Let’s face it, when comes to sourcing the very best in retro garb, you need two things: a hell of a lot of patience and the vision to spot potential keepers among all those moth-bitten fuckworths. Sarah La Greca possesses both of these vintage virtues. That’s why this Vancouver-based fashion expert has made it her life’s work to sift through countless overpacked thrift-store racks for rare mint-condition pieces, which she then resells under her label Gypsy Market Vintage.
“I’m shopping for those people who don’t have the time to handpick vintage or they just don’t have the eye to pick out the gems in all of the madness,” says La Greca, who recently gave the Straight a mini tour of her modest second-floor pop-up shop at One of a Few (354 Water Street). “I’m also trendsetting for people. This is what I like and it’s fashionable, so I’m essentially being a stylist and a picker for everyone else.”
It’s a knack she inherited from her mom, who is a long-time antique collector herself. So it was only natural that when La Greca started stylizing editorial photo shoots and music videos, she worked in some beautiful collectable clothing. As a result, her closet began to grow”¦and grow.
“I ended up with so much clothes, I was like, ”˜What am I going to do with everything?’ So I decided to start this Gypsy Market,” explains La Greca. “I have about 30 different vendors and we do it at the Biltmore Cabaret about four times a year....And I’ve been doing them for almost four years now.”
Several months ago, La Greca’s handpicked, top-quality wearable pieces caught the attention of Michelle Rizzardo, the gregarious and lovable owner of Gastown’s Two of a Few and One of a Few. After selling some of her vintage pieces alongside Rizzardo’s new merchandise, they decided a whole section dedicated to Gypsy Market Vintage was in order. This season, La Greca has curated several GMV collections in total. There’s the Gore series, a romantic gothic line of mostly ’90s black mesh and lace maxi dresses, as well as darkly ornate ruffled blouses ($55 to $75).
There’s also the Re Work collection ($60 to $85), which consists of jean shorts that started out as denim pants, cropped silk blouses, and reinvented rock Ts.
For thrift-loving fashionistas in the market for something spring-fresh, there’s the Floral line of petal-pretty Ts, silk blouses, and even loose flowing blazers ($45 to $65), as well as the Brights line. Here we have an impressive display of flawless silk tops in all sorts of bold and mostly solid colours ($65 to $70).
And if you’re looking for something on trend, there’s La Greca’s Navi series, a line of Navajo-inspired designs and African tribal prints ($45 to $75). There’s also the Animal series ($45 to $65), where you’ll find pieces such as a chiffon leopard-print maxi skirt. But don’t be surprised if that one is already gone by the time this goes to print.
In order to keep up with demand, La Greca will be replenishing her mini boutique-within-a-boutique from now until August (that’s when Rizzardo will be surprising us with yet another pop-up concept).
In the meantime, La Greca is just enjoying the temporary, yet symbiotic, setup she’s got going on with Rizzardo.
“I think it’s very complementary,” says La Greca. “You can buy a new piece from down there and match with something up here. And it just works well together. I don’t know why. It just seems to. And it [working with Rizzardo] has been easy-breezy and almost kind of magical.”