Vintage Spotlight: Harold and Maude is Bedstuy’s Hidden Gem

(Pictured: Nagase and Hashimoto via @HaroldAndMaudeVintage)

Tucked between a bustling cafe and some seemingly never-ending construction cones, the tiny gem that is Harold and Maude Vintage is easy to miss. But don’t be deceived by its understated exterior: while small, inside the boutique boasts some of the most interesting, gorgeous, and affordable vintage finds in New York.

Mami Nagase and her partner, Ryoma Hashimoto, co-founded the store in 2014, after successfully selling pieces at pop-ups around Long Island City and the Lower East Side.

sorry for such a tiny space… #haroldandmaudevintage #vintage #vintageclothing #brooklyn #newyork #vintagestore

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Nagase moved from Osaka, Japan to New York in 2003, and began working at ‘10Ft Single by Stella Dallas,’ the vintage store she still treasures as one of her favorite spots to find unique pieces, in 2007. By the time she left ’10Ft’ in 2013, she’d amassed quite the collection for herself.

Garments hanging inside Harold and Maude include everything from shimmery 20’s gowns to 50’s cheerleading sweaters to authentic military apparel.

“I like unusual pieces, one of a kind… my favorite is 1900 to 60’s costume,” she tells us. And unusual the pieces are: there’s faux-zebra fur, black-fringed jackets, as well as dazzling blue sequin-encrusted crop tops. The diverse selection is thanks to Nagase and Hashimoto’s dedication to searching far and wide, across the nation, for the coolest finds.

“10 ft single by Stella Dallas, where I used to work, has a huge collection of vintage clothing,” Nagase explains. “We also love garage sales, flea markets and any estate sales.”

#haroldandmaudevintage #brooklyn #newyork #vintage #vintageclothing #newyork #vintageshop #bedstuy

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The eclectic style of the store reflects Nagase’s role models in fashion: “Iris, Michael Jackson, Grace Jones, the movie characters of Wes Anderson. I get inspired by all crazy people.”

The pair’s favorite thing about owning a vintage store, Nagase explains, is it “feels like I’m with the history of culture.”

She concludes: “Crazy customers are very welcome. I don’t like the border line between men’s and women’s clothing. Men can wear dresses and women can wear bow ties!!”

Harold and Maude is located at 592 Lafayette Ave in Bed-Stuy, and is open 12-7 every day, but closed Tuesdays.

 

 

Interview: Amanda Dolan & Meagan Colby Talk Retro Glam of ‘Spark Pretty’

All Photos By: John Muggenborg

Walking into the Spark Pretty popup shop is quite literally like stepping into the explosively colorful, wacky-glam oasis of a true 90s girl’s bedroom/studio: There’s glitter on the walls, floor, and ceiling, posters of hunks with waist-length crimped blonde hair, and bright MTV logos beaming out at you.

Spark Pretty is the art child of Betsey Johnson stylists-turned-professional vintage collectors Amanda Dolan and her business partner Meagan Colby, who began the online store four years ago, after leaving Betsey Johnson’s showroom to strike out on their own. They’ve been approached by designers like Steve Madden, hoping to examine their antique pieces to recreate for custom designs. Recently the duo have also begun doing pop-up stores in New York City, launching in NoLita.

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Pieces range from $12 to $1200, available in store and online, and include everything from hand-painted Madonna jackets, to vintage Isaac Mizrahi embroidered pantsuits, to holographic club kid spandex, and beyond.

We caught up with the posh pair to find out how this glorious treasure of a brand came to be, what makes their fashion spirits tick, and what they want to do with their store in the future.

What initially inspired the idea for the pop-up stores?

Amanda: Meagan and I have been collecting vintage together for years. It’s what bonded us together as best friends. So we’ve been selling online at SparkPretty.com for four years, and with the 90s coming back in style, we thought it was time to expand. We were already having fun as friends taking road trips across the country to find pieces, and building an incredible collection of our own. Let’s just do it ourselves! Why have a middle man? Girl power.

Did you have any favorite vintage stores you found on your road trips?

