a favorite piece is purchased: “Sometimes,” she says, “it’s difficult to say goodbye.”
Stock Vintage. 143 E. 13th Street. NY, NY 10003. 212.505.2505.
All photos by Foster Huntington.
Comments on “Stock Vintage.”
Love this place. Definitely on the pricey side, which you managed to get across very subtly, but, as you also said, at the end of the day, some of this stuff is just worth it.
Amazing! How do they find these treasures? Thanks Michael.
Lovin the store front. Looks like a pretty good selection of boots to…. uh, boot.
The boots look particularly fantastic. Do they happen to have any vintage Weinbrenners?
I wish there were more stores in Pittsburgh like this. I’m not sure there are many at all… if any.
there are a few places in the us like this. stock is one of the better ones i have seen and is relatively affordable,
Very, very cool. Great pictures, too. Uniquely weird – which I mean as a high compliment.
Damn impressive collection of boots they have on their hands.
Thanks for this. I’ve had nothing but great experiences at Stock. Melissa is very cool.
Great store must visit soon….!
Romanticizing the working class at astronomical prices. Does this pandering to nostalgia make anyone else uncomfortable?
this is where both guys in my band buy all their stuff. it’s the store.
Part of the reasons I like these kinds of places is because of the aesthetic of the store itself. This is definitely deserving of a visit next time I’m in NY.
I can’t see getting worked up over the price of genuinely vintage items. They are scarce, thus they command a high price.
I’m more skeptical of the way that the market for nostalgia informs the prices of new-new-stock revivals. Its one thing for a rare old pair of boots in good condition to cost a small fortune. Its another for a brand new pair of boots based on those old boots to cost a small fortune. The price is obviously what the market will bear, but that market is much more about conspicuous consumption than scarcity. Two sides of the same coin I suppose — exclusivity.
I recognize that a lot of the price and cache of new “heritage” items is connected to domestic manufacture. That said, I can’t help but notice that there are American made brands (Pointer, Round House, KBF, etc.) that manage to make work-apparel in America that working-class Americans can actually afford. Meanwhile, we are expected to believe that boutique brands that cater to relatively wealthy urbanites simply must chart 2, 3 or even 10 times the price for a pair of jeans or boots. If (economies of scale accounted for) they are paying the people that assemble these items 2, 3 or even 10 times as much, great!
Matt Lyons – Well said. That statement perfectly encapsulates the marketing ploy of a lot of manipulative menswear lines right now. Seeing things like collaborations between APC and Carhartt can be very unsettling.
I’ve never been to Stock Vintage but feel their prices might be more justified than with others. From the post and pictures, it looks like they’re almost selling clothing antiques. My initial reaction could change if I were given a better idea of this store’s prices.
Love the look of this store. When the goings on at fashion week inevitably become too much for me, I now know where I’ll find my style haven. Thanks for posting.
Melissa has created such an amazing space. It truly feels like you’ve stepped into another place and time. I believe she is responsible for inspiring a certain aesthetic that so many other store owners in NYC have tried to replicate. Melissa is truly one of a kind. She is a warm, creative, and inspiring person – this is a great post. I am happy to see you featuring her store. I have been a fan since she opened it in ’06.
As it pertains to @jiheison’s comment – The quality of the items that Stock vintage sells are second to none. These pieces of clothing were made in an era when shops like Club Monaco and other ‘disposable’ fashion brands didn’t exist. There is a reason why these pieces exist today – they were made to last. They’re not like the junk that is brought in from China (sold to us at high prices) and fall apart after a few times in the wash. Things are not made now like they used to be – even the ‘high-priced’ items.
