We’re really close to Première Vintage Market – the 26 and 27 of April inside the Denim Première Visionin Paris – we’ll be ready to welcome you with a rich selection of vintage garments from Japan, Italy, Germany, France, etc. – around workwear and fashion clothes… also from New York, Los Angeles and Texas too, our latest trip destination – one of the most relevant location for vintage! This article reports exactly this last travel to Texas, and we want to show you what’s behind the Première Vintage Market: the passion, the experience, the research of the most moving pieces in the middle of real men from the West.
We choose Austin as our base because it’s the capital city of everything: from live-music to vintage and even BBQ, and for us it’s a crossroads both of research and meetings scheduled in the area. We enjoy a joyful city, liveable and rich thanks to the many college-students and tourists. First stop-over downtown and the Congress Avenue South with a boots-store (Allez Boots) among the world’s most famous ones and two interesting tours to Stag also to chat with Kiffen Grace, then we visit as well Revival and Uncommon Objects.
We haunt the three-four vintage shops of the area and later we hang out on the 6TH where – among live-music, a Jon Langford’s exhibition and a police arrest – our evening smoothly goes with the flow of the city clubs signs’ lights and colours. From our motel we have a long road to cover in order to visit the Round-Top market , expanding for twenty-eight square miles and invading with thousands of booths three little cities on the state highway. So we profit from the Interstate 35 for some breaks in abandoned ghost-towns, where we dig as ‘bandits’ for denim instead of gunpowder; inside one of the local houses we find some good surprises.
In a country where one of the mottoes is ‘friendship’, we couldn’t expect for a better welcome than that from the pickers and characters at Round-Top (especially in the Lone-Star and Warrenton area) – we quote just a few realities present at the event with a booth but all boasting shops as well in their country, many of them from Arkansas and Arizona – which are Denverado, Stash of Shannon Vance and Blue Bird Vintage of Natalia Ordonez.
Among Western antiques, saddles, Longhorn horns and boots we find denim coming from the farms and many military items, patches and old pictures. We also meet many cow-boys and wise elderly in holster and spurs who tell us the story behind what we bought, and how living in the Lone Star State was and is. Within four days of shooting and searching we run out of time at R/Top and we approach the desert heading West; the long trip allows us to observe the Texas Country Hill and to often stop to the markets along the road just like in the private garage-sales in front of many houses – often tracking down good-priced boots, objects and tees in good conditions, also gladly having a chat with their owners.
We make the name of our friend Brian Lux, the Petit Brothers’ double-bass player; when we met him at a concert he showed us his Wrangler jean which he said he didn’t wash for two years, adding “Never never” as intensifier. Crazy fade. ‘Keep Texas Weird’! With a few Tex Willer flashbacks in mind, we clock up hundreds of miles through an uncontaminated landscape surrounded by dead animals aside the street and by iconic tumbleweeds; we often stop for our denim-hunt to the forsaken farms or lost garages, where we take pictures of the scenario besides vultures and rattlesnakes. Here our loot is very interesting…
Afterwards we indulge ourselves by a killer dusk near the Mexican border at Big Bend National Park, and we seize the moment for a shooting of our archive products together with the most historical ones we found on our way for both The Overall and Première Vintage Market. On the radio, a terrific dark-country tune is our soundtrack as we leave the desert at night, under an unforgivable starry sky, accompanied by hundreds of hares and dozens after dozens of deer always crossing the street every mile.
We wake up with The Doors music in a suggestive movies-style motel in Marfa, it’s surreal the atmosphere in the city of James Dean, and of ‘Giant’ or the more recent ‘No Country for Old Men‘. Here we immediately find a treasure in an abandoned shack of a desolated road, so we keep on travelling among glimpses of Western films, a small group of stray-dogs, ruined signs and a vintage-denim store looking like a boutique. At Mano Mercantille we meet Gabrielle Gamarello, a San Francisco Levi’s ex-designer who studied fashion in Italy, and she tells us about her commercial activity tied to research too. Marfa city, a cosmopolitan one with its own Film festival, touches us deeply and gifts us with some important garments; all we can do now is coming back to Austin ending to haunt its thirty vintage shops, which are one better than the other – but in primis a worthy stop-over at an elegant rustic store on the bluebonnets’ state-highway near Fredericksburg: the Magnolia Pearl – plus and another stop-over at the Luckenbach, the real cowboy-hangout with excellent beer (Lone Star), cool country music and our magazines as a gift for its people.
Austin in turn gives us big surprises and there we buy so many punk tees and selvedge denim that we have to visit the post-office twice shipping to Italy! Dulcis in fundo, we dedicate ourselves to the meeting with Lloyd and Elizabeth (Sugarshack Vintage) who are waiting for us at their home amidst guitars, vynils, concert t-shirts and teddy boy leather-jackets; with them we have a good coffe, we ppet a bit their dog Ranger and finally we go out happy with pics and smiles – besides two WW2 denim garments.
All in all Texas gifted us with priceless emotions and definitely important pieces for our archive, not to mention the panoramas and stories 100% in line with our images of the Wild West.