Meagan: We’ve gone all over, but we love Florida, because there’s some crazy shit down there. We went to Nashville… it’s hard to say one place, since we’ve been to so many. But the South in general… upstate New York, California…
Amanda: Once a year I go to England, and there’s some sick shit over there too.
Meagan: But we’re always looking for our personal aesthetic for the brand. It’s got to be outrageous, it’s got to be sparkly. It’s got to have textures, and patterns.

Have you two been thrifting since a very young age?

Amanda: I’m from the New York/ Connecticut area. And we were both teenagers in the 90s – I remember when people were asking for Gap, of The Limited, I was asking my parents to take me to local consignment shops so I could find a pair of 70s bellbottoms.
Meagan: I was wearing corduroys twelve sizes too large, and flannels, and old T-shirts.
Amanda: It’s literally been in our bones forever.

Have your personal styles evolved? Were there different eras?

Amanda: I think no matter who you are your personal style evolves as you age. For me, I’ve always held through to unique, very bright colors, and a lot of glitz and glams, but I used to love vinyl, and now I don’t. You go through the phases but I think you keep your spirit aesthetic – it travels with you.

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Meagan: I have to agree. I’ve definitely gone through some growing pains. I had dreadlocks, once upon a time. And I would make my own clothes, and do a lot of thrifting. I’d wear giant pants with a patchwork shirt that I made.
Amanda: We’re all constantly evolving, but trends come and go, and I’ve always like things that are different, unique, from a different time.

What musicians and celebrities do you guys like?

90s icons – we’re both obsessed with Kelly Bundy. Christina Applegate circa 1992 on Married… With Children, rock and roll babes. Fran Drescher in The Nanny, we both are obsessed with. We also worship the altar of Courtney Love – talk about style phases. Her style evolution is incredible, but she’s always stayed true to that bleach blonde tattered babydoll kind of thing, but was also the face of Versace. We both love David Lee Roth, but only early, 80s, 90s David Lee Roth. Video vixen girls from the 90s. Currently we both share a love for Jeremy Scott, with the pop culture references, and the bedazzlement. His assistant has shopped with us.

Where did the hand-painted jackets you guys have come from?

Amanda: I went to art school, and Meagan went to fashion school – we’re just drawn to them. They’ve come from all over – some from Europe, when I’m travelling. Some from the coasts – we’ve got Madonna, Janet Jackson, Rocky Horror, Barbie… what’s so cool is that there’s a story behind each jacket, because someone who loved Madonna, or Rocky, in 1989 spent there time painting and hand-setting it. So to me it’s not like we’re selling a jacket, it’s like we’re selling a piece of history.
Meagan: You’re not buying something where 7,000 were made. We appreciate that crafty, one-of-a-kind aesthetic.
Amanda: It’s really great when you see people open the door, and their faces light up, and they go “Wow.” It confirms for us that we’re on the right track, making people happy through these historic pieces.

Do you feel sorrow as you say goodbye to some of these pieces?

Amanda: Sometimes, yes. But also happiness – sometimes we’ll find a piece, and think, “How are we going to let this go?” But seeing it come to life – when someone puts it on, and it’s made for them. Yesterday we had this guy come in, and he had hot pink hair, and he tried on this Janet Jackson jacket with pink and purple in it, and seeing his face light up… it makes it easier to let the pieces go to their next home.
Meagan: Amanda and I have become such close friends, and we love a backstory, so when we find some of these pieces we’re like, “Well, this woman’s name was Debby.”
Amanda: If there’s not an actual backstory, we like to make up our own.

What do you look for in pieces?

Amanda: With vintage, the pieces have had a life already. We’re not a thrift store, we’re curated. We don’t want to sell ratty clothes.
Meagan: We only take a piece that has damages if it’s incredibly amazing. Typically we look for items that are in perfect condition.
Amanda: As far as aesthetic, denim, painted, beaded forever. High waisted jeans forever.

Any plans for the future?

Amanda: We do love to embellish things – maybe we’ll do some more. A permanent location is a wonderful dream down the line, but the excitement of a pop up shop is cool, because we can think of ideas for each location. And it’s exciting for the customers, because they can follow us and find something new. So there’s definitely more pop ups in our future.

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Can you choose a favorite piece?

Meagan: There’s definitely pieces right now we are goo goo ga ga over.
Amanda: We have the exact red dress that Cassandra wore in Wayne’s World. We have one of those early 90s windbreakers made of that paper material – and Kurt Cobain wore one of those. We love sets – we have a couple two piece hologram Spice Girl, club kid looks.

