Austin has been thirsting for a large-scale, exclusively vintage market for years. Thankfully, April Onebane (Pieceology Vintage,) Maria Oliveira (Passport Vintage) and Ryan Lerma (Dive Vintage) felt the same, coming together to collaborate after selling at various pop-up shopping events around town.
And so Laissez Fair was born, anticipated to become Austin's premiere vintage market and hosted bi-annualy at Space 24 Twenty in the heart of the drag.
This Saturday, we're pleased to host the official launch with 18 stellar vendors, a live DJ set from Moonlight Gram, a braid bar, cocktails and more. Get to know the founders more below and we'll see you tomorrow!
1. Let’s take it back. How did y’all first become interested in vintage?
M: My parents brought me to shop from second hand shops ever since I was little, so I have vivid memories of vintage items I had when I was 10 years old! haha. From then on I’ve had a love affair with the uniqueness of vintage pieces
R: I became interested in vintage as a teenager in high school. It largely stemmed from the music I was influenced by and my friends, we’d drive around Tulsa hitting up every thrift store.
A: As a kid I was obsessed with the fashion, music and culture of the late 1960s/early 1970s and wanted to find clothes that looked similar to the ones I would see in photos from Woodstock and things worn by muses like Twiggy and Edie Sedgwick. I started going to vintage stores to find them.
2. Was there a certain first piece you can remember buying or inheriting that got you addicted?
M: I have a particular love affair with bold and interesting pants. My favorite vintage pieces ever that I own is a striped palazzo pant and a 1970s kelly green floral bellbottom!
R: It wasn’t so much a specific piece that got me addicted as it was discovering what I still consider to be one of my favorite vintage shops, Cheap Thrills Vintage. I bought some of my favorite pieces as a teenager from there, and I still stop by every time I’m back home.
A: I can’t remember a specific first piece but I used to raid my grandmother’s closet and take her old clothes home with me. She had an amazing collection of pieces from the 60s, 70s and 80s that she thankfully never got rid of.
3. How did Laissez Fair come about? When did the three of you come together on the idea?
M+R: It’s always been a goal of ours to start a large scale vintage only market. We’ve worked with April at vintage/maker markets and then we put together a small vintage market together with her at the Byron and Blue space that received a great response from the public. From that we could tell there was a demand for an all vintage market and April was so awesome to work with we later approached her about putting on a similar event on a larger scale.
A: When I was first starting the shop and was doing different pop ups around town other sellers would always talk with me about possibly putting on an event together. I took that idea and brought it to life last winter with a small pop up featuring eight vintage sellers and it had a great response. Since that one was such a success, in January myself, Maria and Ryan got together to plan an even bigger event. We felt like there wasn’t a large scale, well curated vintage market in Austin like you can find out in California or New York and since this city is supposed to be such a big hub for vintage we felt like we needed to make it happen! That’s how Laissez Fair was born.
4. What tips would you give to someone who’s just getting in to vintage?
M: I would tell them to focus on fabric and fit of garment and forget everything else! If you find vintage denim jeans that fits you perfectly, you have basically hit vintage jackpot.
R: Look for items that you can see yourself wearing for years, don’t go in on “trendy” pieces that you'll only wear for a season. It’s why we focus on vintage denim jeans and t-shirts.
A: It takes practice. As you are looking for quality, true vintage pieces, pay attention to fabrics, labels and the condition of the piece. Technically when a piece is vintage it must be at least 20 years old so you’ll definitely run into many pieces that have imperfections, which is totally OK, as long as you think the imperfections are salvageable. Also, when cleaning older pieces make sure you are doing it by hand and always wear gloves! Detergents and bleach can be super rough on bare skin!
5. Outside of Austin, what nearby cities in Texas have you found great gems in?
M: I love the small towns surrounding Austin. One of my favorite vintage shops The Style Station, is located off the highway near Waco, so there is really good vintage anywhere in TX.
R: Texas doesn’t have a shortage of vintage gems if you’re willing to put in the hours searching for it. You can go as far south as McAllen or as close as San Marcos to find some great stuff.
A: I’ve found some great shops, estate sales and markets in Waco and San Antonio both of which are less than a couple of hours away!