Explore East Nashville’s Vintage Clothing Trail
From the Appalachian Trail to Boston’s historic Freedom Trail, this country has got a lot of trails to embark upon. In East Nashville, there’s one designed not for hikers or history buffs, but for lovers of fashion: East Nashville’s Vintage Clothing Trail.
By Kylie Dembek • August 8, 2018
Every trail has a starting point, and in this case, it’s Relik Vintage, where the idea of having a vintage clothing trail came to life. Owner Matt Blinco got the idea to create the trail after numerous customers asked about other shops in the neighborhood. “I want to create community among all the stores,” Blinco says. “I think there’s more value in the community versus competition, and we all have different products and vibes but are still vintage.” How does a shop get included on the trail? Blinco says he picked clothing-specific shops, and with his graphic design experience, he created a pocket-sized trail map that is available at all the shops on the map. With new shops opening all the time, Blinco plans to update the map regularly. As for Relik Vintage, the store is like a time machine, each room filled with ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s wear along with SEC sports gear. Blinco has also begun hosting acoustic shows at his shop that take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on Saturdays, and he hopes to add more in the future.
The Hip Zipper
Filled to the brim with colorful shirts, dresses, and fun accessories, it’s no wonder Hip Zipper is a longtime local favorite. Since 1999, The Hip Zipper has been providing customers with unique finds, making it Nashville’s oldest all-vintage clothing shop. Have any vintage pieces you’d like to sell? The Hip Zipper is interested! The shop is always looking to add to its ever-growing collection of clothing and accessories from the 1930s through the 1980s. So, before you throw away or donate your items, reach out to The Hip Zipper at email@example.com.
Star Struck Vintage
Running a vintage store is in Shane Markus’ blood. Before moving to Nashville to open Star Struck Vintage’s second location, Markus helped her parents run the original shop in New York City’s West Village. “I opened in Nashville in October 2013, taking with me every essence of everything I learned from my parents, from buying to merchandising and especially to how I as the owner interact with my customers,” Markus says. Both shops specialize in clothing and accessories dating from the 1930s to the 1980s. Markus swears there’s something for everyone in her store and is determined to find each person’s perfect piece. “Just like each piece of clothing has a story, so does each person,” she says. “For me, it’s not just about selling clothing; it’s about the relationships I have made and will continue to make along this journey.” Like the shop’s name suggests, some of those relationships happen to be with Music City’s biggest names. Artists like Carrie Underwood, Kimberly Schlapman of Little Big Town, and Carly Pearce have all relied on Markus’ special touch to fill their closets with one-of-a-kind handmade custom crystal pieces. But you don’t have to be famous to wear her dazzling clothing. Stop by Star Struck Vintage, located behind the building adorned with the popular octopus mural on Gallatin Road, and ask Markus about jazzing up your own items.
When browsing through the racks of colorful shirts and bell-bottom jeans in Toro Nashville, you might not know that every piece has been handpicked by the owner himself. Taylor Sorrell spends the beginning of each week driving around finding the perfect pieces that not only fit in with today’s style but are reasonably priced as well. “I try to keep the prices really accessible, affordable” Sorrell says. The shop’s multiple rooms are filled with shirts, pants, hats, and accessories all at reasonable prices. Make sure you say bye to Dolly the cat on your way out, she’s often seen sunbathing on Toro’s front porch.
Located in a small store in the middle of a strip mall, Dirty Livin’ is a place where old and new come together. Owner Gina Swanson is passionate about creating a balance between vintage and newer pieces in her shop, showing that the two can both thrive in one outfit. “I’m different because I sell new clothing, too, that incorporates with the old stuff.” You’d be surprised by how you can bring new life to a classic polka dot skirt by pairing it with a rock tee. When Swanson isn’t selling clothing, she’s recreating it by distressing and repurposing rock tees and shirts. Her work has become the shop’s specialty and can be seen both in the store and on her website. Swanson will also customize tees for customers; all they have to do is stop by or shoot her an email.
Black Shag Vintage
“2,000 square feet of pure vintage bliss,” that’s how Black Shag Vintage owner Tommy Daley describes his store located inside a historic 1930s firehouse on Gallatin Avenue. The store is full of everything from leather jackets to classic rock ‘n’ roll tees, pieces that have attracted some famous customers. Guns N’ Roses members, Harry Styles, and Macklemore are just some of the artists who have come in to browse the vast and edgy collection. Before he was curating items for customers and artists to buy, Daley was a musician himself and later worked in the record business before immersing himself in the vintage world.
The Bowery Vault
The Bowery Vault is paradise for musicians and fashion lovers alike. Owners Emily Zimmer aka “Baby Angel” and Vero Sanchez combined their passion for music and fashion with a boutique and listening room that they call their love child. “This place is more than just a vintage clothing store, it’s a home for people, musicians especially, to come and be styled and be able to play their original music,” Sanchez says. In the far left corner of the shop is a stage complete with instruments for performers to play. The catch? No cover music. If you want to play on The Bowery Vault stage, you must play your own original music. There’s a cozy seating area for fans to sit and plenty of racks to sift through while listening to the music. Even if you aren’t a musician yourself, you’ll coming out looking like one after stopping by The Bowery Vault with its hip selection of jackets, jeans, and shirts.
High Class Hillbilly
“Vintage finds for all kinds,” that’s High Class Hillbilly’s motto and promise. The two-story vintage boutique has hats, boots, bags, jackets, and everything in between. When owner Nikki Lane isn’t curating looks for High Class Hillbilly, she’s out on tour as an outlaw country artist who just released her third album, Highway Queen, in 2017 and has opened for artists like Chris Stapleton.