Follow Spark Pretty on Instagram at @SparkPretty.

The Best Kept Secret in The West Village: Calliope

With the likes of Marc Jacobs, Joe Malone, and Alexis Bittar lining Bleecker St., it pays to venture off the over populated retail path and make your way towards the river to West 12th St where you’ll discover the shopping oasis that is Calliope.  The store founded by Manhattan couple Caroline and Michael Ventura, is not just a store, it’s an entire thought in lifestyle.  A lifestyle that granted veers more California than New York, but with the current migration of New Yorkers going west, you can be the smart one knowing that you don’t have to move to Los Angeles to get that Cali vibe.

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What makes this place great is that it’s arranged like a shoppable living room. Inside you’ll find a curated collection of vintage, contemporary, and bespoke goods crafted by artisans from Morocco to Brooklyn, including Aaron Poritz, Fort Makers, and Michael Felix. They have everything from large designer furnishings, travel goods, luggage, antique rugs, artisan homewares, jewelry, crystals, sage and vintage records. The ever-rotating supply make the boutique a fresh source of inspiration for a creative and inspired crowd.

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It’s known amongst neighborhood locals that Calliope likes when you hang out. In fact, if you want to grab your laptop for an hour or two you can set up shop with the other locals doing just that or bring a bottle of wine and conversation while you wait for your friends finishing at The Whitney (which is just a few blocks away).

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The one thing Calliope offers over anywhere else in New York is their one-of-a-kind “field trips” with local talent which will send you on a journey in butchery lessons, astrological chart readings, vinyl hunting, drawing classes, and cocktail mixology. Sign us up.

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Calliope is located at 349 West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014.

Resurrection Summons Fashion Gods With New Retail Store

Photography: Alexander Thompson

In 1996, Mark Haddawy and Katy Rodriguez founded Resurrection, a retail archive that would become one the world’s premiere international venues for collectible and historic clothing. With locations in both Los Angeles and New York, Resurrection has attracted high fashion icons including Prince, Catherine Denueve, Lou Lou De la Falaise, Azzedine Alaia, Iman, John Galliano and Chloe Sevigny—not to mention Kate Moss, who Rodriguez cites as their longest running, most loyal client.

“Kate Moss came into the store on our first day 20 years ago,” she said. “She will always hold a special place in our hearts and history.  She embodies our generation’s curious take of high and low fashion and everything in between.”

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Alexander McQueen Dogtooth Cocoon Coat (2009), Alexander McQueen Sarabande Lace Gown (2007), Alexander McQueen Runway Gown (2008)

With a new location on Great Jones, Resurrection opens its doors to celebrate a brand new, custom retail gallery and archive. In addition to their vast inventory of vintage pieces from fashion gods like Christian Lacroix, Gaultier and Moschino, Haddawy and Rodriguez are celebrating three specific archive collections in their new space.

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It begins with a selection of rare 20th century, out-of-print books showcased on custom Brian Thoreen brass shelves, moves on to Bulgari Jewelry (including the company’s famous Tubas watches) and finishes with a pupil dilating curation of Alexander McQueen pieces.

“It’s really special,” Rodriguez said. “The collection spans McQueen’s career from our perspective. We love the early pieces as much as the very famous later collections. He was such a unique force.  It’s been an important reminder of what great is.”

Later this month, Resurrection will showcase a rare collection of Maison Martin Margiela and in September, will debut a Helmut Lang show—stay tuned.


Resurrection, 45 Great Jones Street, is open Monday – Saturday from 11 AM – 7 PM.

6 Best Vintage Stores in Los Angeles

Photo courtesy of Tavin Boutique

From cheap $10 thrills to archival investments from Chanel and Lacroix, here are the six best vintage stores in Los Angeles.

