Vintage clothing collector Massillon opens Akron boutique to hone his business
Turns out your parents were pretty cool.
And this also applies to their parents and grandparents.
While you might have cringed at the clothes they wore back then, there is a growing audience of collectors and fashion enthusiasts who appreciate the clothes that once graced a Kmart hanger or rack for those fancy pants that were shopping at the Polsky department store.
Aaron Gascon is one of those vintage clothing freaks.
What started out as a hobby of hunting down flea markets, yard sales, estate sales, and thrift stores for unusual and beloved clothes and other quirks has grown into a full-time business.
This collection began in his childhood in New Philadelphia and has continued into his teens and now into adulthood as he filled closets wherever he called home, be it Akron’s Highland Square or Massillon, where he now hangs his vintage cap.
To shed light on the ever-growing collection, he first turned to selling certain items online.
But as this “collection” began to seep into every room of the house, Gascon said, he knew he needed to organize himself and come up with a business plan, especially if it was to become a business on time. full.
He is now associated with Akron’s Bounce Innovation Hub, which works with budding entrepreneurs to foster and develop new business ventures in the city.
His Modern Traditions Co. no longer calls his kitchen table home and has taken up residence in a space that faces the elevator on the fifth floor of a sprawling old Goodrich Tire building on South Main Street in Akron.
This space allows him not only to sort and inventory what he has, from children’s clothing to men’s and women’s clothing, but also to organize periodic open days, where people can come and do their shopping.
Its next open house is scheduled for January 27 and 28.
Gascon, 31, said he had driven customers from as far away as Chicago and Columbus to browse his finds.
Besides mentoring to help develop a long-term business plan, the innovation center provided him with enough space to define a store concept with clothing separated by style and vintage, he said.
It also provided a place to display some of its cool vintage stuff, including the front of an old truck that greets visitors who make appointments to check out merchandise or those who attend open houses.
One thing he’s learned so far: There’s an audience for just about anything portable.
T-shirts featuring 90s pop culture characters are particularly popular right now, along with concert t-shirts from all eras.
Often times clients are looking for something quirky or hoping to relive a piece of their own childhood.
Business really picked up after a video he posted on TikTok garnered half a million views in the blink of an eye. In the video, he showed off some of the unusual items he has for sale.
And as quickly as people watched the video, shoppers purchased merchandise at one of the store’s open houses that same weekend.
Gascon said half of the items for sale in the store have flown off the shelves and shelves.
A cool vintage t-shirt can be purchased for as little as $ 10, while a vintage leather jacket can cost hundreds of dollars.
Gascon is quick to point out as the idea that a used item of clothing in a closet or drawer could make so much money now seems absurd, you should see how well these same items sell in big cities like Los Angeles. .
There is something to be said about life in Akron, where prices for vintage clothing are still quite reasonable and where one can still find treasures in thrift stores in the area, he said.
Some people are bringing items for possible sale, Gascon said. He also has a group of friends who pick things up when they see them for a reasonable price.
But he still finds most of the items himself.
Sometimes these objects are found in the most unusual places.
The other day, he said, he was driving home and spotted an old clothes rack from a department store sitting on the sidewalk with the trash.
It is now in the store and is used to display clothes.
And then there was the old abandoned house on a property in West Virginia that a friend had acquired.
âIt was in the middle of nowhere, and half the house had collapsed,â he said.
They carefully made their way through what was left of the house and found a closet full of clothes.
The simple clothes were all from the 40’s and 50’s and were all well worn.
By well worn we mean full of holes and with makeshift patches and other homemade repairs.
But Gascon said those who love authentic clothes also love the holes in sweatshirts and jumpsuits that are reminiscent of a time when clothes just weren’t thrown away.
These well-worn items can now fetch hundreds of dollars for the right customer looking for the right, authentic aesthetic.
âIt’s like a treasure hunt,â he said.
Most of the items found in the store are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. But there are certain items – like those found in the abandoned house’s closet – that are best left as they were found.
His wife is happy that these clothes have found a new home outside their home.
And he’s happy to have a separate workspace.
Over the next few months, Gascon said, the goal is to refine a long-term business plan and start looking for permanent retail space to show off his ever-changing collection of items for sale.
âThis is the testing ground for my next steps,â he said. “Just being able to do something that I enjoy and love is great.”
Craig Webb, who still wears original vintage clothing, can be contacted at [email protected]
What: Cie des Traditions Modernes.
Or: 526 Main Street South, Suite 509
Hours: On appointment. The next monthly open houses will take place on January 27 and 28
For more: Visit the Modern Traditions Facebook page