Spark Pretty “90’s Forever” Pop-Up Launch

On Wednesday, November 2nd, online vintage retailer— Spark Pretty —celebrated the opening of its first brick-and-mortar pop-up shop in the Nolita neighborhood of Manhattan.  The “90s Forever” store is filled with vintage items from the 1990’s, bringing New Yorkers a nostalgic set of rare goodies ranging from apparel to toys at all price points from $12-$1200.

Spark Pretty 90's forever pop-up launch
Spark Pretty 90’s forever pop-up launch

Heavily influenced by the pop culture of the decade, apparel includes an array of unisex t-shirts from television’s favourites (think: Ren and Stimpy, Home Improvement, 90210, and Friends), hand-painted denim jackets featuring Janet Jackson, Madonna and Roger Rabbit, acid-washed skinny jeans with flamboyant embellishments, the famed red dress that “Cassandra” wore in Wayne’s World, Kelly Bundy-style bandage dresses, and Jazzercise lycra by Body Glove. Novelty items include MC Hammer, Spice Girls, and Blossom Russo dolls (all in-the-box), Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles fanny pack, Lisa Frank lunch bag, MTV TRL microphones, and Beavis & Butthead slippers just to name a few. All items are housed in a truly outrageous storefront themed as a teenage bedroom from the 90’s, complete with shoppable posters, beanbag chairs and lava lamps.

Spark Pretty 90's forever pop-up launch
Spark Pretty 90’s forever pop-up launch

SPARK PRETTY is the brainchild of stylist and artist Amanda Dolan.  A lifelong collector and archivist of all things vintage, Dolan began selling hard-to-find clothing and accessories from the 80s & 90s online, and quickly saw a demand from all four corners of the world.  Together with her business partner, Meagan Colby, whom she met while working at Betsey Johnson, they began exhibiting at the Manhattan Vintage Show, where VOGUE named them as one of the must-shop vendors.  Already this year, they’ve supplied wardrobe for Broadway’s “American Psycho,” TV’s “The Goldbergs,” upcoming Netflix series “GLOW”, and The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon.

Spark Pretty 90's forever pop-up launch
Spark Pretty 90’s forever pop-up launch

Subvrt Mag Editor Sara Nicolette caught up with Amanda & Meagan to discuss all things Spark Pretty, favourite 90’s moments and style icons.

How did SPARK PRETTY start?
 
AMANDA: I’ve been collecting vintage clothing and treasures for as long as I can remember! I worked as a stylist for Betsey Johnson for years. While at the company I started collecting archival pieces for Betsey’s showroom. As I unearthed more and more items for reproduction, I realised I was on to something! After the company disbanded, I had a mountain of vintage and a ‘Spark’  of an idea to do something fun with it. I formed Spark Pretty as a vehicle to share my outrageous gems with the world! Once online orders reached the four corners of the globe, and my inventory grew from a few cedar chests to a few storage units I knew it was time to expand! So, who better than my best friend, Meagan, to team up with! I knew together we could dream BIG and really let the brand tell a story.
 
MEAGAN:  As Amanda established her business I encouraged her and frequently offered my assistance. For fun I helped with the sourcing of inventory as a vintage lover myself. Soon after I became a partner in the business and now we are affectionately known as ‘the Sparks!
 
What do you look for when sourcing items?

 

AMANDA: My theory is the wackier the better! We are not the girls to come to if you’re looking for minimalism. We are always searching for jazzy statement pieces- items with texture, colour, sparkle and fun! We love patchwork jackets, bandage dresses, shiny fabrics, studs, crystals, fringe, leather- real Rock ‘n’ Roll wear.

 

MEAGAN: Here at Spark Pretty we love colour, sequins, wacky prints, leopard everything! The more outrageous the better. The goal is to have fun putting together an outfit that makes you truly stand out and show your personal flair. Wallflowers need not apply.

 

What is one of your favorite iconic 90’s moments?

 

AMANDA: The 1995 MTV Video Music Awards when Courtney Love crashed Madonna’s interview with Kurt Loder was EPIC! So punk rock! I remember watching it live and thinking “Wow she is such a badass- I wanna be like her!”. She had an iconic wild child look and the singing pipes to go with it! I’ll never forget that TV Moment!

