Kicking off this Saturday, May 15, National Landing Market in Crystal City will showcase the best of culture in the D.C. area through the diverse, talented vendors who will line the Plaza at 220 with their wares. To better introduce the creators who are participating, we’ll be sharing the stories of a different vendor every other week.
For our inaugural installment, we spoke to Kris Hagans of Capital Vintage, a local vintage shop with a strong and active online storefront offering a captivating assortment of ’80s and ’90s graphic tees, baseball caps and more. Hagans spoke about the things that inspire Capital Vintage, how the vintage scene has changed recently and what to expect from them at this weekend’s market.
Tell me a bit about yourself and what led you to start Capital Vintage?
I was born and raised in D.C. — the Northwest part [that] locals refer to as Uptown. I started thrifting in high school, in my tenth grade year. D.C. public schools are a competition to be the best dressed and most importantly, not to be labeled as a “bamma” (somebody who can’t dress or wears unknown or knockoff brands). Once I graduated high school, I continued finding unique and cheap clothes. 2012 came around and I was still thrifting for myself when dudes in my neighborhood would ask where I got my stuff. I started taking $100 a week from about five of my neighborhood friends and would start picking up stuff [for them] when I would thrift, and pocket a little bit for myself. I made an Instagram for my local market to help people get in contact with me and be able to send requests without giving my phone number out. It just blossomed and grew from local to nationwide and now international.
What kind of products do you focus on sourcing and selling through Capital Vintage?
I try to focus my efforts on ’80s [and] ’90s era clothing. That includes anything from sports, music, television/movies, political, religious or the all-around quality of the clothing. I’m not focused necessarily on the “hype” items as I’m more interested in the quality items. The soft cotton, the great colorways and patterns — jackets, sweaters, bags, vintage hats and any nostalgic items that remind me of those times.
What inspires the items you sell? How would you describe the aesthetic of your shop?
Some of my influence is personal experience — from photos I’ve seen of my siblings and mother from when I was a toddler, and seeing these clothes as I was growing up and not being able to have them. Some [are] from my favorite well-dressed people like Pharrell, 2004 Kanye [and] Will Smith in “Fresh Prince of Bel Air,” [and] the British punk rock scene of the ’80s, music videos from the ’80s and ’90s, [and] TV and movies. Lastly, everyday news and the things happening around the world influence what message I want to portray through my products.
Vintage fashion has always had passionate people behind it, but more people seem to have taken an interest in both buying and selling vintage clothes over the past few years. What changes have you seen in your business as a result of this?
Unfortunately, the masses being interested in the vintage game have made things more difficult for those who truly do this for a living. Thrift prices have risen as thrift stores are now doing research on most, if not all, items processed. Goodwill has now started their own vintage accounts. The market as a whole has been watered down by people who want a quick dollar but don’t want to learn about why people want these clothes. More and more people are selling newer items under the tag “vintage” and fooling buyers every day. The more important group of people it hurts are the families and folks that thrift stores were created to help. Raising those prices could be why a family can’t afford to shop there anymore. Now what?
What are some of the best finds you’ve come across while sourcing vintage clothing for your shop?
My personal best find was a 1990s Malcolm X all-over print T-shirt that was later used as the inspiration behind a Supreme NYC line of Malcolm X products. That felt really cool to see where the fast fashion industry gets their influence. I found a Morrissey Mosquitohead shirt at Buffalo Exchange, of all places. Mosquitohead shirts have a crazy history behind them, so that was also very cool. I do love anytime I find Black power and civil rights movement pieces the most — doesn’t matter the value.
Why would you encourage someone to invest in vintage clothing as opposed to fast fashion or newer products?
All of the clothing we as a society could ever wear is already available and waiting for a warm body and loving home. Fast fashion, or “cookie cutter” fashion as I call it, isn’t unique. Companies pump out thousands of the same piece, while [with] vintage, you usually don’t see anybody else in a tee you’re wearing unless you wear hype clothes. [There are] stories behind the pieces: the memories that bring back loved ones, childhood memories, a concert you went to with a friend. There are too many reasons to wear vintage. If it boils down to it: better quality clothes that last thousands of washes, age better [and] don’t cause more waste.
How would you describe the style of individuals in the D.C. area, especially when it comes to vintage clothing or thrifted items?
The D.C. area has always been on the trendsetting side of fashion, and you see it in the vintage game as well. I see people mixing the old with the new, which I like. The vintage game isn’t as big here as it is in other states, but that’s what I’m working on building. Everybody should have at least one vintage piece in their closet.
What are you most looking forward to when it comes to being part of the National Landing Market?
The diversity. That’s the beauty of the DMV area. I look forward to talking to people and selling them on why the vintage lifestyle is right for everyone.
What kinds of products do you plan on bringing with you to the market?
I plan on bringing the whole farm. You never know who could be there. I will bring everything and let the crowd curate what I bring from week to week.
In addition to selling on Depop and at the National Landing Market pop-up starting this weekend, is there anywhere else people can find your products online or in-person?
Yes, please follow me on Instagram @cptlvntg. I always respond to messages, and if you give me an idea of what you’re looking for specifically, I do my best to appease. I’m working on my website with my good friend @damnitbertomedia on Instagram [who] will solely feature my brand merchandise printed on vintage blanks: hats, tees, sweats, jackets [and] also upcycled clothing.
National Landing Market will be open every Saturday from May 15 to July 31 from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Learn more at www.nationallandingmarket.org and follow @nationallanding on Instagram. Visit Hagans at the Market, and follow @cptlvntg on Instagram and on DePop at www.depop.com/cptlvntg.
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