To be clear: My criticism isn’t aimed at this particular shop. It looks like a beautiful shop. It’s folks marketing working class costumes (especially while the working class in the US is getting the shaft) that rubs me the wrong way.
i would love to spend a day drooling over that wall of boots. and that pair of boots in the bucket – i think those were my grand dads… i can remember those boots…
yes – menswear crap is all trying to sucker in the fool with “heritage” right now (and really whats so wrong with that) but that is no reason to hate on those selling/showing the real vintage…
and john – i’ve got some beat to shit Weinbrenners if you want them – they’re 4 years old but look about 30… i’ve been wanting to start on a new pair… they’re a 10 wide. lemme know and i’ll throw them up on Ebay baby… :-)
d in tx…
Knowing that places like this exist makes me happy.
this is so, so odd. I wandered randomly into this place yesterday afternoon for no reason aside from the fact that the heavy doors seemed to beckon me in. cosmic seeing it here today! weird.
Most so-called “working class” materials, if they have genuine age to them, truly merit the higher prices dealers request for them. These were the objects that were less likely to be saved. Melissa Howard hunts relentlessly for these items and she deserves all the credit in the world for her successful pursuits in the early hours of the mornings when she hunts this great stuff down.
Nice looking store and nice looking proprietor.
I live in the midwest where stuff like this is picked up at estate sales and the like and sold for astronomical prices on the coasts. I bet I could sell off my closet for a small fortune if I went to New York or LA.
the shop and the wares look great. i just hope the prices arent sky hi,,as this would just then be a supply line for the idle,lazy rich to outfit themselves with clothes which then allows them to transmit the false impression
that they actually do physically productive things and go places other than art galleries and marble floored restaurants and assemby halls…moderate prices would seem to allow normal people to make treasured purchase which they would more likely be able to appreciate for the history and life injected into
said pieces ,and allow the boots etc to carry a new owner through some
honest new adventures.&i acknowledge that “sky hi ” and “reasonable” are subject to interpretation re build quality ,condition ,rarity etc..looks like a nice find though.. e
G’day from downunder! The store looks amazing, Im so glad to be able to see photos of the store. I met Melissa while I was traveling in Tokyo in November last year. She is one cool girl!
Nice store, wish there was a proper treasure trove like this in London.
Love this place. Beautiful inventory of curated vintage pieces. Prices are proportionate to the rarity and quality of the item. As mentioned by the author this is a store that is quite frequented by both international and local designers/design teams for inspiration, particularly an equestrian mounted, mallet wielding brand.
Melissa and her store are both fantastic! I could tell you where she finds her stuff, but then I’d have to…well, you know the rest.
how would you know that?
Toronto has an especially nice shop like this called Klaxon Howl.
Great, clean vintage stuff of very good quality and the owner generally has a very good idea of provenance, if he hasn’t already tagged it (with a nice little handwritten note) on the items themselves. You also pay a price for it.
Maybe not as much variety as in the above photos, but you should have a look at it and make your own judgement, mos def.
We also have a few great vintage shops left where you can get that feel you described above at the beginning, but as I’m a relatively poor and thrifty man, you’ll have to dig those out yourself.
Nice one, Wonger. I too can vouchsafe Klaxon’s quality. For anyone thinking of making a trip to Toronto, you’ll definitely want to pay a visit. You could spend hours in there. Nicely merchandised, too.
I’ve been to Stock. It’s lovely. $400 + for a pair of well-used White’s boots seemed a bit excessive for the Carolina League – esp when they’re all over eBay for less than a third of that – but that’s just me.
Since I live just down the street it’s always a temptation to stop in and check out what Melissa has from time to time. She and her co-worker Josh are a wealth of vintage knowledge.
Great store for inspiration, but the prices are so high because the industry shops here for samples. Melissa didn’t create that look, RRL has been doing it since the 90’s.
Can’t believe I haven’t run across this store. I was just on this block last night, too.
Anyway, the high prices for vintage goods are generally for those in standard sizes. Sure, you can get vintage White’s on ebay for less than $400, but only if you’re a midget or wear a size 14. If you’re in the 32-waist, size 10 shoe, size M shirt range, you’re going to pay a lot more.
