NYC Vintage: Crowley Vintage and the Allure of Vintage Lauren

Photographer: Alex Lockett

Article/Interview/Model: Camille Bavera

Sean Crowley, the namesake of Crowley Vintage, has everything menswear you could hope to find in the last hundred years, neatly folded and tucked away from the tourists parading under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. It’s a Ralph Lauren oasis with the piles of softly folded wool sweaters on tables and double-breasted suits hanging precisely in rows, not unlike the antique soldier uniforms hanging nearby. Racks of wool and shearling overcoats and argyle vests in every color give warmth to the room, muffling the sounds of RL loafers padding on the carpet as designers pull many a reference piece. Today, the coveted appointments belong to Brownstone Cowboys Magazine and Aimê Leon Dore, from whose stacks of shirts and sweaters I kept stealing for our shoot. But they were good sports, and now we all follow each other on Instagram. They know the good stuff when they see it, hence the long line down Mulberry clamoring to just buy a coffee from their flagship.


But the real reason Sean’s customers and fanbase come back every Saturday from 12-6 to shop isn’t just for the clothes. It’s the 1940’s Hit Parade music, the soft yellow lighting, whistling kettle, padded red carpet and lingering smell of fresh laundry unique to freshly laundered vintage material. If you wanted the kind of vintage menswear sold at Crowley, you could probably just ask your serial Ebay-hunter friend to find you something. But you wouldn’t experience the impromptu lesson in fashion history or the racks stuffed with wildly printed button-downs that is so uniquely Crowley.


BSC: Okay, first of all, I'm curious about what you did before you opened Crowley, because I think a friend of mine said you worked for Ralph Lauren for ten or so years prior to opening your store.


SC: Yeah I worked there for 11 years, it was very cool how Ralph hired me. I worked in the big flagship store on Madison Avenue and I'd been working there for maybe six months or a year and one day, in walks Ralph. It was a quiet day - there weren’t a ton of like lackeys or even just people around, so we ended up just chatting. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said, “I'd love to work in men's design,” I already kind of tried to get my foot in the door at Polo– I had known a lot of Ralph Lauren designers over the years from working in vintage before I ever worked for Ralph. But I never could get my foot in the door because of the human resources department so, I kind of jumped right over their head when I met Ralph.


BSC: That seems like a bit of a full circle moment to me, because doesn’t the team from RL come into your store and buy their vintage from you?

SC: Exactly. It’s a funny old world.


BSC: So tell me. Having been a designer and now a retailer/consumer, how do you balance your love for both Anglo and American aesthetics, and in knowing your appreciation for British tailoring and culture, was it working at Ralph that gave you that insight into the beauty of American fashion?


SC: You mean the English versus the American aesthetics? I mean I could get super granular and pedantic. You know, it could be that this jacket is more English and this one is more American but you know, really so much of this aesthetic is a hybrid. It really is a true fusion of English or other British and American tastes and styles that has evolved over 150 years. So I think that it's really hard to try to extricate, to separate those things into ‘Dude, this is American and this is British.’


BSC: I hear you. I mean, fashion is very much widespread at this point, having trickled down from so many different levels and into new streams of direction, from high design to much lower, more commercial fashion.


SC: Right and for me, I really love having a little world - I feel like I come from the world of Ralph Lauren. You know, like Ralph Lauren is a world, and there are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.


“There are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.”


SC: If that makes sense? Because it's hard. So it's not really a criticism, it's more just an observation because I realized that to create ‘a world’ is really fucking expensive and a huge undertaking. And I think that's why a lot of a lot of people now are trying to try to scale back and try to focus on specific products. You know like, this designer does the best shirts and these guys make amazing outerwear, you know, as opposed to trying to have all things go all together.

BSC: Your store, to me, is like a little world in the sense that it's all so well curated. I mean, you must have to almost handpick everything. I know, you said that you source it from like a million different places and I feel like you must just go in and pick each thing very specifically; maybe but one of a kind or just a couple of small lots in order to create the selection you now have.


SC: Yeah, totally. Yeah. I mean, you're right. I source every little piece in the store. It might mean buying three things or it might mean buying 300 things. Every piece is something that I personally like and said, ‘Yeah, I like this. This is cool. I want this.’


Ultimately, it's really simple. It's almost a vision in the sense that I buy and sell the things that I like, and I think this verges into another question of yours, which is basically that I always wanted to have a store that was the kind of store I wanted to shop at. And that was kind of the extent of my vision, which in a sense is very simple, because it's saying, I just want to make the foods that I like to eat. So if the yardstick for measuring is whether you like eating the food, then there you go, it kind of does itself in a way.


BSC: I feel like that's the same with design. I've heard from different designers that they create the clothes they want to wear, because they see an industry lacking this specific style or cut. Did you adopt something like that when you were at Ralph? Where you said ‘I'm going to create the clothes that I don't see or the clothes that I want to wear’?


SC: You totally took the words out of my mouth. I mean, that was really how we worked at Ralph, you know, we never looked at trend reports. You know, we never thought to ourselves that yellow and purple are the big colors this season - we never really thought about that stuff. I'm not trying to compliment the approach but it was really just about what we liked, what Ralph liked, and what felt right to us. That was how we worked then and how I work now. It’s about the things that speak to me, or resonate with me. The things that get me excited. It's funny, I actually, I probably have more vintage Ralph Lauren now than they do to be honest.


BSC: Funny how life works. So then how did you then go from designing to opening a store? What was the transitional period? Was it social media or a magazine or?


SC: I worked for RL for eleven years before my number was up - I think my time had run its course. So I left thinking I really don't want to just jump back into bed with some other fashion brand, you know, I don't want to go work for Abercrombie and Fitch or J Crew or something like that. Because for me I always just loved Ralph Lauren. And while those

places are all great, they weren’t RL. So I did some soul searching and quickly realized that vintage is what I know, what I love and what I've done all my life in some way or another.

There was no grand plan, it was just let’s give this a shot, I didn’t have a brick and mortar - in fact I think I started on Instagram; Ebay and then Instagram. I would post something kind of the same way I do it now. I would just take photos of things in my kitchen and make them look really sexy with natural light. And I put together a whole rig that was very Ralphie, you know? They’re actually some of the best images I've ever created, which was funny because I wasn't even really trying that hard.

I had another storefront before this one - an actual ground floor space. I kind of compare it to your first apartment in New York where you have like a bunch of roommates and it's all a little funny and herky jerky and you have this crazy landlord.


BSC: Yeah, no, I remember my first apartment so that hits home.


SC: I literally had a shared entrance with other people - artists and artisans - that used the building. And they all had to come through my shop to get into their space. I would be in the middle of an appointment with a designer or customer and guys with buckets of plaster would just walk through. Or the guy upstairs was a plaster artisan but then in his spare time he would play the bongos and the noises would come through the floor. So I’d have to excuse myself “The guy with the bongos is playing. I need to go talk to him”. I outgrew that space both physically and spiritually. I realized that all my customers were really destination, people were coming specifically to my space. So why pay for a store front when I don't need it? I didn’t need that overhead.


BSC: I feel like most people don't have the ethos where it's what you need not versus what's popular or a trendy aesthetic. Yes, your store is appointment. It’s destination, and you go there with intention. While interest is growing, unfortunately, the craze for menswear just isn’t at the point where you’d need a street-side storefront. You’ve made it a beautiful space, but it's a little off the beaten path.


SC: I would rather have ten people come in a day, who all get it, and spend money than have one thousand people come in where 95% of them are like, ‘what's this?’ ‘this is weird’ and just try shit on and like, play dress up, and then leave.


Crowley Vintage

147 Front Street, Suite 303, DUMBO 11201

NYC Vintage: Crowley Vintage and the Allure of Vintage Lauren

Brownstone Cowboys Magazine A Shirt Tale main image

Photographer: Alex Lockett

Article/Interview/Model: Camille Bavera

Sean Crowley, the namesake of Crowley Vintage, has everything menswear you could hope to find in the last hundred years, neatly folded and tucked away from the tourists parading under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. It’s a Ralph Lauren oasis with the piles of softly folded wool sweaters on tables and double-breasted suits hanging precisely in rows, not unlike the antique soldier uniforms hanging nearby. Racks of wool and shearling overcoats and argyle vests in every color give warmth to the room, muffling the sounds of RL loafers padding on the carpet as designers pull many a reference piece. Today, the coveted appointments belong to Brownstone Cowboys Magazine and Aimê Leon Dore, from whose stacks of shirts and sweaters I kept stealing for our shoot. But they were good sports, and now we all follow each other on Instagram. They know the good stuff when they see it, hence the long line down Mulberry clamoring to just buy a coffee from their flagship.


But the real reason Sean’s customers and fanbase come back every Saturday from 12-6 to shop isn’t just for the clothes. It’s the 1940’s Hit Parade music, the soft yellow lighting, whistling kettle, padded red carpet and lingering smell of fresh laundry unique to freshly laundered vintage material. If you wanted the kind of vintage menswear sold at Crowley, you could probably just ask your serial Ebay-hunter friend to find you something. But you wouldn’t experience the impromptu lesson in fashion history or the racks stuffed with wildly printed button-downs that is so uniquely Crowley.


