Looking for a customized spirit-animal sweatshirt, anything made of two-or three-toned leather, or a Victorian mourning bouquet woven from a dead person's hair? Justin Pomerleau can help.
The 27-year-old vintage entrepreneur began slinging clothes off a customized bicycle cart around Boston under the moniker Le Pants King in 2012. Since then, his empire of wares, threads, and oddities has expanded into the Lower Allston store Vivant Vintage and an antique- and collectible-fair-hopping endeavor called The Traveling Spectacular. While he continues to wear those three hats, Pomerleau celebrates the debut of Oliver Best Vintage Market, a weekly open market scheduled to set up shop at the new POP Allston community space by the time you read this.
"We're a lifestyle store for any lifestyle," he says. "We don't label ourselves as being the preppy or the punk or anything in between."
Pomerleau describes his personal style as "a gypsy-Vegas sort of thing, like circus-punk." Professionally, he aims to dress people of all ages, sizes, and tastes. He does so with the help of girlfriend Emmy Sawich, who designs clothes using antique textiles (see pants at right) under the label Counter Couture MFG, carried by Pomerleau's venues.
Oliver Best Vintage Market, open every Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., contains two floors of sellers curated by and including Pomerleau. Pomerleau intends for the space to be Allston's premier destination for everything from rock concert T-shirts to records to furniture.
"It's like educated gambling," Pomerleau says of his finds. "The antique gods throw you a bone a lot of times."
Prices are for pieces shown here. Yes, Pomerleau will sell you the shirt off his back.
1. Sterling silver carved lion ring, $60. "I'd charge a bit more for this because it's signed by the artist (L.S.). It is also stamped '925,' which ensures that it's sterling silver."
2. Agate and sterling silver ring, $38. "I'd say we sell about 50 rings a month."
3. Sterling silver phoenix lapel pin, $60. "It resonated with me because I have this weird thing about the phoenix. I'm part Native American; supposedly our tribe animal is the phoenix."
4. 1950s Excelled American-made motorcycle jacket, $150. "English-made, Canada-made, and American-made are all great choices for 1950s-era leather jackets."
5. 1970s McGregor plaid shirt, $24. "It's really rich, but not too bold of a color. It's paper-thin but not too transparent, so it's a great layering piece. It's got a really sharp collar but it's not too exaggerated, so it has some modern appeal."
6. 1976 Pontiac "Chief of the Sixes" brass belt buckle from Tiffany Studio, $20. "This is a designer piece, so it's a bit more expensive than most buckles we sell."
7. Custom upcycled 1950s pants, starting at $200. "These are men's beach pants that [Sawich] sewed nail pouches on to create this kind of patchwork pant look."
8. 1970s two-tone Allen Edmonds wingtips, $50. "When it comes to American-made leather, we'll look for anything two-toned or three-toned."