In the realm of style and fashion, history often repeats itself.
You can find popular 1950s’ fashions – oxfords, Mary Janes, full skirts, double-breasted jackets, and tapered trousers – and more modeled in contemporary trends.
However, vintage collector Ardis Taylor appreciates the original design of these “old school” fashions. Through his business Vintage Apparel by Ardis, he has been collecting and restoring vintage clothing, accessories and footwear for over 30 years, adding to his collection of classic style.
Growing up in Oakland during the 1950s and 1960s, Taylor developed his “consciousness” for vintage fashion as a frequent shopper and was also inspired by the men’s clothing store Haberdasheries, owned by jazz musician Yancie Taylor.
“People who look like us are doing nontraditional occupations like this, functioning under the wire,” says Taylor, one of few African American vintage dealers.
Specializing in men and women’s apparel ranging from the 1920s through the 1970s, the connoisseur of vintage has an eye for detail and is known for his quality of work.
He has showcased his collections at multiple trade shows from Alameda to Los Angeles and even on the big screen in “Ali” and “Ray.”
In the films Will Smith sports a pair of shoes from the 1960s as Muhammad Ali and Jamie Foxx dons a flecked wool jacket as Ray Charles.
Taylor also looks forward to providing suits for ex-offenders as they prepare for job interviews.
Honing his skills to restore pieces like a wool jacket with a missing button or a pair of wing-tip spectators, Taylor says every detail matters.
“Condition and age are very important. I can take a piece and tell if it was well made, like footwear, handbags, and hats. Some pieces are not collectible, certain colors and styles are not collectible,” Taylor says, “but quality things are timeless.”