 

MEAGAN:  In the sixth grade, I truly appreciated the musical stylings of TLC. I mean they were three best friends who had amazing style, progressive attitudes toward safe sex and they wore boxers visibly seen under their enormous pants. They were sooo cool – crazy, sexy cool! My favourite iconic 90’s moment was when Lisa “left eye” Lopes was all over the news for burning down the mansion of Atlanta Falcons football star Andre Rison. Left Eye was allegedly upset that Andre had bought several pairs of shoes for himself and nothing for her so she lit them on fire in the bath tub! I marvelled at this news for weeks! I can’t say I wanted to be just like her but I appreciated that she lived up to her persona in the group: crazy.

 

Who are a few of your 90’s style icons?

 

AMANDA:  I think we’d both agree that the character ‘Kelly Bundy’ from “Married with Children” has influenced our style. She was just so cool. I also loved Fran Drescher on “The Nanny” – she wore the HELL outta Moschino! The 90’s had so many fantastic musical icons with great swag. I loved all the rockers like L7, Nirvana, White Zombie, Garbage, and of course, Hole.
 
MEAGAN:  I’ve always appreciated a skimpy silhouette and Kelly Bundy is the queen of dressing cool and sexy! She always had a rock & roll/biker babe vibe that I totally dig. Shirley Manson from Garbage always looked like a bad ass with her pink hair and smudged eyeliner. Liv Tyler and Alicia Silverstone in Aerosmith’s “Crazy” video proved that plaid is rad and so is having a girl buddy. Let’s not forget the rock goddess Linda Perry with her Doc Martens and goggles that proved you could look cool without all the sexual innuendos. Sexy meet zany. 

 

What are some key pieces from SPARK PRETTY?

 

AMANDA: There’s so many good ones!! We have a variety of hand painted, one of a kind jean jackets featuring Janet Jackson, Madonna, Roger Rabbit, Barbie and a rare “Headbangers Ball” denim jacket for all the metal heads out there.  There are tons of sexy, day glo, hologram and faux fur embellished club kid getups, and purses/backpacks with working clocks in them! (very Flavor Flav!). Plus a lot of fun collectable toys, including Spice Girls dolls, Wayne’s World games, and plenty of Troll dolls!

 

MEAGAN:  We love finding unique t-shirts and we’ve scored some brilliant 90’s ones along the way! A few of my favourites include an authentic Beevis & Butthead “Frog Base-ball” t-shirt, a 90210 t-shirt featuring a leather clad Dylan (90’s hunk!). We have a Ren & Stimpy “Don’t Touch That Dial” t-shirt and a “Tim the Tool man Taylor” aka Home Improvement t-shirt! 

 

Why do you think there has been such a revival of the 90’s era in the past few years?

 

AMANDA:  We all love nostalgia, and in fashion, the trends always circle back. Since the 90’s were over 20 years ago now (gulp!), it’s only natural that the best of this colourful and kooky decade has been making a comeback.
The 90’s were flashy and edgy and wacky, and in todays world of fast fashion, it gets harder and harder to find those looks that celebrated individuality. People are ready for a revival of pop infused decadence – and that is what the 90’s gave us!
Culturally, in the 90’s, it was a simpler time. You still had to call someone on their landline (unless you were Zach Morris and had that phone!). If you had AOL dial-up you were a boss, and Pauly Shore was King. I think people like to recall “the good ‘ol days” and pluck out the best of the “warm fuzzy” feelings that were the fabric of their lives. If we can bring back those smiley happy face feelings through a retro jacket, or a great pair of jeans- then we’ve done our job!

 

MEAGAN: Costume history dictates that trends repeat every 20 years so it’s no surprise we’re experiencing a current revival. The 1990’s were the last pre-digital decade and I think people in today’s world want to recall and appreciate a simpler time when fashion and pop culture were not yet at the tip of everyone’s fingers. Style was something you had to seek out and I think the fashions of the decade used colour and texture to portray a futuristic world that wasn’t yet fully developed. Vinyl anyone?! People enjoy nostalgia because it’s not exclusive to any one person. Everyone experiences it. It brings people joy to wear clothes that “spark” a memory in others.

 

The “90s Forever” Pop-Up Shop by SPARK PRETTY is located at 219C Mulberry Street (between Prince and Spring), and is open to the public for shopping November 3rd – 6th, 12pm-9pm daily.To learn more about SPARK PRETTY, please visit: www.sparkpretty.com.

Interview by Sara Nicolette, photography by Peter Roessler Photography, press release via Alyson Roy from AMP3 Public Relations.

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