LIFE & STYLE
"It's the Simple Things in Life"
I was walking down Ventura Blvd. one sunny afternoon recently, when a simple sign printed on a plain white piece of paper reading: “Vintage pop up shop”, caught my attention.
“This is new.” I thought to myself.
This strip of Ventura Blvd., between Laurel Canyon and Whitsett Ave., has a lot of clothing stores, and the ones that do well stick around. Vintage stores in particular (like Cross Roads which is always buzzing with fashionistas ready to unload their wardrobes on consignment) seem to be springing up everywhere and this area is quickly becoming a Mecca of Vintage Fashion shopping.
I didn’t immediately notice the name of the storefront as I, filled with curiosity, entered the shop. Clothing was everywhere, hanging neatly, but packed tight.
Feeling claustrophobic, at first I wanted to turn around and leave, but an authentic 90’s Mickey Mouse sweater caught my eye, followed by a pair of jeans, and oth seemed to be talking to me, drawing me on an adventure into the past - not the pretend past that fashion sometimes takes us on when something that used to be trendy appears in stores for a brief second in a replicated version - I mean authentic, cool, original vintage clothing. Clothing with a real story.
Everything in the store was interesting. Clothing had labels that proudly said “Made in America” reminding me of a unique time in our history (1950’s - 1980’s), when the garment industry was powerful enough to single handedly decide who would be the next president.
I was like a hungry kid in a candy store.
I quickly focused in on four items, following my most important rule in vintage shopping: that pre-loved clothing be made of easy to wash natural fibers. I tried on a pair of light blue jean overalls, a white knee length dress with colorful embroidery around the neck and upper chest, a simple white sleeveless tank top, and a baby blue shirt with white flower embroidery. I was thrilled to find they all fit like a glove and they felt and looked great.
I start talking to Souren Ohanian, “Pronounced like to “soar” over a mountain”, he tells me. Souren is the owner of Chance Vintage and it’s he who finds all the cool and unique clothing out in the world and fills his little shop up with it.
Souren tells me:
“It’s a pop up vintage shop for now”, Souren says shyly, “but I think I’m going to stay.” So sweet and quiet, yet you get him talking about vintage clothing and he’s a force to be reckoned with!
He brings me a pair of jeans and excitedly tells me, “These jeans are over 50 years old. I can sell them in Japan for $3000.”
“Why don’t you?”, I ask him. “This clothing collection you have here, you can make a lot of money selling it.“ While places like What Comes Around Goes Around sell vintage jeans for $200, he’s pricing his at Chance Vintage for $40.
Vintage fashion is hot now. Top designers and celebrities with their own clothing brands are always turning to it for inspiration, even blatantly commercializing “knockoffs”. Souren shares with me that two high profile sisters had recently visited his shop to buy armfuls of vintage clothing. When he’d asked them what they were planning to do with it, they told him they planned to take the vintage pieces apart, study them and replicate them for mass production. This kind of replication is contrary to what true love and appreciation for authentic and unique vintage threads is all about. Souren tells me he is not only set on keeping it real, but also affordable for his clients.
Memories of my childhood were conjured up as I meandered through the aisles of clothing at Chance Vintage. I came across long 90’s dresses in flower prints, oversized sweaters, overalls in flower prints, and jean vests. The four new pieces I’d found for myself were once seemingly insignificant throw aways until Souren saw them for the diamonds that they are. These four pieces I bought have a new life with me. I love them and I cherish them and I welcome them into my storytelling wardrobe.
Chance Vintage is popping up in Studio City until August 27th.
90's flower print overalls just like the kind I used to wear. Seeing these brought back some memories.
Go rescue some authentic vintage clothing. Visit with Souren at Chance Vintage. Fill your closet with style that comes with love, memories, history, and character.
