Editor’s Note: From February 8th-9th, 2013, our staff writer, David Shuck, attended the Inspiration LA trade show. Be sure to check out Part II, Part III, Part IV, and Part V in this multi-part series.
Vintage clothing aficionados of all stripes gathered last weekend in the Spruce Goose Dome in Long Beach, California for the international tradeshow Inspiration LA. Rin Tanaka, author of the My Freedamn series on vintage clothing, founded the show four years ago and it has since blossomed into one of the biggest vintage and heritage wear events in the world.
“Upgrade” was the theme of this year’s show and Tanaka attracted over one hundred different heritage wear brands and vintage dealers from all over the globe. There was an incredibly varied crowd as well, as rockabillys, surfers, bikers, dandies, preps, and greasers gathered to trot their wears and pay their homage an era gone by.
Below you’ll find an assortment of smaller brands and scene photos from the whole event, but we were also able to snag interviews and sneak peeks with The Real McCoy’s, Blue Blanket, Railcar Fine Goods, Eat Dust, and Levi’s Vintage Clothing. Look for those to drop in the coming days.
Biker inspired denim label Chopper Fever set up nearly a full garage at the entrance. Their denim features a special leather patch near the hem for old school motorcyclists – they have a history of burning their ankles on the exhaust.
Ace Boots is based in LA but currently only available in Japan and Europe. Hopefully that will change soon because their chunky soled footwear is absolutely beautiful.
Veteran bootmaker Chippewa also showed off their wares, which are now all made from Horween leather. The one that caught our eye was a sleek lace-to-toe boot with a Christy sole.
The men of renowned zipper manufacturer YKK stood out from the crowd by looking normal. What was extraordinary, though, was their massive spread of vintage and replica zippers, buttons, rivets, and buckles.
Japanese brand Koromo showed off their indigo dyed jackets, made from the same material as judo gis. Another amazing find only available in Japan.
Edison Manufacturing Co.
Edison Manufacturing Co. produces functional handmade and hand-dyed leather accessories in San Diego.
Filson displayed its perennial line of twill luggage and wool outerwear.
The scope of the camo patterns at dealer Vintage Productions defied comprehension.
Fein Und Ripp
Germanic label Fein und Ripp boasted one of the largest collections of deadstock goods in Europe. That’s an unworn prisoner’s uniform from 1920s Finland on the left.
The crew from Japanese streetwear magazine Clutch was on the scene and invited everyone to sign their mannequin for the event. We made sure to leave our mark too.
But that’s not even the half of our Inspiration coverage. Stay tuned for our conversations with:
Kento Tsujimoto and the team at The Real McCoy’s
Miles Johnson of Levi’s Vintage Clothing
Keith Hioco of Eat Dust
Antonio di Battista of Blue Blanket
And the whole team at Railcar Fine Goods