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Thank you! Your submission has been received!
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NYC Vintage: Crowley Vintage and the Allure of Vintage Lauren

Photographer: Alex Lockett

Article/Interview/Model: Camille Bavera

Sean Crowley, the namesake of Crowley Vintage, has everything menswear you could hope to find in the last hundred years, neatly folded and tucked away from the tourists parading under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. It’s a Ralph Lauren oasis with the piles of softly folded wool sweaters on tables and double-breasted suits hanging precisely in rows, not unlike the antique soldier uniforms hanging nearby. Racks of wool and shearling overcoats and argyle vests in every color give warmth to the room, muffling the sounds of RL loafers padding on the carpet as designers pull many a reference piece. Today, the coveted appointments belong to Brownstone Cowboys Magazine and Aimê Leon Dore, from whose stacks of shirts and sweaters I kept stealing for our shoot. But they were good sports, and now we all follow each other on Instagram. They know the good stuff when they see it, hence the long line down Mulberry clamoring to just buy a coffee from their flagship.


But the real reason Sean’s customers and fanbase come back every Saturday from 12-6 to shop isn’t just for the clothes. It’s the 1940’s Hit Parade music, the soft yellow lighting, whistling kettle, padded red carpet and lingering smell of fresh laundry unique to freshly laundered vintage material. If you wanted the kind of vintage menswear sold at Crowley, you could probably just ask your serial Ebay-hunter friend to find you something. But you wouldn’t experience the impromptu lesson in fashion history or the racks stuffed with wildly printed button-downs that is so uniquely Crowley.


BSC: Okay, first of all, I'm curious about what you did before you opened Crowley, because I think a friend of mine said you worked for Ralph Lauren for ten or so years prior to opening your store.


SC: Yeah I worked there for 11 years, it was very cool how Ralph hired me. I worked in the big flagship store on Madison Avenue and I'd been working there for maybe six months or a year and one day, in walks Ralph. It was a quiet day - there weren’t a ton of like lackeys or even just people around, so we ended up just chatting. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said, “I'd love to work in men's design,” I already kind of tried to get my foot in the door at Polo– I had known a lot of Ralph Lauren designers over the years from working in vintage before I ever worked for Ralph. But I never could get my foot in the door because of the human resources department so, I kind of jumped right over their head when I met Ralph.


BSC: That seems like a bit of a full circle moment to me, because doesn’t the team from RL come into your store and buy their vintage from you?

SC: Exactly. It’s a funny old world.


BSC: So tell me. Having been a designer and now a retailer/consumer, how do you balance your love for both Anglo and American aesthetics, and in knowing your appreciation for British tailoring and culture, was it working at Ralph that gave you that insight into the beauty of American fashion?


SC: You mean the English versus the American aesthetics? I mean I could get super granular and pedantic. You know, it could be that this jacket is more English and this one is more American but you know, really so much of this aesthetic is a hybrid. It really is a true fusion of English or other British and American tastes and styles that has evolved over 150 years. So I think that it's really hard to try to extricate, to separate those things into ‘Dude, this is American and this is British.’


BSC: I hear you. I mean, fashion is very much widespread at this point, having trickled down from so many different levels and into new streams of direction, from high design to much lower, more commercial fashion.


SC: Right and for me, I really love having a little world - I feel like I come from the world of Ralph Lauren. You know, like Ralph Lauren is a world, and there are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.


“There are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.”


SC: If that makes sense? Because it's hard. So it's not really a criticism, it's more just an observation because I realized that to create ‘a world’ is really fucking expensive and a huge undertaking. And I think that's why a lot of a lot of people now are trying to try to scale back and try to focus on specific products. You know like, this designer does the best shirts and these guys make amazing outerwear, you know, as opposed to trying to have all things go all together.

BSC: Your store, to me, is like a little world in the sense that it's all so well curated. I mean, you must have to almost handpick everything. I know, you said that you source it from like a million different places and I feel like you must just go in and pick each thing very specifically; maybe but one of a kind or just a couple of small lots in order to create the selection you now have.


SC: Yeah, totally. Yeah. I mean, you're right. I source every little piece in the store. It might mean buying three things or it might mean buying 300 things. Every piece is something that I personally like and said, ‘Yeah, I like this. This is cool. I want this.’


Ultimately, it's really simple. It's almost a vision in the sense that I buy and sell the things that I like, and I think this verges into another question of yours, which is basically that I always wanted to have a store that was the kind of store I wanted to shop at. And that was kind of the extent of my vision, which in a sense is very simple, because it's saying, I just want to make the foods that I like to eat. So if the yardstick for measuring is whether you like eating the food, then there you go, it kind of does itself in a way.


BSC: I feel like that's the same with design. I've heard from different designers that they create the clothes they want to wear, because they see an industry lacking this specific style or cut. Did you adopt something like that when you were at Ralph? Where you said ‘I'm going to create the clothes that I don't see or the clothes that I want to wear’?


SC: You totally took the words out of my mouth. I mean, that was really how we worked at Ralph, you know, we never looked at trend reports. You know, we never thought to ourselves that yellow and purple are the big colors this season - we never really thought about that stuff. I'm not trying to compliment the approach but it was really just about what we liked, what Ralph liked, and what felt right to us. That was how we worked then and how I work now. It’s about the things that speak to me, or resonate with me. The things that get me excited. It's funny, I actually, I probably have more vintage Ralph Lauren now than they do to be honest.


BSC: Funny how life works. So then how did you then go from designing to opening a store? What was the transitional period? Was it social media or a magazine or?


SC: I worked for RL for eleven years before my number was up - I think my time had run its course. So I left thinking I really don't want to just jump back into bed with some other fashion brand, you know, I don't want to go work for Abercrombie and Fitch or J Crew or something like that. Because for me I always just loved Ralph Lauren. And while those

places are all great, they weren’t RL. So I did some soul searching and quickly realized that vintage is what I know, what I love and what I've done all my life in some way or another.

There was no grand plan, it was just let’s give this a shot, I didn’t have a brick and mortar - in fact I think I started on Instagram; Ebay and then Instagram. I would post something kind of the same way I do it now. I would just take photos of things in my kitchen and make them look really sexy with natural light. And I put together a whole rig that was very Ralphie, you know? They’re actually some of the best images I've ever created, which was funny because I wasn't even really trying that hard.

I had another storefront before this one - an actual ground floor space. I kind of compare it to your first apartment in New York where you have like a bunch of roommates and it's all a little funny and herky jerky and you have this crazy landlord.


BSC: Yeah, no, I remember my first apartment so that hits home.


SC: I literally had a shared entrance with other people - artists and artisans - that used the building. And they all had to come through my shop to get into their space. I would be in the middle of an appointment with a designer or customer and guys with buckets of plaster would just walk through. Or the guy upstairs was a plaster artisan but then in his spare time he would play the bongos and the noises would come through the floor. So I’d have to excuse myself “The guy with the bongos is playing. I need to go talk to him”. I outgrew that space both physically and spiritually. I realized that all my customers were really destination, people were coming specifically to my space. So why pay for a store front when I don't need it? I didn’t need that overhead.


BSC: I feel like most people don't have the ethos where it's what you need not versus what's popular or a trendy aesthetic. Yes, your store is appointment. It’s destination, and you go there with intention. While interest is growing, unfortunately, the craze for menswear just isn’t at the point where you’d need a street-side storefront. You’ve made it a beautiful space, but it's a little off the beaten path.


SC: I would rather have ten people come in a day, who all get it, and spend money than have one thousand people come in where 95% of them are like, ‘what's this?’ ‘this is weird’ and just try shit on and like, play dress up, and then leave.


Crowley Vintage

147 Front Street, Suite 303, DUMBO 11201

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

NYC Vintage: Crowley Vintage and the Allure of Vintage Lauren

HASSON

Photographer: Alex Lockett

Article/Interview/Model: Camille Bavera

Sean Crowley, the namesake of Crowley Vintage, has everything menswear you could hope to find in the last hundred years, neatly folded and tucked away from the tourists parading under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. It’s a Ralph Lauren oasis with the piles of softly folded wool sweaters on tables and double-breasted suits hanging precisely in rows, not unlike the antique soldier uniforms hanging nearby. Racks of wool and shearling overcoats and argyle vests in every color give warmth to the room, muffling the sounds of RL loafers padding on the carpet as designers pull many a reference piece. Today, the coveted appointments belong to Brownstone Cowboys Magazine and Aimê Leon Dore, from whose stacks of shirts and sweaters I kept stealing for our shoot. But they were good sports, and now we all follow each other on Instagram. They know the good stuff when they see it, hence the long line down Mulberry clamoring to just buy a coffee from their flagship.


But the real reason Sean’s customers and fanbase come back every Saturday from 12-6 to shop isn’t just for the clothes. It’s the 1940’s Hit Parade music, the soft yellow lighting, whistling kettle, padded red carpet and lingering smell of fresh laundry unique to freshly laundered vintage material. If you wanted the kind of vintage menswear sold at Crowley, you could probably just ask your serial Ebay-hunter friend to find you something. But you wouldn’t experience the impromptu lesson in fashion history or the racks stuffed with wildly printed button-downs that is so uniquely Crowley.


No items found.
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
NYC Vintage: Crowley Vintage and the Allure of Vintage Lauren

Photographer: Alex Lockett

Article/Interview/Model: Camille Bavera

No items found.

Sean Crowley, the namesake of Crowley Vintage, has everything menswear you could hope to find in the last hundred years, neatly folded and tucked away from the tourists parading under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. It’s a Ralph Lauren oasis with the piles of softly folded wool sweaters on tables and double-breasted suits hanging precisely in rows, not unlike the antique soldier uniforms hanging nearby. Racks of wool and shearling overcoats and argyle vests in every color give warmth to the room, muffling the sounds of RL loafers padding on the carpet as designers pull many a reference piece. Today, the coveted appointments belong to Brownstone Cowboys Magazine and Aimê Leon Dore, from whose stacks of shirts and sweaters I kept stealing for our shoot. But they were good sports, and now we all follow each other on Instagram. They know the good stuff when they see it, hence the long line down Mulberry clamoring to just buy a coffee from their flagship.


