Lower Forms raises the bar with a new vintage clothing store

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Where do you find Snoopy with NSYNC and the Sweathogs? In Westville, and more specifically in Lower Forms, the new vintage and resale clothing store located at 16 Fountain Street.

The store celebrated its grand opening last Saturday with an onslaught of happy shoppers browsing the shelves for t-shirts, jeans and more.

Owner Adam LoPiano and Director / Curator Matt Vercillo greeted a steady stream of visitors who learned about the opening through Lower Forms’ active and popular Instagram account as well as the many flyers that had been posted throughout New Haven. The company has been around for years as a wholesale business in a warehouse on Ramsdell Street, which was not open to the public, but there were plans underway more recently to try something new and more accessible by through retail.

Vercillo, who has been a warehouse buyer and preparer for years with LoPiano, said they get their inventory “from anywhere”.

“We have to go out and find him,” he said. “This is the fun part and the difficult part.”

The store has “mostly vintage” and “a little used too, stuff that isn’t quite 20 years old but we still think is looked after,” said Vercillo. Clothing is the main attraction, but there are also a few accessories, such as hats and bags, available. Vercillo explained that Lower Forms focuses on accessibility to all buyers.

“We have something for everyone and a lot of prizes,” he said. “The challenge is to fill the store with trendy products while staying cool and inexpensive. “

Although the grand opening was announced to start at 3 p.m., Vercillo had been there since 11 a.m. “and people came in, so we opened at 11,” he said with a laugh.

The clock barely hit three o’clock when customers were arriving more regularly and searching more eagerly, many with their arms laden with clothes. The atmosphere was full of joy and wonder at the discoveries that were being made. Owner LoPiano spent a lot of time greeting customers and talking about the journey from the warehouse to the storefront.

“I’m in my 11th year in this business,” he said, noting with a smile that Vercillo was “the best buyer”.

“Our online and wholesale business became very popular, and the business was pretty strong, so we said, ‘let’s give everyone a chance,'” he added. The warehouse will still function as it did, with LoPiano adding that “everything new comes here first” now. “We move thousands of parts. If someone comes here one month, they might come back the next month and see huge sales. “

When choosing inventory, LoPiano said they looked at “everything” in relation to “tailoring the goods to our own interests”, although he said he had a penchant for “folk art and the weird stuff “. What I like is what the market doesn’t like, ”he laughed. He joked that much of what he loves is found in the two Lucky Buckets located at the front of the store, where a selection of shirts are available one for $ 7 or two for $ 10. These buckets were extremely popular when opened as shoppers searched for treasures at discounted prices.

While some specific pieces were displayed on the wall to the left at the front of the store, and higher on the walls above the shelves, the rest of the shelves and rounders were filled with shirts, both baseball style and short-sleeved, sweatshirts, short and long-sleeved polyester and flannel shirts, pants, jeans and jackets. A selection of dresses, skirts and shorts was also available.

The variety of clothing was more than enough to provide a plentiful supply of unique selections. The assortment of t-shirts, especially the double shelves that line almost the entire left wall of the store, are stacked with a dizzying array of offerings. A concert t-shirt from Paul Simon’s 1991 tour sits next to a 1985 New Haven Bed Race t-shirt, while underneath a tinted Jerry Garcia hangs next to a t-shirt Oakmon Tennis Club and too many other varieties to mention.

The other curves and racks also offered a deluge of discoveries. Wranglers cords drape next to a pair of beloved tanned Carhartts. A 1982 Get Lucky Tour Loverboy baseball tee with the 1985 St. Louis Cardinals NL East Division Champs. Also spotted: Neil Diamond circa 2007, a few offerings from Garth Brooks, a variety of Disney and other cartoon-themed delicacies, and yes, an iconic steel blue jacket for members only.

You could spend hours browsing the inventory, and many seemed to be having fun spotting something that brought back a memory, though it also seemed like everyone who walked in walked away with at least one item, if not an armful, Vercillo and LoPiano took turns. at the checkout welcoming and meeting their customers with endless smiles while tending to the empty hangers that kept piling up behind the counter.

Back near the locker room, Natasha Kuranko of New Canaan said she was following the company on Instagram and came in today with “a general idea of ​​what I wanted to manifest.” She ended up with a flannel shirt, a well-worn Cape Cod Crew sweatshirt and a pair of jeans. Her friend Shaylin Giuliano from New Haven also knew the business via Instagram and came “just for fun,” adding that when she lived in Brooklyn there were a lot of stores like this there, but “no. so here “, so she was” very excited “about that opening. She ended up with an ICP shirt for her boyfriend, an Adobe baseball tee, a tank top with wolves and the saying” Forever Wild Top and a pink teddy bear-covered sweatshirt holding paintbrushes. Another friend, Gillian Colbath of New Haven, said she had been friends with LoPiano for a long time and was “so proud of him.” It’s been a dream of her forever. ”She ended up with a Realtree camo sweatshirt, a paisley button-down shirt, a Champion sweatshirt vest and a pair of jeans.

Friends also convinced me to buy the black and white rayon long sleeve button down shirt covered in musical symbols that I had been eyeing, convincing myself that I had to have it and remembering that if I didn’t get it. , so it might not be there when I get back. Shopping as a collective, memorable community experience: something Lower Forms already seemed to excel from day one.

Lower Forms, at 16 Fountain Street, will be open Wednesday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. More information can be found on the store’s Instagram page @lowerforms.


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