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Fashion Thu Dec 09 2010

One-Stop Pop-Up Shop: DRUNK MALL

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Alysse Dalessandro, Matt Kasin, Kirsten Kilponen, Benjamin Bradshaw


What is the aesthetic underground if not constantly evolving? For members of the "vintage underground," this constant evolution concerns space and the possibilities one venue can provide in telling stories of design and style.

The participants in this Friday's DRUNK MALL (Bummer Town, The Gaudy God, Jenstyle, SisterMan, and The Sometimes Store) curate a crafty collection of vintage goods pulled from the stylistically-unique '80s and '90s. Their choices are attuned to the wants of post-modern vintage hunters whose tastes are more than just jeans and a white t-shirt.

DRUNK MALL is not the first event of its kind, and it is the roaming spirit of the event that best defines the idea of the current "vintage underground." The past year included a noticeable increase in these curated, collective, community sales at parties, trunk shows, fashion presentations, and gay night clubs. The attention to vintage wear fits along with the sporadic nature of these events.

"Shopping for vintage is like shopping handmade -- people like this idea of owning something unique and hand-selected rather than buying mass-produced goods," said Alysse Dalessandro, co-owner of The Sometimes Store. And like the items they sell, these sales are one-off events, not permanent fixtures. Blink and you'll miss it.

"If you don't snag that amazing piece of clothing that day, it won't be there tomorrow," said Matt Kasin of The Gaudy God.

Benjamin Bradshaw of SisterMan and the creative force behind the name of the event reiterates the value in this vintage underground. "The great thing about the underground vintage scene is that everyone is specializing in a different form of vintage so there's not much reason to be competitive," he said. "We compliment each other."

Most participants buck against the traditional brick-and-mortar business model and instead adapt the presentation of their finds to their audiences. The sellers in DRUNK MALL met at one such event.

"It was through these sales that we traded tips, became friends and admired each other's brands," Dalessandro said. "Although we have never all hosted an event together, we all sell new vintage and have similar aesthetics -- good for our individual fans and bad for our own personal profits as you will surely find all of the vendors shopping each other's racks."

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In essence, the clothes come to the consumer. And once the pieces prove to be especially memorable scores for the fashion fiends, a dedicated fan base soon follows.

However, what sets apart the event from similar events of its kind is the attention to and creation of a thematic event, a celebration.

"We wanted to set ourselves apart by throwing it at night, playing loud music and each bringing only our best "show pony" pieces, our favorite things," said Bradshaw.

During DRUNK MALL, guests can expect not only the most show-stopping of pieces, but also a unique atmosphere complete with a post-sale dance party featuring drinks and local DJs (DJ Jean Shorts, Smooth & Delicious, and The North). The collective activities turn shopping into an event and the sale into a community space.

"There is no 'I' in DRUNK MALL," said Kasin. Indeed, the collaborative effort works in large part because of the variety of people coming together for the same purposes: sick clothes and a good time. Sellers come together to create a unique experience for guests and guests spend time around like-minded folk whose aesthetics turn away from the stereotyped anti-fashion aesthetic of the city.


DRUNK MALL
takes place this Friday, December 10. The event starts at 8pm at 1542 N. Milwaukee. Entry is free before midnight and $2 after midnight.

 
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