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Dressing like it’s 1999 at Paisley Vintage in downtown Berkeley

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Dressing like it’s 1999 is now cool, say owners of new vintage shop

Brothers Michael and Kevin Dong, outside their new vintage shop on Bancroft Way. Credit: Joanne Furio

The premise for a Progressive Insurance TV commercial is a life coach who helps prevent home buyers from becoming their parents. In terms of style, however, becoming your parents is now cool, part of a Y2K nostalgia that continues to rule in vintage. 

“A lot of people like to dress like their parents now,” said Kevin Dong, who opened Paisley Vintage with his brother, Michael, a year ago. “Anything 20 to 30 years old is resurfacing.” 

That means knitted sweaters with collars or crew necks in argyle or graphic prints ($25-$30) or mesh and lace tops ($14-$22). The store’s most popular items across the board: vintage T-shirts with graphic, nature or cartoon images ($18-$30). 

The brothers are 20-somethings who both trained at UCLA as engineers (Kevin in mechanical; Michael in biomedical) and live in Concord. During the pandemic, they got the idea of turning their hobby into a more permanent business. They had done vintage sales previously in Berkeley and thought that the city’s demographic, chock full of college shoppers, made it the perfect place for their first brick-and-mortar store. 

Their 800-square-foot storefront, steps from campus, also happens to be near two popular eateries that create foot traffic: Great China and U Cha bubble tea. Maybe that’s why business has been a lot better than the brothers expected. 

“A lot of the Cal students have been repeat buyers, which helps a lot,” Kevin said. The brothers don’t do

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  • September 10, 2022