The fruits of digging come to those who are willing to put in work and hit the streets. It takes a lot of dedications and perseverance to keep your eyes on the prize and push on in search of your next dig or gem. Meet @SamuelSnapson, he does just that. Hailing from the South Side of Chicago, he manages to come up on copious amounts of deadstock heat on a regular basis. Its because of this that we have decided to feature him in our first Picker Profile. Read on to find out what makes him tick.
How did you first get interested in Vintage?
I don’t quite recall how I got interested in Vintage but I’ve always been into scarce / hard to find items, Clothes & otherwise. I don’t like being the same as the guy next to me. Not really having much money when I was comin up, I guess I figured out eventually - digging for vintage was the best / most cost effective way to set me apart. What did you do before you started digging?
I did just about everything legal & illegal but I’ve never held a 9-5 job longer than a month. I knew that life wasn’t meant for me way before I started picking / digging / hunting whatever you want to call it. As a kid I used to boost gear & write graffiti, none of my friends held jobs, that was all we did. I used to do shit just for the rush, Im an adrenaline junkie. So it was sort of easy for me to transition into picking because I realized I got the same high ( for example ) finding a Vintage North Face in the thrift that I used to get racking a $500 Gore-Tex from the store. Would you recommend this career choice to others?
I wouldn’t try to sway someone from this career but I wouldn’t try to convince them either. You already have to fight tooth & nail for your market share, why add more competition? I love what I do but ITS NOT FOR EVERYONE. The hrs are long and tons of research to be done before you figure out a balance between picking what you think is DOPE & what people are actually willing to spend their hard earned money on. Luckily I have good taste. Can you share some of your digging stories?
Too many crazy / funny things have happened to me since I started doing this. From petty stuff like, other pickers trying to intimidate you out of shopping at certain spots. To misjudging deadstock digs, like the time I drove 10+ hrs in a rental and stayed in a hotel, to wind up finding only 15 Deadstock hats worth buying before I headed home. All in all I’ve been very fortunate though. All but the dig I mentioned above have been very profitable for me. My 1st
actual, serious, “Deadstock Dig” - I happened upon while driving around a part of my city I was unfamiliar with - just killing time, trying to put my kids to sleep, while I waited for my wife to get out of work. In essence you can say, my kids caused me to get my 1st
taste of DEADSTOCK & I haven’t looked back since! I was just driving along aimlessly when I saw some old sports logos painted next to the name of a business and decided to pull over and look inside. I was blown away by what I saw. 1000’s of high end Deadstock snapback hats ( meaning: STARTER, SPORTS SPECIALTIES, AMERICAN NEEDLE BLOCKHEADS etc.) 100’s of Deadstock NBA / NHL / MLB jerseys - only good stuff! Champion NBA sewn & replica jerseys & shorts. CCM hockey jerseys. Starter Baseball jerseys & the list goes on. Not to mention the few 100 Starter Satin Jackets & DeLONG Varsity jackets. That was just the front of the store. After my 1st
venture turned a profit. I went back in & was allowed in the back room only to be blown away once more.. Long story short, a few trips back & $20,000 or so later the guy refused to do any more business with me. I guess he felt I somehow got over on him even though I figured we both profited in our dealings. Moral of the story: Not much loyalty in this business & nothing good lasts forever. What is the single best gem that you have ever found?
That’s a tough question because I’ve found SO MANY insanely dope items in the thrift and while digging for deadstock. Coupled with the fact that I delete most of my old pictures, its really hard to say what was the best! Heres an example of 1 of my more recent favourite pickups. My buddy who's not even into vintage called me 1 day as he was leaving his bank and said there was a garage sale going on across the street. He told me there were some older looking jackets on racks and he noticed they still had tags because the wind was blowing them around. After he explained what he saw I rushed over and discovered the guy was liquidating the remnants of an old flea market vendors stock. The guy had a stroke in 1996 and his merch just sat in storage until now. I bought a few 100pcs but my favorite were these NY Knicks PATRICK EWING Chalk Line Fanimation jackets. At the time @EwingAthletics was just making their comeback & I knew timing was perfect for me to max out on these. Definitely not the most valuable item(s) from what I’ve picked over time but the timing of the find itself just coincided perfectly with the Ewing resurgence & I knew I’d make a wave with them. What is your prize vintage possession, something that you wear or will never sell?
