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THE VINTAGE ISSUE. This was a fun one, guys. To be clear, I literally love nothing more than putting together this magazine — my family, Boston terrier and bubbly libations excluded — but culling together vintage-themed content is like giving candy to a baby (for me, anyway).
My team and I spent a substantial amount of time whittling down all of the directions we could go with this theme, and we landed on two key components thriving in the District right now: vinyl and fashion. Vinyl shops in D.C. seem to have been one of the most resilient subsets of the local music industry during the past two years, with several dozen mainstays motoring on and even a few new spots popping up.
Chief among them is Byrdland Records, the brainchild of Songbyrd Music House’s Joe Lapan and Alisha Edmonson, which landed in Union Market District in late 2020. The couple and business partners have since relocated Songbyrd to the same area, taking root in Coconut Club’s former space. Byrdland is retro mecca for vinyl heads, full of funky furniture, an old-school listening booth, antique turntables, vintage speakers, a jukebox with a killer playlist, and walls of iconic titles and merch. Of course, we had to shoot the cover in this space.
When it came to our cover subject, I knew we wanted to tap into the vintage fashion scene in D.C. Curators of retro style are the new tastemakers in the city, with brick-and-mortar consignment shops and frequent vintage-themed pop-ups in abundance. Stylists like Tiara Chameleon are making a name for themselves through an eclectic mix of styles from previous decades, and building collections for locals to rent or buy.
If you needed yet another reminder of how close-knit our creative community is in the District, we found out during our shoot with Chameleon at Byrdland that she had just sold items from her latest collection at a weekend pop-up featuring local curators at Songbyrd. We brought in photographer Mike Kim of Kimchi Photography, our favorite music nerd and avid concertgoer, to capture Chameleon in a range of looks highlighting ‘70s and ‘80s fashion.
I had an “a-ha” moment watching Kim perched atop a ladder in the center of Byrdland, his camera dangling precariously so he could get the perfect shot, with Chameleon lying on the floor beneath him surrounded by records we handpicked (we all agreed the “Jackie Brown” soundtrack and Grace Jones’ “I’m Not Perfect” were the clear winners).
It was one of those, “This is what it’s all about” moments, where I was reminded that I get to kick it with record store owners while a fashion stylist poses with special releases from some of my musical heroes. But more importantly, I get to lead a team of incredibly talented writers, editors, photographers, illustrators and creatives who helped me put together a 108-page issue featuring 40 vintage shops, 30 record stores and 20 retro curators, plus pieces on sustainable fashion, weird finds, street style, vintage expert tips and a vinyl collector’s guide.
We were also pumped to nab an interview with Leslie Odom Jr., local artists Too Free and Shaolin Jazz, mother-daughter fashion designers Dur Doux, jewelry designer Grace Yeboah Ofori and cinematographer Aaron Tucker. Plus, some insights into D.C.’s potpourri scene (if you know, you know), rock climbing 101, indie film with Suns Cinema, plant-based plates and much more.
We had so much fun delving into the city’s vintage scene for this issue, and we hope you enjoy reading all about it. And if you end up on a vinyl treasure hunt or vintage clothing spree based on our recs, shoot us a note on IG (@districtfray) and share your finds!
The Waxing + Waning of Vinyl: A Chat with Byrdland Records’ Owners
“Years before we opened, I remember telling Joe how lucky we were that we grew up without digital.”
Leslie Odom Jr. Finds Home Onstage
“Live shows are my favorite and the only real time I get to connect with the people we make all this stuff for.”
Dressing in the Past
One writer shares the vintage attire that takes her on a journey through bygone times
Why + Where to Shop Resale in the DMV
While “sustainability” has become an industry buzz word in recent years, the industry’s emissions are still rising, with fashion contributing an estimated 4 to 8.6% of the world’s greenhouse gases.
Weird Finds + Thrift Store Gems
I now understand, deep down inside, I would choose to wear anything if I existed in the timeline of my life as the person I always knew I was.
The Driving Force Behind Dur Doux
A conversation with the mother-daughter team behind the District’s affordable luxury lifestyle brand.
Candid Style: An Inside Look at D.C. Fashion
Peruse through photos of local street fashion.
14 Local Vintage Curators with Staggering Style
We’ve compiled stylish curators to keep an eye on in D.C.’s emerging fashion space.
Vintage Fashion Tips from Four Stylish Locals
We asked four local curators for tips on starting to shop vintage.
Hollywood’s Best-Kept Secret is Local Fashion Designer Grace Yeboah Ofori
Grace Yeboah Ofori designs jewelry celebrities wear and her pieces are featured in “Black Panther.” So why have we never heard of her?
20+ Spots To Shop Vintage In The DMV
View our curated list of the DMV vintage shops that keep the fashions of the past alive today.
Inside Scoop with Four Vintage Masters
Keeping the fashions of the past alive
Behind the Lens with Aaron Tucker
“Working behind the scenes on someone else’s vision helped me to develop my own.”
Where to Shop Vinyl in the DMV
See the 23 record stores that made the list.
Four Vinyl Pros to Follow
Tips for beginners and vinyl heads to keep on your radar.
The Dance Hall Spontaneity of Too Free
The D.C. electro-indie dance band on their origins and how they faired during the pandemic.
Shaolin Jazz: Remixing Hip-Hop + Jazz with a Kick
“There’s a lineage that comes into play, from superheroes to kung fu films to rap artists and what inspired them.”
Matt Talley: The Hip-Hop Historian
“It’s a genuine passion project. I’m just happy people like it.”
The Pros and Cons of Making The Ramones Your Toddler’s Favorite Band
I am mostly in favor of my kid gravitating toward four guys from Queens.
D.C.’s Indie Movie Haven: Suns Cinema Embraces the Eclectic
“Sometimes we randomly find things, get really excited and lean into it.”
The Space to Grow: Underground Cultivators in the District
An initiative with plenty of room to grow
Meet These Five Craveable Plant-Based Meals
Here are unique local dishes proving the satisfying power of plant-based cooking.
The Spice Must Flow
“We can’t handle food that is not intensely seasoned.”
Truth in Advertising Inside Chicken + Whiskey
In the mood for vinyl, affordable eats and a broad spectrum of whiskey?
Grip + Climb
How the curious climber break into the climbing world without a major misstep — or breaking the bank
April Brings Packed Schedule to Sports Fans
Two Aprils ago, we had no sports and plenty of big questions.
Vintage Issue’s Connect the Dots
Connect the dots
The Vintage Issue Crossword
A brain teaser for those who love to reminisce
The Vintage Issue Crossword Answer Key