A Vintage (Af)Fair
How long has James Veloria been a part of A Current Affair?
Brandon Veloria Giordano I think our first show was the spring show four years ago in New York, right Weber?
Collin James Weber Yeah, four years ago but it was fall because we attended the spring event but we weren’t doing it yet and that's when we decided that's what we wanted to do. Then we did the next one in the fall, so probably about four years then. We also show in L.A. and San Francisco.
BVG Yeah, we do all of that and it’s so fun, it’s like a family.
CJW A traveling circus of all the dealers.
How has participating in the show helped your business?
BVG It’s really helped our business grow.
CJW We meet so many customers, stylists, designers, all kinds of people we would never have just encountered on our own. So yes, it’s really helped us grow and hone in on our aesthetic by seeing what people respond to each season.
BVG Our store is definitely off the beaten path in Chinatown, so I feel like this is a great way to show people what we have and what they can find there.
CJW And we tell them about the store and then they come in.
BVG Yeah, it’s been such a game changer for our business. Before this we were selling in a parking lot in Bushwick, so…where we are now is just really amazing.
How do you select which pieces to bring to the show?
BVG Honestly we just bring our favorite things. Depending on the season, maybe a month before the show, we start setting aside the most special pieces.
CJW It’s exclusively for the show and nobody gets to see them before that.
BVG Yeah, so it’s really fun kind of being able to present a bunch of new stuff that people haven’t seen.
CJW Put it all out at once. And we know our returning customers pretty well, so we select with them in mind--we know this person’s looking for this designer, or we'll curate for specific people.
And is there a different crowd you try to cater to for the New York show versus L.A. or San Francisco?
CJW I think when we first started we thought we had to do something really different for the California crowd and we maybe got a little too far away from what we love. But it’s usually best if we stick with what we really love. Even just seasonally, you know, the winter coats, it’s a different vibe.
BVG If you just present the things that you love, eventually those people will find you as opposed to trying to guess what the customer wants. We’ve found in our business that it’s better to do what we like and then eventually those people come out of the woodwork. In New York we have such a great community.
CJW This is definitely our place. It’s the easiest to figure out what people want here ‘cause it’s just what we love anyway.
Is the store’s aesthetic similar to your personal aesthetic?
BVG Honestly we would wear and I have personally probably tried on at least every single thing in the store. I used to think more about like what people are into right now or trends but I've found that if I want it then I should buy it.
CJW That way you’re really excited to show it to people-you’ve already thought about what you would wear it with or how you would style it. We feel more confident presenting stuff that we really love. We can just wear things out for a night or so and then sell it.
BVG We dry clean it and make sure it smells nice!
What are some of your favorite pieces right now?
BVG Definitely the stuffed Comme des Garçons glove.
CJW I like the long maxi dress and that you can unzip and it turns into a jumpsuit, it’s Gaultier from 1999.
BVG We also brought a lot of the pieces from our camp collection. It was kind of inspired by the Met Gala’s theme this year, so we were really excited to bring a lot of those. So like our Moschino piece dress is probably one of my favorites, it’s on the mannequin right now. A lot of the Moschino and Gaultier, like a 1987 camouflage, neon Sprouse set. And this really fun Vivienne Tam dress with Chairman Mao on it. What year is that from again?
With a lot of shoppers and retailers moving online, even vintage retailers, do you think events like A Current Affair are going to continue to attract as many shoppers as it does now?
BVG This was actually the biggest show yet that they’ve had. Also, in terms of sales, we’ve only seen it grow and grow since we’ve started, so I think it’s really wonderful that there’s more room for vintage in the retail marketplace now. People are more conscious about shopping ethically and wanting to have unique pieces.
CJW Versus shopping online, you can see the pieces, you can touch them, you can put them on. Even to me just seeing all this stuff is so exciting. At the very beginning we started mostly online kind of as a hobby. But coming here, doing this, and having the opportunity to meet our customers face-to-face is something that has truly connected us with the core individuals who we’ve built our whole community around-it's been so integral to our growth. Doing our first show enabled us to make our passion a full-time venture.
BVG Yeah, this show has completely changed the trajectory of our business.
Do you think the audience for A Current Affair has grown to the point that it appeals to a variety of people, maybe not just those who are really into vintage clothing?
BVG Yesterday there was a line that went out the door and around the building to get in before 10 a.m.
CJW It’s competitive.