But the real reason Sean’s customers and fanbase come back every Saturday from 12-6 to shop isn’t just for the clothes. It’s the 1940’s Hit Parade music, the soft yellow lighting, whistling kettle, padded red carpet and lingering smell of fresh laundry unique to freshly laundered vintage material. If you wanted the kind of vintage menswear sold at Crowley, you could probably just ask your serial Ebay-hunter friend to find you something. But you wouldn’t experience the impromptu lesson in fashion history or the racks stuffed with wildly printed button-downs that is so uniquely Crowley.


NYC Vintage: Crowley Vintage and the Allure of Vintage Lauren

Photographer: Alex Lockett

Article/Interview/Model: Camille Bavera

Sean Crowley, the namesake of Crowley Vintage, has everything menswear you could hope to find in the last hundred years, neatly folded and tucked away from the tourists parading under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. It’s a Ralph Lauren oasis with the piles of softly folded wool sweaters on tables and double-breasted suits hanging precisely in rows, not unlike the antique soldier uniforms hanging nearby. Racks of wool and shearling overcoats and argyle vests in every color give warmth to the room, muffling the sounds of RL loafers padding on the carpet as designers pull many a reference piece. Today, the coveted appointments belong to Brownstone Cowboys Magazine and Aimê Leon Dore, from whose stacks of shirts and sweaters I kept stealing for our shoot. But they were good sports, and now we all follow each other on Instagram. They know the good stuff when they see it, hence the long line down Mulberry clamoring to just buy a coffee from their flagship.


But the real reason Sean’s customers and fanbase come back every Saturday from 12-6 to shop isn’t just for the clothes. It’s the 1940’s Hit Parade music, the soft yellow lighting, whistling kettle, padded red carpet and lingering smell of fresh laundry unique to freshly laundered vintage material. If you wanted the kind of vintage menswear sold at Crowley, you could probably just ask your serial Ebay-hunter friend to find you something. But you wouldn’t experience the impromptu lesson in fashion history or the racks stuffed with wildly printed button-downs that is so uniquely Crowley.


BSC: Okay, first of all, I'm curious about what you did before you opened Crowley, because I think a friend of mine said you worked for Ralph Lauren for ten or so years prior to opening your store.


SC: Yeah I worked there for 11 years, it was very cool how Ralph hired me. I worked in the big flagship store on Madison Avenue and I'd been working there for maybe six months or a year and one day, in walks Ralph. It was a quiet day - there weren’t a ton of like lackeys or even just people around, so we ended up just chatting. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said, “I'd love to work in men's design,” I already kind of tried to get my foot in the door at Polo– I had known a lot of Ralph Lauren designers over the years from working in vintage before I ever worked for Ralph. But I never could get my foot in the door because of the human resources department so, I kind of jumped right over their head when I met Ralph.


BSC: That seems like a bit of a full circle moment to me, because doesn’t the team from RL come into your store and buy their vintage from you?

SC: Exactly. It’s a funny old world.


BSC: So tell me. Having been a designer and now a retailer/consumer, how do you balance your love for both Anglo and American aesthetics, and in knowing your appreciation for British tailoring and culture, was it working at Ralph that gave you that insight into the beauty of American fashion?


SC: You mean the English versus the American aesthetics? I mean I could get super granular and pedantic. You know, it could be that this jacket is more English and this one is more American but you know, really so much of this aesthetic is a hybrid. It really is a true fusion of English or other British and American tastes and styles that has evolved over 150 years. So I think that it's really hard to try to extricate, to separate those things into ‘Dude, this is American and this is British.’


BSC: I hear you. I mean, fashion is very much widespread at this point, having trickled down from so many different levels and into new streams of direction, from high design to much lower, more commercial fashion.


SC: Right and for me, I really love having a little world - I feel like I come from the world of Ralph Lauren. You know, like Ralph Lauren is a world, and there are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.


“There are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.”


SC: If that makes sense? Because it's hard. So it's not really a criticism, it's more just an observation because I realized that to create ‘a world’ is really fucking expensive and a huge undertaking. And I think that's why a lot of a lot of people now are trying to try to scale back and try to focus on specific products. You know like, this designer does the best shirts and these guys make amazing outerwear, you know, as opposed to trying to have all things go all together.

BSC: Your store, to me, is like a little world in the sense that it's all so well curated. I mean, you must have to almost handpick everything. I know, you said that you source it from like a million different places and I feel like you must just go in and pick each thing very specifically; maybe but one of a kind or just a couple of small lots in order to create the selection you now have.


SC: Yeah, totally. Yeah. I mean, you're right. I source every little piece in the store. It might mean buying three things or it might mean buying 300 things. Every piece is something that I personally like and said, ‘Yeah, I like this. This is cool. I want this.’


Ultimately, it's really simple. It's almost a vision in the sense that I buy and sell the things that I like, and I think this verges into another question of yours, which is basically that I always wanted to have a store that was the kind of store I wanted to shop at. And that was kind of the extent of my vision, which in a sense is very simple, because it's saying, I just want to make the foods that I like to eat. So if the yardstick for measuring is whether you like eating the food, then there you go, it kind of does itself in a way.


BSC: I feel like that's the same with design. I've heard from different designers that they create the clothes they want to wear, because they see an industry lacking this specific style or cut. Did you adopt something like that when you were at Ralph? Where you said ‘I'm going to create the clothes that I don't see or the clothes that I want to wear’?


SC: You totally took the words out of my mouth. I mean, that was really how we worked at Ralph, you know, we never looked at trend reports. You know, we never thought to ourselves that yellow and purple are the big colors this season - we never really thought about that stuff. I'm not trying to compliment the approach but it was really just about what we liked, what Ralph liked, and what felt right to us. That was how we worked then and how I work now. It’s about the things that speak to me, or resonate with me. The things that get me excited. It's funny, I actually, I probably have more vintage Ralph Lauren now than they do to be honest.


BSC: Funny how life works. So then how did you then go from designing to opening a store? What was the transitional period? Was it social media or a magazine or?


SC: I worked for RL for eleven years before my number was up - I think my time had run its course. So I left thinking I really don't want to just jump back into bed with some other fashion brand, you know, I don't want to go work for Abercrombie and Fitch or J Crew or something like that. Because for me I always just loved Ralph Lauren. And while those

places are all great, they weren’t RL. So I did some soul searching and quickly realized that vintage is what I know, what I love and what I've done all my life in some way or another.

There was no grand plan, it was just let’s give this a shot, I didn’t have a brick and mortar - in fact I think I started on Instagram; Ebay and then Instagram. I would post something kind of the same way I do it now. I would just take photos of things in my kitchen and make them look really sexy with natural light. And I put together a whole rig that was very Ralphie, you know? They’re actually some of the best images I've ever created, which was funny because I wasn't even really trying that hard.

I had another storefront before this one - an actual ground floor space. I kind of compare it to your first apartment in New York where you have like a bunch of roommates and it's all a little funny and herky jerky and you have this crazy landlord.


BSC: Yeah, no, I remember my first apartment so that hits home.


SC: I literally had a shared entrance with other people - artists and artisans - that used the building. And they all had to come through my shop to get into their space. I would be in the middle of an appointment with a designer or customer and guys with buckets of plaster would just walk through. Or the guy upstairs was a plaster artisan but then in his spare time he would play the bongos and the noises would come through the floor. So I’d have to excuse myself “The guy with the bongos is playing. I need to go talk to him”. I outgrew that space both physically and spiritually. I realized that all my customers were really destination, people were coming specifically to my space. So why pay for a store front when I don't need it? I didn’t need that overhead.


BSC: I feel like most people don't have the ethos where it's what you need not versus what's popular or a trendy aesthetic. Yes, your store is appointment. It’s destination, and you go there with intention. While interest is growing, unfortunately, the craze for menswear just isn’t at the point where you’d need a street-side storefront. You’ve made it a beautiful space, but it's a little off the beaten path.


SC: I would rather have ten people come in a day, who all get it, and spend money than have one thousand people come in where 95% of them are like, ‘what's this?’ ‘this is weird’ and just try shit on and like, play dress up, and then leave.


Crowley Vintage

147 Front Street, Suite 303, DUMBO 11201

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
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Pink

frost

Thistle

brown

Photographer: Alex Lockett

Article/Interview/Model: Camille Bavera

Super talented stylist-turned-photographer Thistle Browne and stylist Heathermary Jackson — both in New Zealand during COVID-19 lockdowns — traveled to Rangitoto Island, a dormant volcano off the coast of Central Auckland, to shoot the new campaign for New Zealand jewelry designer Jasmin Sparrow. The shoot showcases Sparrow’s timeless gold and silver jewelry, and a beautiful collection of hand-beaded bras and skull caps designed with Glen Prentice. Models wore mainly vintage from Search and Destroy and Brownstone Cowboys’ collection, combined with some local, sustainable brands and New Zealand gumboots (rainboots).
Photography: Thistle Brown
Styling: Heathermary Jackson
Designers: Jasmin Sparrow and Glen Prentice
Models: Charlotte Moffatt, Nina Katungi, Obadiah Russon

NYC Vintage: Crowley Vintage and the Allure of Vintage Lauren

Photographer: Alex Lockett

Article/Interview/Model: Camille Bavera

Sean Crowley, the namesake of Crowley Vintage, has everything menswear you could hope to find in the last hundred years, neatly folded and tucked away from the tourists parading under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. It’s a Ralph Lauren oasis with the piles of softly folded wool sweaters on tables and double-breasted suits hanging precisely in rows, not unlike the antique soldier uniforms hanging nearby. Racks of wool and shearling overcoats and argyle vests in every color give warmth to the room, muffling the sounds of RL loafers padding on the carpet as designers pull many a reference piece. Today, the coveted appointments belong to Brownstone Cowboys Magazine and Aimê Leon Dore, from whose stacks of shirts and sweaters I kept stealing for our shoot. But they were good sports, and now we all follow each other on Instagram. They know the good stuff when they see it, hence the long line down Mulberry clamoring to just buy a coffee from their flagship.


