From the Runway

Vintage Love brings back antique fashion, furniture

Among the hustle and bustle of downtown Syracuse sits a modern-day fashion time machine that would bring anyone back to that closet they once idealized.

Vintage Love, located on Jefferson Street, is one of Syracuse’s hidden gems. The brick-and-mortar boutique specializes in clothing and houseware as owners Shauna Diliberto and Susan Hodell, also known as the “vintage girls,” put their clothing and houseware expertise together to make the store more than just an antique shop.

“The store itself should feel like a lifestyle store, not just clothing and furniture. We want it to be this lifestyle feel. When you come in, we want you to plan out everything from what you are wearing to what you are eating to what you are sitting on,” said Diliberto, the shop’s resident clothing expert.

The store’s interior does not replicate what thrifters are used to seeing when feeding their vintage craving. Most have in mind a shop with old rustic antiques and the mighty smell of old leather.

But their store is a contemporary take on old-fashioned. The room is vibrant with simple walls that make colorful hues of green and bubblegum pink pop in the room. A shelf with vintage “Saturday Night Fever” and “Thriller” vinyls sit on a shelf. A rack of jackets hangs on one side, displaying everything from velvet to sequins. On the other side of the room sits an ornamented table adorned with light pink flushed flowers, gold table settings and fresh donuts in a glass cake dome.

The workings of this joint would be nothing without Diliberto and Hodell’s collaboration, who before deciding to open a business together, had never even met. They first met through a mutual friend while they were both working at vintage flea markets in Armory Square. When that circuit got tired, Diliberto decided she wanted to open shop for good. But she knew she couldn’t do it alone.

A quick Facebook message to Hodell was all it took to get the ball rolling and by November 2015 they were opened for a short three-month lease, hoping to try to get the lay of the land.

The three months soon turned into a permanent arrangement and in May 2016 they officially reopened as a brick-and-mortar store.

Since its opening, Vintage Love has delivered quality vintage clothes for those who still vibe with their mom’s closet. From ‘90s clothes to selling old records, it is likely that nothing in its showroom will ever be out of style. Although the items themselves may be older than you, the clock doesn’t really matter when stepping into this showroom.

“It’s cleaned, hand-picked and curated by us,” Hodell said. “They know that it is going to be one-of-a-kind. It reflects a trend that is happening now, but no one is going to have this on. It’s such a statement.”

The worlds of fashion and interior may seem like two different ends of the creative spectrum but for Vintage Love, their journeys seemed destined to intertwine. Hodell’s experience in architecture and interior design, along with Diliberto’s studies of fashion merchandising and an eye for vintage, was just the beginning of their voyage together to create an authentic showroom.

“When something is really trendy in house wears, usually it’s trendy in fashion,” Diliberto said. “It is weird to think about it this way, but it’s true. For a while it was ‘50s and ‘60s and that came full circle again in clothing and houseware.”

“From couches to coats, even with colors,” Hodell said, “pink last year, this green (couch). If green is popular in fashion it’s popular in houseware.”

While these collectors always look to the past for inspiration, their future is looking bright. Upcoming events such as their do-it-yourself workshop for modern calligraphy is happening February 12 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m., which will hopefully encourage a new crowd they are hoping to tap into: college students. Besides, what better time to take fashion risks than as a collegiate.

“Vintage shopping is forever,“ Hodell said. “If you are a natural born thrifter, you will always be one.”

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