The heavy glass doors bring you into a vintage subculture wonderland.
Planks of wood on the store’s shiplap feature wall guide patrons past a gumball machine which dispenses handmade pins, past rows of rainbow sorted articles of clothing, past a collection of oddities, and into the world of vintage fashion.
As Earth, Wind, and Fire classics play through the speakers, everyone is dressed as though they’ve arrived from the set of a classic cult movie, and a myriad of unique pieces fill the store. It’s hard not to become filled with inspiration.
Raxx Vintage Emporium is a business powered by women and vintage lovers, but made for the enjoyment of all.
(popular items like t-shirts and denim jackets line the front wall of the store)
Amanda Saslow founded, owns, and runs Bulk Vintage. According to her website, Bulkvintage.com, Saslow oversees the success of a 14,000 square foot warehouse in Frankford and Raxx Vintage Emporium in South Philadelphia. Saslow’s warehouse holds over 200,000 pounds of clothing.
According to her website, what started out for Saslow as mission to find an embroidered Western shirt has evolved over almost 20 years into a vintage clothing empire.
“I’ve known Amanda since her Old City days,” said Erin Bury, early 50s of Fishtown, referring to Saslow original store “Sazz,” as she combed through a rack of men’s collared shirts.
“She gives new life to old things,” said Vanessa Tejada, 31 of South Philly, who works for Saslow.
The Bulk Vintage owner’s hard work is not confined to the walls of her warehouse. In December of 2018, shortly after the closure of her former store called, Briar Vintage, Saslow decided to purchase a new location at 534 South St Philadelphia. This new store took the name Raxx Vintage Emporium, and was intended to combine the styles of Saslow’s former stores Sazz, Briar Vintage, and Raxx.
After receiving the keys to the new location in October 2018, private contractors were hired to demolish, construct, and redecorate a brand new Raxx Vintage in the heart of South Street. This brand new store was intended to uniquely combine the distinct vintage styles of the former locations, and provide both customer bases with a central store for their vintage needs.
In order for this new Raxx Vintage location to be successful, Saslow hired employees as unique as the styles they sell, and as passionate about vintage clothing as she is.
Megan Matuzak, 29 from Port Richmond, is the assistant manager at Raxx Vintage. Her style is laid back like she is. She wears 70s vintage denim from head to toe. Her jacket lapel and breast are decked with unique pins, including a portrait of the Addams Family which is occasionally hidden by her chic feathered blowout.
Matuzak started working at Saslow’s warehouse in October 2018 where she gained increasing interest in vintage clothing by learning from others. After working in the warehouse, Mutuzak was given a position to work at the new South Street location.
Formally educated as a journalist at Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication, Matuzak says she enjoys her work in vintage clothing because of its inclusivity and lack of rigid rules.
Mutuzak’s colleague at Raxx, Pepper Ann, 25 from South Philadelphia, prides herself on setting the tone for the store, as well as her skills in visual
merchandising. Ann had worked at Saslow’s previous vintage store three blocks away from the new one. When Saslow opened a new location, Ann was given a position immediately.
("I like the energy and vibe of Raxx" -Pepper Ann)
Ann says once a week she styles the store window mannequins. The process is very specific. The articles of clothes have to be picked from the back of house and steamed before they can be assembled into an outfit fit for display. Ann does this on her own, handpicking looks which are representative of her personal style and the look of the store.
“I would say my look is like a fairy unicorn,” Ann says sipping on an iced coffee from Federal Donuts as her multi-colored box braids swing mid-sentence, “I’ve been called whimsical or eccentric.”
Tejada was hired as the general manager of Raxx Vintage. Though she has a background in fetish clothing, she gained knowledge of vintage clothing through her boss, colleagues and of course, the internet.
Her passion for fetish clothing is evident in her personal style. Tejada describes her style as a “goth mom.” She is known for her all black outfits and says she likes to incorporate color through her makeup.
As general manager of the vintage emporium, Tejada is involved in almost every aspect of the store. A lot of her duties revolve around the merchandise- given the nature of the store.
Every article of clothing which is sold at Raxx Vintage comes from Saslow’s Frankford warehouse. Matuzak made sure to mention that the independent vintage emporium does not accept donation or consignment. The pieces are ordered by Saslow, processed, then delivered to Raxx Vintage based on style, supply, and demand.
(Mannequins display a combination of eras and styles)
Due to uniting multiple former locations into one, Raxx Vintage has an immense amount of inventory.
“It is important to welcome different styles,” Tejada said.
The store does just that. At every turn a different era, style, and look is represented. One of Matuzak’s favorite aspects of the store is the Briar Vintage permanent display featured at the store’s entrance. The collection features military uniform pieces from all branches of the military dating back from the year 1900 to 1960s.
“Style is not something that is hard to find at Raxx,” said Troy Brian, a web designer in his mid-30s from South Philly, as he browsed through a collection of vintage oddities in Raxx’s Hoof and Antler permanent pop-up.
It’s 2:30 p.m. on a Wednesday and people are pouring into the store. Two men in baggy black clothes comb through t-shirts from the late 20th century arraigned in rainbow order. Ann donates her wardrobe styling skills to a patron at the jewelry display in the center of the store. The antique curtains of the dressing room are pulled back inviting the next guest to try on a vintage commodity.
Two British women push through the glass door on their way out. One turns to her friend and says, “Well that was cute and authentic.”