You are bound to run into other pirates while out hunting…it’s almost a given. And so it would be that on this particular Sunday at my local fleamarket, I had an encounter. It was friendly, don’t get me wrong (in part because I had already got the goods…real talk), he was checking out a pair of vintage Sergio Tacchini sneakers…I casually mentioned that it was too bad the vinyl was sticky and melting and how cool they were (like I said I had already got the goods). He looked at me, said “yeah” and kept digging. I kept my pace and headed down another isle, swooped on some sweet heels and boots, and while I was getting my money out, here “he” comes again. He eyed my red boots, asked me if I was going to buy them, I replied “yes” and then proceeded to ask him if he was a buyer for someone, he said for himself, he asked me the same and I replied with the same answer he had. That was that.
Then one day I find myself on eBay checking out vintage boots. I come across a seller offering some really amazing boots, “Gypsy Boots” or something and they where based in Oakland. Initially, I’m thinking who is this amazing boot finder in my hunting grounds?!?!??!
Well eventually it all came together. While hitting up one of my fav spots, Down at Lulu’s, I ran into the “pirate” again. He knew me from The Goods!, gave me a hard time for my lack of up-dates (sorry!!!) and so began a friendship of sorts.
I am so excited to share with you the man with a keen eye for woman’s footwear and 90’s hooker dresses. He is a magnetic for OTK boots, all things Contempo Casuals and I am convinced he has a magic portal to travel back in time. For the past year he has set-up shop in Berkeley, CA in a private by-appointment only location all while maintaining his on-line sales on Etsy. He’s taken what he learned from growing up thrifting with his “cool older sister” and made it a business.
It really all started three years ago. On a thrifting trip at a Goodwill in Woodland, CA he happened upon 50 pairs of vintage boots. Although he claims to be “off the radar” when it comes to fashion, he figured there was some sort of resale value in the score and so it began. Now, all businesses need a name and what better “equation” for a name them the one to create your “porn name”; middle name + street name you grew up on. Unfortunately this is an equation that doesn’t work for everyone but lucky for some it does create an excellent porn name…and business name, thus James Rowland.
I had a chance to sit down with the man behind James Rowland, chat all things vintage footwear and ponder the direction of woman’s trend based vintage. We came to the conclusion during our talk that coming from a background of Sicilian cobblers might have something to do with his passion for ladies foot coverings. He has a love for “cheaply made” styles, the kind that go so far over-the-top and sport brand names such as Wild Pair, Rush Hour, Express, Clicks, and Dolces.
His clothing taste follows suit as he covets both Avon Fashion and Contempo Casuals. Yet the man knows quality too, coveting brands like Joan & David, Moschino and Thierry Mugler, it’s safe to say, James Rowland knows style and what the ladies want. When asked to describe the style of James Rowland he instantly replied with “Clear, Sheer and Cut-outs.” And the future of woman’s vintage? “Mesh is my new Floral.” Oh, we love that!
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- The Goods! At Marmalade Vintage Are Here!