Turns out your parents were great.
This applies to their parents and grandparents as well.
Although you may sway from the clothes they were wearing back in the day, there is a growing audience of collectors and fashionistas who appreciate the clothes that once adorned a hanger at Kmart or a rack for those fancy pants they shopped at Polsky’s.
Aaron Gascon is one of those vintage clothes nuts.
What started as a hobby of wandering through flea markets, garage sales, estate sales, and thrift stores for unusual and lovable clothes and other quirky things, has turned into a full-time endeavor.
This compilation began in his childhood growing up in New Philadelphia and continued into his teens, now coming of age as he filled cupboards wherever he called home, whether it was Akron in Highland Square or in Massillon, where he now hangs his old ball cap.
To reduce the ever-growing collection, he initially switched to selling some items online.
Gascon said that when this “group” began infiltrating every room in the house, he knew he had to organize and develop a business plan, especially if this was to become a full-time endeavor.
It has now partnered with Akron’s Bounce Innovation Hub, which works with emerging entrepreneurs to promote and grow new businesses in the city.
His firm of Modern Traditions no longer calls his kitchen table home and has taken up residence in an elevator-facing space on the fifth floor of the sprawling former Goodrich Tire Building on South Main Street in Akron.
This space allows him not only to sort and inventory what he has from children’s to men’s and women’s clothing, but also host periodic open houses, where people can enter and shop.
His next home is scheduled to open on January 27 and 28.
Gascon, 31, said he has clients who drive from as far away as Chicago and Columbus to research his finds.
Aside from directing to help come up with a long-term business plan, the innovation center gave him ample space to sketch out the concept of a store with stylistic and antique separates, he said.
It also provided a place to display some of his fine vintage items, including the front of an antique truck that welcomes visitors who make appointments to check out merchandise or those who attend open houses.
There’s one thing he’s learned so far: There’s an audience for just about everything wearable.
T-shirts featuring pop culture characters from the ’90s are especially hot right now, along with concert shirts from any era.
Oftentimes, clients are looking for something exotic or hoping to relive part of their childhood
The business really picked up after a video he posted on TikTok racked up half a million views in the blink of an eye. In the video, he showcased some of the unusual items he is offering for sale.
As fast as people watched the video, shoppers snapped up the merchandise at one of the store’s open houses that same weekend.
Half of the items for sale in the store flew off shelves and shelves, Gascon said.
A great classic T-shirt can be had for as little as $10, while a vintage leather jacket can fetch hundreds of dollars.
Gascon is quick to point out that the idea that a used item of clothing in a closet or drawer could fetch that much money now seems absurd, you should see how much of these same items are in big cities like Los Angeles.
There’s something to be said for living in Akron, he said, where vintage clothes are still fairly affordable and treasures can still be found at thrift stores in the area.
Some people are bringing in items for potential sale, Gascon said. He also has a group of friends who pick up things when they see them for a reasonable price.
But he still found most of the items himself.
Sometimes, these items are located in the most unusual places.
Just that day, he said, he was driving home and saw an old clothes rack from a department store sitting on the sidewalk with trash.
It is now in the store and is being used to display clothes.
Then there was the abandoned old house on a West Virginia estate that a friend had acquired.
“She was in the middle of nowhere,” he said, “and half of the house fell.”
They carefully made their way through what was left of the house and found a closet full of clothes.
The simple clothes were all from the 1940’s and 50’s and they were all worn out.
By good wear we mean full of holes, temporary stains, and other home repairs.
But Gascon said those who love authentic clothes love the holes in T-shirts and jackets from a time when clothes weren’t discarded.
These worn-out items can now fetch hundreds of dollars from the right customer looking for just the right aesthetic.
“It’s like a treasure hunt,” he said.
Most items in the store are carefully cleaned and sanitized. But there are some items – like those in the closet of an abandoned house – that are best left in case you find them.
His wife is happy that these clothes have found a new home outside their home.
He is happy to have a separate workspace.
Gascon said the goal in the coming months is to fine-tune a long-term business plan and begin looking for a permanent retail space to showcase its permanent collection of items for sale.
“This is the testing ground for my next steps,” he said. “Just being able to do something that I enjoy and love is amazing.”
Craig Webb, still wearing his original vintage clothing, can be reached at email@example.com.
what: Modern Traditions Company
where: 526 South Main Street, Suite 509
hours: By the time. The next monthly open house is January 27 and 28
For more: Visit the Modern Traditions Facebook page