At the end of August, the vibes at University of Hawai‘i Mānoa were swaggin’ for shoppers. The sun shone down on big white tents as the sound of the hangars clicking onto clothing racks filled the Campus Center. Colors and patterns of selectively chosen inventory saturated the space, leaving onlookers with a rare feeling of nostalgia – a feeling of home.
It had been months since pop-up shops started to arrive back on campus. While some were slowly reintroduced in Spring 2022, it was few and far between. Eager to bring a sense of community back into student life, Harbors Vintage, specializing in local thrift and streetwear, opened up to an excited crowd of students with their unique collectables and friendly faces.
Due to the success and popularity of their endeavor, the Harbors Vintage crew will be setting up their pop-up shop near the Campus Center each Wednesday in September from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Harbors Vintage was founded in 2016 by Arik Ma, a UHM graduate who is the living embodiment of the word “dope.”
After starting the brand by selling what he thought were cool finds to friends, Ma’s passion for streetwear and creativity evolved into a loyal community of avid thrifters and fashion-lovers alike.
Hosting their own podcast, creating YouTube content and maintaining an active social media presence, Harbors Vintage intends to provide a sociable and inviting environment for their customers.
As of September 2022, Harbors Vintage has two brick-and-mortar store locations. Their original store is located on Beretania Street and their newest store is located inside the Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikīkī.
Gabby Ader, the store manager at the original Harbors Vintage location, said she hopes they cultivate a space of comfort and acceptance.
“It was really important for Arik that we could create a community around streetwear in Hawai’i,” Ader said. “He’s so personable with the customers and remembers everything people buy, so it encourages us as employees to be welcoming with everyone that comes into the store, especially UH Mānoa students.”
With six clothing racks of unique fashion merchandise, the UHM pop-up quickly attracted attention from students on campus.
“I was just walking back from my class and saw a huge crowd around all these tents and went to check it out,'' said senior Chloe Kam. “It was a really cool experience, and I ended up buying a couple shirts for a great deal.”
Despite anxieties from a two-year shut down due to COVID-19, the abundant turnout this semester contrasted their previous attempts at setting up on-campus pop-up shops.
“It went really well, we were pretty overwhelmed by all the people who stopped by to check us out,” Ader said. “It was like a whole new generation of students.”
To keep the momentum going, students can shop new inventory and hang out with the Harbors Vintage crew at the tents in front of the Campus Center Sept. 21 and 28.
“I’m glad they’re making it a regular thing on campus because the clothes are dope and all the employees are really chill,” said senior Trey Metoyer. “I think it’s a great way for students into street wear and thrifting to get together on campus.”
To promote ethical consciousness and sustainability, customers are also encouraged to bring their own clothes to sell or trade for store credit. This aligns with what is at the forefront of their mission as a vintage store – keeping the circle of life going for others to find pieces that resonate with them.
“My advice to anyone exploring their identity through clothing is to not be afraid to experiment,” Ader said. “Have fun. Play around. Try what you want. Do what you want; don’t listen to what other people say.”
Follow @harborsvintage and @harborsvintagewaikiki on Instagram to stay updated with the Harbors Vintage crew and for additional information about events, store hours and new drops on merchandise designs.