Williamsburg Vintage Shop Stays Afloat Amongst Rising Tide of Commercialization
“If people are ready to buy a blazer in July, I want to have it here,” says Breanne DiDomenico about the inventory of her vintage shop on the corner of Metropolitan Avenue and Havemeyer Street.
At almost any clothing reseller in Williamsburg, passersby can find pieces from the 70s or 80s that have made a comeback. But not all have achieved quite the combination of vintage curation, retailing of new independent brands, and Instagram influencer following that Horizons Vintage (381 Metropolitan Ave.) has.
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When DiDomenico opened up shop in 2007 — in a space right next door to where her current store sits — she already had some years of vintage-hunting under her belt.
She was always interested in fashion, but from elementary school into her high school years, the Virginia native held onto dreams of becoming an animator. Around age 15, however, her parents started taking her and her friends to thrift stores on the weekends in the outskirts of DC.
“I got addicted to that and then it didn’t seem like I could ever sit at a desk,” says DiDomenico, sporting round frames, a denim dress, and Chuck Taylors during an interview inside her shop on a summer day in June.
When she moved to the Lower East Side in the early 2000s, “there was a whole new way of doing it,” she says. Marmalade Vintage, one of DiDomenico’s early influences, was the first vintage store where she ever encountered color-coated clothing racks and a stock of items exclusively from the 70s and 80s.
After working for another LES shop called La Reina for a few years, DiDomenico opened up Horizons. As an animation and Disney fanatic, she was obsessed with an otherworldly dark ride located in Epcot Center’s “Future World” in Orlando, Florida. Drawn to the ride’s unique name and bazaar clothing on its animatronic figures, DiDomenico decided to name her store after the rollercoaster.
At Horizons, shoppers can find new shoes from brands like the 60s-inspired About Arianne, 70s-80s wardrobe staples DiDomenico often finds at estate and yard sales, and sterling silver jewelry that she gets from sellers by appointment.
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While DiDomenico has found success unearthing unique vintage in Orlando, where she spends about half her time, finding vintage in New York has become increasingly difficult. Since corporations like Urban Outfitters have started selling vintage Levis jeans, there has been stiff competition for independent shops like Horizons. Sometimes local shop owners are turned away from vintage warehouse sales because they can’t offer a big enough purchase. “We have under $1,000 to spend; they have tens of thousands of dollars to spend,” says Lexi Oliveri, friend of DiDomenico and owner of another Williamsburg shop called Antoinette (119 Grand Street).
Despite this competition, DiDomenico’s good eye and long hours spent sourcing has allowed Horizons to stay afloat for 12 years come this September.
She recently started selling her own line under the store’s name, with a new launch coming this fall. The designs for this line are largely based on colors and styles of vintage clothing that DiDomenico has found to be most popular. You can find these pieces at 381 Metropolitan Ave. or on Instagram @horizonsvintage.