Arts & Culture News

DFW Vintage Swap Meet Started As a 'Garage Sale.' Four Years Later, It Attracts Thousands.

Salvador Luna
Shoppers digging for vintage treasures at the DFW Vintage Swap Meet.
When Jason Won started the DFW Vintage Swap Meet in 2017, he was able to round up only a small group of people who shared an interest in 1970s to early 2000s clothing, accessories and other nostalgic items. Now, Won and his team host the premier vintage event in Dallas with more than 200 vendors and thousands of attendees, including some who travel from Oklahoma, Louisiana or even California.

The event is normally held at the Dallas Market Hall, but this year, as it celebrated its 4-year anniversary, 2,500 people gathered on Oct. 23 at the Indoor Soccer Zone in Dallas.

“When we did our first one, it looked like a garage sale,” Won says. “There was no set market yet. 'Vintage' was what that person valued that piece at.”

The DFW Vintage Swap Meet offers more than old clothes and accessories. Won and his team put heavy emphasis on everything retro.

“You are going to see shit that you’ve only seen once on TV or once in your childhood,” Won says.

Vendors offer items such as classic posters, vinyl records, toys and video games. The swap meet has also become a one-stop shop for sneaker heads. The meet is a great opportunity to search through private collections or to stop by the Sneaker Politics booth for any new shoes that might not have been available at the store.

As time has passes, the genuine hype for vintage culture has only gotten bigger for collectors of nostalgia. In its early stages, DFW Vintage Swap Meet vendors pulled stuff out of their own closets to sell at the swap meet. Now, some of those same vendors have created businesses around their vintage items. A vintage store is not a thrift store but a shop with exclusively curated with thrifted items. The owners and vendors at the swap meet work meticulously to source well-kept vintage items.

A vendor named Jay, who represented shop 817 Vintage Hype in Fort Worth, says he keeps returning to the swap meet because he loves the community, and he found some great pieces for himself at the swap meet.

Jay also says its common for people who meet at the event to become friends, because they share common interests.

“I love how people from everywhere share the same passion of buying, selling and trading clothes like me,” he says, “which is crazy, because I would have never thought that vintage would be even bigger than what it was in 2018.”

Won says the next DFW Vintage Swap Meet will take place in January, back at the Dallas Market Hall, and presale tickets for attendees and vendors will be posted to their website as early as Nov. 1. Won says his team is also gearing up for a 2022 Texas tour that will include stops in Dallas, San Antonio and Houston.
click to enlarge The DFW Vintage Swap Meet is a haven for sneakerheads and collectors. - SALVADOR LUNA
The DFW Vintage Swap Meet is a haven for sneakerheads and collectors.
Salvador Luna

Zak Huston, who owns and operates 10st Sneaks with his friends in Oklahoma City, has been a part of every swap meet Won and his team have curated. He and his friends are sneakerheads, and their love for vintage clothing started at the first DFW Vintage Swap Meet.

“We did not know anything of vintage [clothing] before the ‘DFWSWAP’,” Huston says. "Here at the DFW Swap Meet our eyes were opened to an entire new old side of fashion and throwbacks. We did not know that alongside a Jordan sneaker, there is a matching original '90s [Michael Jordan] shirt that can take your outfit to the top.”

Huston's 10st Sneaks now has an inventory of over 1,000 different apparel pieces that match with their growing sneaker collection of new and used heat.

Fernando Castro, owner of 817 Vintage, is another vendor who's been down with Won since day one. He remembers some of the challenges from the first events.

“We’ve gone from having a couple hundred people to a couple thousand,” Castro says. “Also, the variety of products we provide has expanded because the more people that want vintage, us vendors have begun to provide those other pieces. We used to sell a lot of more '90s hats, jerseys and jackets but now it is a lot of T-shirts from all eras.”

Castro has a genuine love for vintage and lives for the energy that surrounds the DFW Vintage Swap Meet.

“The reason I keep coming back is just how fun it is overall,” Castro says. “Things like putting together a crazy outfit and getting so many compliments or seeing a customer’s reaction when they find that perfect piece, those are some of the best feelings to me. It’s never been about the money, it is more about the culture that Jason [Won], along with the vendors and customers have helped build.”