The Greer Guide to Austin: Passport Vintage

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.

NOW WE WANNA KNOW, WHERE ARE YOUR FAVORITE SPOTS TO SHOP? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND TELL US YOUR FAVORITE AUSTIN BOUTIQUE.

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. 

The Greer Guide to Austin : Coco Coquette

It’s a reliable rule of thumb in the fashion world that great style always comes with a compelling story. Austin is no stranger to either of these things, and the city attracts people with style (and stories) in spades. In just the last few years, those people have helped the vintage scene in Austin explode, flipping the script on what it means to look “current” or “modern” in today’s sartorial landscape dominated by fast fashion, with its oft-cookie-cutter looks and trends that burn brighter (and fizzle faster) than the latest flash-in-the-pan viral video sensation.

Their stories have shaped their successes; their visions are what breathes new life into small local business. 

In Austin, Texas, it’s not enough to just have style. You gotta have soul.

Coco Coquette  

2109 E Cesar Chavez St, Austin, TX 78702

Much like her outpost on East Cesar Chavez, Allyson Garro herself brings an element of fanciful glamour that is somehow, paradoxically, completely accessible. An L.A. transplant with five years of wardrobe experience under her belt, Garro wanted a departure from the high-stress life that "The Industry" comes with. After a lot of soul-searching (and a retail stint in New Orleans where she gained her chops in retail), she opened up shop in her current East Austin location nearly eight years ago.

Garro knew she wanted to create a space where people could come and be presented with everything they could ever want to costume themselves. Having been a part of the burlesque scene in both L.A. and New Orleans throughout the late nineties and early aughts, her shop is a clear manifestation of a combination of her experiences. 

“There’s something about putting a wig on that’s very disarming. It gives you permission to be someone else. I think it’s better than alcohol!”
— -Allyson Garro, Owner of Coco Coquette

With an infectious enthusiasm for playing dress-up, Garro lights up when talking about hosting events and “wig parties” at the shop: While wigs are the mainstay of her business, Coco Coquette offers a full costuming experience with a wide range of skincare and wellness products, an impeccably curated selection of vintage party-appropriate clothing, and all the accoutrements one could need to transform themselves into a vision of vintage romanticism.  

For Allyson Garro, style will always been deeply personal, and is influenced by her mood. She recalls a memory growing up, having missed the bus on a stressful morning of fourth grade and her mom having to drive her in to school. Her mom recognized that something was wrong due to her daughter’s silence throughout the entire ride, Garro finally mumbled something about hating what she was wearing. Her mother, understanding the feeling of just not feeling right in what she’d chosen to wear, turned the car around so her daughter could change into something that suited her that day. Style didn’t just influence her mood, it changed the way she thought about work and what her role could be in helping other people feel good about themselves. 

Glamour, as it turns out, is a language in and of itself. And after spending just a few minutes inside Coco Coquette, you’ll be speaking ‘glamour’ fluently.

Now we wanna know, Where are your favorite spots to shop? Leave a comment below AND TELL US your favorite AUSTIN BOUTIQUE. 

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. 

Shop Austin: The November Boutiques

The East 5th Street Block Shops



Passport Vintage

This shop is located upstairs from Aro and specializes in recreating vintage denim into your perfect pair of jeans. Maria, the owner, tailors jeans into slim fit cuts, while also cropping the bottom for an on-trend look. She also has an eye for rare vintage tees. The result: a collection of pieces that will turn your weekend look into a style statement.

The selection of jeans includes Levi's 501s and Wranglers. 

 

ARO

ARO, the East Austin jewelry shop, celebrates small jewelry designers located all over North America: Austin, California, Brooklyn, Canada. When you walk into ARO, the structure, the colors, the lines weave a clear picture of what's in it: thoughtful, modern, feminine art. 

Use code "greer15" to receive 15% off your next purchase at ARO online or in store. 

Byron & Blue

Named after the owner's childhood pup and current fur baby, Byron and Blue houses all the home goods and knick-knacks that make perfect holiday gifts for friends, family and above all, you.

The owner, Alexia, says her most important space to her is home, which is why she decided to open this shop rather than a clothing boutique. The shop does carry one line of clothing though and from now until the end of this month, will host a pop-up shop from Pieceology Vintage