Brian Cohen started collecting vintage while in college and learned the tricks of the trade from the legendary Bobby from Boston. Now, Cohen sells unique vintage pieces from his museum-like store in LA.
“In high school in the late 80s, I met some friends who were into new wave and alternative music. That scene went hand in hand in wanting to dress and look different. So we started visiting thrift stores in Westchester County where we lived and also traveled to NYC for thrift shopping. The 26th street flea market was amazing at that time.
There was not any decade in particular that I was into at that time. It was all about experimenting, mixing and matching, and an anything-goes attitude.
Once I went to college, I responded to the post-war 40s and 50s fashion which I still like to this day. There is something special about that time: a lot of hope in the country, the beginning of rock ’n’ roll music, and lots of expressionism in the fashion.
In 2000 I moved to Los Angeles and in October 2016 I opened my store on Hollywood Boulevard. California is the best place to live if you work in vintage: there is a show every weekend. Running a vintage business is a job but it doesn’t feel like that. It is a lifestyle. There is nothing I would rather do. It is a privilege to do what you love and turn it into a full-time career.
Bobby Garnett, known as Bobby from Boston, was my mentor. He ran a legendary vintage shop in Boston for over four decades. I spent a lot of time traveling, thrifting, and hanging out with him. I can picture his energy, passion, and laugh still to this day. I hope his spirit still lives on in my store. Sadly, he passed away four years ago.
When I opened my store it opened all aspects of the fashion world to me: I sell to designers, musicians, Hollywood productions. But in the end, what I love most is selling for people who are shopping for themselves.
At my store, I sell vintage pieces from any decade but they have to be very indicative of their era, in great, wearable condition and every piece has to be a so-called wall-hanger. I hand-pick myself every piece. I look for pieces that I have never seen. Conversational, historical, different, anything exciting that jumps out. Garments that make a wow effect.
I like handmade pieces like this jacket which is an original 40s work jacket but fully patched up and reworked later in the 60s. For me, this is part of both Americana and hippie culture, reusing, and recycling what you have.
One of my original passions is vintage Hawaiian shirts and I probably have one of the biggest collections in the world. This women’s shirt is 40s silky rayon that drapes beautifully. The print is based on Paul Gauguin’s woodcut. Colors really pop up from the black background.”
Vintage on Hollywood
4659 Hollywood Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Open by appt during the pandemic (email firstname.lastname@example.org to make an appt)
Shop Vintage on Hollywood on Etsy
Model Lindsay Murray