To say that Maria Oliveira and Ryan Lerma know jeans would be an understatement. With the Instagram tagline “vintage jeans for modern butts," their vibrant blue brick-and-mortar arguably holds the best vintage denim collection anywhere, in Austin and beyond...
Having worked in retail management together and with a combined 14 years of retail experience, Lerma and Oliveira teamed up and went into vintage reselling together while still living in Chicago, where they relocated to Austin from in 2016. Though they considered other spots to make a move — L.A., Nashville, and Atlanta were on their list — they ultimately concluded, after much research and scouting, that Austin was the vintage capital of the U.S., and was where they could see their business grow.
It didn’t take long for Passport to develop a devoted following of vintage denim devotees: since Passport’s launch two years ago, it has transformed from an all-online sales platform to a stint in East Austin residency (its first physical iteration was in the second floor of Aro’s space on East 5th) to its current cool-hued digs on South 1st.
Specializing in vintage denim and t-shirts, Passport creates an experience in their shop, encouraging visitors to take in the ambiance that each separate room within the shop creates. With every piece in the store hand-selected by Oliveira and Lerma themselves, stepping in to Passport evokes the feeling of walking inside the home of an impossibly cool, undeniably fun friend with an eye for only the best in vintage. When it comes to sourcing, Lerma and Oliveira share an attitude of “anywhere and everywhere” to find those classic throwbacks that are forever in demand.
Beyond their bread and butter of vintage denim and tees, Oliveira and Lerma are very selective with any other pieces they bring in to complement the look they’ve cultivated for the shop. A mix of new and vintage accessories — which has included sunglasses, cameras, and shoes at different points in Passport’s lifetime — rounds out the outfits that make the shop’s Instagram feed a favorite among vintage fans worldwide.
Lerma and Oliveira tap into power that an inspiring physical space can have— and into the community that it can create. Longtime Instagram followers of the shop who come to Austin will make a point to visit the shop, and it’s this connection to their customers and their clothing that makes Passport an absolute must-visit.
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The Greer Guide to Austin is a bi-weekly column written and photographed by Liz Feezor of Liz Feezor Creative.
Greer Image Consulting loves supporting local small business, and vintage style is a daily dose of self-expression that is truly unique, sustainable, and supports a network of men and women committed to bringing the best of past style into your wardrobe.