Massillon’s vintage clothing collector opens an Akron boutique to improve his skills

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Turns out your parents were pretty cool.

And that also goes for their parents and grandparents.

Although you may have cringed at the clothes they wore back in the day, there is a growing following of collectors and fashion enthusiasts who appreciate the clothes that once adorned a hanger at Kmart or a rack for those fancy pants that shopped at the Polsky department store.

Aaron Gascon, owner of Modern Traditions Co., sorts through vintage clothing before a customer walks into his showroom at the Bounce Innovation Hub in Akron.

Aaron Gascon is one of those vintage clothing freaks.

What started as a hobby of scouring flea markets, garage sales, estate sales and thrift stores for unusual, beloved clothes and other oddities has turned into a full-fledged business. weather.

This collection began in his childhood in New Philadelphia and continued into his teens and now into adulthood as he filled cupboards wherever he called home, whether in Akron’s Highland Square or Massillon. , where he now hangs his vintage cap.

To thin out the ever-growing collection, he first turned to selling some items online.

But as this “collection” began to creep into every room of the house, Gascon said, he knew he had to get organized and come up with a business plan, especially if it was to become a full-fledged business. weather.

He is now associated with Akron’s Bounce Innovation Center, which works with budding entrepreneurs to foster and grow new business ventures in the city.

A customer browses the wide variety of vintage shirts on display at Modern Traditions Co.

His Modern Traditions Co. no longer calls its kitchen table, and has taken up residence in a space that faces the elevator on the fifth floor of a sprawling former Goodrich Tire building on South Main Street in Akron.

This space not only allows him to sort and inventory what he has, from children’s clothes to men’s and women’s clothes, but also to hold periodic open days, where people can come in and shop.

Its next open house is scheduled for January 27-28.

Gascon, 31, said he’s brought customers from as far away as Chicago and Columbus to browse his finds.

Apart from mentoring to help him develop a long-term business plan, the innovation center provided him with enough space to develop a store concept with clothes separated by style and vintage, he said. declared.

He’s also provided a place to display some of his cool vintage stuff, including the front of an old truck that welcomes visitors making appointments to check out merchandise or those attending open houses.

One thing he’s learned so far: there’s an audience for just about anything wearable.

Aaron Gascon is the owner of Modern Traditions Co., a vintage clothing company in Akron's Bounce Innovation Hub.

T-shirts featuring ’90s pop culture characters are especially trending right now, along with concert t-shirts from all eras.

Often customers are looking for something original or hoping to relive a piece of their own childhood.

Business really picked up after a video he posted on TikTok garnered half a million views in the blink of an eye. In the video, he showed off some of the unusual items he has for sale.

And as quickly as people watched the video, shoppers bought goods at one of the store’s open days that same weekend.

Gascon said half of the items for sale in the store flew off shelves and racks.

A cool vintage t-shirt can be had for as little as $10, while a vintage leather jacket can fetch hundreds of dollars.

Gascon is quick to point out that while the idea that a used item of clothing in a closet or drawer could make so much money now seems absurd, you should see how much those same items cost in big cities like Los Angeles.

There’s something to be said for life in Akron, where vintage clothing prices are still quite reasonable and treasures can still be found at area thrift stores, he said.

Gascon keeps a wide variety of affordable Levi's jeans in its Bounce Innovation Hub showroom.

Some people bring in items for possible sale, Gascon said. He also has a group of friends who pick things up when they see them for a reasonable price.

But he still finds most of the items himself.

Sometimes these objects are found in the most unusual places.

Aaron Gascon, owner of Modern Traditions Co., sorts through vintage clothing before a customer arrives at his showroom at the Bounce Innovation Hub on Tuesday.

The other day, he said, he was driving home and spotted an old clothes rack from a department store sitting on the sidewalk with the trash.

It is now in the store and is used to display clothing.

And then there was the old abandoned house on a property in West Virginia that a friend had acquired.

“It was in the middle of nowhere, and half the house had collapsed,” he said.

They carefully looked through what was left of the house and found a closet full of clothes.

The simple clothes were all from the 40s and 50s and were all well worn.

By well worn, we mean full of holes and with makeshift patches and other homemade repairs.

But Gascon said those who love authentic clothing also love the holes in the sweatshirts and jumpsuits reminiscent of a time when clothes just weren’t thrown away.

These well-worn items can now fetch hundreds of dollars for the right customer looking for the right authentic aesthetic.

“It’s like a treasure hunt,” he said.

Most items found in the store are thoroughly cleaned and sanitized. But there are some items – like those found in the closet of the abandoned house – that are best left as they were found.

His wife is happy that these clothes have found a new home outside their home.

And he’s happy to have a separate workspace.

In the coming months, Gascon said, the goal is to refine a long-term business plan and begin looking for permanent retail space to show off his ever-changing collection of items for sale.

“This is the testing ground for my next steps,” he said. “Just being able to do something that I enjoy and love is awesome.”

Craig Webb, who always wears original vintage clothes, can be reached at [email protected]

Details

What: Modern Traditions Co.

Or: 526 Main Street South, Suite 509

Hours: On appointment. The next monthly open house will take place on January 27 and 28

For more: Visit the Modern Traditions Facebook page


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