But the real reason Sean’s customers and fanbase come back every Saturday from 12-6 to shop isn’t just for the clothes. It’s the 1940’s Hit Parade music, the soft yellow lighting, whistling kettle, padded red carpet and lingering smell of fresh laundry unique to freshly laundered vintage material. If you wanted the kind of vintage menswear sold at Crowley, you could probably just ask your serial Ebay-hunter friend to find you something. But you wouldn’t experience the impromptu lesson in fashion history or the racks stuffed with wildly printed button-downs that is so uniquely Crowley.


BSC: Okay, first of all, I'm curious about what you did before you opened Crowley, because I think a friend of mine said you worked for Ralph Lauren for ten or so years prior to opening your store.


SC: Yeah I worked there for 11 years, it was very cool how Ralph hired me. I worked in the big flagship store on Madison Avenue and I'd been working there for maybe six months or a year and one day, in walks Ralph. It was a quiet day - there weren’t a ton of like lackeys or even just people around, so we ended up just chatting. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said, “I'd love to work in men's design,” I already kind of tried to get my foot in the door at Polo– I had known a lot of Ralph Lauren designers over the years from working in vintage before I ever worked for Ralph. But I never could get my foot in the door because of the human resources department so, I kind of jumped right over their head when I met Ralph.


BSC: That seems like a bit of a full circle moment to me, because doesn’t the team from RL come into your store and buy their vintage from you?

SC: Exactly. It’s a funny old world.


BSC: So tell me. Having been a designer and now a retailer/consumer, how do you balance your love for both Anglo and American aesthetics, and in knowing your appreciation for British tailoring and culture, was it working at Ralph that gave you that insight into the beauty of American fashion?


SC: You mean the English versus the American aesthetics? I mean I could get super granular and pedantic. You know, it could be that this jacket is more English and this one is more American but you know, really so much of this aesthetic is a hybrid. It really is a true fusion of English or other British and American tastes and styles that has evolved over 150 years. So I think that it's really hard to try to extricate, to separate those things into ‘Dude, this is American and this is British.’


BSC: I hear you. I mean, fashion is very much widespread at this point, having trickled down from so many different levels and into new streams of direction, from high design to much lower, more commercial fashion.


SC: Right and for me, I really love having a little world - I feel like I come from the world of Ralph Lauren. You know, like Ralph Lauren is a world, and there are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.


“There are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.”


SC: If that makes sense? Because it's hard. So it's not really a criticism, it's more just an observation because I realized that to create ‘a world’ is really fucking expensive and a huge undertaking. And I think that's why a lot of a lot of people now are trying to try to scale back and try to focus on specific products. You know like, this designer does the best shirts and these guys make amazing outerwear, you know, as opposed to trying to have all things go all together.

BSC: Your store, to me, is like a little world in the sense that it's all so well curated. I mean, you must have to almost handpick everything. I know, you said that you source it from like a million different places and I feel like you must just go in and pick each thing very specifically; maybe but one of a kind or just a couple of small lots in order to create the selection you now have.


SC: Yeah, totally. Yeah. I mean, you're right. I source every little piece in the store. It might mean buying three things or it might mean buying 300 things. Every piece is something that I personally like and said, ‘Yeah, I like this. This is cool. I want this.’


Ultimately, it's really simple. It's almost a vision in the sense that I buy and sell the things that I like, and I think this verges into another question of yours, which is basically that I always wanted to have a store that was the kind of store I wanted to shop at. And that was kind of the extent of my vision, which in a sense is very simple, because it's saying, I just want to make the foods that I like to eat. So if the yardstick for measuring is whether you like eating the food, then there you go, it kind of does itself in a way.


BSC: I feel like that's the same with design. I've heard from different designers that they create the clothes they want to wear, because they see an industry lacking this specific style or cut. Did you adopt something like that when you were at Ralph? Where you said ‘I'm going to create the clothes that I don't see or the clothes that I want to wear’?


SC: You totally took the words out of my mouth. I mean, that was really how we worked at Ralph, you know, we never looked at trend reports. You know, we never thought to ourselves that yellow and purple are the big colors this season - we never really thought about that stuff. I'm not trying to compliment the approach but it was really just about what we liked, what Ralph liked, and what felt right to us. That was how we worked then and how I work now. It’s about the things that speak to me, or resonate with me. The things that get me excited. It's funny, I actually, I probably have more vintage Ralph Lauren now than they do to be honest.


BSC: Funny how life works. So then how did you then go from designing to opening a store? What was the transitional period? Was it social media or a magazine or?


SC: I worked for RL for eleven years before my number was up - I think my time had run its course. So I left thinking I really don't want to just jump back into bed with some other fashion brand, you know, I don't want to go work for Abercrombie and Fitch or J Crew or something like that. Because for me I always just loved Ralph Lauren. And while those

places are all great, they weren’t RL. So I did some soul searching and quickly realized that vintage is what I know, what I love and what I've done all my life in some way or another.

There was no grand plan, it was just let’s give this a shot, I didn’t have a brick and mortar - in fact I think I started on Instagram; Ebay and then Instagram. I would post something kind of the same way I do it now. I would just take photos of things in my kitchen and make them look really sexy with natural light. And I put together a whole rig that was very Ralphie, you know? They’re actually some of the best images I've ever created, which was funny because I wasn't even really trying that hard.

I had another storefront before this one - an actual ground floor space. I kind of compare it to your first apartment in New York where you have like a bunch of roommates and it's all a little funny and herky jerky and you have this crazy landlord.


BSC: Yeah, no, I remember my first apartment so that hits home.


SC: I literally had a shared entrance with other people - artists and artisans - that used the building. And they all had to come through my shop to get into their space. I would be in the middle of an appointment with a designer or customer and guys with buckets of plaster would just walk through. Or the guy upstairs was a plaster artisan but then in his spare time he would play the bongos and the noises would come through the floor. So I’d have to excuse myself “The guy with the bongos is playing. I need to go talk to him”. I outgrew that space both physically and spiritually. I realized that all my customers were really destination, people were coming specifically to my space. So why pay for a store front when I don't need it? I didn’t need that overhead.


BSC: I feel like most people don't have the ethos where it's what you need not versus what's popular or a trendy aesthetic. Yes, your store is appointment. It’s destination, and you go there with intention. While interest is growing, unfortunately, the craze for menswear just isn’t at the point where you’d need a street-side storefront. You’ve made it a beautiful space, but it's a little off the beaten path.


SC: I would rather have ten people come in a day, who all get it, and spend money than have one thousand people come in where 95% of them are like, ‘what's this?’ ‘this is weird’ and just try shit on and like, play dress up, and then leave.


Crowley Vintage

147 Front Street, Suite 303, DUMBO 11201

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

NYC Vintage: Crowley Vintage and the Allure of Vintage Lauren

Photographer: Alex Lockett

Article/Interview/Model: Camille Bavera

Sean Crowley, the namesake of Crowley Vintage, has everything menswear you could hope to find in the last hundred years, neatly folded and tucked away from the tourists parading under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. It’s a Ralph Lauren oasis with the piles of softly folded wool sweaters on tables and double-breasted suits hanging precisely in rows, not unlike the antique soldier uniforms hanging nearby. Racks of wool and shearling overcoats and argyle vests in every color give warmth to the room, muffling the sounds of RL loafers padding on the carpet as designers pull many a reference piece. Today, the coveted appointments belong to Brownstone Cowboys Magazine and Aimê Leon Dore, from whose stacks of shirts and sweaters I kept stealing for our shoot. But they were good sports, and now we all follow each other on Instagram. They know the good stuff when they see it, hence the long line down Mulberry clamoring to just buy a coffee from their flagship.


But the real reason Sean’s customers and fanbase come back every Saturday from 12-6 to shop isn’t just for the clothes. It’s the 1940’s Hit Parade music, the soft yellow lighting, whistling kettle, padded red carpet and lingering smell of fresh laundry unique to freshly laundered vintage material. If you wanted the kind of vintage menswear sold at Crowley, you could probably just ask your serial Ebay-hunter friend to find you something. But you wouldn’t experience the impromptu lesson in fashion history or the racks stuffed with wildly printed button-downs that is so uniquely Crowley.


BSC: Okay, first of all, I'm curious about what you did before you opened Crowley, because I think a friend of mine said you worked for Ralph Lauren for ten or so years prior to opening your store.


