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5 Apr

Cult Los Angeles Dealer Mothfood Offers a Window to

On an unassuming street in Los Angeles’ Mount Washington neighborhood lies a storefront that, with its whited-out windows, would strike most individuals as abandoned. Knock on the door, nevertheless, and also you’ve gained entry to one in all town’s most outstanding by-appointment vintage showrooms.

The dealer Tommy Dorr — whose operation is often called Mothfood — welcomes stylists, actors and musicians to the commercial space that’s filled with Americana workwear, denim and antique garments all the best way from its poured concrete floor as much as its ceiling.

Dorr — who once lived within the space — has steadily amassed a cult following since entering Los Angeles’ vast vintage-dealing grind in 2014. And because the pandemic, Mothfood’s Instagram account, with greater than 35,000 followers, and e-commerce site have change into equally popular for many who don’t continue to exist the West Coast.

The Michigan native helped Emily Adams Bode launch her brand by providing source materials like fabric and trims and granting her access to purchasing trips before Bode’s first show in 2015.

Dorr’s showroom has change into a respite for TV stylists from shows including “Euphoria” and “Stranger Things” and celebrities including Angelina Jolie, Ewan McGregor and Chris Pine. All of them drive to his space at the sting of Highland Park to experience a slice of vintage’s past life — its rummage culture and a whiff of a musty underground.

“That’s why I like having a by-appointment sort of thing,” Dorr said of the format, somewhat than owning a store. “I just think nowadays every part is so out within the open with social media, and every part is just too accessible. I desired to develop this idea and have privacy for people to buy or get inspiration and just have an intimate experience without it being blown up.”

While many vintage dealers in Los Angeles give attention to archival high fashion (à la Aralda vintage) or punchy special-occasion looks (like at Recess Consign) to suit L.A’.s churn of red carpets and demand for eveningwear — Dorr’s focus is entirely different. He’s in constant search of hard-to-find, well-worn items that might be used each day.

Contained in the Mothfood studio.

“I even have numerous utilitarian clothing: T-shirts, sweatshirts, military-type stuff. Stuff and not using a label. Lots of things from the ’40s through ’60s is my sweet spot,” Dorr said.

He hosts around 15 appointments within the space per week, all of which require hours for shoppers to undergo its crush of racks and neatly folded piles. And Dorr, who has the nonchalance of a weathered Latest Yorker, pays them little mind. He passes the time by fiddling on his phone or monitoring an online drop, adding an additional layer of privacy.

“I get numerous musicians or established actors — the kinds of people that perhaps used to buy vintage but don’t anymore. I feel like I hit a sweet spot because I carry true vintage in here,” he said.

But for all Dorr’s confidence, he was unsure if the environment — that also has his old refrigerator and other personal effects — was elevated enough. “I used to be going backwards and forwards if I should keep them, but I feel prefer it’s who I’m. I believe people appreciate how down-to-earth it’s in here and the way raw it’s,” he said of the space, which — also on par with vintage stores of times past — has a continuing plume of incense hovering within the air.

While he plans weekly online drops, often of T-shirts, Dorr stockpiles special items which might be only seen on in-person visits to the showroom.

A lot of those pieces come by Dorr’s sourcing network in Japan — a bunch of antique dealers who send him the garments they encounter while looking for prized lacquerware or cypress wood furniture.

On a recent afternoon, hanging high on the showroom wall was an antique Japanese nurse’s jacket that — with its belled sleeves and careful proportions — might have been mistaken for vintage Margiela. Dorr has change into a specialist in Forties Japanese railworker uniform pieces which might be now collector’s items amongst petite Los Angeles women.

Like a lot of his peers, Dorr’s profession in vintage has been marked by the market’s quick ascent into the mainstream. It’s why people appreciate the experience he offers — an area where they’re not contending with teenage enthusiasts in search of a shirt to sell on eBay at a high markup.

Where he used to post photos of himself atop a rag-picking pile in a gas mask, Dorr says his interest has shifted together with the industry. He used to drive cross-country on sourcing trips, but is now digging into networks outside of the U.S. to supply his shoppers fresh channels of old things.

But Dorr sees vintage’s growth as an overall positive: “You’ll be able to go to Urban Outfitters or Kohl’s now and there’s a vintage thing. But now that there’s more dealers, there are far more buyers. Even my family asks me about vintage now and so they wouldn’t have done that back within the day. It’s not used clothing anymore, it’s just a part of fashion.”

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