Tavin Boutique
Bohemian, travel, romantic — and designer: Some of the adjectives Tavin uses to describe its inventory and customer; it’s vintage for the Gypset babe. Here vintage turquoise jewelry is mixed in with jewels from local designers, special items like Indigo clothing from Vietnam and embroidered Baluch dresses from Afghanistan, vintage pieces grounded in the flowy ’60s and ’70s — and Saint Laurent, Cacharel, Dior, and so on. Expect to spend between $100 to $600 on a dress. You can shop online too.
(1543 Echo Park Avenue, Los Angeles; Tuesday-Sunday, 12:30 – 6:30 PM)

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Resurrection Vintage
If you’re looking for a pristine piece of vintage designer — often “historic” pieces, as the site notes, and willing to spend thousands for it, then Resurrection will be a dream. Hermes, Chanel, YSL, Yohji Yamamoto, Geoffrey Beene, Moschino, Mugler, Dior, Lacroix, you name it. There’s also a location in New York for the east coasters. Prepare yourself for the sticker shock with a little online reconnaissance first. Those interested in renting pieces on a daily, weekly or monthly basis — for shoots, events, etc, can get in touch to make an appointment here.
(8006 Melrose, Los Angeles; Monday-Saturday, 11 AM – 7 PM)

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What Katie Did
Given the collective Kardashian affection for the modern waist cinching device — the “waist trainer” according to the celeb sisters’ Instagram accounts — there’s a reinvigorated interest in the silhouette best created by strapping on a corset. For the shopper who wouldn’t be caught dead in the cheesy, modern contraptions modeled by sisters K, there’s What Katie Did, a lingerie store whose wares are consistently pulled for music videos, films, and editorials (Interview, WYLDE). Here you’ll find reproductions of vintage styles — i.e. as close as you can get to the real deal from the eras when corsets and shape wear were done best — but new and never before worn. Not exactly real deal vintage, but worth a mention.
(7970 1/2 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood; Monday-Saturday, 11 AM – 6 PM)

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Owl Talk
Funky, moderately priced finds from Art Deco through the ’90s won’t hurt your wallet — vintage earrings at around $30 are as easy to find at newer, cheekier $10 coin purses emblazoned with labels like “weed money” at Owl Talk, run by sisters Kathleen and Sharon Kroner. Among the vintage are also consignment wares — bring yours in to sell as you peruse a mix of vintage and contemporary clothing and accessories.
(5060-B Eagle Rock Boulevard, Los Angeles; Monday – Thursday, 11 AM – 7 PM, Friday and Saturday 11 AM – 6 PM, Sunday 12 – 4 PM)

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Rose Bowl Flea Market
It wouldn’t make sense to list Los Angeles’s best vintage without mentioning the Rose Bowl Flea Market. If it’s the second Sunday of the month, you have a date with the flea. Admission is $8 and gives shoppers access to over 2,500 vendors selling vintage clothing, antique furniture (be on the lookout for signed pieces), jewelry, art and more. Get there early and wear comfortable shoes.
(1001 Rose Bowl Drive, Pasadena; 9 AM – 4:30 PM on the second Sunday of every month, or pay $20 admission for 5 – 9 AM access)

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Shareen Vintage
Imagine 7,000 square feet filled with pretty vintage dresses from the ’20s through the ’90s, and imagine Lana Del Rey perusing the selection — Shareen has dressed the songstress for a performance or two. The downtown store is known as a “no boys zone,” so prepare yourself for the feminine treasures you’ll find here. Shareen Mitchell, the shop’s owner, also does vintage and unique bridal if you’re in the market and has created her own vintage-inspired clothing collection, available at the store.
(1721 North Spring Street, Los Angeles; Tuesday – Saturday 10 AM – 5 PM, Sunday 12 – 6 PM)

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Vintage Alaïa, Gaultier, and Margiela at the Michèle Lamy-Hosted Byronesque Launch

Byronesque, an editorial and e-commerce website dedicated to fine vintage fashions sealed with a contemporary flare celebrated its launch with exquisite pieces from the past, and cocktails, of course.

Eccentric fashion maven Michèle Lamy joined Milk Studios, Glenn O’Brien and Mazdack Rassi to host a night of viewing and shopping. The space was tucked away, multiple staircases up, in the abandoned space located in the regal James Farley Post Office.

Fashion enthusiasts – from Upper East Side wasps to hot-glue-gunning, platform-shoe-wearing club kids with purple hair – enjoyed an exhibit showcasing superb vintage pieces. Coveted designs from Alaïa to Margiela were available displayed for purchase as a DJ rocking retro beats blasted music nearby.

