Fed Pua is a big ball of energy in chunky boots and an oversized sweater—a collectible Stockholm 1956 Olympics sweater to be exact. On eBay, it is currently listed at $299.99. (You really don’t want to know how much that is in Philippine pesos. Not in this economy.) But Fed is not too precious about it, the sweater that is, or any of his prized hauls on display at his vintage shop It’s Vintage’s new location at Casmer Bldg. in Salcedo St., Makati.
As he welcomes me together with his best friend slash fellow shopkeeper Miguel Enriquez, horchata in one hand, Fed motions for me to sit on a neat pile of folded souvenir clothes, nostalgic T-shirts, and acid wash denim jackets from his first love Factory Boy. Yes, you can sit on it. Heck, you can even take them if you want, he jokes (obviously).
@nolisoli.ph Add this to your Makati thrift spots 💸 🛍 #nolisoliph #tiktokph #thiftshop ♬ JPOP-like music loop with sparkling piano – Blue bear
The new shop is just a few blocks away from its old location, which closed earlier this year. It was It’s Vintage’s home for two years. The store prides itself on stocking hard-to-find and one-of-a-kind pieces: Hawaiian shirts, bootleg T-shirts, band merch, cheeky statement tees, souvenir jackets, and more.
Before It’s Vintage, Fed was the creative director of Factory Boy, which channeled the same retro feel, except the pieces are new and not—for lack of a better word—vintage. For a while, to own Factory Boy pieces meant being in touch with and attuned to local youth culture. But Fed too soon grew out of that.
In the wake of Factory came his new brainchild Atomic, a line of reworked pieces from the Y2K era. Think denim corsets, shoulder bags; halter tops made out of Harley-Davidson T-shirts. It’s nostalgic, but Fed infused it with something more specific: Pinoy pop culture. Its newer pieces include a chore jacket embroidered with Jollibee mascots.
Atomic pieces join the assortment of clothes, accessories, jewelry, and art pieces (sadly not for sale) that are in-store at It’s Vintage. Weeks after trying on cute (some pieces literally seem like they are meant for toddlers) colorful vest sweaters and forcing myself to fit in a kilt a size too small for me, I caught up with Fed to talk shop and everything in between.
Hi Fed! How are you doing? Congrats on the new store location. I hear it used to be a pawnshop. What made you choose this location and did you find any foreclosed jewelry left behind?
Hey king! It’s been really busy since we opened but ultimately just really overwhelmed with the love and support everyone has given us.
Yup, it used to be a pawnshop. I chose the space because I instantly fell in love with the building. I had always been a huge fan of Leandro Locsin’s work and to finally have a chance to set up shop in an unpretentious Brutalist structure was a personal dream.
No jewelry unfortunately but fun fact: our current fitting room is where the vault of the pawnshop used to be!
Tell us about the space. What’s different, what stayed the same? Do vintage hunters get to see you in the store every day?
We gutted the entire space and tried our best to show the history of the building while infusing the narrative of the store. There were these acoustic panels at the top to make the space look more like an office which we removed and saw these incredible curved concrete slabs from the original structure. It felt like discovering a fresco that hadn’t been seen in decades.
We get people from all demographics in the shop, which I love! Vintage connoisseurs, tourists, office workers, balikbayans, celebrities, families, etc. We always strive to be accessible while introducing the concept of a curated vintage store in the city. Some love it, some hate it, some still don’t get it, but it’s all part of the fun of running an independent store.
What can we find in the store? What’s one item you regret putting up for sale and wish you kept for yourself?
It’s difficult to give a specific category since the product range really changes depending on what I am able to source abroad since everything is handpicked. We have the dream closet from bootleg Versace Jeans from the 2000s, designer knit vests from the ’80s, or anime promotional tees from the ’90s.
Earlier you launched a new brand, Atomic World, which is also being stocked at your new location. Can you tell us more about it and how is it different from your previous brand Factory and your forever baby It’s Vintage?
I launched Factory Boy when I was still in uni and I think that I have grown so much as a person and a creative since then. Atomic, I’d like to think, is a more polished and self-realized brand.
Atomic also definitely takes cues from all the vintage clothing I source for It’s Vintage while subversing it to something more personal and more Manila cool I like to say. It’s also distinctly different from my other brands because it’s the only one that picks up inspiration from my life in New York City so it has a lot of that rebellious youthful energy infused in it.
We see you have a lot of valuable art prints and pieces as well as collectibles. Can you go over them and what’s the security plan to ensure they are not taken away?
Don’t even try cause we just installed our CCTV camera! *laughs*
What I noticed when I go to vintage shops abroad is the format of just sticking any kind of old poster in the store and calling it a day. I wanted a place that felt more personal to me which is why all the decorations are pieces that I personally owned.
There’s a skateboard plastered with anime figurines which was a sort of cathartic art project for myself and an old American flag paying homage to the Americana vintage stores I’d frequent in Shimokitazawa that definitely inspired me to launch my own store.[READ: We visited these underrated Japanese cities—and here’s why you should, too]
Even the counter and tables around the store are a nod to Japanese architect Kengo Kuma who I adore. I guess the store is how my brain would look like if you entered it.
How often do you stock up on new stuff and can I see the backroom if I suspect you’re hiding the good stuff out in the back?
I’m always sourcing so there are always new things out every week. It’s really fun because it always feels like Christmas in the store when a new shipment arrives. And it’s all personally handpicked by me so best believe the items are always fire!
Our vision of the store is definitely to be a safe space for our communities (both artists and the LGBTQIA+ community).
You cook, right? You did Comfort Kitchen for us! I love gluten-free cookies during the opening as well as the horchata Miguel whipped up in lieu of coffee (Hi Miguel!). Are there plans to have things other than clothes in the store? Perhaps food?
We’ve been planning to create some intimate events with friends such as independent zine launches and listening parties. Our vision of the store is definitely to be a safe space for our communities (both artists and the LGBTQIA+ community) and there aren’t a lot in the city, unfortunately. We love collaborating with like-minded individuals because, at the end of the day, it’s the people that make our small neighborhood shop special.
It’s Vintage is located at Casmer Building 195 Salcedo St, Makati
Open Thursday to Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.