[“Romanticizing the working class at astronomical prices. Does this pandering to nostalgia make anyone else uncomfortable?”]
What makes me uncomfortable is not the pandering to nostalgia, but taking stock of the fact that most American companies no longer make authentic American made products.
There are real reasons we are pandering. We realize that we had a pretty good thing & we blew it. Now we’re trying to recover our past & there’s a very good chance we won’t make it.
I see it as a societal, cultural disease brought about by globalism, nafta, etc. etc.
We really did sell our souls for “lowest prices always”, & the politicians were only too glad to help. So now do we not only have to go to the ends of the earth to hunt stuff down, or pay what we consider “stiff” prices, but practically half the nation is unemployed, or underemployed.
I read the other day that only 47% of working age Americans have full time jobs. Also, 43.2 million Americans receive food stamps. That’s 18.1% of all working age Americans. Most of the new jobs being created are McJobs.
Now I’m at the point, where if I decide to buy new it had better be made in America assuming of course that the company is still American, etc.
I love these photos! Im a huge advocate of analog photography but when i see digital photos capture great texture and subtle lighting i get really excited. Foster is really getting good, i saw his blog a while back but i had no idea he was such talented photographer. Oh, and the store looks really sweet to.
Isn’t that your job Foster? Scavenger hunter for RL?
#1 shop in NYC…I first met Melissa in Brimfield 4 years ago when I purchased a red apple pickers ladder from her mom, who happens to sell the most amazing antiques! anyways Melissa happen to have a few pieces in her mom’s booth which I ended leaving with as well…( oil cloth filson work trousers / 4x wool long john bottoms / a pair of dead stock steel toed work boots / a couple of stripped bib front shirts ..much more but you get the picture )
If you guys are in NYC it would be wise to head there $$$ in hand!
A PERFECT CURATOR.
My favourite items? The vintage tape measures. Nice.
Really wish I had known about this last time I was in town. Most definitely will check it out when I get back up there. Thanks, once again, Michael.
Another good reason to get off my arse and visit my brother in N.Y.
I’ve been here. This place is bullshit. I once saw a tie there that I had seen at another vintage thrift shop, except it was 4x the price. I guess a strangers used overalls are worth hundreds of dollars? But what’s this? Wooden tables and canvas bags repurposed as clothing displays? It’s got to be authentic.
Loving the photography Foster. Good work.
I’m totally unclear on why people hate on this stuff, you’re not making any sense at all. First of all…there is something called “supply and demand”. This vintage stuff is hard to come by, thus the “supply” issue and the corresponding price tag. Second of all, this woman has to find this stuff, which you clearly have no understanding of the scope of this task. Even if a tie is 4x the price you saw it someplace else, what you’re also saying is that the owner of this shop is overcharging and that her time is worth a lot less. Who are YOU to say what her time is worth? Also, if you had an object that you could sell for twice what you paid or 4x what you paid, which would you choose? You’d be an idiot not to take as much as you can get. Clearly people are paying her prices and I say more power to her! If you don’t like it, don’t shop there. Finally, it’s not like she’s selling this stuff out of her garage. There is something called “overhead” that she has to cover every month. You think rent in NYC is cheap? Maybe you naysayers should relax and educate yourselves. Take an economics class for heavens sake! I say hats off to this store – long may it be successful!
Can’t tell what I like better the exterior facade, or the interior with all of those goods! Whoever is behind this shop, well done & keep up the good work.
I just went on a field trip there yesterday not knowing you wrote this up… As always you’re dead on. What an amazing little collection she has. It is very expensive but its also very well executed and curated. Designers and stylists are indeed able to afford the premiums she charges while laymen and impoverished aficionados can garner inspiration and go hunt their own treasures at the thrift stores and flea markets of the world, after all isn’t that half the fun…?
Those bags of boots smell pretty bad.
useful comment i know.
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