Entering the surreal space, an instillation of modern televisions greeted you with films and graphics including the heartwarming, gold encrusted grin of Michèle Lamy herself. Feeling more like the aesthetic of a museum, it almost made you forget that a $2,000 Vivienne Westwood t-shirt could be purchased just steps away.

Obsessed already? Don’t get your Agent Provocateur panties in a bunch just yet. The exhibit and boutique is open to the fashion-addicted public December 12th through 15th, from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m., making it the perfect place to find a prime gem for the sartorially obsessed person in your life this holiday season.

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The Vivienne Westwood $2,000 Tee

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Your Daily Dose Of Vintage: Desert Noises, ‘I Won’t See You’

Get off Instagram, don’t design minimalist posters for Wes Anderson movies, and stop talking about decades you didn’t live in, just for a second: it’s time for actual nostalgia. Desert Noises, a four-piece indie rock band hailing from Utah, have released a simply gorgeous music video—filmed in the 1940s.

Assembled from super-8 footage taken by the grandmother of guitarist Patrick Boyer, the video for “I Won’t See You” contains some stunning shots of the mid-century American West, chronicling a road trip through Yosemite on into San Francisco. Bassist Tyler Osmond, who took on editing duties, deserves credit for great pacing and sequencing, but the source material is what shines here.

The song’s not bad, either! The very tone of hazy, sun-drenched, Technicolor memories, right? Okay, you may now return to your steampunk reverie.

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

Korean Food With a Vintage Twist

At the second anniversary party at Mono + Mono, a Korean eatery in the East Village, owner M.J. Chung unveiled yet another old school twist to his restaurant—View-Masters.

If you are over the age of 30 you may remember the View-Master, which first hit the market in 1939, from your childhood. If not, well, it’s a handheld box that you put round, film-like disks with pictures on them inside.  For some, you hold them up to the light to see the images. Others, like the one Chung has procured, uses battery power to illuminate the seven 3D images of special dishes and drinks, like their twice-fried wings, spicy Lady’s Night cocktail, and soju flights.

For the 40-year-old Chung, who looks more like a 22-year-old, his goal is to take what is old and make it new again. He likes the nostalgia that the device brings, and he personally remembers the View-Master from his childhood in Korea. 

Today, only three companies make the film for the View-Master and it’s not cheap. Neither are the actual vintage machines, but, for Chung, it’s all about authenticity. Mono + Mono also boasts a collection of thousands of jazz records, which line the walls of Mono + Mono behind glass. Each evening, the music selected circles the main dining room overhead as guests eat.

Though using the View-Master to showcase menu items while listening to Glen Miller and downing a plate of sticky, crunchy wings walks the fine line of cheesy, the whole concept actually proved pretty neat. You can see for yourself starting December 1.

The Vintage Clothing Industry’s Best Kept Secret? A Factory in New Jersey

The tapestry dress was heavily decorated, with a contrasting pattern of gold, red, and blue radiating from the bodice to slim elbow-length sleeves and on down to a skirt hitting mid-calf. It looked like something off the racks at London’s Biba, with a boho edge but sharp detailing that hinted at hours of painstaking labor. The label? French couture house Lanvin.

The piece (priceless secondhand clothing is called that, much like a Damien Hirst print or Tracey Emin embroidery) isn’t for sale in any of the high-rent vintage boutiques dotting Manhattan – at least, not yet. Instead, I spotted it in a box of similarly precious cast-offs at a textile recycling factory in Clifton, New Jersey.

Trans-Americas Trading Co. sorts through a whopping 70,000 pounds of used clothing every day. Less than 1 percent of that reaches the discerning eyes of its vintage department manager, Emma Allen, who sorts the awe-inducing (YSL ‘70s utilitarian jacket, a paper-like Issey Miyake column dress) from the simply stellar (Norma Kamali zebra-print silk pants, a black Margiela blazer). The rest of the good stuff, perhaps sans designer label but in impeccable condition and possessing an au courant silhouette, is classified into scores of categories for easy browsing. The forty or so regular clients of Trans-Americass’ vintage department – expensive, carefully-curated shops that make New York’s best-of lists year after year – trek out to the factory to stock up on looks that Allen, with the help of an experienced line crew, have culled from the innumerable bales of clothing unloaded at the warehouse each morning at 7 am sharp.