SC: Yeah I worked there for 11 years, it was very cool how Ralph hired me. I worked in the big flagship store on Madison Avenue and I'd been working there for maybe six months or a year and one day, in walks Ralph. It was a quiet day - there weren’t a ton of like lackeys or even just people around, so we ended up just chatting. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said, “I'd love to work in men's design,” I already kind of tried to get my foot in the door at Polo– I had known a lot of Ralph Lauren designers over the years from working in vintage before I ever worked for Ralph. But I never could get my foot in the door because of the human resources department so, I kind of jumped right over their head when I met Ralph.


BSC: That seems like a bit of a full circle moment to me, because doesn’t the team from RL come into your store and buy their vintage from you?

SC: Exactly. It’s a funny old world.


BSC: So tell me. Having been a designer and now a retailer/consumer, how do you balance your love for both Anglo and American aesthetics, and in knowing your appreciation for British tailoring and culture, was it working at Ralph that gave you that insight into the beauty of American fashion?


SC: You mean the English versus the American aesthetics? I mean I could get super granular and pedantic. You know, it could be that this jacket is more English and this one is more American but you know, really so much of this aesthetic is a hybrid. It really is a true fusion of English or other British and American tastes and styles that has evolved over 150 years. So I think that it's really hard to try to extricate, to separate those things into ‘Dude, this is American and this is British.’


BSC: I hear you. I mean, fashion is very much widespread at this point, having trickled down from so many different levels and into new streams of direction, from high design to much lower, more commercial fashion.


SC: Right and for me, I really love having a little world - I feel like I come from the world of Ralph Lauren. You know, like Ralph Lauren is a world, and there are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.


“There are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.”


SC: If that makes sense? Because it's hard. So it's not really a criticism, it's more just an observation because I realized that to create ‘a world’ is really fucking expensive and a huge undertaking. And I think that's why a lot of a lot of people now are trying to try to scale back and try to focus on specific products. You know like, this designer does the best shirts and these guys make amazing outerwear, you know, as opposed to trying to have all things go all together.

BSC: Your store, to me, is like a little world in the sense that it's all so well curated. I mean, you must have to almost handpick everything. I know, you said that you source it from like a million different places and I feel like you must just go in and pick each thing very specifically; maybe but one of a kind or just a couple of small lots in order to create the selection you now have.


SC: Yeah, totally. Yeah. I mean, you're right. I source every little piece in the store. It might mean buying three things or it might mean buying 300 things. Every piece is something that I personally like and said, ‘Yeah, I like this. This is cool. I want this.’


Ultimately, it's really simple. It's almost a vision in the sense that I buy and sell the things that I like, and I think this verges into another question of yours, which is basically that I always wanted to have a store that was the kind of store I wanted to shop at. And that was kind of the extent of my vision, which in a sense is very simple, because it's saying, I just want to make the foods that I like to eat. So if the yardstick for measuring is whether you like eating the food, then there you go, it kind of does itself in a way.


BSC: I feel like that's the same with design. I've heard from different designers that they create the clothes they want to wear, because they see an industry lacking this specific style or cut. Did you adopt something like that when you were at Ralph? Where you said ‘I'm going to create the clothes that I don't see or the clothes that I want to wear’?


SC: You totally took the words out of my mouth. I mean, that was really how we worked at Ralph, you know, we never looked at trend reports. You know, we never thought to ourselves that yellow and purple are the big colors this season - we never really thought about that stuff. I'm not trying to compliment the approach but it was really just about what we liked, what Ralph liked, and what felt right to us. That was how we worked then and how I work now. It’s about the things that speak to me, or resonate with me. The things that get me excited. It's funny, I actually, I probably have more vintage Ralph Lauren now than they do to be honest.


BSC: Funny how life works. So then how did you then go from designing to opening a store? What was the transitional period? Was it social media or a magazine or?


SC: I worked for RL for eleven years before my number was up - I think my time had run its course. So I left thinking I really don't want to just jump back into bed with some other fashion brand, you know, I don't want to go work for Abercrombie and Fitch or J Crew or something like that. Because for me I always just loved Ralph Lauren. And while those

places are all great, they weren’t RL. So I did some soul searching and quickly realized that vintage is what I know, what I love and what I've done all my life in some way or another.

There was no grand plan, it was just let’s give this a shot, I didn’t have a brick and mortar - in fact I think I started on Instagram; Ebay and then Instagram. I would post something kind of the same way I do it now. I would just take photos of things in my kitchen and make them look really sexy with natural light. And I put together a whole rig that was very Ralphie, you know? They’re actually some of the best images I've ever created, which was funny because I wasn't even really trying that hard.

I had another storefront before this one - an actual ground floor space. I kind of compare it to your first apartment in New York where you have like a bunch of roommates and it's all a little funny and herky jerky and you have this crazy landlord.


BSC: Yeah, no, I remember my first apartment so that hits home.


SC: I literally had a shared entrance with other people - artists and artisans - that used the building. And they all had to come through my shop to get into their space. I would be in the middle of an appointment with a designer or customer and guys with buckets of plaster would just walk through. Or the guy upstairs was a plaster artisan but then in his spare time he would play the bongos and the noises would come through the floor. So I’d have to excuse myself “The guy with the bongos is playing. I need to go talk to him”. I outgrew that space both physically and spiritually. I realized that all my customers were really destination, people were coming specifically to my space. So why pay for a store front when I don't need it? I didn’t need that overhead.


BSC: I feel like most people don't have the ethos where it's what you need not versus what's popular or a trendy aesthetic. Yes, your store is appointment. It’s destination, and you go there with intention. While interest is growing, unfortunately, the craze for menswear just isn’t at the point where you’d need a street-side storefront. You’ve made it a beautiful space, but it's a little off the beaten path.


SC: I would rather have ten people come in a day, who all get it, and spend money than have one thousand people come in where 95% of them are like, ‘what's this?’ ‘this is weird’ and just try shit on and like, play dress up, and then leave.


Crowley Vintage

147 Front Street, Suite 303, DUMBO 11201

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

NYC Vintage: Crowley Vintage and the Allure of Vintage Lauren

Photographer: Alex Lockett

Article/Interview/Model: Camille Bavera

Sean Crowley, the namesake of Crowley Vintage, has everything menswear you could hope to find in the last hundred years, neatly folded and tucked away from the tourists parading under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. It’s a Ralph Lauren oasis with the piles of softly folded wool sweaters on tables and double-breasted suits hanging precisely in rows, not unlike the antique soldier uniforms hanging nearby. Racks of wool and shearling overcoats and argyle vests in every color give warmth to the room, muffling the sounds of RL loafers padding on the carpet as designers pull many a reference piece. Today, the coveted appointments belong to Brownstone Cowboys Magazine and Aimê Leon Dore, from whose stacks of shirts and sweaters I kept stealing for our shoot. But they were good sports, and now we all follow each other on Instagram. They know the good stuff when they see it, hence the long line down Mulberry clamoring to just buy a coffee from their flagship.


But the real reason Sean’s customers and fanbase come back every Saturday from 12-6 to shop isn’t just for the clothes. It’s the 1940’s Hit Parade music, the soft yellow lighting, whistling kettle, padded red carpet and lingering smell of fresh laundry unique to freshly laundered vintage material. If you wanted the kind of vintage menswear sold at Crowley, you could probably just ask your serial Ebay-hunter friend to find you something. But you wouldn’t experience the impromptu lesson in fashion history or the racks stuffed with wildly printed button-downs that is so uniquely Crowley.


BSC: Okay, first of all, I'm curious about what you did before you opened Crowley, because I think a friend of mine said you worked for Ralph Lauren for ten or so years prior to opening your store.


SC: Yeah I worked there for 11 years, it was very cool how Ralph hired me. I worked in the big flagship store on Madison Avenue and I'd been working there for maybe six months or a year and one day, in walks Ralph. It was a quiet day - there weren’t a ton of like lackeys or even just people around, so we ended up just chatting. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said, “I'd love to work in men's design,” I already kind of tried to get my foot in the door at Polo– I had known a lot of Ralph Lauren designers over the years from working in vintage before I ever worked for Ralph. But I never could get my foot in the door because of the human resources department so, I kind of jumped right over their head when I met Ralph.


BSC: That seems like a bit of a full circle moment to me, because doesn’t the team from RL come into your store and buy their vintage from you?

SC: Exactly. It’s a funny old world.


BSC: So tell me. Having been a designer and now a retailer/consumer, how do you balance your love for both Anglo and American aesthetics, and in knowing your appreciation for British tailoring and culture, was it working at Ralph that gave you that insight into the beauty of American fashion?


SC: You mean the English versus the American aesthetics? I mean I could get super granular and pedantic. You know, it could be that this jacket is more English and this one is more American but you know, really so much of this aesthetic is a hybrid. It really is a true fusion of English or other British and American tastes and styles that has evolved over 150 years. So I think that it's really hard to try to extricate, to separate those things into ‘Dude, this is American and this is British.’


BSC: I hear you. I mean, fashion is very much widespread at this point, having trickled down from so many different levels and into new streams of direction, from high design to much lower, more commercial fashion.


SC: Right and for me, I really love having a little world - I feel like I come from the world of Ralph Lauren. You know, like Ralph Lauren is a world, and there are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.


“There are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.”


SC: If that makes sense? Because it's hard. So it's not really a criticism, it's more just an observation because I realized that to create ‘a world’ is really fucking expensive and a huge undertaking. And I think that's why a lot of a lot of people now are trying to try to scale back and try to focus on specific products. You know like, this designer does the best shirts and these guys make amazing outerwear, you know, as opposed to trying to have all things go all together.

