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Do Vintage Stores Sell Vintage Clothes Anymore?


[Photo by EverydayCraftyGoodness]

After a weekend of watching the Dark Knight (WOO!), clubbing, and then walking for six miles after 2 hours of sleep, I slowly walked my aching legs to the nearest vintage store on Haight Street, which happened to be Wasteland.


Wasteland is one of my favorite vintage stores. There’s one in Los Angeles and one in San Francisco. I remember driving to Melrose after school just to browse the vintage shops. In my experience with Wasteland, I’ve probably bought a total of 3 items from there, which happened to be some of my most prized possessions in my closet, and sighted Usher once (Lol that was back in the “Yeah” days).

There was a point where I used to shop the vintage stores much more frequently. I loved the premise of vintage, which is probably what every hipster loves about it as well. You get to wear secondhand clothes that someone deemed for himself/herself “out of style” so that you can find it and then declare it “in style.” And since the clothes you find at a vintage store are “one of a kind,” there’s a lot of that “the clothes chose me” complex. That was the fun side about shopping vintage: it was a serendipitous event that was part luck and part impulse buy. All you had to do was spend hours rummaging through racks, withstand the smell (some people like it ugh!), and get over the fact that you’re wearing clothes that probably haven’t been washed in years when you try it on in the fitting room. And then of course, you wash it as soon you got home.

Then I went away to college, only going home periodically. When I had the chance which was few and far between, I used to visit the vintage stores that I had once frequented as an impressionable high school student. I don’t know when it happened, but I knew it happened while I was away. My former-favorite vintage store, Slow Clothing in Los Angeles, pulled out 90% of its vintage clothing. The store replaced its many racks of vintage clothes and opened up the floor space for a few hangers of its own featured designers. No more one-of-a-kinds. No more familiar vintage smell. Compared to the frugal second hand price of vintage clothing, the prices of these new designer clothes were exorbitant. ($50 dollars for a T-shirt? $100 for a Fedora!?! C’mon!!!) I was heartbroken. After this, I noticed a lot of other vintage stores following suit. They would have half vintage clothes and half expensive “designer” clothes with the hipster fashion sense in mind.


Here is a review of Slow that I found on Yelp that sums up my sentiments.

I used to love this place–it had all kinds of cool vintage pieces and was decently priced for well-taken care of vintage clothing.

I went back last week and it seems to have lost almost all of it’s vintage clothes, instead replacing it with “designer” clothes that’s overpriced and not that special. It also seems as if this place has abandoned selling to men–The upstairs has almost nothing for guys and downstairs I saw so few racks for guys, I almost questioned whether they ever had anything for men.

Anthony B. from Harbor City

Wasteland also offers its own designer clothing. I guess this is now the path of the vintage store. When I entered Wasteland, it was the first time I had been there in almost a year. I didn’t expect to find anything. Like I said, I’ve only bought 3 items here in my entire life. But I remember used to carefully look around for hours, compared to the fifteen minutes that I spent there yesterday.

Times have changed.



  1. Posted July 25, 2008 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    aww I used to go to Wasteland too 😦 I also own 3 pieces of clothing from there, and they’re 3 of my favorite things ever. When I saw all the “new stuff” this summer, I seriously thought I was in the wrong place. BOOO.

  2. Posted July 25, 2008 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never purchases anything from wasteland, but I know it’s big for the local music scene not just Usher alot of bands buy “stagewears” from there. I love the Haight though!

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