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Vintage clothing collectors open up sidewalk startup on BU’s campus

Instagram story from @followthethread1
An Instagram story from @followthethread1 showcasing thrift clothing racks outside In Your Ear Records on Boston University West Campus. Xavier Andreu, creator of the Instagram thrift account, partnered with friend Deondré Jones, owner of High Society Vintage, to create a weekly pop-up of vintage thrift racks, which they hope to expand into a physical store. TAYLOR COESTER/DFP STAFF

Racks stacked with vintage clothing are set up once a week outside of In Your Ear Records on West Campus — taking the meaning of street fashion to a new level. You can now get your clothing fix from timeless pieces to old album tees in this renewed era of fashion.

Xavier Andreu, who runs the street rack, called “Follow the Thread,” along with its Instagram account, said he initially started the rack on his own but soon partnered with Deondré Jones, who runs High Society Vintage.

Andreu, who works at In Your Ear Records on Commonwealth Avenue, said his boss had suggested he sell his curated, thrifted clothes in front of the record store, weather permitting.

“[It] was kind of an idea that I had in my head because I have a friend of mine out in New York [who] sells on Canal Street,” Andreu said. “I got really inspired after hanging out with him.”

Andreu said he and Jones try to keep their prices low for college students.

“We get it, you guys are college students,” Andreu said. “You guys deserve to be able to look good for a cheap budget.”

Andreu said he considered the BU pop-up to be really special because of all the friendly businesses on the street and other passersby that support them.

“We sold clothes to cops that drove up … you think that they’re gonna harass you or something and they’re like, ‘Oh, how much for this jacket?’” Andreu said.

One of the pop-up’s customers, Jacob Schmitt, a sophomore in the College of Fine Arts, said the clothes are always trendy and cool and likes to shop there whenever they’re in a “thrifty mood.”

“Their selection feels curated, kind of feels a little closer to Boomerangs in Cambridge,” Schmitt said.

When asked what kind of clothes they look out for when shopping, both Jones and Andreu agreed there is not a rack that doesn’t get touched.

“We touch, I would say, close to 1,000 articles of clothing each day, sorting through and looking for the four or five things that we might bring out of the store,” Jones said.

Jones said with more people attracted to thrifting due to the rise of social media, there has been heightened competition in thrift stores. “Follow the Thread” has over 1,000 followers on Instagram where they post their unique vintage finds.

As the street rack is becoming more successful, Jones said it’s really cool to see it grow along with his friendship with Andreu.

Andreu, who is also an avid collector of records, said he always wanted to buy clothes with his favorite artists on them, but he specifically got into curating about four years ago. He said he started going to thrift stores to buy now-considered vintage finds that he couldn’t afford when he was younger, such as Jordan Brand shoes.

“Looking for records led me to start looking at the clothes more carefully,” Andreu said.

Andreu said when he was younger, he would go to the Brimfield Flea Market in Central Massachusetts to look for records and pick out shirts featuring artists he liked, like a Miles Davis t-shirt he found.

Jones also was led to curating and thrifting through music. After giving up writing and producing music, he turned to curating clothes from the music scene.

“Fashion and music go really hand in hand,” Jones said. “I really focused on the music first, and then as I got a little older and more so in high school, was able to buy my own clothes and things like that, I started to tie in a little bit more [of] the fashion.”

One of Andreu’s coworkers at In Your Ear, Albie Prager, said he gave Andreu a pair of bell bottoms and skinny jeans to sell because he didn’t wear them anymore.

“I can fit into the skinny jeans, but a person in their 70’s [isn’t] wearing skinny jeans,” Prager said. “Mick Jagger can do it, which was one of my idols back in the day.”

Jones said he also dreams of styling artists for music videos and films.

“I would love to have an inventory stock of [clothes] that a film that might be about some high school kids in the mid 2000s might need in a wardrobe,” Jones said.

Now, Andreu and Jones aspire to open a store and have a real retail location for their thrifted finds.

“Every week, we get asked by multiple people where our storefront is,” Andreu said.

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One Comment

  1. Appreciate this post. Will try it out.