BSC: Your store, to me, is like a little world in the sense that it's all so well curated. I mean, you must have to almost handpick everything. I know, you said that you source it from like a million different places and I feel like you must just go in and pick each thing very specifically; maybe but one of a kind or just a couple of small lots in order to create the selection you now have.


SC: Yeah, totally. Yeah. I mean, you're right. I source every little piece in the store. It might mean buying three things or it might mean buying 300 things. Every piece is something that I personally like and said, ‘Yeah, I like this. This is cool. I want this.’


Ultimately, it's really simple. It's almost a vision in the sense that I buy and sell the things that I like, and I think this verges into another question of yours, which is basically that I always wanted to have a store that was the kind of store I wanted to shop at. And that was kind of the extent of my vision, which in a sense is very simple, because it's saying, I just want to make the foods that I like to eat. So if the yardstick for measuring is whether you like eating the food, then there you go, it kind of does itself in a way.


BSC: I feel like that's the same with design. I've heard from different designers that they create the clothes they want to wear, because they see an industry lacking this specific style or cut. Did you adopt something like that when you were at Ralph? Where you said ‘I'm going to create the clothes that I don't see or the clothes that I want to wear’?


SC: You totally took the words out of my mouth. I mean, that was really how we worked at Ralph, you know, we never looked at trend reports. You know, we never thought to ourselves that yellow and purple are the big colors this season - we never really thought about that stuff. I'm not trying to compliment the approach but it was really just about what we liked, what Ralph liked, and what felt right to us. That was how we worked then and how I work now. It’s about the things that speak to me, or resonate with me. The things that get me excited. It's funny, I actually, I probably have more vintage Ralph Lauren now than they do to be honest.


BSC: Funny how life works. So then how did you then go from designing to opening a store? What was the transitional period? Was it social media or a magazine or?


SC: I worked for RL for eleven years before my number was up - I think my time had run its course. So I left thinking I really don't want to just jump back into bed with some other fashion brand, you know, I don't want to go work for Abercrombie and Fitch or J Crew or something like that. Because for me I always just loved Ralph Lauren. And while those

places are all great, they weren’t RL. So I did some soul searching and quickly realized that vintage is what I know, what I love and what I've done all my life in some way or another.

There was no grand plan, it was just let’s give this a shot, I didn’t have a brick and mortar - in fact I think I started on Instagram; Ebay and then Instagram. I would post something kind of the same way I do it now. I would just take photos of things in my kitchen and make them look really sexy with natural light. And I put together a whole rig that was very Ralphie, you know? They’re actually some of the best images I've ever created, which was funny because I wasn't even really trying that hard.

I had another storefront before this one - an actual ground floor space. I kind of compare it to your first apartment in New York where you have like a bunch of roommates and it's all a little funny and herky jerky and you have this crazy landlord.


BSC: Yeah, no, I remember my first apartment so that hits home.


SC: I literally had a shared entrance with other people - artists and artisans - that used the building. And they all had to come through my shop to get into their space. I would be in the middle of an appointment with a designer or customer and guys with buckets of plaster would just walk through. Or the guy upstairs was a plaster artisan but then in his spare time he would play the bongos and the noises would come through the floor. So I’d have to excuse myself “The guy with the bongos is playing. I need to go talk to him”. I outgrew that space both physically and spiritually. I realized that all my customers were really destination, people were coming specifically to my space. So why pay for a store front when I don't need it? I didn’t need that overhead.


BSC: I feel like most people don't have the ethos where it's what you need not versus what's popular or a trendy aesthetic. Yes, your store is appointment. It’s destination, and you go there with intention. While interest is growing, unfortunately, the craze for menswear just isn’t at the point where you’d need a street-side storefront. You’ve made it a beautiful space, but it's a little off the beaten path.


SC: I would rather have ten people come in a day, who all get it, and spend money than have one thousand people come in where 95% of them are like, ‘what's this?’ ‘this is weird’ and just try shit on and like, play dress up, and then leave.


Crowley Vintage

147 Front Street, Suite 303, DUMBO 11201

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

NYC Vintage: Crowley Vintage and the Allure of Vintage Lauren

Brownstone Cowboys Magazine CONSCIOUS GIVING Main Image

Photographer: Alex Lockett

Article/Interview/Model: Camille Bavera

Sean Crowley, the namesake of Crowley Vintage, has everything menswear you could hope to find in the last hundred years, neatly folded and tucked away from the tourists parading under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. It’s a Ralph Lauren oasis with the piles of softly folded wool sweaters on tables and double-breasted suits hanging precisely in rows, not unlike the antique soldier uniforms hanging nearby. Racks of wool and shearling overcoats and argyle vests in every color give warmth to the room, muffling the sounds of RL loafers padding on the carpet as designers pull many a reference piece. Today, the coveted appointments belong to Brownstone Cowboys Magazine and Aimê Leon Dore, from whose stacks of shirts and sweaters I kept stealing for our shoot. But they were good sports, and now we all follow each other on Instagram. They know the good stuff when they see it, hence the long line down Mulberry clamoring to just buy a coffee from their flagship.


But the real reason Sean’s customers and fanbase come back every Saturday from 12-6 to shop isn’t just for the clothes. It’s the 1940’s Hit Parade music, the soft yellow lighting, whistling kettle, padded red carpet and lingering smell of fresh laundry unique to freshly laundered vintage material. If you wanted the kind of vintage menswear sold at Crowley, you could probably just ask your serial Ebay-hunter friend to find you something. But you wouldn’t experience the impromptu lesson in fashion history or the racks stuffed with wildly printed button-downs that is so uniquely Crowley.


BSC: Okay, first of all, I'm curious about what you did before you opened Crowley, because I think a friend of mine said you worked for Ralph Lauren for ten or so years prior to opening your store.


SC: Yeah I worked there for 11 years, it was very cool how Ralph hired me. I worked in the big flagship store on Madison Avenue and I'd been working there for maybe six months or a year and one day, in walks Ralph. It was a quiet day - there weren’t a ton of like lackeys or even just people around, so we ended up just chatting. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said, “I'd love to work in men's design,” I already kind of tried to get my foot in the door at Polo– I had known a lot of Ralph Lauren designers over the years from working in vintage before I ever worked for Ralph. But I never could get my foot in the door because of the human resources department so, I kind of jumped right over their head when I met Ralph.


BSC: That seems like a bit of a full circle moment to me, because doesn’t the team from RL come into your store and buy their vintage from you?

SC: Exactly. It’s a funny old world.


BSC: So tell me. Having been a designer and now a retailer/consumer, how do you balance your love for both Anglo and American aesthetics, and in knowing your appreciation for British tailoring and culture, was it working at Ralph that gave you that insight into the beauty of American fashion?


SC: You mean the English versus the American aesthetics? I mean I could get super granular and pedantic. You know, it could be that this jacket is more English and this one is more American but you know, really so much of this aesthetic is a hybrid. It really is a true fusion of English or other British and American tastes and styles that has evolved over 150 years. So I think that it's really hard to try to extricate, to separate those things into ‘Dude, this is American and this is British.’


BSC: I hear you. I mean, fashion is very much widespread at this point, having trickled down from so many different levels and into new streams of direction, from high design to much lower, more commercial fashion.


SC: Right and for me, I really love having a little world - I feel like I come from the world of Ralph Lauren. You know, like Ralph Lauren is a world, and there are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.


“There are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.”


SC: If that makes sense? Because it's hard. So it's not really a criticism, it's more just an observation because I realized that to create ‘a world’ is really fucking expensive and a huge undertaking. And I think that's why a lot of a lot of people now are trying to try to scale back and try to focus on specific products. You know like, this designer does the best shirts and these guys make amazing outerwear, you know, as opposed to trying to have all things go all together.

BSC: Your store, to me, is like a little world in the sense that it's all so well curated. I mean, you must have to almost handpick everything. I know, you said that you source it from like a million different places and I feel like you must just go in and pick each thing very specifically; maybe but one of a kind or just a couple of small lots in order to create the selection you now have.


SC: Yeah, totally. Yeah. I mean, you're right. I source every little piece in the store. It might mean buying three things or it might mean buying 300 things. Every piece is something that I personally like and said, ‘Yeah, I like this. This is cool. I want this.’


Ultimately, it's really simple. It's almost a vision in the sense that I buy and sell the things that I like, and I think this verges into another question of yours, which is basically that I always wanted to have a store that was the kind of store I wanted to shop at. And that was kind of the extent of my vision, which in a sense is very simple, because it's saying, I just want to make the foods that I like to eat. So if the yardstick for measuring is whether you like eating the food, then there you go, it kind of does itself in a way.


BSC: I feel like that's the same with design. I've heard from different designers that they create the clothes they want to wear, because they see an industry lacking this specific style or cut. Did you adopt something like that when you were at Ralph? Where you said ‘I'm going to create the clothes that I don't see or the clothes that I want to wear’?


SC: You totally took the words out of my mouth. I mean, that was really how we worked at Ralph, you know, we never looked at trend reports. You know, we never thought to ourselves that yellow and purple are the big colors this season - we never really thought about that stuff. I'm not trying to compliment the approach but it was really just about what we liked, what Ralph liked, and what felt right to us. That was how we worked then and how I work now. It’s about the things that speak to me, or resonate with me. The things that get me excited. It's funny, I actually, I probably have more vintage Ralph Lauren now than they do to be honest.


BSC: Funny how life works. So then how did you then go from designing to opening a store? What was the transitional period? Was it social media or a magazine or?


