Anti-racism books, love for natural hair and a movement dedicated to empowerment has only grown in popularity among cries of voices fighting to be heard. In a sense, we are reliving something like the late 60s-early 70s culture and these shops are living proof we are living some of the past presently.
An online-based clothing company, NXC Vintage is drenched in couture reminiscent of a bright, bubbly aesthetic but holds a powerful culture all its own, entrancing the modern shopper looking to changing the present by looking into the past. In an interview with LLNY, owner Avry talked about her brand’s unexpected success and rise to influencer status.
“2020 has definitely pushed me to different limits I didn’t know I could go, but here we are,” she said.
On the history of her brand, Avry said that she wasn’t too crazy about fashion but understood the power of clothes and expression. In addition, she wanted to make something without relying on others for help. With this expression, it helps her combat anxiety in life and her work.
“I remind myself the only competition is YOU and the only person that’s standing in between where you are and where you want to be is YOU. Dwelling on negativity will never get you to the next place.”
Founded by Tatyana ZW Alanis in 2019, Jane Dottie’s vintage clothing not only looks to the past for beauty but as a tool for women empowerment. As a child, she looked for ways to promote welfare of others. Currently, she lives and creates in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband and two dogs.
Jane Dottie also empowers tackling environmental issues through eco-friendly materials. In their mission statement, the brand promotes slow fashion, which is taking great care in understanding what materials are put into clothing including better alternatives that not only last longer but helps improve conditions for animals and treatment of workers. One example of their eco-friendly options is “Gilded Age Collection,” which is made from hand-crafted vintage fabric in Texas.
On 240 West 10 Street, there is a place where vintage and present collide together in a wondrous mix. Owner Rosemary, worked in fashion and it’s top designers before opening Madame Matovu in 2007. During an interview with Manhattan Sideways in 2012, she said the shop’s name was inspired by Madame France, a character in a French in-flight fashion magazine.
“She was unbelievable…so strong but playful…It was pure fantasy.”
Fantastical elements within this tucked-away gem is reminiscent of the European fashion tropes during her travel explorations, developing a keen fondness in particular for Paris and it’s culture because of its uniqueness. Difference in expressions and art aesthetic was what drew Rosemary to settle in New York.
“Other places are beautiful, but the energy in New York, you can’t just find it anywhere.”
Nor the people. She holds personal connections with both co-workers and customers. And although the COVID-19 pandemic shut most NYC staples down for three months, Madame Matovu is open, ready to delight and provide a sense of nostalgia for customers of all ages looking for a sense of purpose and empowerment.
For more information, visit Madame Matovu on Instagram.
BLK MKT Vintage
Last, but not least, BLK MKT Vintage is an example of living through these COVID times. Although the shop’s storefront has been closed since lockdown, their online presence is still up and running. Opened in 2014, owners Kiyanna and Janna made it their mission to not only spread awareness of Black culture, but appreciation and love through shared experiences and works as culture historians.
“Not only do we see you, but we love you as well,” says the website’s bio. “You are worthy…you are important.”
That being said, they are not based in fashion, but rather in exhibitions and interior design. Prop designs and set rentals are available for short and long-term periods with contactless delivery, shipping, and local pick-up options. However, their brick and mortar will not be available until the pandemic is over (or until the end of time.)
Another project that might be of interest is their help with curatorial projects between personal items and the history behind them. They seek to understand the past and present by leaving no stone unturned. In other terms, Sankofa, which means “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind.”
To visit their website, the link is posted here.