Written by Shayndel Valles
Photo by Shayndel Valles
If you’re a fan of vintage streetwear and one-of-one fashion, you might want to check out Elgin Vintage’s new summer storefront, opening May 13 at 23 S. Spring Street in downtown Elgin. Owned by former ECC student David Hill, the storefront offers buy, sell and trade of clothing from the 1980s through the early 2000s.
“I want to support sustainability,” Hill said. “What I preach for Elgin Vintage is reusing vintage clothes and streetwear so they don’t end up in the dumps or wherever else getting thrown away.”
Hill became inspired to buy and sell vintage clothing back when he was attending St. Edward Central Catholic High School.
“[We] used to watch this guy [Paul Cantu] on YouTube, and he would find this crazy stuff at thrift stores for super cheap prices,” Hill said. “Being a broke high school student, I wanted to go in and find stuff, too.”
Over the COVID-19 pandemic, Hill began to sell his finds on Depop, a London-based worldwide fashion marketplace app.
“At first, I was just thrifting stuff I would wear,” Hill said. “Eventually, it turned into a business where I started to sell a lot. From there, I did a couple local events and I met some guys around the area. It really took off after that.”
Being a vintage reseller, the hate doesn’t make sense to Hill.
“A lot of people complain that you’re stealing clothes from people who need it and I just don’t think that’s true at all,” Hill said. “We’re going in looking for very certain stuff and getting it from other people where it might be thrown away if we’re not there to grab it.”
Following his first year at Eureka University, Hill opened his very first Elgin Vintage summer storefront, located at 75 Market Street. Being a new retail small business owner, Hill faced a learning curve as he got several items in order.
“I was just like, ‘Screw it, I’m gonna do it,’” Hill said. “I had to get insurance, my sole proprietorship, and call the electrical company and have them turn on the power. All of that stuff was a whole learning process and it was pretty frustrating at first being as young as I was.”
As a student-athlete, Hill had to learn how to administer his time to support his academic, athletic and business aspirations.
“Last year, I didn’t promote [the storefront] as much as I wanted to just cause it was my first year at a four year school and I didn’t manage my time very well,” Hill said. “I was very busy with schoolwork and end-of-the-year workouts for basketball.”
This year, Hill focused on opening the storefront earlier than last summer and promoting it as much as possible.
“This summer, I paid to promote the [opening day] post and I also did the $100 store credit giveaway,” Hill said. “I’m just honestly pumping out as much stuff as I can to get people excited about it.”
After earning his bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, Hill seeks to establish a permanent storefront for Elgin Vintage in the Elgin area.
“It kind of sucked when I had to tear the store down last summer,” Hill said. “I felt like I had my dream in my hands and then nope, gotta go back to school and be on someone else’s time.”
The thrill of going out and finding vintage clothing continues to motivate Hill.
“It’s just a lot of fun,” Hill said. “I really enjoy doing this and I could see myself doing it in the future for sure.”
Elgin Vintage’s new summer storefront reopens on Saturday, May 13th and will be open Thursday 2-8 PM and Friday-Sunday 12-8 PM now through the end of August.