An Ode to Vintage Sponsor
Like many fools, the first time I hit up Matt Roberge was via Instagram DM — for him to appraise, and possibly purchase, something I had copped from Goodwill. A size XXL Iceberg knit with three pink panthers prowling across the front of the sweater. He was mildly intrigued. Months later and broke as fuck, I ended up accepting a lowball offer for it and shipped it off to a teenager in Iowa via Depop, but after a bit more messaging back and forth, Matt and I decided it might be worthwhile to go thrifting together.
Matt is from East Stroudsburg, a small town in Pennsylvania, close to the Poconos and Shawnee Hill. At age 31, he is a respected filmmaker in both the snowboarding and skateboarding worlds, and his affiliation with these industries gives him an innate understanding of his customers' demographic and desires. He knows exactly what they fiend for. “The loudest shit always sells,” he says. The younger skaters, for example, want that baggy, down-to-the-knees look. Polo on their bodies and Nikes on their feet, Lil Keke style.
It amuses me how many customers, upon entering Vintage Sponsor’s first pop-up shop now at Canal Street Market, have jokingly assumed this is not all of the merchandise Matt has to offer. I wish there was a euphemism for the term “hoarder,” but clothing-wise, Matt is just that. A fourth of his bedroom clothing rack is inhabited by black and white Jadakiss WHY shirts. He has an entire spare room devoted to dozens of clear heavy duty recycling bags containing fresh thrifts that haven’t been thoroughly sifted through yet, and he will bark at you if dare try to enter it. “How much for the Shyne tee, the one you are wearing right now,” I ask. Of course he replies, “That’s mine.”
The playfulness, the positive energy, the generosity, is what separates Matt and his brand from other sellers. Vintage Sponsor services a vibrant local community. It’s not a museum with ultra-rare gear only the dons can attain. It’s affordable, it’s fun, and it’s meant to be taken straight to the city streets.