PANAMA CITY— A group of Panama City thrift, antiques and vintage shops have joined to host a vintage fashion event this weekend to benefit local charities.
“Instead of it being like a competition, we’re all coming together,” said Sam Carroll, owner of Retrospect Vintage, 1107 Beck Ave. “We all love the business, we love the clothes, we love Panama City.”
The inaugural Charity Vintage Fashion Show, presented by the merchants of downtown Panama City and historic St. Andrews, will be Friday and Saturday, and they plan to make this an annual event on the first weekend in November. Meet the models at Hectic Eclectic and other shops on Friday, then enjoy a wine tasting at Millie’s and the runway show at Love Me Again on Saturday.
“We had an idea to do a fashion show and include all the other stores — but also to do something for the community at the same time,” said Lynda Holland, owner of Love Me Again, 229 Harrison Ave., where the runway show will take place Saturday. “We’re glad to be able to show there’s a lot of unity and camaraderie among the merchants in St. Andrews and downtown.”
Light refreshments will be provided. Admission to the fashion show is any number of non-perishable food items to restock pantries at Catholic Charities and the Panama City Rescue Mission, or pet food to restock the Bay County Humane Society.
“We know that all their numbers are down, so we just like to set an example and challenge the community,” said Joan Canal, owner of Hectic Eclectic, 1127 Beck Ave. “We love our community, and we’d like to be able to give a little bit back.”
Local models will visit participating businesses in St. Andrews, including Hectic Eclectic, Retrospect Vintage and Caffiend’s Coffee & Tea, all on Beck Avenue, and Little Village and The White Elephant on 12th Street, 5-6 p.m. Friday. Appearances also will be made at Franci’s Collectibles, Love Me Again and Elegant Endeavors on Harrison Avenue in downtown Panama City.
“I jumped at the chance. It’s a wonderful opportunity to model and help the community,” said Corey Smith, a senior at Arnold High School, modeling clothing from Hectic Eclectic. “(Wearing vintage clothing) is a wonderful feeling. It takes you back in time, and you wonder about the lives of those who wore these clothes before you.”
The models’ appearances will be accompanied by the musical stylings of Martino & Tirado. For more information, call Holland at 960-6130 or Canal at 867-6554.
Another of the event models, Alejandro Rios, 18, plays guitar with Jam Therapy, an up-and-coming local rock band. He often visits the thrift stores along Beck Avenue and downtown.
“I’m a huge return customer,” he said. “I love ’70s vintage clothing, looking unique, having my own style.”
There’s more to “vintage” fashion than age — though that is a requisite. To be considered vintage, a piece of clothing must be at least 20 years old, according to Stephanie O’Brien, who has been selling vintage clothing since 2001. She currently does so online only, through her Etsy shop (FreshVintage.etsy.com).
“You don’t have to go all-out and wear everything vintage — a hat or bag or blazer or shoes can make a world of difference,” O’Brien said.
O’Brien said she prefers to think of her shopping technique as “pillaging,” though it is much more selective than it sounds: “If you know what kind of fabrics they used, you can look at a whole rack of garments and see that one skirt you know is 20 years older than everything else there.”
Vintage is more a “funky mix” of used clothing from the 1920s-’50s, according to Matty Jankowski, one of the models and owner of the Jankowski Archive on Seventh Street.
“Some people do re-enactments, dressed to the tee with specific props and accessories,” he added. “Some treat it like a mix of Victorian and Gothic styles, even ‘steampunk.’ With architecture, art and fashion, Gothic style has never lost interest since it began.”
Carroll said many people who are interested in vintage style remain sort of closeted: “A lot of vintage lovers don’t know how to express themselves. We’re trying to get everybody to feel pretty and happy about themselves again.”
Charity Vintage Fashion Show
- Meet the Models: 5-6 p.m. Friday in historic St. Andrews and downtown Panama City; music by Martino and Tirado
- Wine Tasting: 6-7 p.m. at Millie’s on Harrison Avenue, downtown Panama City
- Runway Show: 7 p.m.-until at Love Me Again, 229 Harrison Ave., Panama City
- Admission: A donation of non-perishable food or pet food
- Details: Call 960-6130 or 867-6557
- Participating shops: Hectic Eclectic, 1127 Beck Ave.; Love Me Again, 229 Harrison Ave.; Retrospect Vintage, 1107 Beck Ave.; White Elephant, 2800 W. 12th St.; Little Village, 2808 W. 12th St.; The Matthew L. Jankowski Archive on Seventh Street; and Fresh Vintage online only at FreshVintage.etsy.com.