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A Day in the Lives of A Current Affair's Vintage Masterminds

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From serving up endless throwback inspo to stylists and designers to curating vintage wonders for fellow multi-hyphenates, Scout boutique owner Joey Grana and NEW/FOUND owner Richard Wainwright are sort of legends in LA's designer vintage scene. Together, they're duo behind the epic pop-up market A Current Affair, which easily landed our must-shop list since its first show three years ago—and the massive shopping party's set to take take over the Cooper Building's penthouse once again with one-of-a-kind treasures next Saturday, December 7th. (Got your tix yet?)

So what does it take to round up a consistently killer line-up of standout boutiques and private dealers? We hitched a ride with Grana and Wainwright for a behind-the-scenes look into their enviable world of non-stop shopping (there's much more to it, trust) and to score a sneak peek of the covetable pieces they pulled for ACA's fashion exhibit. Scroll through the gallery to see a tiny slice of their day-to-day and get to know the two super sweet talents below.

What's the story behind the event's name?
Richard: "As some people know, it was the name of a tabloid news show in the '80s. We thought it worked to appropriate the name given the fact we're selling vintage that feels current and we are a pop-up event. We found out after the fact the show is still on in Australia and we get angry tweets from Australians all the time thinking we're the TV show."

How'd you get into this line of work?
Richard: "I've always collected as a hobby...I was working for a set designer and I just got burned out doing production. So I took some time off and I started running out of money, so I was like, 'I better start selling some of this collection...' I sold some stuff and saw that there was a market for what I did; [that was about] 5 or 6 years ago."
Joey: "I started working at a vintage store when I graduated high school; I didn't really know about vintage before that; I was like 16. I shopped at thrift stores. I've been doing it [ever since then]."

People probably think that shopping for a living is a cinch. What are some common misperceptions about your job?
Richard: "It's that [my job] easy, because it's not. It's much harder to find things that people actually want than most people think it is. Because it's our job to find these things, then once those things sell we have to find them immediately again and replenish the inventory right away. It's just not like a traditional store where you can do a reorder, which I wish it was sometimes. I find myself saying that a lot: 'Wow, if I could just get 20 of that piece, I would've sold all 20.' But I think that's also what keeps it fresh and interesting. There's a lot of budgeting involved, there's a lot of business involved—it's not just shopping."

How have sites like Etsy changed how you work?
Richard: "It's much harder now because there's more competition…"
Joey: "And people are holding onto their stuff…"
Richard: "Yeah, people are holding onto their stuff because of the economy, and because they see these TV shows that talk about vintage, people that normally would've moved onto the next thing—even if they don't wear it—know their item holds value so they want to hold onto it."

You're totally right. Do you think Rachel Zoe's reality show had a hand in that?
Richard: "It helped in the fact that it got more people interested in vintage and wanting to see what's out there and how they could wear it, and get a look that you can't get off the rack. But yeah, it made more people want to hold onto their vintage pieces."

Are you excited about any particular vendors in the upcoming holiday show?
Richard: "I'm excited about Rococo Vintage, who has a big online following. This will be her first pop-up retail experience and I think our customers will really love her selection.

I'm also a big fan of Robert Black, who comes in from Scottsdale, [Arizona]. He always has the most outrageous designer vintage at very fair prices. Joanna Williams of Kneeland Mercado is curating a special holiday gift market which we previewed last week and she is bringing some really special pieces."

What's the vibe of the designer vintage dealer scene here in LA? Is it different from other cities?
Richard: "Superficially, the LA vintage vibe is different in that we wear a wider range of eras and silhouettes. The scene overall is more dynamic because of the entertainment industry. Vintage is big business in LA."

And do you think people in LA are drawn to specific designers or styles as opposed to vintage enthusiasts in other cities?
Joey: "It varies a lot, there's a contingent of customers that want good quality/designer vintage that works with a contemporary wardrobe. There's the entertainment industry—TV, film and musicians etc who need more statement pieces—and everything in between...collectors, designers, people that are into one specific era. LA really runs the gamut in the vintage department."

So what's your least favorite era in terms of clothing?
Joey: "I'm really against the '70s right now, I'm so tired of it. I used to try to appreciate it more but now I never want to see '70s again. I just feel like it's such a go-to thing, especially in the designer vintage world—like Halston, Ossie Clark…but I have no interest."
Richard: "So that's why when I found that Ossie Clark [at Anessa's studio] you were like, 'Eh'."
Joey: "I'm over it."

You guys must have some crazy stories to tell about your buying adventures! Care to share?
Joey: "One time I went to this estate sale; the woman had died and they were selling the house…It was really really weird, their butler had faked a murder in the house and smeared blood on the walls the night before I went there. He was crazy; he didn't want to lose his job and they were selling the house, so he was refusing to move out even though it was already for sale. It was just total insanity. Just the whole vibe of that place was really scary. I just grabbed some stuff and left. He had already stolen a bunch of her clothes and sold it; he was a psycho!"

What's one of your favorite aspects of organizing the show?
Joey: "It's the customer that we're going after [...who says,] 'It never would've really occurred to me to wear vintage before the shows, but now I feel like in this environment I could.' We're trying to present it in that way [and] make it accessible and easy to understand; that it's not so scary or smelly or era-specific."

Tell us about your connection with Art of Elysium, and why was it important that the show benefits the organization?
Richard: "It's a great charity that enriches the lives of critically ill children in Los Angeles and New York through four disciplines—fashion, art, music and film—we thought it would be the perfect fit to have them align with A Current Affair and be our charity of choice to benefit from the ticket sales at the event. They will also have a small booth at our pop-up so guests can learn more and get involved if they are interested."

What does the future of A Current Affair look like?
Richard: "We have a few little projects in the works, it's definitely gonna grow; it's not just gonna stay as a show that happens three times a year. Hopefully next year will be the year we expand and try some new things...but it's a secret!"
· A Current Affair [Official Site]
· Lots of Vintage to Love at A Current Affair [Racked]
· A Current Affair's Ritzy Vintage Extravaganza [Racked]
· First Look: Wild Vintage Jewelry Pops Up at Kelly Wearstler [Racked]


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