comma, vintage / hartford, ct
June 18, 2018
I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but I have something of an affinity for old things.
I’m not sure what it is that I love so much about them, but—I just do. There’s something about an object that’s been around for a while that just calls to me.
Something about all of the people who have handled it, used it, held it. Something about how it was made, who it was made for, how it came to be passed on and not discarded or lost. Something about a small piece of history, no matter how tiny or insignificant, that transcends its first life and takes on another, and sometimes another and another still. Something about how the same thing can take on a new meaning in another life.
Something about all that.
But the real reason I was drawn to Comma, Vintage wasn’t even so much the merchandise. It was more the uniqueness, and, frankly, the art of the operation.
Comma, Vintage is a vintage menswear subscription service, and Mike is the guy behind the box.
He’s not what you’d expect, and perhaps the comma should suggest that. A direct dig at the hipster business name formula of Blank & Blank, Mike is the anti-hipster. He doesn’t peddle vintage menswear to be cool and interesting and don jaunty outfits to play dress-up.
No, there’s nothing contrived about Mike.
He’s a regular guy with a good eye for vintage menswear—and he knows his product and his customers to a T.
He showed me around his place, and walked me through his process. You tell him a bit about your style, size, etc., and he sends you a box of very cool surprises—anywhere in the world.
It’s fascinating to watch him work—he sifts through bins of t-shirts and racks of hanging clothes, in search of the perfect pieces for each client.
He might make a funky pin from an old milk bottle cap, or throw in some vintage baseball cards or a bottle opener.
He personally writes a letter to each customer to be included in their box. Then he puts on the finishing touches—a spray painted comma on the top of each package.
He’s a master of his craft. It’s like watching an artist make a sketch—he starts with a little information, and builds upon it until he’s got it just right, adding and subtracting and revising as he goes until he’s got just the right box put together for you.
And he’s into it.
He pulled out some of his favorite pieces to show me—a Palm Beaches, Florida T-shirt, a perfectly worn pair of Levi’s, some gorgeous brown leather shoes. A few times I watched him get excited about a piece, but—it wasn’t quite right. It’d have to wait for a different box.
Like I said—there’s nothing contrived about Mike. And there’s nothing artificial about his work. The pieces he chooses are special. You aren’t going to find them just any old place, and not just because you wouldn’t know to look for them.
It was so much fun to get to watch him in action, to ogle all of the awesome pieces he has, and to hang out with him for a while. He’s doing something that—to my knowledge—nobody else is doing. And there’s a reason for that.
To learn more about Comma, Vintage check out commavintage.com.