SC: I worked for RL for eleven years before my number was up - I think my time had run its course. So I left thinking I really don't want to just jump back into bed with some other fashion brand, you know, I don't want to go work for Abercrombie and Fitch or J Crew or something like that. Because for me I always just loved Ralph Lauren. And while those

places are all great, they weren’t RL. So I did some soul searching and quickly realized that vintage is what I know, what I love and what I've done all my life in some way or another.

There was no grand plan, it was just let’s give this a shot, I didn’t have a brick and mortar - in fact I think I started on Instagram; Ebay and then Instagram. I would post something kind of the same way I do it now. I would just take photos of things in my kitchen and make them look really sexy with natural light. And I put together a whole rig that was very Ralphie, you know? They’re actually some of the best images I've ever created, which was funny because I wasn't even really trying that hard.

I had another storefront before this one - an actual ground floor space. I kind of compare it to your first apartment in New York where you have like a bunch of roommates and it's all a little funny and herky jerky and you have this crazy landlord.


BSC: Yeah, no, I remember my first apartment so that hits home.


SC: I literally had a shared entrance with other people - artists and artisans - that used the building. And they all had to come through my shop to get into their space. I would be in the middle of an appointment with a designer or customer and guys with buckets of plaster would just walk through. Or the guy upstairs was a plaster artisan but then in his spare time he would play the bongos and the noises would come through the floor. So I’d have to excuse myself “The guy with the bongos is playing. I need to go talk to him”. I outgrew that space both physically and spiritually. I realized that all my customers were really destination, people were coming specifically to my space. So why pay for a store front when I don't need it? I didn’t need that overhead.


BSC: I feel like most people don't have the ethos where it's what you need not versus what's popular or a trendy aesthetic. Yes, your store is appointment. It’s destination, and you go there with intention. While interest is growing, unfortunately, the craze for menswear just isn’t at the point where you’d need a street-side storefront. You’ve made it a beautiful space, but it's a little off the beaten path.


SC: I would rather have ten people come in a day, who all get it, and spend money than have one thousand people come in where 95% of them are like, ‘what's this?’ ‘this is weird’ and just try shit on and like, play dress up, and then leave.


Crowley Vintage

147 Front Street, Suite 303, DUMBO 11201

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

NYC Vintage: Crowley Vintage and the Allure of Vintage Lauren

Sean Crowley, the namesake of Crowley Vintage, has everything menswear you could hope to find in the last hundred years, neatly folded and tucked away from the tourists parading under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. It’s a Ralph Lauren oasis with the piles of softly folded wool sweaters on tables and double-breasted suits hanging precisely in rows, not unlike the antique soldier uniforms hanging nearby. Racks of wool and shearling overcoats and argyle vests in every color give warmth to the room, muffling the sounds of RL loafers padding on the carpet as designers pull many a reference piece. Today, the coveted appointments belong to Brownstone Cowboys Magazine and Aimê Leon Dore, from whose stacks of shirts and sweaters I kept stealing for our shoot. But they were good sports, and now we all follow each other on Instagram. They know the good stuff when they see it, hence the long line down Mulberry clamoring to just buy a coffee from their flagship.


But the real reason Sean’s customers and fanbase come back every Saturday from 12-6 to shop isn’t just for the clothes. It’s the 1940’s Hit Parade music, the soft yellow lighting, whistling kettle, padded red carpet and lingering smell of fresh laundry unique to freshly laundered vintage material. If you wanted the kind of vintage menswear sold at Crowley, you could probably just ask your serial Ebay-hunter friend to find you something. But you wouldn’t experience the impromptu lesson in fashion history or the racks stuffed with wildly printed button-downs that is so uniquely Crowley.


Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

NYC Vintage: Crowley Vintage and the Allure of Vintage Lauren

Photographer: Alex Lockett

Article/Interview/Model: Camille Bavera

Sean Crowley, the namesake of Crowley Vintage, has everything menswear you could hope to find in the last hundred years, neatly folded and tucked away from the tourists parading under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. It’s a Ralph Lauren oasis with the piles of softly folded wool sweaters on tables and double-breasted suits hanging precisely in rows, not unlike the antique soldier uniforms hanging nearby. Racks of wool and shearling overcoats and argyle vests in every color give warmth to the room, muffling the sounds of RL loafers padding on the carpet as designers pull many a reference piece. Today, the coveted appointments belong to Brownstone Cowboys Magazine and Aimê Leon Dore, from whose stacks of shirts and sweaters I kept stealing for our shoot. But they were good sports, and now we all follow each other on Instagram. They know the good stuff when they see it, hence the long line down Mulberry clamoring to just buy a coffee from their flagship.


But the real reason Sean’s customers and fanbase come back every Saturday from 12-6 to shop isn’t just for the clothes. It’s the 1940’s Hit Parade music, the soft yellow lighting, whistling kettle, padded red carpet and lingering smell of fresh laundry unique to freshly laundered vintage material. If you wanted the kind of vintage menswear sold at Crowley, you could probably just ask your serial Ebay-hunter friend to find you something. But you wouldn’t experience the impromptu lesson in fashion history or the racks stuffed with wildly printed button-downs that is so uniquely Crowley.


BSC: Okay, first of all, I'm curious about what you did before you opened Crowley, because I think a friend of mine said you worked for Ralph Lauren for ten or so years prior to opening your store.


SC: Yeah I worked there for 11 years, it was very cool how Ralph hired me. I worked in the big flagship store on Madison Avenue and I'd been working there for maybe six months or a year and one day, in walks Ralph. It was a quiet day - there weren’t a ton of like lackeys or even just people around, so we ended up just chatting. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said, “I'd love to work in men's design,” I already kind of tried to get my foot in the door at Polo– I had known a lot of Ralph Lauren designers over the years from working in vintage before I ever worked for Ralph. But I never could get my foot in the door because of the human resources department so, I kind of jumped right over their head when I met Ralph.


BSC: That seems like a bit of a full circle moment to me, because doesn’t the team from RL come into your store and buy their vintage from you?

SC: Exactly. It’s a funny old world.


BSC: So tell me. Having been a designer and now a retailer/consumer, how do you balance your love for both Anglo and American aesthetics, and in knowing your appreciation for British tailoring and culture, was it working at Ralph that gave you that insight into the beauty of American fashion?


SC: You mean the English versus the American aesthetics? I mean I could get super granular and pedantic. You know, it could be that this jacket is more English and this one is more American but you know, really so much of this aesthetic is a hybrid. It really is a true fusion of English or other British and American tastes and styles that has evolved over 150 years. So I think that it's really hard to try to extricate, to separate those things into ‘Dude, this is American and this is British.’


BSC: I hear you. I mean, fashion is very much widespread at this point, having trickled down from so many different levels and into new streams of direction, from high design to much lower, more commercial fashion.


SC: Right and for me, I really love having a little world - I feel like I come from the world of Ralph Lauren. You know, like Ralph Lauren is a world, and there are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.


“There are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.”


SC: If that makes sense? Because it's hard. So it's not really a criticism, it's more just an observation because I realized that to create ‘a world’ is really fucking expensive and a huge undertaking. And I think that's why a lot of a lot of people now are trying to try to scale back and try to focus on specific products. You know like, this designer does the best shirts and these guys make amazing outerwear, you know, as opposed to trying to have all things go all together.

BSC: Your store, to me, is like a little world in the sense that it's all so well curated. I mean, you must have to almost handpick everything. I know, you said that you source it from like a million different places and I feel like you must just go in and pick each thing very specifically; maybe but one of a kind or just a couple of small lots in order to create the selection you now have.


SC: Yeah, totally. Yeah. I mean, you're right. I source every little piece in the store. It might mean buying three things or it might mean buying 300 things. Every piece is something that I personally like and said, ‘Yeah, I like this. This is cool. I want this.’


Ultimately, it's really simple. It's almost a vision in the sense that I buy and sell the things that I like, and I think this verges into another question of yours, which is basically that I always wanted to have a store that was the kind of store I wanted to shop at. And that was kind of the extent of my vision, which in a sense is very simple, because it's saying, I just want to make the foods that I like to eat. So if the yardstick for measuring is whether you like eating the food, then there you go, it kind of does itself in a way.


BSC: I feel like that's the same with design. I've heard from different designers that they create the clothes they want to wear, because they see an industry lacking this specific style or cut. Did you adopt something like that when you were at Ralph? Where you said ‘I'm going to create the clothes that I don't see or the clothes that I want to wear’?


SC: You totally took the words out of my mouth. I mean, that was really how we worked at Ralph, you know, we never looked at trend reports. You know, we never thought to ourselves that yellow and purple are the big colors this season - we never really thought about that stuff. I'm not trying to compliment the approach but it was really just about what we liked, what Ralph liked, and what felt right to us. That was how we worked then and how I work now. It’s about the things that speak to me, or resonate with me. The things that get me excited. It's funny, I actually, I probably have more vintage Ralph Lauren now than they do to be honest.


BSC: Funny how life works. So then how did you then go from designing to opening a store? What was the transitional period? Was it social media or a magazine or?


SC: I worked for RL for eleven years before my number was up - I think my time had run its course. So I left thinking I really don't want to just jump back into bed with some other fashion brand, you know, I don't want to go work for Abercrombie and Fitch or J Crew or something like that. Because for me I always just loved Ralph Lauren. And while those

places are all great, they weren’t RL. So I did some soul searching and quickly realized that vintage is what I know, what I love and what I've done all my life in some way or another.

