Q&A with Tori Freedman, Freelance Vintage Buyer & Consultant 

Oh-so-vibrant and oh-so-talented, Tori Freeman, an LA native currently located in Philadelphia, tells all on sourcing her timeless vintage finds, on her Philadelphia to-do list, and on the pants that make her feel just like Stevie Nicks. If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to vintage shop like a pro, now’s your chance. Or you can just check out her finds in the vintage section. 

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First off! Tell us about yourself and how you got into vintage sourcing?


T: I was born and raised in the Los Angeles Area and recently relocated to Philadelphia with my boyfriend and our cat Onyx.

As a teenager, I was always shopping on a budget, but things like fabrics, silhouettes, and brands were very important to me, so vintage was a way I could afford my dream closet. Each piece always felt unique and I remember thinking up stories about where the clothes had been before I found them. Also, my boyfriend’s grandparents owned a second-hand clothing store, so vintage had always been a part of his life. Many of my greatest memories are being at the Flea Market super early in the morning, watching the sunrise, meeting great people and selling great vintage.

Do you remember your first vintage purchase?


T: I don’t remember my very first purchase, but I definitely remember my first favorite purchase! It was a pair of LA Blues denim, they were high-waisted, wide leg bell bottoms, in a super blue wash with great oversized tortoise buttons that cinched in the waist. They fit like a glove! I remember every time I wore them I felt like Stevie Nicks.

What's your vintage sourcing process like?


T: Almost all of my weekends are spent adventuring outside of the city and finding vintage warehouses and local flea markets. Starting early in the day is key! Having an idea of key silhouettes or trends you are looking for is important and helps to keep you focused. I create mood boards with inspirational images and fabrics to help get inspired and have a clear vision of what I am looking for.

Why do you think people are especially into vintage right now?


T: The current state of our country plays a huge role in how and where people are choosing to spend their money, and clothing is no exception. Vintage is a way to give back to the community, as many second-hand stores and flea markets support local groups and people- like Philly Aids Thrift in Philadelphia, and the National Council of Jewish Women/Council Thrift in Los Angeles. Shopping vintage rather than new is also a way to reduce our footprint on our Earth, as well as give a second life to beautiful pieces instead of taking additional resources to produce something new.

 

Do you have any tips for us in determining a steal vs. a fake when it comes to vintage?


T: One of the most important things I look at is fabric! Fabric and content are key when shopping vintage, so always look at the content label! I like to stick to natural fabrics like silk, cotton, linen, and cashmere. I also buy a lot of sterling silver- when it comes to silver be on the lookout for pieces that are stamped with marks that identify the silver content, someone’s signature, or indicate the region or town where the piece was made.

 

What's one unexpected place you can score some great vintage?


T: Some of my best vintage scores have been when I was out of town and exploring a new place. When you are taken outside of your day to day area everything is new and exciting, and that is a great state of mind to have when you are looking for vintage. Over the holidays I was staying with my friend Hillary’s family in Vermont and she took me to a local antique store where I found some of my favorite sterling silver pieces that are a part of my LSG curation!

What do you love most about living in Philadelphia? 5 favorite places we should check out? 


T:1. Go to the museums! Philly is known for having some of the best art and exhibit curations, and the best part is they are all in one central area. My favorites are- The Philadelphia Museum of Art (this is where you can also find those famous Rocky Balboa steps) The Barnes Foundation, and The Mütter Museum

2. Hang out at Rittenhouse Square Park! This is one of the five parks within Philly that was planned by the city’s founder William Penn, and sits right in the middle of the downtown area. Surrounded by tall trees, it is the perfect place for a picnic. Stop by Philadelphia local cheese and meat spot Di Bruno Bros (@dibrunobros) for the perfect park snacks!

3. Vintage shopping in Old City! Old city is one of my favorite neighborhoods in Philly as it is exactly its name, and is where you can find cobblestone streets from the 1600’s. Some of my favorite vintage shopping and antique stores are here, and are all in a pretty central area so you can hop around and stop by them all! Meadowsweet (@meadowsweetmercantile) Retrospect Vintage (@retrospectvintage) Philly AIDS Thrift (@phillyaidsthrift) Moon + Arrow (@shopmoonandarrow) Vagabond (@shopatvagabond) RareCo (@rarecovintage)

4. Cook the perfect Italian dinner! My boyfriend and I love to cook, and one of our favorite places in the city to find fresh and local ingredients is the Italian Market, which sits along 9th Street in South Philly. The Italian Market is one of the oldest and largest open-air markets in the country and is always bustling with interesting people and foods.

5. Adventure around Philadelphia’s Magical Gardens! The outdoor art installation was created by Isaiah Zagar and is built from all nontraditional materials and found objects including colorful glass bottles, hand-made tiles, and glittering mirrors! Pieces of Isaiah Zagar’s color mosaics can be found throughout the city on various buildings and are a staple around Philadelphia. While you are on South Street you can also stop by Jim’s Steaks for a classic Philly Cheesesteak (my personal favorite cheesesteak spot in the city)!


What is it like to source vintage for companies? Does your style always come through? Tell us about your curation for LSG!


T: There are certain fabrics and pieces I am always drawn to when shopping- right now two things I always end up picking up are anything 100% silk and the perfect pair of rigid denim! Keeping in mind the customer and other pieces that my vintage will be paired with and sold next to is always important. My friend Kristine (who was a huge help on this project) and my selection for LSG came very naturally and was a blast to curate! I am always mixing my favorite vintage pieces with new favorite designer pieces which are very similar to the aesthetic at LSG! 

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