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Looking for sweaters? No problem. Trans-Americas has pre-sorted them into “fisherman/folkloric,” “mohair,” “metallic,” “cardigan,” “patterned ‘80s,” “ethnic” and more. One box of dresses yields a trove of “special costumes” culled from The Metropolitan Opera and The Royal Opera in London. Newer categories are created to fill a demand for trendy items: riding pants, bomber jackets, vintage wedding dresses, boy-fit oxford shirts, rompers or playsuits, acid-wash denim and ‘80s windbreakers, which Allen informs me are especially popular in London. “I don’t see the fashion world as a linear progression of trends from the top down,” she says. “Working here you see how vintage stores and stylists influence street style as well as high fashion, and vice versa. People in the industry find drop-crotch sari pants here at the factory to use for styling or to sell, and then you see those same pants being manufactured [for the mass market] the next season.”

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At the end of the day, after the breakfast bell at 9:10 am and the lunch bell at 12:10, Allen invites me to do a little perusing of my own – all in the name of research, of course. Wading through a chest-high cardboard box of ethnic dresses, I stumble upon a Mexican shift in white cotton with colorful crocheted embroidery across the neckline and sleeves. Done. I also pick up a blue-and-white checked boy’s Western shirt, an alligator envelope clutch and a Liberty print silk scarf (contemporary Target collaboration be damned!).

The real score is a piece that previously existed only in my wildest sartorial dreams. As a jacket whore, I was seduced by its bracelet sleeves, swingy silhouette and stand-up collar. As someone who is frequently called cold-blooded, I was enamored with its black wool and cashmere shell, smooth to the touch and absent of pilling. As an aspiring label snob, I was downright tickled with the Gianni Versace Couture tag stitched in metallic thread inside. Who in the hell would throw this away?

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It is estimated that around 80 percent of the 2.5 billion pounds of clothing donated by Americans each year is trucked off to places like Trans-Americas, which pay charities – and county-run collection bins – a rate of ten to fifteen cents per pound for the privilege of sorting through them first. Textile recycling is a thin margin, high volume business (Goodwill Industries, according to a 2002 New York Times feature by George Packer, estimates its own number of re-recycled materials at around 50 percent.) There simply isn’t enough retail space to hold the volume of donated clothing, and much of what’s given away is unwearable anyway. The lowest tie of used clothing – called “wiper grade” at Trans-Americas in reference to its eventual fate as recycled cleaning textiles – amounts to half of what the factory brings in on a daily basis.

Despite what Packer describes as the “whiff of secrecy and even shame [that] still clings to the used-clothing trade, left over from the days of shtetl Jews and Lower East Side rag dealers,” Trans-Americas owner Eric Stubin – the third generation of the Stubin family to operate the business – sticks to the party line, highlighting both the money made by charities in the resale process and the viewpoint that “Used clothing is the only affordable means for [third world citizens] to put quality clothing on their bodies.”

The final destination for the used clothing not recycled into insulation or furniture stuffing, or pored over by fashionista’s looking for the couture bargain of the season is the third world. The clothes are repackaged and shipped overseas to secondary markets at a bulk rate: “Premium” goes to Eastern Europe, where demand dictates pristine clothing that may be a year or two behind the fashion trends; “Grade One” heads to more affluent African nations; “Grade Two” is resold in vast secondhand markets in the poorer regions of Africa. “Grade Two” (embodied by the Penn t-shirt in Packer’s feature for the Times) retains some utility but may have holes, rips or stains.

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Despite the fact that modern rag houses keep those 2.5 billion pounds of donated clothing out of a landfill (textile waste comprises approximately 4.5 percent of landfills, and closer to 7 percent in New York State), they’re still, largely, hush hush locations. As fascinating as the textile recycling supply chain may be to outsiders, upscale shoppers would rather hear that an “estate sale” or “great-aunt Mimi” is the provenance of that vintage Pucci caftan. So while a costume director shopping for a film (Son of No One! Starring Al Pacino and Channing Tatum! Out in 2011!) may be willing to confess where she found her costumes, boutiques and retail corporations looking for one-of-a-kind designer pieces or a boatload of perfectly worn denim are keeping their lips zipped on where they find their stash.