Dungarees Clothing Store (12230 Ventura Blvd. Studio City, CA) is letting Chance Vintage “pop-up” within its space until August 27th. The space is also shared by a furniture store and a really cool kids clothing store (if you have been looking to dress your little ones in something beyond bright and cute, this kids store has a wonderful selection of clothing in raven blacks). This little store front is a unique, big happy family and you can make it your one stop shop.
*FUN GEMS FOR YOUR VINTAGE VISIT:
While in the Chance Vintage area you can also enjoy:
Change Vintage as you enter the store.
This vintage Mickey Mouse and Goofy sweater from the 90's would pair well with a brand new sexy denim mini skirt and a pair of Doc Martins in chocolate brown.
Souren holding up a small flower print dress from the 90's that can also pair well with chunky Doc Martin boots in chocolate brown and a fringe purse.
Look at these beautiful Doc Martins! Crave!
Pre-50's denim worth thousands in Japan.
One of four pieces I picked up at Change Vintage. Baby blue (my go to color) 100% cotton shirt embroidered with white flower. I love this top so much.
“Little Daily Gem” interview with Souren Ohanian of Chance Vintage:
LDG: IT SOUNDS LIKE THE JAPANESE REALLY LOVE AMERICAN VINTAGE CLOTHING. WHAT DID YOU LEARN WHILE INTERNING AT ONE OF JAPAN’S LEADING VINTAGE CLOTHING STORES?
CV: I interned at their sorting facility in Sakai, Osaka, for a month and learned about the flow of their domestic used clothing. At the sorting facility I was exposed to their grading and sorting system where they decide which clothes make it to their stores and which factors affect their decision making process.
LDG: WHERE DO YOU GET THE CLOTHING YOU SELL AT CHANCE VINTAGE FROM?
CV: I source my clothing from secondhand clothing wholesalers who are supplied by the post-sale merchandise from Goodwill, Salvation Army, and other thrift stores.
LDG: I’M SO IMPRESSED BY THE VARIETY AND QUALITY OF THE VINTAGE CLOTHING YOU CARRY, AND CAN’T BELIEVE THAT IT WASN’T SNATCHED UP BY SOMEONE WHEN IT WAS AT GOODWILL OR SALVATION ARMY.
CV: Thank you. I know, it’s really thrilling to find these pieces of clothing and give them another chance to be seen by the world.
LDG: WHY DID YOU NAME YOUR POP-UP VINTAGE STORE CHANCE VINTAGE?
CV: Simply: because I strongly believe in chances. Whether it is the first, second, or third one, chances just play a big role in my life as far as personal appeal goes. But the reason why I named my company “chance” is because I want to make people conscious of the word and it's meaning, and aware of its relation to the used clothing industry, because billions of pounds of clothes end up in landfills and pollute the earth while my store offers the clothes, which did not end up in landfills a CHANCE to be worn again, to be a part of the entire cycle again it was once part of, but also to give the desired customer a CHANCE to be eco-friendly, make the world a better place by purchasing secondhand clothing. The word "chance" to me has a lot of versatility as far as perspective and scenario goes. My emblem is a pair of dice that show "7" (which is a winning pair) because every time you roll them you get a different outcome, but if you don't take your chances you will never get any.
LDG: HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT YOU WILL CARRY IN YOUR STORE?
CV: My internship in Japan taught me the proper mixture of different types of clothing that an intriguing and tasteful vintage clothing store is suppose to have, along with the specific price margins the store should be at. How I decide what to put I in my store is simply based off of what my own ideology of current trends is, and the type of clothes people are looking to find at the time. I keep my eyes and ears always open to stay way ahead of the trend.
LDG: ARE THOSE JEANS REALLY WORTH $3000?
CV: Yes. The LEVI’s 501 jeans I showed you and most pre-50's vintage denim pieces tend to quadruple in price -due to demand,- once brought overseas to Japan.
We are so lucky to have true American Vintage clothing right in our own “backyard”. Go find some! If you have the space maybe you can even start a vintage collection that will only grow in value over the years, just like fine art or wine.