Attending the 2021 Baltimore Vintage Expo was a denim and fur junkie’s fantasy! Takeaways: the ’70s are back and it may officially be the best decade, jeans are more interesting after they’ve been custom-altered, and the past two years of solitude and sweatpants have made us all more sartorially adventurous when it comes to leaving the house.
In 2021, there is complete permission to wear whatever the fuck you want, wherever and whenever, and the more eccentric the statement, the better. Will we all be wearing vintage underwear as outerwear in the near future? Signs point to yes.
For anyone not familiar with the Baltimore Vintage Expo, it’s a glorious one-day shopping extravaganza where a curated selection of vintage shops and connoisseurs gather together in one location to sell their best wares. The event has been hosted for several years at Union Craft Brewing’s giant indoor/outdoor venue and features clothing, furniture, jewelry, and decor from many of the best retailers and private dealers in the Baltimore/DC/PA region. Organized by Milk & Ice Vintage (Hampden—soon to be in Lauraville) and Bottle of Bread (Mount Vernon), the expo is a sprawling, colorful event full of people interested in clothing and furniture burnished with the patina of past lives.
Well-sourced vintage has always played a big role in Baltimore fashion, from the heydays of Killer Trash, Oh! Susanah, Sticky Fingers, and Minas in Fells Point in the ’80s offering aged denim, clever T-shirts, cowboy and punk rocker boots, and accessories.
Baltimore’s fashion aesthetic is very Florida-of-the-North these days and, no matter where you go, you see a lot of experimental, bold contrasts between eras, styles, materials, and appearance, a mix of classic and edgy, formal and casual. It doesn’t always work, but that’s not really the point. It is truly a city of artists hellbent on expressing themselves, and our fashion landscape is an extension of this creative confidence. Rather than purchasing fast fashion or expensive designers, vintage and consignment sources provide legitimate couture garments and styles at a friendlier price point.
This year, with E. Brady Robinson’s camera trained on the Vintage Expo, we captured a gamut of cool-looking vendors and shoppers, all wearing previously owned clothing. I said this about the last Vintage Expo, and I’m going to say it again: From individuals who support the environmental and political advantages of vintage over fast fashion or just enjoy wearing standout, well-made clothing, this year’s Baltimore Vintage Expo was the perfect environment to showcase a range of on-point wardrobe decisions and to capture some of Baltimore’s more fashion-forward individuals.