In 1982 we started buying & selling vintage clothing (by “vintage” I mean 1940’s–1970’s men’s & women’s clothes) and this was before “the Internet.” My partner, Larry Craig and I opened a small space (9 x 13 ft.) with a pink neon sign: “LOCALS ONLY.”We sold Levis 501, Aloha shirts, gaberdine cowboy shirts, 1940’s rayon floral dresses, leopard jackets, etc… The English Beat & The Stray Cats were BIG. We edited and presented vintage clothing as fashion. All the high school kids and designers from Shawn Stussy, Michael Tomson, Jeff Yokoyama all started shopping with us. Laguna was the home of many surf companies and through our business we got to know them all. We had three locations in the “Sleepy Hollow” area of Laguna during our 22 years.
During the mid 80’s, Locals Only became well know to many collectors, Japanese dealers, German & English tourists and tons of Laguna Beach high schoolers, surfers, models, punks, and rockabilly kids. The store was tightly edited and we followed fashion closely. Customers included Lisa Eisner, Bette Midler, Lee Rocker ( Stray Cats), Malcom McClaren & Lauren Hutton. There was a amazing moment when the Vogue Fashion Director, Carlyne Cerf de Dudzelle came in with Christy Turlington, Estelle, Helena Christenson, Karen Mulder and they were just CRAZY for Levis 501’s. All those beautiful supermodels trying on used Levis, we were STOKED.This was a time when whole design teams from Abercrombie & Fitch, Quiksilver, Roxy, Billabong, Stussy, Gotcha would come in to get samples to reference and had a budget to buy stuff. No one had iPhones or anything like we have today to get references from, so they just bought loads of vintage clothes. You used to be able to buy superb vintage clothing as this was a time where if you had a good eye and a vision, you could make a lot of money. There was no eBay, you had to do research, dig deep and be “in the know” to find very specific materials. The internet killed this experience in a lot of ways.
We were really famous for our selection of Levi 501s. And through doing our window displays, I caught the attention of Steve Jones, who hired me and soon I was working on photo shoots and designing some trade show booths at Gotcha. That led to some modeling for Stussy, Gotcha, Quiksilver and creating “sets” for photo shoots (Roxy, Quiksilver, Abercrombie & Fitch Quarterlies, Union Bay, Swell, etc.). I got to work with Art Brewer, Dewey Nicks, Stephen Zeigler, Pamela Hanson, Tom Adler, Mark Oblow, George Salas, Bruce Weber, Mike McGill, Michael Voorhees and I worked a lot.
After 24 years of retail (vintage clothing), my favorite memory is the amazing array of models, personalities, designers, photographers and life long friends that shopped and were inspired by “Locals Only.”