In addition to its many stalwart and quirky vintage stores, Portland is increasingly home to online-based used clothing dealers. Yo Vintage! is one of the more recent sites to have sprung up—its official launch was just last month. It's quickly picking up speed, with an eight-day pop-up shop beginning this week. I asked the woman behind it, Sarah Radcliffe, about what makes her vintage formula so unique.
MERCURY: How did you get into this?
SARAH RADCLIFFE: I grew up in the UK and I suppose I've been in the business of rummaging, buying, and selling from a young age, when I started going to car boot fairs with my dad every week—I suppose it's basically a flea market, but a lot more rummaging, more fun, and a lot cheaper—best find over the years has to be original Gucci vintage boots for one pound! Going to boot fairs taught me a lot about being thrifty and having the eye and patience to source the treasures I find. I started slowly—selling things to friends and some fashion companies, and eventually started working for an independent clothing company where they employed me as their fashion researcher. This involved sourcing vintage for use as design inspiration, forecasting future trends, and creating mood boards. In August last year, my husband got a job transfer from Amsterdam to Portland—he's a designer at Nike and we decided to move over. I left my job and discovered that Portland is (a) amazing, and (b) the vintage mecca of the world!
What are your criteria for new items? Do you sell men's?
Just women's right now. Generally, if I can't see myself or my friends in London wearing the item I pick up, I won't buy it.
What do you consider to be your specialty?
My collection is not overwhelming, it's modern, London inspired, and vintage, but not vintage as you may know it now—it's mostly about jumpsuits, color, animal prints, and sequins!
What is your general method for finding merch?
I'm finding the most amazing things [here] that you just couldn't find in London. I also have contacts in LA, Switzerland, London, and Paris that ship me new finds all the time. I'm flying back to London again in July for a month, so I'm looking forward to searching the boot fairs and exploring the Parisian flea markets.
The Yo Vintage! pop-up shop, in collaboration with 220 Salon, Andi Bakos, and Alana Jevert, kicks off with a party featuring complimentary hair and makeup services, champagne served in vintage English tea sets, and homemade cupcakes. 220 Salon, 213 SW Ash, Thurs June 24, 6-10 pm, pop-up open through July 2, daily 1-6 pm