Megan and Jeff Direng of Retro on Broadway
Colorful glassware, mountains of clothing, pins and patches — the Heinz History Center had it all on April 2 at Vintage Pittsburgh, an event that brought together antique collectors, curators, and artisans. Each vendor had a unique display of vintage items, handmade goods, or art, attracting hundreds of shoppers.
I asked several vendors what they love about vintage and to show me their favorite items.
Megan and Jeff Direng, of Retro on Broadway
, posed with a large piece of vintage glassware, Megan’s favorite piece at their stand. Megan says her favorite thing about vintage is the nostalgia it brings people.
“People come to my booth and they literally have a reaction of ‘My grandmother had that, mother had that, I grew up with this,’” says Direng. “It hits somebody, no matter what age group. Everybody loves it, it’s all coming back around and it’s super special.”
Jenn Jannon of Jackie Whoa Vintage
Jenn Jannon, of Jackie Whoa Vintage
, posed with a pair of vintage green and butterfly patterned Talbots pants that she repaired herself. Jannon loves how vintage gives old items a sustainable new life.
“It’s this really cool opportunity to wear a unique piece that nobody else is likely to have, right?” says Jannon. “But then also there’s this whole other purpose to it, which is keeping things out of landfills and also, most importantly, not then encouraging more production. So buying vintage and buying secondhand really helps the environment and workers overseas who work in sweatshops. So there’s an ethical purpose behind it, but it’s also really fun.”
Kevin Murphy of Shindig Alley
Kevin Murphy, of Shindig Alley
, chose to sit in a vintage Herman Miller black swivel chair. He says his favorite thing about vintage is finding nostalgia for the things he grew up with.
“We just love the era, that’s what we kind of grew up with,” says Murphy. “Now the ‘80s stuff is really hot so we can really relate to that, connect to that, so it’s a lot of fun for us.”
Jacklyn and Jenny Orefice of Songbird Artistry
Jacklyn and Jenny Orefice, of Songbird Artistry
, sold both vintage items and handmade jewelry at Vintage Pittsburgh. They posed with their handmade earrings, and Jacklyn also included a vintage “Cool Shoppin’” Barbie doll. Jenny likes how vintage items have histories to them.
“I love that it had another life before us,” says Jenny. “You know what I mean? You never know where something came from. And I love finding things from my youth. Things that I really wanted and then couldn’t afford or we didn’t have …”
Jacklyn also loves how vintage can have a “second life.”
“Re-gifting them to new people and giving them a second life because people enjoy it just as much as they did in their past,” she says.
Kaleigh Houser of Ramblin Van Vintage
Kaleigh Houser, of Ramblin Van Vintage
, posed with a vintage swimsuit from the ‘50s, something she says is very hard to find. Houser’s favorite part of vintage is how there are “no rules” when wearing vintage fashion today.
“When these fashions were current, there were so many rules and restrictions with what you could wear,” says Houser. “And I think it’s just so fun today to be able to mix and match eras and kind of make everything unique again.”
Wendy Spigle of Oliver’s Attic Finds
Wendy Spigle, of Oliver’s Attic Finds
, says her favorite item was a floral oil painting she found at an estate sale.
“I’m OK if I don’t let it go,” she says. “This is gonna go on my wall.”
Spigle says her favorite thing about vintage are the memories associated with vintage pieces. “What I found is that it brings back a lot of memories for people,” she says. “And just overall just a good feeling and it makes you feel good.”
Rosetta Coco and Rochelle England of Vintage 15224
Rosetta Coco and Rochelle England, of Vintage 15224
, an upcoming vintage store in Bloomfield, posed with their glassware pieces. Coco’s favorite quality of vintage is its environmental value.
“The repurpose of it, bringing it all back and keeping it out of the landfills,” says Coco. “Having fun with it because some of this stuff is really fun.”
Jenn Morris of The Ardent Forager
Jenn Morris, of The Ardent Forager
, explained her favorite pieces, vintage coveralls, as they have a visible history through repairs. Morris also likes vintage for its environmental value.
“These things have already been worn,” says Morris. “They have zero … a negative environmental footprint because they’re backing other things basically out of them.”
Michele Cellone of the Wexford General Antique Store
Michele Cellone, of the Wexford General Antique Store
, could not pick a favorite item, but likes vintage purses and jewelry. She says she likes vintage for the history.
“I feel like every item deserves a new home, and to be loved again,” Cellone says.
Nadia Jackson and Diane Long
Vintage vendors were not the only ones present at Vintage Pittsburgh. Nadia Jackson, an illustrator from Nalonkuru
, posed with a few of her prints. She enjoys being an artist and creator for the independence it brings.
“I think what’s really great is being independent … working on your own, doing your own thing, what you love to do, is what really makes me happy,” Jackson says. “Seeing that reciprocated from the customers, I never would imagine that. I’m really loving myself.”
Jerry Greek of Keystone Crystals
Jerry Greek, of Keystone Crystals
, sold minerals, crystals and jewelry. Of his collection, he could not pick a favorite.
“In a way, this entire store is a reflection of me,” Greek says.
Greek’s favorite part of his shop is the connections minerals and crystals create for people.
“It’s people who I wouldn’t think were into crystals and minerals and fossils, they will come up and share these stories with me, and it makes me see that we’re all connected to this earth,” he says. “We all have a common bond.”