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A little shop on East 12th Street between Avenues A and B has an outstanding collection of vintage clothes and an old school East Village vibe that is still around in some eclectic places if you know where to look.
East Village Vintage Collective (EVVC) is a brick and mortar store located at 545 East 12th Street. They opened in August 2015 and by supporting them you are also supporting eco-friendly fashion and a women-led small business! And as EVVC would say “Go you!!” That’s why they are our October Business of the Month.
Walking inside is like entering a time warp, which makes sense for a unique two floor retail store in the bottom of a tenement built in 1878. Of course, they focus on clothing and items from the last century, not the one before. But in a modern twist, they also have a selection available from their on-line store here.
To open a vintage store in the East Village was a life-long dream of Maegan Hayward, the driving force behind East Village Vintage Collective. She was always a vintage collector who frequented flea markets until she left her job in film and took the plunge with a pop-up store with a few other vintage sellers in 2015 (hence the “collective”). That was a success, so she signed a longer lease and has been at it ever since. It is even more a perfect neighborhood tale that she and her companion and creative business partner Alex have lived for years upstairs from the shop.
Maegan was inspired by the movie Desperately Seeking Susan and the fashion of the era, particularly the famous Love Saves the Day vintage store scene in the film. (Ask Maegan about her own jacket scene, if you are familiar with the movie.)
Long time residents who run a successful local business, Meagan and Alex have come to appreciate the essence of what makes the East Village a funky eclectic neighborhood even more.
Mary T gave a stellar review on Yelp and describes the goods well:
Wow – if you live in this area and haven’t been here, you are seriously missing out!! They have a variety of vintage items and there are 2 floors to check out! They have anything from records, Mr Raisin people from the 80s, sunglasses, clothing, furniture, jewelry, accessories, etc. I scored 2 awesome dresses, and my friend found some killer St. Patricks Day overalls (green w/ clovers all over). Every time I visit I will gladly be stopping in here. The girl that was working was really friendly and told us there’s new stuff coming in all the time so to check back. I will definitely be back Vintage Collective & I hope my fellow yelpers stumble in here because I’m sure you won’t leave empty handed.
Maegan said the greatest compliment they’ve received was from a longtime local after they celebrated their store’s anniversary with a fashion show on the sidewalk; she said “that’s the kind of stuff that used to happen all the time around here.”
EVVC is very civic-minded and locally engaged. They regularly host meetings and meet-ups, and as members of the East Village Independent Merchant’s Association, they helped organize “Tiki on Twelfth” to help draw attention to local businesses.
Maegan sees the solidarity of small shop owners as complementary and not competitive. She even created a local map of all the vintage stores in the East Village, lamenting that some are gone and thus the map needs to be updated.
She is an excellent curator and gets items where ever she goes, since “being a compulsive shopper” is her favorite part of what she does. She and Alex will soon be going on a thrift store road trip down to Florida where she is from and back, hitting places all along the way. They are dedicated to being affordable and funky, and appreciate the stories behind the items they carry, even if they do not know the true history of every trucker hat or flowery dress.
Everyone comes through the doors of East Village Vintage Collective, from students to people inspired by nostalgia to those that appreciate the eco-consciousness of vintage clothes. Tourists and folks from every borough make the trip between Avenues A and B. On a recent visit the ten-year old daughter of a local artist was coming to film their weekly series on Instagram there. You never know who or what you’ll see.
Their super friendly staff, well-curated items and affordable prices keep first-time customers and regulars coming back, even without advertising. Visit the store and see the wide array of colorful items from decades ago which, as Maegan puts it, is what “the inside if my mind looks like”. Whether for the upcoming Halloween or everyday, you’ll surely like the many looks to be found at East Village Vintage Collective, our October 2018 Business of the Month.
(More photos here.)
What special small business would you like to see featured next? Just click here to nominate our next one. Thank you! #shoplocalnyc
And here is a handy map of all of our Businesses of the Month: