How this Harry Styles-inspired online vintage store is changing the fashion business
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Alissa Martin will admit starting End of June Vintage, an online clothing store inspired by Harry Styles, in fall 2020 was a bit out of the norm for her. She’s never really been one to “spontaneously follow an idea,” as she puts it. But, as a longtime fan of Styles since his boyband days in One Direction, this one felt worth chasing.
After graduating in May 2020 with a theater degree, her life mirrored that of many fresh graduates at that time: living at home, struggling to find a job in the field she’d earned a degree in, working at a local ice cream shop, and with more free time on her hands than she’d ever had. Throughout the pandemic, she’d watched TikTok creators like Andie Johnston and Siena Chanel flourish making videos replicating some of Styles’ signature, '70s-inspired outfits. It was inspiring, as she had always loved the pop star and fashion — thrifting, in particular — herself. Then, one day, the idea for End of June came to her.
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Immediately, Martin started scouting thrift stores and estate sales to build a collection. She found wide legged pants, structured blazer jackets, and even a powder blue suit — all looks Styles was known for wearing at the time. By the time she launched on Black Friday of 2020, she had amassed 50 pieces of clothing and was dreaming of selling out the entire collection.
“I just jumped on it and didn't look back,” Martin recalls. “Nothing like that has ever really happened to me before.”
She didn’t sell out that Black Friday — only 20 of the 50 pieces she sourced found a home. But, to this day, she considers that first drop a success and just the start of her business.
[Courtesy of End of June Vintage]
According to a 2021 ThredUp resale report, 2021 saw a spike in interest in secondhand clothing that is only projected to grow. Casual observers on the internet witnessed this spike in the form of more and more online thrift stores, like End of June, popping up across Instagram, Depop, and other platforms. The founders of these shops capitalize off of curation — possessing the patience and ability to sift through racks of clothing in a Goodwill and find the true gems, which many shoppers often romanticize but rarely have the dedication for. It’s a fruitful market that’s only going to continue growing according to Emily Stochl, host and creator of weekly vintage-focused podcast, Pre-Loved Podcast. She points to a Business of Fashion report which states that, as of 2021, only 5 to 7% of fashion that could be resold was on a resale platform. In other words, the thrifting “boom” isn’t even close to full peak.
As such, it can be tough for retailers within this quickly flourishing market to stick out. “I hear all the time from vintage sellers who come on my show that niching down in a market that is growing is key,” Stochl says. “I want to be able to go to your online page and be like: This is speaking to me.”
That’s exactly what Martin has done with End of June. The store smartly separates itself by leveraging Gen Z fangirl culture and the increasing interest in the online thrifting marketplace to create a vintage store inspired by one of this generation’s most beloved male pop stars and fashion icons. If you’re looking for bright wide-legged pants, boxy blazers, zany-printed argyle sweaters, or anything characteristic of Styles' vintage-inspired fashion over the years, End of June likely sells it.
[Photo by Adam Campau]
It makes sense that a lifelong fangirl would find this success. Martin jokes that her family often says she “discovered” One Direction, considering she was the first of her eighth-grade friends to find out about the British boy band in the early 2010s. She recalls seeing them during their first tour in the States in 2012, when they were just the opening act to Big Time Rush.
“When [One Direction] walked off the stage, I was crying because I thought they would never come back to America and I would never see them ever again,” Martin remembers.
Thankfully, for Martin and millions around the world, she ended up being entirely wrong, One Direction’s popularity soared in the years that followed, and her devotion to the band only grew stronger. Martin even ended up joining a local Directioner Facebook group, where she met and made friends she keeps in touch with today, but has rarely seen in person.
“I feel like I realized from a very young age the power of fandoms and building community online,” Martin says.
Even the band’s break-up in 2016 couldn’t dim her fervent love for all of its members. She continued to follow their careers. Styles, in particular, caught her attention during his first solo tour, not just for his music, but for his developing sense of style, as he donned the stage wearing outfits like a custom sparkly purple Gucci suit in Milan or an embellished jacket with red rhinestone fringe. And she hasn’t been alone. In fact, fashion presents a key role in the Harry Styles fandom, especially when it comes to his concerts. Walk past any venue on a Harry Styles tour, and you’ll find a hoard of fans dressed to the nines in eye-catching and elaborate outfits similar to the garb Styles wears on stage.
“Literally, every single person looks amazing,” Martin says of the concert attendants. And it always feels fulfilling for Martin when someone posts their show fit and End of June gets a tag for an item a fan bought — especially considering many fans will often turn to cheaper fast fashion retailers for their concert garb.
“I just think in general, I would love for there to be more like focus or talk about sustainable fashion [in the fandom],” Martin says. “If I could be part of encouraging people to think more critically about what they're wearing to concerts and why, that would be very cool.”
These days, Martin works full-time freelance, dividing her days between running End of June and working in web design and branding. She does themed clothing drops that coordinate with different songs from Styles’ discography. Right now, she’s making her way through the songs from his 2022 album Harry’s House.
Like with many online vintage retailers currently on the market, End of June is part of Martin’s livelihood. If Stochl’s prediction about resale boom on the horizon is anything to go by, there are going to be more and more resellers like Martin showing up in the online space. “At this point, these aren't just kids doing a closet clean out before back to school,” Stochl says. “I think this is the future of what small fashion businesses will look like.”
The internet can prove a somewhat equalizing platform at times, providing ample opportunity for people to blur the lines of who are the “pros” and who are the “amateurs.” And stores like End of June Vintage help slowly but surely twist a key in the padlock of the gates to multi-million dollar industries like retail.
In a now-famous 2017 Rolling Stone profile of Styles in anticipation for his first solo album, Styles was asked about his primarily young female fan base and if he felt pressured to prove himself to an older crowd. Styles reportedly grew animated in his response: “Young girls like the Beatles. You gonna tell me they’re not serious?”
While his sentiments were mainly about music, Styles’ empathic view of the credibility of his own fan base extends to legitimize much of their own abilities — like how a 20-something can start her own second-hand business and help pave the way for sustainable fashion.