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The Brimfield antique and clothing show is New England's largest event of its kind. And it's a big deal in the fashion industry, as designers flock there for inspiration and store props. We asked the Jon Totaro and Phil Bassis, owners of Reason Clothing on East 9th Street, to sum up their trip.
Ever walk into a shop and wonder where they find all the amazing vintage props and fixtures? Ever wonder how an interior decorator can find all the furnishings to design an entire house to look like a real 1950s cottage? The truth is that whether you're setting foot in a store like Polo or J.Crew, scouring local antique stores, or paying a high-price interior designer to decorate your home, everyone goes to the same place when they're looking to score the best and coolest vintage pieces in the world: the Brimfield Flea Markets.
The Brimfield Flea Market takes place three times a year in Brimfield, Massachusetts. The show takes place over the course of four days in over forty acres of fields, and draws upwards of 20,000 people a day. We've been attending for the past five years to buy everything from antique shelving and tables to taxidermy animals and rare Levi's jackets.
We own and operate the Reason outpost store on East 9th Street. If you've ever seen our store, you know that besides being one of the best sources for vintage clothing in the city, we also curate the store with a different visual theme every season. This month the store is themed to look like a nautical/surfing getaway, so we've outfitted the space with everything from vintage fishing rods and fish taxidermy to rare surf boards, mini boats, hammocks, beach towels, and fishing nets. Even the vintage band tees and designer sunglasses we carry fit into our seasonal theme—and a good portion of our best pieces come straight from the Brimfield Flea Market.
Brimfield is the insider's source to find the rarest and coolest vintage items no matter what floats your boat. Obsessed with old teapots? There's a guy for that. Looking for a Civil War-era pistol? 1920s freak show posters? Reclaimed wood farm table? Genuine human skull? Check, check, check, double check. If you want to decorate your house or apartment to look like a million bucks and only spend a small fraction of that, the market is the place for you. We usually spend most of our trips getting into bidding wars with the Tommy Hilfiger visual team over who gets to buy the twelve foot bear-skin rug, or beating the Polo creative team to the best booths.
If you plan on heading there any time soon (the next is in July), here are a few tips from the veterans:
Arrive early: You want to get there between 4am and 5am on the first day of the show.
Wear boots: Even a little bit of rain means you'll be spending the day trudging through a foot of mud.
Know the schedule: Different fields open at different times. If a field opens at noon, you'll want to get there a few minutes early to get first dibs on the best stuff.
Take the truck: While there are shipping companies who will deliver your treasures back home for you, it's quite expensive. Your best bet is renting a van or U-Haul if you plan on buying big items.
Bargain: This goes without saying, but you'd be surprised how skittish people are about bargaining. I can't even start to tell you how many times we've talked people down to a third of their asking prices on some items.