Earlier in the year we fell in love with New York Vintage Store, Quality Mending Co., we met with owner Oliver Harkness to find out more.
Originally from Northern Ireland, Oliver moved to New York in ’88, for a six week holiday. 22 years later, he still lives here and owns two incredibly well curated stores, Eleven and Quality Mending Co. in Soho New York.
The idea for Quality Mending co. was originally a storage space for the stock held at his Eleven store. Oliver used the storage space as an office too, but as two years went on he found more and more he was letting people through to see the rest of their stock.
Working in a Sushi Shop in New York, Oliver was once serving a Japanese guy who took great interest in his orange labelled Levi jeans of which he eneded up buying right off him for $250! He then started asking Oliver for more stock like this, could he get more?!… the rest is history… constantly sourcing out stock to sell on to people who wanted it.
Oliver sources his product from Carolina, Florida, Jersey, Seattle and Brooklyn, but admits he can find pieces he can add to his beautiful curation of stock all the time.
Influenced by so many things, from the South of France to Brooklyn, people, places, fashion is everywhere and constantly changing.
With the influx of interest from the high street stores such as J.Crew and Gap, Oliver feels excited by the interest that these stores have created for ‘heritage’ clothing. He feels “it will always be relevant inside the fashion industry as it was the original and it is a classic. People will always want to source out these pieces. They have become a collectables”.
Oliver sends boxes of precious stock home to his mother in Ireland as “an investment” or “a possible retirement plan”. Knowing one day, if he needed to, he could sell these items on for a lot of money. “Some people collect Nike sneakers and some people collect money, I collect my pieces here. I like to spend money not save it. But if I can spend it on something that could potentially act as an investment of money then that is maybe a smarter move for me”.
Best things about New York? “Everything! The food, the girls, the boys, the taxis, the shops. If I could think about somewhere else to move I would!” He originally lived on Ludlow street where he ran a vintage clothing store and gallery and lived upstairs in a loft which was perfect living in New York at that time, he talked about the changes he has witnessed within the city over the past 20 years, but when it comes down to it, “there is no other city like New York, I can travel around but I am constantly comparing it all to New York”.
Words by Yasmine Bryce
Images by Megan Christiansen