I’d have to say I don’t have 1 particular item.. I’m a big Hat collector / enthusiast. This was even before Vintage, I’ve always loved hats! So naturally, when I really started making my mark in this business it was for unearthing scarce Vintage Snapbacks. That being said, I’m an extreme hoarder of some styles that I’ve grown to love along the way. So heres a few pcs from my personal collection that I always buy when they pop up, no matter how many I accumulate in these styles I can never have too many! CLASSICS -
In your own words can you tell us the definition of VINTAGE?
I know the seemingly recent misuse of the word “Vintage“ really doesn’t sit well with certain die hards but I believe theres an explanation. I think in today’s world, time moves super fast – faster than ever. Trends change overnight & every other week something New becomes the “ in “ thing. People are always looking for whats next. Social Media played a big part in this for sure, we now have access to whats trending all over the world. This causes styles to be recycled rather quickly. For instance: I went from selling mostly 80s / early 90s sports apparel one yr. To the next yr Im killing with mid / late 90’s styles ( Anything Tommy Hilfiger, Baggy Hockey Jerseys, Bootleg Rap Shirts.. NO LIMIT RECORDS merch?? ) Just to name a few things Im selling good at the moment. To answer your question, I personally consider anything pre - 2000 to be Vintage, by today’s standards. Who do you look up to in the fashion world?
I look up to anyone who’s bold enough to wear WHAT THEY LIKE. Not what their stylist tells them to wear. I hate when people wear wack shit just because someone’s cutting them a check or someone else told them to dress a certain way. I get promo product sent my way all the time but I wont Co-Sign SHIT that I don’t like. I don’t care what you’re offering, cash or merch. Do you deal with any celebrities or high profile clientele?
I prefer to sell online and not meet anyone in person. That’s not my thing. I’ve sold to a few celebs or people claiming to be their stylists but you never really know who you’re dealing with behind a computer. Last person claiming to be from Kanyes camp wanted merch overnighted for free & refused to pay. At that point you have to think, this person might just be BS’ing, Haha. I have had a few hugely successful brand / store owners reach out to me for merch though. These are people of some influence, so its always reassuring to me to know that they think my stuff is DOPE. In that sense, I don’t even need to sell to celebs because I sell to the stores that sell to them. I prefer it that way. Can you give us your top 5 vintage related Instagram accounts that you follow?
I know I’m going to get some hateful texts after this, LOL but here goes & I’ll explain why: @SOLEFOODSANFRAN @ISLANDSOLES @VINTAGEFRKR @RARE_WEAR_ATTIRE @PSHINES_AOW (With an honorable mention to @MR_MARKYEEZY who picks some RIDICULOUS items daily but people would never know because he hoards them from the world & is sadly not super active on IG.) In terms of consistently bringing HEAT, these guys are IT! @SOLEFOODSANFRAN is a picking BEAST. I’ve had to tell myself from time to time, “He couldn’t have gotten that in a thrift store.” Just to justify the insane comeups he showcases on a daily basis. @Islandsoles finds Deadstock Sneakers in places most would never DARE travel. He pops up with shoes people have long forgotten & makes you ask yourself “ How could I have forgotten how DOPE that shoe was??” Not sure how much space I have for this question so about the rest I’ll just say - give them a follow. You won’t be disappointed! Who do you think is the most influential artist from the 90s?
To this question I have to say, it all depends on what you were following in the 90s. Myself as an example: All through grammar school I was very West Coast Rap, stylistically speaking. Death Row charm like Pac. Football jerseys like Snoop Dogg / Nate Dogg. Tall socks, Chucks. A lot of Starter Sports Apparel (that belonged to my older brother & I used to sneak out the house in!) Wasn’t until High School when I started hanging with a Graffiti Writer crowd that I discovered East Coast Hip Hop & the style that want with it. POLO, HILFIGER, THE NORTH FACE, 5 Panel hats etc. To this day I could still rock both but - NO 1 PERSON DEFINED 90’S STYLE. Ebay - SNAP-BACK*2*THE-FUTURE
Instagram - @samuelsnapson #deadstockovereverything