Shepherdstown, W.Va., – In the past three years, vintage clothing and accessories have become a new fashion trend for younger adults and teens in America. Because there is no one stop shop for genuine and well-made vintage clothing, many thrifters have decided to turn their hobbies into a living.
Jeremy Unger, @WestVirginiaVintage on Instagram, has amassed close to 10,000 followers in the past three years. I interviewed him to get the inside scoop on reselling clothes as a living and how the new trend has affected his business.
Unger is 29 and was born and raised in Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. Until 2012 he was working at vintage clothing store called Retrodini in Berkeley Springs. In his free time, he would go Dumpster diving and would buy vintage items for fun.
He began to take reselling seriously after he and a friend were featured on the History Channel show “Picked Off,” where teams of two are sent to vintage markets and other resale stores with $100 to find the most valuable item they can.
At this time, Unger wasn’t interested in just vintage clothing and would also search for antiques on his travels. He also mentioned driving around in his truck buying all kind of non-antiques he liked including scrap metal.
In 2016, Unger created his now booming Instagram page which focused on the reselling of clothing he found in Goodwill, yard sales, markets, anywhere that sold old clothes Jeremy would be there.
Unger’s collection is easily over 5,000 items. This collection would prove to be a smart investment as many of the shirts and clothing pieces he had were becoming valuable due to the new trend.
“I saw where the market was going back then, I remember everyone telling me like, dude, shirts you have are worth money now,” said Unger
Some people would call having over 5,000 items hoarding, and Unger even calls it that himself, but he’s happy he did as just a few days ago he made a $900 sale to a few other resellers who he said would sell those items for even more.
Some of the most expensive clothing he’s sold has been in the $200 plus range. He also mentioned finding an antique pair of Nike snowboarding boots which he bought for $10 and resold for $250.
However, business isn’t consistent. “That’s why when you make that big sale, or find an insanely rare item, I used to be stoked and so happy, now it’s more of a calming sense of relief, like you just found your paycheck you’ve been looking for for weeks,” said Unger.
Unger noted, “There’s more money in the market than ever before, so all of my inventory is worth 10 times what it would’ve been in 2018-2019 so I have plenty of stock to sell, but for me the real enjoyment is finding the item so yes it does take some of the fun out of it.”
When asked what separates Jeremy from the rest of the resellers in the area, apart from his massive collection, he had this to say, “Well, I think now more than ever people are only looking for these “grails,” these unobtainable items that resellers just mail back and forth to each other. I like finding anything vintage that has a unique aesthetic or just good vintage basics. My “grail” is not the same as theirs that’s for sure.”
One of these “grails” is a picture of a green, cartoon looking Elvis in a Barney suit that he had just sold.
One man’s opinion can make a shirt worth $100 and the respect that those who buy from him shows a new trend making its way into high cost fashion.
Vintage clothing is quickly become a staple in youth culture in America and Unger is one of the few who markets, sells, and delivers these pieces of clothing as a job.
Unger said, “If you’re interested in becoming a reseller there are plenty of sellers that sell bulk clothing that ships right to your door. Not something I do, but like I said, it’s the thrill of the hunt for me.”