Vintage clothing is not only a sustainable fashion choice, it’s a way to connect with history and express individuality. The vintage world encourages a break from the cycle of fast fashion, where trends quickly come and go. I love how vintage pieces reflect styles from various eras, showcasing designs that have stood the test of time. I recently had the opportunity to meet Kathy Murphy, founder of Hampton Flea + Vintage. We spoke about how she got started in the vintage market and her most prized vintage possessions.
I am such a big fan of the Hampton Flea + Vintage platform you have built over the last few years. How did this idea take shape and how are you keeping up with the expansion?
I’ve always been a collector of vintage fashion and a huge enthusiast of mid-century architecture and furniture. During the pandemic, I was lucky enough to fulfill my dream of relocating to Palm Springs, California, which to me is the mecca of all things mid-century and modern. Having the time on my hands, and the ability to slow things down a bit, I came up with this idea of creating a vintage experience in the Hamptons. The East End is a special place to me where I have been summering for a long time. I wanted to build a unique shopping experience and a platform for the creative vintage community. Right from the start, the show was a success and we expanded from four shows in the first season to 10 shows this summer for our third season. With the help of our amazing team and our professional vendors, we are prepared for the expansion and can’t wait for what’s next.
What is your background and how did you get into vintage fashion, furniture, and hand-crafted goods?
I lived in Brooklyn for over 20 years and my background is in the fine art world. I was the Publisher of Modern Painters Magazine and then the Global Director of Art Palm Springs, Art Aspen, and SOFA Chicago. I’ve always been passionate about vintage. And, the community of vintage dealers are very similar to the art world. These are small business owners who are very talented at bringing unique, one-of-a-kind items to the market. I currently spend summers in Southampton and winters in Miami.
Can you tell me about your most prized vintage possessions?
My most prized vintage possessions are the clothes I purchased from our vendors. This summer I acquired a fantastic ’60s dress from Collective Good Shop. In Palm Springs during 100-plus degree temperatures, I purchased my favorite blue fur coat from the shop The End. I can’t wait for the opportunity to wear this fur coat over the next year.
How many vendors do you include in each show? How do you recruit these vendors?
We typically have 50-plus vendors per show. We work with top vintage dealers in New York City and beyond. Having spent so much time in California, we have several vendors that come from Los Angeles to be with us such as Trust Fund 21 and Shop Ome. We’ve even had vendors come as far as Italy to be with us for one day. What we created is truly amazing and people will travel to be a part of it.
How does Hampton Flea give back to the Hamptons community?
We work closely with the Southampton Animal Shelter.
What’s next for Hampton Flea + Vintage?
Last year, we had our first NYC holiday show at the Prince George Ballroom: Hampton Vintage. This show was limited to the top vintage fashion, jewelry, and accessories dealers. We also want to bring our Hampton Flea family to warm destinations this winter… so please stay tuned. Our schedule can be found on our Instagram @hamptonflea or our website hamptonflea.com.