Shopping options for fans of vintage clothing in the Fort Lauderdale area are limited. There was a point in time when patient shoppers could rummage through area thrift stores and surface with affordable, unique, and functional finds. However, these stores have caught on to the popularity of vintage clothing and quirky T-shirts and taken it as apparent carte blanche to slap arbitrary and high prices on everything from elastic waistband mom-jeans to stained elementary school t-shirts.
The scant few local stores that deal exclusively in vintage clothing generally specialize in costume wear, and though websites like Esty.com have certainly made it easier for vintage-o-philes to source exactly what they're looking for, discrepancies in sizes and fit, deceptive listing photos, and dodgy return policies make buying vintage clothing online a bit of a gamble. After all, there really is no substitute for trying something on.
Andrew Vincent, owner of Public Image Vintage, Fort Lauderdale's newest vintage-specific clothing boutique, took the plunge (and financial risk) of opening a brick-and-mortar shop after becoming inspired by the store Rad Summer in Portland, Oregon. Rad Summer (of the Indigo Children) is owned by experimental musician Honey Owens, who has performed with the collective Jackie O Motherfucker, Nudge, and as the sole member of Valet.
"I was a thrifter forever, mostly because the deals were better; but Goodwill and St. Vincent's have steadily raised their prices over the years, and you still have to dig to find good stuff at those places," Vincent says of his new endeavor. "The solution is to put the good stuff in one spot, attempt to be culturally beneficial, community responsible, and charitable... Be more than just an Etsy shop." One look at the inventory he curated puts to rest any comparisons to your girlfriend's Etsy store you may have been entertaining.
Vincent considers himself an "upcycler," having spent several months self-renovating a bare suite a few doors south from the new Radio-Active Records location, apropos for a business named after John Lydon's most excellent post-Sex Pistols band.
From the salvaged and redecorated doors separating the racks to the clothing itself, the store operates on a principle of recycling and repurposing. Vincent is striving to make sure his business functions as an active member of Fort Lauderdale's growing art and music counterculture, working closely with Radio-Active on events and deals.
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As such, Public Image's grand opening event has been planned around the excitement of Record Store Day, April 21. Plans for the event include live DJ sets throughout the day, a rummage sale, and food trucks, and if you mention Public Image at Radio-Active Records, you get 10 percent off of your RSD purchases. Happy shopping!
Public Image, 831 N. Federal Highway, Ste. D, Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-533-4920, or visit Public Image Vintage on Facebook.