Vintage fans will love Rin Tanaka’s annual fashion event: Inspiration
By Samuel Trotman

Rin Tanaka’s annual vintage showdown, Inspiration, in Los Angeles is a fashion mecca for those who like their denim faded and original, says WGSN Denim Editor Samuel Trotman

Mar 01, 2016
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2 min
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If you’re a serious vintage or denim-head, then you were probably at Rin Tinaka’s annual vintage showdown, Inspiration, in Los Angeles earlier this month. Now in its eighth edition, the show has blossomed into what is arguably the best vintage and vintage-inspired clothing gathering in North America, if not the world.

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The two-day gathering is the work of the infamous Rin Tanaka, author of the My Freedamn! books and is intended as a gathering of like-minded collectors and enthusiasts from all over the world to buy and sell but mainly to gather, chat and share their obsessions. Held at its new home of the Reef in Downtown LA, the fair hosts the very best international dealers and heritage-inspired brands from across the US, Japan and Europe.

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Here you’ll find some of the biggest names in the game like Larry McKaugan (Heller’s Cafe), American Blues Trading, Snappy Gabs and J’Antiques from Tokyo alongside brands like The Real McCoy’s and Levi’s Vintage Clothing. With a 200+strong exhibitors list you can fully immerse yourself in a wealth of vintage inspiration, exploring everything from the turn of the century relics from Andrew Phelps of High Grade U.S. Standard, Americana from the 1900s-1980s, military, through to surf and skate exhibitors, plus artists and artisans, hot-rods, antiques, records, as well as live music.

While the event is mainly visited by hardcore vintage aficionados and fashion designers seeking design inspiration, the show has an open door policy and the second day (Saturday) sees droves of local LA folk turn out in droves to pick up a rare find. What’s more, the fair is held just before the infamous Rose Bowl Flea Market is held just a day after doors closed, so there’s plenty of time to get your vintage fix.

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A must-see on the WGSN trade show calendar, the denim team scoured the floors for a full two days picking through the collections to highlight the key vintage trends as well as snapping the top vintage street style looks from the fair (subscribers watch out for the report this week). This year brought out the usual suspects in vintage and new brands as well as some welcomed additions to the show. Here’s our highlights from the two day fiesta:

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Enormous Lee overalls from local LA dealer, Snappy Gabs

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Andrew Phelps (left) and Mike Harris (right) at Andrew’s booth High Grade U.S. Standard, which presented a selection of historic denim garments

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New addition to the show, African Antiques & Fabrics showcasing artisan African indigo textiles

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Portland-based Bigfoot & Wildboy always bringing the rarest goods to Inspiration

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Another new addition, Medicineman from Tokyo was a show stealer with their incredible collection of antique French workwear and period Japanese workwear garments

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As always the fair attracted an incredibly varied crowd with vintage clothing aficionados of all stripes. Throughout the floors you have rockabillys, surfers, bikers, dandies, greasers and true Western style folk paying their homage an era gone by.

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Local LA vintage head Ployd bringing true vintage style in her Chimayo jacket and raw fits

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Rose Bowl Flea Market seller taking retro style to the full in double denim and pimped out 70s Chevy truck

Like what you just read? Follow Samuel on Instagram for the latest indigo inspiration and denim news.

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