Portland Vintage Lovers Flock to ThriftCon, the World’s Largest Traveling Market

ThriftCon, the world’s largest traveling vintage market, made its first appearance in Portland last weekend, attracting about 8,000 attendees who were eager to find some rare and nostalgic items. The event featured over 100 vendors, including local Portland businesses and brands from other cities, who showcased their curated collections of clothing, accessories, memorabilia, and more.

ThriftCon: A Celebration of Vintage Culture

ThriftCon was founded in 2018 by Mario Conte and David Bywater, two friends who shared a passion for vintage clothing and culture. They wanted to create an event that would bring together like-minded people and offer them a unique shopping experience.

Portland Vintage Lovers Flock to ThriftCon, the World’s Largest Traveling Market
Portland Vintage Lovers Flock to ThriftCon, the World’s Largest Traveling Market

“We wanted to create something that was more than just a flea market or a swap meet. We wanted to create a community of people who appreciate vintage culture and history,” Conte said.

ThriftCon has since grown into a nationwide phenomenon, traveling to six cities before coming to Portland. The event has also expanded its scope beyond clothing, featuring vendors who sell vintage toys, games, comics, records, posters, and more.

“We try to have something for everyone, whether you’re into sports, music, movies, or anything else. We want people to find something that sparks their interest and makes them happy,” Bywater said.

Portland: A Perfect Fit for ThriftCon

Portland was chosen as the next destination for ThriftCon after an overwhelming number of votes from the event’s followers on Instagram. Conte and Bywater said they were amazed by the response and the enthusiasm of the Portland vintage scene.

“Portland has a long history of being a hub for secondhand reselling and thrift culture. We knew it would be a perfect fit for ThriftCon,” Conte said.

The event was held at the Portland Expo Center on August 27, 2023. It featured local Portland businesses such as Pallet, Kissing Booth, Shop Tantrum, and others who specialize in different styles and eras of vintage fashion.

Wyatt Savage, the owner of Pallet, said he was impressed by the turnout and the diversity of the crowd. He said his business benefited from the exposure and the sales.

“It was great to see so many people who love vintage clothing and support local businesses. We had a lot of new customers who discovered us through ThriftCon,” Savage said.

ThriftCon: A Platform for Creativity and Sustainability

ThriftCon also attracted vendors from other cities who wanted to share their unique creations and perspectives with the Portland audience. One of them was Liz Stevenson, who drove 15 hours from Los Angeles to showcase her clothing brand Carouccellino.

Stevenson said she makes clothes out of unconventional materials such as tablecloths, curtains, towels, and anything else that can be transformed into wearable art.

“I wanted to be in the fashion industry but in a sustainable and ethical way. I love taking something that would otherwise be thrown away and giving it a new life,” Stevenson said.

Stevenson said she enjoyed being part of ThriftCon because it gave her an opportunity to connect with other creative people and customers who appreciate her vision.

“The best part of ThriftCon is the community and the people I meet. Everyone is so friendly and supportive. It’s like a big family,” Stevenson said.

ThriftCon: A Promise to Return Next Year

ThriftCon’s Portland debut was a success, according to Conte and Bywater. They said they were thrilled by the feedback and the demand for more events in the future.

“We are so grateful for the support and the love we received from Portland. We had an amazing time and we can’t wait to come back next year,” Bywater said.

ThriftCon’s next stop will be Denver on September 10th, 2023. For more information about ThriftCon and its upcoming events, visit their website or follow them on Instagram.

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