Rochester Vintage store owner deciphers current fashion trends

As fall approaches and the temperature drops into the lower 50s, maybe you should start pulling some of your jackets out of the corner of your closet or consider upgrading your Op Shop closet.

The store is located in a quiet neighborhood on Charlotte Street, near Ugly Duck Coffee. Jo Carroll, the store’s owner, started the business as an entrepreneur five years ago as a 24-year-old college graduate from Alfred University. With her passion for art and design, she opened this vintage store in 2017 with the encouragement of her sister and business partner Justine Carroll.

The store grew quickly, skyrocketing from two initial sellers to 15 after just two years, and they now boast a total offering of 32 different vintage and handmade seller brands. This makes Op one of the largest vintage stores in Rochester.

“I really think all the different vendors prove that you can mix and match different styles, sizes, eras and come up with a style that’s uniquely your own,” says Carroll.

Carroll also points out that she intentionally gave each vendor their own shelf so customers could look through each room and soak in each vendor’s style individually.

Today, Carroll continues to run the store with her love of design and fashion. The walls are hung and decorated with patchwork clothes and stylish skirts. She works with various local brands to create and produce unique clothing. Carroll says she is always looking for opportunities to work with local colleges and students with a passion for art and design.

Carroll also strives to keep its stock and supplies on top of trends. She believes that a vintage is a form of fashion in itself, as art regularly looks to the past to restore and remodel. This year, the 90s and the Y2K era are very popular as 2000s fashion makes a resurgence, and one of the store’s biggest draws is its trendy stocks and supplies. In the exhibition, Carroll has chosen to display layered clothing and accessories, including underwear and undergarments. According to Carroll, clothes that were once intended to be worn as underwear are now being styled as outerwear. “People are buying vests [and]cold corsets […] High boots are coming in style and leather boots in general. I think ethically sourced leather, ie vintage leather, is what will be in style for the fall. And “maxi” – everything […] either maxi or mini. So it’s either t-shirts, wide leg pants, maxi skirts or dresses,” says Carroll.

The store also seeks to support minority groups, as Carroll expresses her openness to LGBTQIA+ retailers and those that offer plus sizes.

“I’m always looking for people who are LGBTQIA+ themselves so they can be a unique influencer for those who shop here and feel seen. Also, people offer extended sizes, so plus sizes and every vintage size from a size 14 up,” says Carroll.

The store is a five-minute walk from the Red Line shuttle stop at Eastman Living Center and is open Thursday through Sunday.

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