Vintage shopping can be overwhelming. The inventory is often unorganized and priced high. But Est. 1914, a new store in Oak Cliff, is hoping to create a shopping experience that has none of those drawbacks. Dallas Cowboys gear, ugly Christmas sweaters, vintage label dresses and cowboy boots are just some of the carefully selected pieces shoppers will find in the new store on Davis Street. We sat down with manager and buyer Justin Cavazos prior to the Saturday grand opening to talk about his vision — and picked out five of our favorite pieces currently in stock.
Observer: Can you give us some background on how the store came to be?
Cavazos: The owners’ family business always had to do with recycling clothing. They really wanted to do something in this area that had a really cool vintage vibe with current trend pieces mixed into it, but super accessible. Because this area is slowing getting gentrified, which is good and bad. If we can keep the pieces we have accessible to the community it’s a good thing, everybody wins. That is something they really strongly believed in having — something cool for people in this area [that's still] accessible.
And is there a particular reason you picked Oak Cliff?
I wasn’t here when they did all that. I came in when they needed a store manager and buyer. But I think it's because it’s the place to be. And we are further away from the Bishop Arts District. And people confuse it: They think this area is lumped in with the Bishop Arts, but this area down here is growing in a very different way than the Bishop Arts. And I’m sure they picked this particular spot because these windows are beautiful.
What do you hope to bring to Oak Cliff that doesn’t already exist here?
Down the street there is Maria’s Closest. They kind of do buying and selling. We don’t buy anything from the public yet. It’s something we’ve been considering. But yeah, what we wanted to bring was a really cool store, something for all ages [and for all demographics] that was accessible, funky and hip.
How do you acquire pieces?
Everything that comes into the store is hand selected by me and Bri Martinez. We co-manage the store. We have buyers all over the country who are constantly picking things. We will say, “Hey, we need more Cowboys stuff. Our furs are selling really well. Can we have more furs?” And they present us with some things and we hand select them. But it comes from all over the country and then we do some of the local stuff too. There’s a lot of great thrift stores in the area that are just gold mines.
What do you look for in a piece?
It could be anything. Sometimes it’s a color that’s just so good, a fabric. Personally, I love furs, any kind of fur — even if it’s faux fur — I just think it looks great in the store. It’s a go-to piece that people love. There’s also quality. A little hole here and there on a vintage tee is kind of cool but you don’t want a beautiful cashmere sweater to have a hole in it. Sometimes you overlook those little, tiny things if it’s a badass print or [you] like the texture. Just unique pieces, things you can’t really find anywhere. As for Cowboys gear, we’re always looking if it's a Super Bowl sweatshirt or jacket, because people love that.
And now that they're playing well I bet that it's going to sell even better.
It has. But even if they weren’t doing well I think the fans are so loyal they would buy it anyway. But it’s definitely nice that we’re winning. Everybody wins when the Cowboys win.
Is everything in the store used?
All the clothing pieces are recycled. The only thing that’s not are our hats and some jewelry.
You said in the future you all are considering possibly buying from the public?
There is such a big response with that. Like “Are ya'll going to buy things? I have all these great pieces.” I think when we start doing that it's just going to connect us more with the community. We are going to be a place where they can come and we can help each other out, scratch each other’s backs. Thrift stores, like I said, are like a gold mine where you find those lost treasures, but when you have people that already have really cool pieces and they bring them in to you it's amazing.
Our five favorite pieces in the store:
Pink Dress, $36
“This is definitely from the late '60s, early '70s. There’s no label on it. This might have been something somebody made themselves. Sometimes that makes it even more special.”
“One of the reasons I picked this is because this year embroidery is really big, and floral prints. A lot of the high-end designers like Gucci and Dior are using Asian fashion inspired elements. This piece is made in Vietnam.”
Fur Stole, $76
“It doesn’t say what it is, but to me it feels like rabbit fur. There is a subtle but floral lining to it. And I love that it has the initials on it. Back in the day they would always get their furs monogrammed. And this says designed by Bifano. It’s from Dallas.”
Bomber Jacket, $56
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“My guess, this is someone in the military that traveled everywhere and got patches everywhere they went. We see a lot of things like this, which makes a truly unique piece. That is a really huge thing right now, customizing your own jacket, which is still cool, but someone actually lived this.”
Western Shirt, $44
"The brand is H Bar C Ranch wear. It features pearl snaps and embroidery, which again, is really big now. I just love how well this color has held up through the years. It’s still so vibrant. “
Est. 1914, 1325 W. Davis St., is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. The grand opening event, with drinks, giveaways and music by DJ Sober is Saturday, Nov. 19.