NC Vintage Culture Interview

As someone who enjoys attending local vintage events, I was fascinated by the thriving vintage culture and business in North Carolina. With vendors from every corner of the state, I became curious about the local vintage scene and set out to explore. While I was disappointed by some of the Durham downtown vintage stores that didn’t live up to my expectations, fate led me to a hidden gem inside the Raleigh Flea Market – Definitelynotlosangeles, run by a passionate vintage enthusiast Hayden Karnes. Intrigued by his story and the success of his business, I sat down with him for an exclusive interview that shed light on the vibrant world of vintage in North Carolina.

Q: “Can you tell us about the process of sourcing and curating your inventory? Are there any specific sources you rely on?”

A: “When I started out, I sourced everything I could from thrift stores, but I quickly realized that this was a common strategy. So, I shifted my focus to curation and started collecting unique and interesting pieces to make my inventory more valuable. Additionally, I sometimes source items for others in the industry. I travel to different locations to find the best vintage pieces, and this has helped me to recognize the value of different clothing items over time.”

Q: “How do you stay informed about trends and the value of vintage items?”

A: “In the near future, I think more people will appreciate the original designs of vintage clothing items. The trend is always changing, and I’ve noticed that currently, people are really into Harley Davidson and band tees. However, vintage items are timeless and always in demand among people who appreciate unique and rare pieces.”

Q: “Can you share a story about a particularly memorable find or sale?”

A: “One of the rarest items I have in my store right now is a pair of big Levi’s jeans. I searched for them for a long time and finally found them from a lady who used to work in a Levi’s store in Texas in the 1970s. Levi’s used to send out promotional items to display, and the jeans I have now are one of those items sent out in the early 70s. Recently, I also had an original 1985 Air Jordan 1 – the ‘Sky Jordan,’ which was the predecessor to the Air Jordan. Sometimes, the best finds come to us unexpectedly, and that’s what makes the vintage business so exciting.”

Q: “What factors do you think are contributing to the growing popularity of vintage items in today’s market?”

A: “I’ve noticed that people in their 30s and 40s are joining the vintage culture because they want to find something they had when they were younger or something their parents or friends had. For example, a young customer recently bought a Pepsi t-shirt with the slogan “Jesus – the Right Choice” written on the Pepsi logo. He bought it as a birthday gift for his uncle, who also had the same shirt when he was 20 years old, and he even had a picture of himself wearing it. The customer bought the shirt, and they both wore it in a picture together, creating a special moment and a nostalgic connection. This is just one example of how vintage items can hold sentimental value and bring people together.”

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