There was no grand plan, it was just let’s give this a shot, I didn’t have a brick and mortar - in fact I think I started on Instagram; Ebay and then Instagram. I would post something kind of the same way I do it now. I would just take photos of things in my kitchen and make them look really sexy with natural light. And I put together a whole rig that was very Ralphie, you know? They’re actually some of the best images I've ever created, which was funny because I wasn't even really trying that hard.

I had another storefront before this one - an actual ground floor space. I kind of compare it to your first apartment in New York where you have like a bunch of roommates and it's all a little funny and herky jerky and you have this crazy landlord.


BSC: Yeah, no, I remember my first apartment so that hits home.


SC: I literally had a shared entrance with other people - artists and artisans - that used the building. And they all had to come through my shop to get into their space. I would be in the middle of an appointment with a designer or customer and guys with buckets of plaster would just walk through. Or the guy upstairs was a plaster artisan but then in his spare time he would play the bongos and the noises would come through the floor. So I’d have to excuse myself “The guy with the bongos is playing. I need to go talk to him”. I outgrew that space both physically and spiritually. I realized that all my customers were really destination, people were coming specifically to my space. So why pay for a store front when I don't need it? I didn’t need that overhead.


BSC: I feel like most people don't have the ethos where it's what you need not versus what's popular or a trendy aesthetic. Yes, your store is appointment. It’s destination, and you go there with intention. While interest is growing, unfortunately, the craze for menswear just isn’t at the point where you’d need a street-side storefront. You’ve made it a beautiful space, but it's a little off the beaten path.


SC: I would rather have ten people come in a day, who all get it, and spend money than have one thousand people come in where 95% of them are like, ‘what's this?’ ‘this is weird’ and just try shit on and like, play dress up, and then leave.


Crowley Vintage

147 Front Street, Suite 303, DUMBO 11201

NYC Vintage: Crowley Vintage and the Allure of Vintage Lauren

Photographer: Alex Lockett

Article/Interview/Model: Camille Bavera

Sean Crowley, the namesake of Crowley Vintage, has everything menswear you could hope to find in the last hundred years, neatly folded and tucked away from the tourists parading under the Manhattan Bridge overpass. It’s a Ralph Lauren oasis with the piles of softly folded wool sweaters on tables and double-breasted suits hanging precisely in rows, not unlike the antique soldier uniforms hanging nearby. Racks of wool and shearling overcoats and argyle vests in every color give warmth to the room, muffling the sounds of RL loafers padding on the carpet as designers pull many a reference piece. Today, the coveted appointments belong to Brownstone Cowboys Magazine and Aimê Leon Dore, from whose stacks of shirts and sweaters I kept stealing for our shoot. But they were good sports, and now we all follow each other on Instagram. They know the good stuff when they see it, hence the long line down Mulberry clamoring to just buy a coffee from their flagship.


But the real reason Sean’s customers and fanbase come back every Saturday from 12-6 to shop isn’t just for the clothes. It’s the 1940’s Hit Parade music, the soft yellow lighting, whistling kettle, padded red carpet and lingering smell of fresh laundry unique to freshly laundered vintage material. If you wanted the kind of vintage menswear sold at Crowley, you could probably just ask your serial Ebay-hunter friend to find you something. But you wouldn’t experience the impromptu lesson in fashion history or the racks stuffed with wildly printed button-downs that is so uniquely Crowley.


BSC: Okay, first of all, I'm curious about what you did before you opened Crowley, because I think a friend of mine said you worked for Ralph Lauren for ten or so years prior to opening your store.


SC: Yeah I worked there for 11 years, it was very cool how Ralph hired me. I worked in the big flagship store on Madison Avenue and I'd been working there for maybe six months or a year and one day, in walks Ralph. It was a quiet day - there weren’t a ton of like lackeys or even just people around, so we ended up just chatting. He asked me what I wanted to do and I said, “I'd love to work in men's design,” I already kind of tried to get my foot in the door at Polo– I had known a lot of Ralph Lauren designers over the years from working in vintage before I ever worked for Ralph. But I never could get my foot in the door because of the human resources department so, I kind of jumped right over their head when I met Ralph.


BSC: That seems like a bit of a full circle moment to me, because doesn’t the team from RL come into your store and buy their vintage from you?

SC: Exactly. It’s a funny old world.


BSC: So tell me. Having been a designer and now a retailer/consumer, how do you balance your love for both Anglo and American aesthetics, and in knowing your appreciation for British tailoring and culture, was it working at Ralph that gave you that insight into the beauty of American fashion?


SC: You mean the English versus the American aesthetics? I mean I could get super granular and pedantic. You know, it could be that this jacket is more English and this one is more American but you know, really so much of this aesthetic is a hybrid. It really is a true fusion of English or other British and American tastes and styles that has evolved over 150 years. So I think that it's really hard to try to extricate, to separate those things into ‘Dude, this is American and this is British.’


BSC: I hear you. I mean, fashion is very much widespread at this point, having trickled down from so many different levels and into new streams of direction, from high design to much lower, more commercial fashion.


SC: Right and for me, I really love having a little world - I feel like I come from the world of Ralph Lauren. You know, like Ralph Lauren is a world, and there are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.


“There are people out there who do great products, you know, there are people who sell great shirts and there are people who sell great pants but in terms of what I want - I want the whole world. And I don't really see too many people really going after that.”


SC: If that makes sense? Because it's hard. So it's not really a criticism, it's more just an observation because I realized that to create ‘a world’ is really fucking expensive and a huge undertaking. And I think that's why a lot of a lot of people now are trying to try to scale back and try to focus on specific products. You know like, this designer does the best shirts and these guys make amazing outerwear, you know, as opposed to trying to have all things go all together.

BSC: Your store, to me, is like a little world in the sense that it's all so well curated. I mean, you must have to almost handpick everything. I know, you said that you source it from like a million different places and I feel like you must just go in and pick each thing very specifically; maybe but one of a kind or just a couple of small lots in order to create the selection you now have.


SC: Yeah, totally. Yeah. I mean, you're right. I source every little piece in the store. It might mean buying three things or it might mean buying 300 things. Every piece is something that I personally like and said, ‘Yeah, I like this. This is cool. I want this.’


Ultimately, it's really simple. It's almost a vision in the sense that I buy and sell the things that I like, and I think this verges into another question of yours, which is basically that I always wanted to have a store that was the kind of store I wanted to shop at. And that was kind of the extent of my vision, which in a sense is very simple, because it's saying, I just want to make the foods that I like to eat. So if the yardstick for measuring is whether you like eating the food, then there you go, it kind of does itself in a way.


BSC: I feel like that's the same with design. I've heard from different designers that they create the clothes they want to wear, because they see an industry lacking this specific style or cut. Did you adopt something like that when you were at Ralph? Where you said ‘I'm going to create the clothes that I don't see or the clothes that I want to wear’?


SC: You totally took the words out of my mouth. I mean, that was really how we worked at Ralph, you know, we never looked at trend reports. You know, we never thought to ourselves that yellow and purple are the big colors this season - we never really thought about that stuff. I'm not trying to compliment the approach but it was really just about what we liked, what Ralph liked, and what felt right to us. That was how we worked then and how I work now. It’s about the things that speak to me, or resonate with me. The things that get me excited. It's funny, I actually, I probably have more vintage Ralph Lauren now than they do to be honest.


BSC: Funny how life works. So then how did you then go from designing to opening a store? What was the transitional period? Was it social media or a magazine or?


SC: I worked for RL for eleven years before my number was up - I think my time had run its course. So I left thinking I really don't want to just jump back into bed with some other fashion brand, you know, I don't want to go work for Abercrombie and Fitch or J Crew or something like that. Because for me I always just loved Ralph Lauren. And while those

places are all great, they weren’t RL. So I did some soul searching and quickly realized that vintage is what I know, what I love and what I've done all my life in some way or another.

There was no grand plan, it was just let’s give this a shot, I didn’t have a brick and mortar - in fact I think I started on Instagram; Ebay and then Instagram. I would post something kind of the same way I do it now. I would just take photos of things in my kitchen and make them look really sexy with natural light. And I put together a whole rig that was very Ralphie, you know? They’re actually some of the best images I've ever created, which was funny because I wasn't even really trying that hard.

I had another storefront before this one - an actual ground floor space. I kind of compare it to your first apartment in New York where you have like a bunch of roommates and it's all a little funny and herky jerky and you have this crazy landlord.


BSC: Yeah, no, I remember my first apartment so that hits home.


SC: I literally had a shared entrance with other people - artists and artisans - that used the building. And they all had to come through my shop to get into their space. I would be in the middle of an appointment with a designer or customer and guys with buckets of plaster would just walk through. Or the guy upstairs was a plaster artisan but then in his spare time he would play the bongos and the noises would come through the floor. So I’d have to excuse myself “The guy with the bongos is playing. I need to go talk to him”. I outgrew that space both physically and spiritually. I realized that all my customers were really destination, people were coming specifically to my space. So why pay for a store front when I don't need it? I didn’t need that overhead.


BSC: I feel like most people don't have the ethos where it's what you need not versus what's popular or a trendy aesthetic. Yes, your store is appointment. It’s destination, and you go there with intention. While interest is growing, unfortunately, the craze for menswear just isn’t at the point where you’d need a street-side storefront. You’ve made it a beautiful space, but it's a little off the beaten path.


SC: I would rather have ten people come in a day, who all get it, and spend money than have one thousand people come in where 95% of them are like, ‘what's this?’ ‘this is weird’ and just try shit on and like, play dress up, and then leave.


Crowley Vintage

147 Front Street, Suite 303, DUMBO 11201

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
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