Social Encore: A runway back in time
BY JERMEL-LYNN QUILLOPO / Special to the Star-Advertiser
If there is one thing I love about fashion, it’s being able to appreciate different styles and looks from an array of designers. If you visit Chinatown boutique Barrio Vintage at 1160 Nuuanu Avenue, you’ll be able to find various looks that take you back in time.
Barrio Vintage owner Bradley Rhea moved to Hawaii in 2011 from Arizona. With a knack for discovering great finds and wanting to create a buzz around town, he created a pop-up storefront in his loft apartment; after finding success via personal shopping appointments and First Friday crowds, Rhea opened Barrio Vintage’s storefront on Nuuanu a year later.
The store’s last fashion show happened almost a year ago and got a great response. Rhea said fashion shows bring clothes back to life and are a great outlet that allows him to have fun with accumulated inventory.
“Especially here in downtown, people are very eccentric and people have a sense of community,” he said. “It’s great to have a fashion show to act as a lens for people to learn and experience.”
As a thrifter myself, the hardest part is scouting for great pieces. Rhea agreed and said he buys on an individual basis and makes sure each find fits his criteria.
“When we are looking for stuff we think, ‘What does it look like? What is the condition of the item? What is the size?’
“Then we think what type of customer would this attract and would this customer come and shop at our store?”
Rhea does all the hard work for vintage lovers by hunting and snagging the best of the best. He scouts for items here in Hawaii, but also travels to several other states.
“Finding the items, it’s the most time-consuming,” he said. “We go warehouse shopping, book private appointments … even scouting places that we have never been to before.”
RHEA HAS complied 30 looks for this week’s fashion show. Each one will be accompanied by jewelry and other accessories, totaling more than 100 pieces making their debut on the runway on Friday.
“We have been holding on to a of stuff … keeping a conscious mind of having a fashion show in the future and putting things into boxes and saying that yes, this will happen,” he said.
Since we are heading into spring, you can expect bold colors and print to catch your eyes. With looks primarily from the 1960s and 1970s, Rhea has altered, tailored, and redesigned some of the pieces in order to give them an urban and modern appeal. Alongside these outfits, you will see brightly colored tassel earrings, handmade jewelry created from dried flowers, even some druzy, crystal and agate earrings.
Along with the clothes, the venue will also be transformed as well. The lighting, music and décor will make you will feel like you have just traveled through a time machine.
EXPERIENCED WITH the mainland vintage trends, Rhea said Hawaii’s vintage taste differs from Arizona.
“Arizona is very western-inspired and a lot of those are really heavy tones of heritage and Americana,” he said.
With Hawaii’s tropical weather, he believes outdoor activities in Hawaii influence what vintage buyers purchase from Barrio Vintage.
“Hawaii vintage is very fun because it is very environment driven,” said Rhea. “Here we can get away with so much print and so much color. Wildly printed blouses, aloha shirts or really striking colors on things like maxi dresses from the 1970s … because we are in the sun all the time and we are wearing the neverending beautiful summer.”
Rhea said he has noticed Hawaii’s urban community and progressive group of 20-, 30- and 40-somethings take interest in vintage. He added there is a growing trend of people moving away from mall shopping and looking to thrifting as a way to find one-of-a-kind items that express their unique style.
“A lot of repeat and first-time customers don’t see a lot (of thrifting shops) in Hawaii and are relieved that can find it here at Barrio Vintage,” he said.
Jermel-Lynn Quillopo is a multi-faceted, energetic individual with experience in both print and broadcast journalism. “Social Encore” aims to tell diverse stories about Hawaii’s food, events and people; share your tips with Jermel via email or follow her on Twitter.