Knowledge is power when it comes to vintage streetwear. It’s the difference between only seeing an aesthetic compared to understanding cultural significance. One store proving that understanding culture is more important than ever is Parlour Store. Based in Auckland, of all places, Parlour prides itself on curating a careful selection of vintage pieces, select labels, and it’s own in-house brand Parlour. The store’s brand production manager and vintage buyer, who goes by a single letter: P, took a moment out of his day to explain how Parlour store is thriving in an era of online reseller prominence.
How did Parlour begin?
My good friend Eliza and I were talking about how Auckland needs more shops that carry different and unique items in the streetwear or vintage scene. Especially stuff with a dope vibe and culture.
Who’s the team behind Parlour?
We run a tight squad, so there’s Paulee and Aiden who are store managers, Eliza and Brendan handle photography and marketing, and myself—I do buying and brand production.
What sets Parlour apart from other stores?
We carry ’80s and ’90s premium vintage which we curate in a way to complement our in-house label Parlour as well as other streetwear labels such as 40s & Shorties and Moreporks.
What’s the scene like in New Zealand?
Streetwear over here has become overly commercial—most kids are rocking the same thing. On the other hand we’re pushing customers to show individual style.
Does being based there have challenges that people wouldn’t expect?
New Zealand is a great ground for experimentation. It’s fun to do stuff that is out the ordinary, however it is a very small and conservative market. I believe if we can survive here then we can survive anywhere (in the world).
Where’s good for sourcing vintage for Parlour?
USA, Japan, and South East Asia.
How do u decide what labels to stock new items from?
We are selective when it comes to adding new labels to the shop. The new labels should complement our vintage offering, represent street culture, and have fresh looks.
Have you got a good story of someone visiting the shop and finding something unexpected?
It was cool to have the $uicideboy$ roll through—Ruby copped a Celine skate deck we had on display.
What’s the rarest item you have?
Man, that’s difficult to say—I guess the 1995 Team NZ kit (Polartech vest, 1/4 zip pull over and long sleeve rugby) by Line 7 made in NZ stuff is super rare. Also our ’92 Pepsi MIcheal Jackson Dangerous World Tour satin jacket breaks mad necks.
Is business harder now that big reselling sites like Grailed are popular?
It’s easy to differentiate ourselves as every vintage piece in store is basically a one off piece. Also we don’t wholesale our in house brand so it remains exclusive.
- Photography by: Brendan Kitto