What’s Old is New Again: Vintage Fashion Comes to Life at The Manhattan Vintage Show

From brightly-colored bell bottom trousers to patchwork denim jackets, the iconic fashion of the past has made its way back to the Big Apple, dazzling both Instagram influencers and suburban teenagers alike.

 The Manhattan Vintage Show, a tri-annual event that features the world’s largest collection of clothing, jewelry, accessories, and antique textiles, attracted thousands of passionate shoppers—myself included—to The Manhattan Pavilion on February 3rd and 4th. Radiating with exuberant expressions of identity, the Pavilion channeled a distinctly creative spirit unique to New York City. This fashion oasis drew in over 90 stylish vendors from across the nation as well as attendees wearing everything from bright blazers to silky slip dresses.Sarah Gross pictured next to an "I hear Manhatten Vintage" sign

 Within these walls, the construct of normality was utterly dissipated. Everyone stood out with a relative ease, expressing even the quirkiest components of their identity through their clothing, and this vitality emanated throughout the event. Some of the most flamboyant looks were even captured by journalists from prominent fashion publications such as Vogue, allowing the show’s luminous energy to transcend the confines of the event space. To say this environment was empowering would be a profound understatement. 

As I relished in collections of vintage Levi’s and 90’s beaded gowns, I felt my 6-year-old self exploding with joy inside of me; the girl who anxiously dressed herself each morning, scattering sparkly dresses and striped tights across her floor until she found the perfect combination. With parents devoted to fostering my creative means of self-expression, I grew up unrestrained in my pursuit of fashion, yet Pennington, New Jersey is not the fashion capital of the world by any means. I have often felt confined by the social expectations within my community. 

Year after year, however, my bedroom floor continued to become increasingly covered in clothing, and my relentless draw to unique attire soon morphed into a passion for everything “vintage.” Getting dressed was no longer solely a means of creative expression, but also a way to appreciate the artistry and history of clothing. 

Lucky for me, creativity, artistry, and history are the backbone of the Manhattan Vintage show. From Y2K denim mini skirts to 1940’s floral maxi skirts, Amy Abrams, co-owner of the show, recently remarked in a Vogue magazine interview that the show “really tried to have vintage for all [this time]. Every style, era, and price point– from accessories to clothing.” Name a vintage brand and rest assured that you will be able to find it, either on a rack or on a person, at the show. 

Aside from being a pivotal vintage shopping destination, the show is also a testament to the growing focus on sustainability within the fashion world. As Generation Z experiments with fashion as a means of self expression, the threat of a warming climate is at the forefront of many minds, encouraging a shift towards purchasing second hand clothing rather than popular fast-fashion brands. What better way to create a unique and individualized look than by incorporating a piece produced decades before you were even born! 

Whether you are in search of a unique addition to your wardrobe, or just want to gather with other fashion enthusiasts, the Manhattan Vintage Show is an unparalleled experience. The remaining 2023 show dates are April 14-15th, and October 20-21st, with ticket sales beginning on March 15th. For more information, check out https://www.manhattanvintage.com/attend.