MSU student bridges generations of fashion with EL store More Than Vintage
There’s been a rise in millennials and zoomers paving their own way in the fashion world by thrifting and second-hand shopping.
These folks are looking to add a certain aesthetic to their wardrobe, specifically vintage pieces that take us back to just a couple of decades ago, from the 80s to the early 2000s, along with more contemporary coveted designer items.
One Michigan State University student’s vision for a space that caters to this generation turned into a reality when he opened More Than Vintage.
In November of last year, 19-year-old Louis Azor became inspired after walking by an empty storefront on Division Street in downtown East Lansing.
"I just like closed my eyes, and I saw like a bunch of kids in here and just hanging out being kids," Azor said.
The vacant space sparked an idea to start a business merging the concept with another one of his big interests.
"You have to be unique, so that's when the idea of like getting my second, like my best passion that I have, like, clothing and style," Azor said.
After months of work, Azor was able to open the doors of More Than Vintage, or MTV, in April.
The store offers items that Azor and his employees thrifted themselves from special collector’s pieces to wholesale vintage and clothing traded in by customers.
He wanted the shop to represent pop culture from the 80s to the present.
"We have some vintage hats and some hypebeast hats like Supreme, and that's where like it becomes like more than vintage because now you are connecting like our fashion timeframe with, like, New York culture to city culture."
On one side of the store, there's a bright pink wall.
On it are paintings of President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr. and MSU football coach Mel Tucker. He said the former president and civil rights leader are American icons.
"I was, like, put them on the wall with Mel Tucker who's the new pinnacle in East Lansing," he said.
In the middle of the store, there are rows of graphic tees from the 80s hanging on racks.
Vibrant, color-blocked puffer coats line the walls and designer sneakers are stacked on glass platforms on the wall.
The artistry behind the curated display makes it hard to believe when Azor says he was not so fashion-forward growing up in Philadelphia.
"Because like my parents couldn’t afford them growing up because ... it was just me, my mom, my grandma. So, I never like really had like the flashiest of clothes," he said.
Nonetheless, he watched his childhood idols like Jay-Z and Kanye West use fashion to express themselves.
Azor points to one of his favorite items designed by Kayne in the store: a solid blue puffer jacket.
Azor describes it as a "huge inflatable trash bag.”
He said he admires Kanye because his style sets him apart from others.
"He was very outlandish with it, like, his blue puffer coat jacket. No one would ever think to just like create that or just to go out in public wearing that, but he did it," he said.
Inside MTV, shoppers can expect to stumble upon items that might be sold out online or rare to find.
Like an UGG x Telfar collaboration piece hanging on one of the walls. Telfar is an up-and-coming Black-owned brand with a signature vegan leather shopping bag. It became the “it” accessory a few years ago.
This bag combines the aesthetic of an UGG boot with the Telfar logo. Moving over a couple of clothing racks, Azor showcases a Godzilla t-shirt from the 90s.
He said the piece is hard to come by.
"This is like one of the last, like, original Godzilla tees that’s not a print on."
When it comes to sourcing pieces for More Than Vintage, Azor said it’s all about who you know.
"There's wholesale vintage.com. They have a great wholesale boxes we just buy off of from too. There's a secret...not secret, they're just like really good 'grailed' guys that live in Kalamazoo ... Their whole lives, they’ve just been collecting like major pieces," he said.
As for the future of More Than Vintage, Azor said he’s looking forward to expansion.
"Honestly, if this goes the way I can see it going, if it goes the right way, we can, we could have one in almost in every single state."
More Than Vintage is in its first month of opening, and Azor hopes the store will become as iconic as the fashion trends that continue to leave their mark on us today.