“Alison Smith-Welsh-Linda Seccaspina, I thought you ‘d like this. I bought it at a Sally Ann’s a few years ago. I loved your store, and remember buying black nail polish , glow in the dark condoms, and Betsy Johnson dresses there”.
Linda says–In 1997 I began to see my clothing at vintage fairs and knew it was getting time to pack it in LOLOL
A Hello and Goodbye Hawaiian Short Story
In 1976 vintage clothing was finally coming into its own and I had many a customer that wanted vintage and silk Hawaiian shirts. Sad to say Canada was not the mecca of procuring vintage clothing in large quantities so I was told the only place to go was New York City to a used clothing processing plant.
Very few of these processing plants exist today with the quality they once had. Now these recycling places pick up public used clothing and it is sent to one of the largest used clothing retailers and after a certain amount of time they are re-baled sent out to third world countries. In the 70’s I could buy a 500 pound bale of Grade AA clothing at 2 cents a pound now it’s a 20,000 and 40,000 lbs. minimum bale at usually 39 – 50 cents a pound depending on the grade you want.
Looking for these places in those days was looking for a needle in a haystack. because of health codes. I was told to go to a certain address on 122nd street but they failed to tell me it was across the bridge in Flushing NY and not in the center of Harlem where I stood in a phone booth trying to find out the companies location.
An hour later found us in this huge warehouse with back loaders piling clothing into a compressor to contain it into bales. We were asked what grade we wanted and within 30 minutes they had a forklift put it on top of our station wagon. I don’t know if you have ever driven hundreds of miles in a car with a 500 pound bale on top of your car but let’s just say the ceiling was caving in.
When we got to the US/ Canadian border at Ogdensburg, N. Y we were instructed to pull over to one of their storage areas. Thinking that they would give it a quick look and tell us to go on our way we were shocked when we were told that the bale had to be opened, checked and to come back in a few days.
When we returned the now uncompressed bale looked like an explosion of clothing and it was three times the size after it was baled. We had to make three return trips from Ottawa to the border to get all that clothing back to my store where it was piled in a small room until it reached the ceiling. After that, thousands of pieces were picked over and ironed. That was my first and very last attempt to bring vintage shirts to Canada. It was a quick ‘hello’ and ‘good bye’ endeavor never to be attempted again. My heart has great admiration for vintage clothing dealers.:)