Student Fulfills Dream of Opening Vintage Clothing Store – The Sunflower

You know you might have been successful when Chris Rock’s little brother walks into your vintage clothing store.

Kenzie Borland is a senior at Wichita State University majoring in Strategic Communications. She recently became part owner of a vintage clothing store in downtown Wichita called Dead Center Vintage. The space for the store was discovered through a Facebook ad. After she and one of her co-owners, Lazarus Massey, visited the space a few days before Christmas in 2019, they decided to go.

Borland, Massey, Gabrielle Griffoi and Morgan Goodwin own the store together. Borland and his friends met through vintage clothing. However, she said she wouldn’t consider herself an expert on vintage clothing like her friends do. She said her passion for vintage, art and community all translated into her passion for the store.

“I’m not as good at clothes as they are, which I’m not sad about,” Borland said. “I don’t remember not having known them. I just remember knowing them and that was it. It wasn’t like my bread and butter. It really came back to the community.

The idea for the store’s name came when they hosted a pop-up store. Griffoi proposed the name Dead Center Vintage. The idea behind Dead Center Vintage is based on the fact that the store is located in the middle of the United States, which is Kansas, and in the heart of Kansas, which would be Wichita. Borland said the name of the store is also a play on words since the clothes are old.

When it comes to getting hold for the store, Borland said there are many different methods they can choose from. Two of the ways they build conservation are through vintage collectors’ collections and old piles of clothing that might even be infested with rats or have mold. They then dye the clothes they find in the old piles and try to rework them so that they can be sold in stores.

Borland said their store’s curation and selection was nice because of the comparison to vintage stores in big cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

“When people come from these coastal towns it means it pays off because it means our curation is up there with these big towns and it means they [co-owners]are good at what they do, ”Borland said.

Borland has said that being a part of Dead Center Vintage is something she wants to do for the long haul.

“As much as I still like, like going for another job, I’ll still be a part of Dead Center in one way or another,” Borland said. “I never knew what I wanted to do and so when Dead Center like the idea came up to do pop-ups to love oh man, we would really love to open a store someday, see how good that was. a hit and we haven’t even scratched the surface.

Borland aims to have a pop-up store through Dead Center Vintage before graduating from Wichita State.

“I wish Dead Center was more active especially in campus life,” Borland said. “As a student we have to be like WSU and Dead Center because students care about sustainability and they can care about sustainability.”

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