Austin, America’s Vintage Capital

Flashback, Austin, America's Vintage Capital Jan 3, 2012It may just be the vintage capital of the U.S. As you can see from the chart, Austin, Texas is a young city- and its one where while the larger antiques world may be in doldrums, people in Austin are living, eating and breathing vintage. It’s not just clothing either. Walking into a store called Uncommon Objects on South Congress Street you see much of what you might find in an antique mall in middle America. But here it feels different, the formal stuff and brown furniture is gone. The place is packed.

Austin’s vintage is centered around two retail strips. One is South Congress, the other is South First. South Congress is the most obvious and accessible. It’s home to a number of record stores, a book store and a dozen or so vintage clothing stores. Across the wide street is a vacant lot filled with food vendors.

New Brohemia, Austin Jan 3, 2012The other street is a few blocks away, South First. You can walk to South First from South Congress, through a funky residential neighborhood. South First is a difficult street to cross, however and it’s hard to walk between the stores once you get there. It is worth the effort, however. It’s home to the men’s version of the popular store known as New Bohemia, this one dubbed New Brohemia.

Vintage makes sense in Austin. There is an apparent anti-corporate mentality. Antiques are green, and shopping for them made the list of five sustainable New Year’s resolutions at the web magazine New Colonist. There doesn’t seem to be soul-draining competition from e-commerce sites either. Austin’s vintage fans are out and shopping. Here its about lifestyle and experience.

Austin Age Distribution from Zillow.com
Austin Age Distribution from Zillow.com

About Eric Miller

Eric Miller is co-founder and contributor to Urban Art & Antiques. His website is ericmiller.me

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