Manhattan Vintage

By: Gabriella Gomperts Racheli Jian  |  February 20, 2024

By Gabriella Gomperts, Features Editor and Racheli Jian, Arts and Culture Editor and Layout Editor

On February 4, 2024, in the Chelsea Neighborhood, New Yorkers were able to see the future of fashion by shopping for clothes from the past. The Manhattan Vintage Show, an “iconic vintage experience,” is like an indoor bazaar, displaying and selling pieces from over 90 vendors.

Amy Abrams and Ronen Glimer, two Israeli Jews, founded the pop-up store with the aim to bring a beloved aspect of the fashion culture of Israel to New York: the Shuk. This was achieved through the abundance of fashionable clothing, jewelry, the smells of food carts, and the hum of friendly conversations. As revolutionary as this show is, it is not the first time this show is occurring. Abrams and Glimer, a married couple, open their doors on 18th Street to vendors and customers four times a year, with the next event being in April. In addition to the Vintage Show, they have a few joint ventures in other parts of New York. One such venture is Artists & Fleas, which is what the model of the show is based on. This market has locations in Williamsburg, Chelsea Market, and even Venice, With a goal similar to the show: providing merchants and materials a chance to be in the spotlight. 

Enthusiastic vendors and shoppers from all over flock to events like The Manhattan Vintage Show in their shared love for thrifting and style. Many vendors got their start in other areas of the fashion world before starting their businesses. Chris, the founder of Moonbaby Vintage and a Fashion Institute of Technology alum, felt it was important to take a more sustainable approach to fashion for environmental and ethical reasons. His niche involves salvaging and reselling clothes from the 19th and early 20th centuries. He loves searching for curated pieces online, in flea markets, and estate sales. 

Aileen from 22PrintStudio approached fashion differently. She began her career working for a label company but eventually got bored and left. Subsequently, she started selling vintage pieces to designers that would use them as sources of inspiration for curating fashion lines. When asked about her experience with this side of fashion in recent years she related, “I showed Michael Kors a beaded decoration on a vintage piece [I thought they could incorporate] and they said ‘Oh we can’t make that, we can’t afford it.’” She said the rising costs of material and labor in recent years has severely affected designers’ ability to create quality and interesting pieces. Whether the issue is the degradation of high fashion or the dire consequences of fast fashion, Chris and Aileen may approach fashion differently but are coming to the same conclusion: something needs to change.

With the advent of social media and the accessibility to cheap clothing through online shopping, fashion trends cycle in and out of style much more rapidly than ever before. Consumers seek trendy clothes at low prices and quick availability, so designers and manufacturers are forced to acquiesce to these demands to stay relevant. However, this results in clothing that won’t last materially or remain “timeless.” This directly translates to the imminent death of vintage. Without good materials and care for clothing, the fashion of a generation will only last for that generation, with the clothing itself left to pollute the planet. It will be worn and there will be no “vintage clothes from the 2020’s.” However, when people attend vintage shows like the one that took place this month, they are shown a new way to look at fashion. A more sustainable, cost-effective, and revolutionary approach.