Second Act: Flint’s vintage clothing purveyors dress Hollywood stars and locals alike

Second Act: Flint’s vintage clothing purveyors dress Hollywood stars and locals alike
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In a warehouse somewhere in the country sit — or lay, or maybe hung — two 1970s llama ties.

Both cream and brown, and fuzzy, this was going to be Zack Lessner’s proof that he and his wife, Hannah, had contributed to the clothes on Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues.

I took a picture and I’m like, when you see that you’ll know cause it’s the only one in the world that I ever saw,” he laughs as the three of us sit in FlintTrading Co. (The duo are doing a pop-up there until the end of the month.)

Unfortunately, the costume designer didn’t use them.

Renee Saba models a vintage creation typical of the kind of find customers have come to expect from LivedIn and Oxblood Finery. The shops specialize in vintage clothes and accessories for everyday clients and Hollywood costume designers alike.

Now, they sit somewhere, waiting for their film or TV debut.

If you don’t believe that they worked on the film though there’s another way to prove it, their Paramount pay stubs.

If you’re officially wondering what Zack and Hannah do, both are Flint natives, the simplified version is that they own two online stores — LivedIn on Etsy and Oxblood Finery on eBay — where they sell vintage items, like clothes and accessories, to everyone from the average man or woman to Hollywood costume designers.

Which leads back to Anchorman for a second because it’s a great story.

They were at the movies when Zack’s phone kept buzzing with notifications about an eBay sale. By the time he looked at it there were 40 orders from the same person, costume designer Susan Matheson.

“She’s telling me that it was for Anchorman 2,” he says.“I figured someone was messing with me. She left her number, I immediately called her back.

“She started giving me Will Ferrell’s sizes and I was like, what is going on?” he laughs.“And when she paid me, that’s when I believed her.”

In total, on that movie alone, they sent about 1,100 pounds of clothes that were all around 50-60 years old.

Hannah says since then it’s been a lot of word-of-mouth, gaining work in more films, like 2019 Oscar winner, Vice; TV shows; off-Broadway plays; and Broadway musicals, like Motown the Musical.

Each project varies in length, with some movies being about a month and plays being as short as the next day. When they do get a new project though, it automatically becomes crunch time and they hit the ground running, searching through their own inventory — which is in the thousands — to sourcing out to friends to have every single piece in.

Hannah and Zach Lessner are a classic couple that love stepping out in finely-tailored vintage clothing.

Zack and Hannah think they stick out among others that do the same thing for a few reasons, like their prices and the sheer amount of items they have.

There’s one other thing too.

“I think the passion too because we just love it,” says Hannah, who recommends searching on Etsy and Instagram to buy high-end vintage pieces.“It’s fun, it’s a challenge for us.”

And they are showing no signs of slowing down, they recently worked an upcoming HBO shows. People’s increase to buy vintage clothing helps too.

According to a 2012 article from the Journal of Fashion Practice, “The Rise of Vintage Fashion and the Vintage Consumer,”it suggests that everything from nostalgia for the past to being an alternative response to fast fashion, where everyone is wearing the same clothes, as possibilities for why more people are buying vintage.

Zack and Hannah agree.

“People are kind of tired of the fast fashion, the disposable stuff you can get at Forever 21 or H&M,” says Hannah, whose wardrobe is 90 percent vintage. (Zack’s is about 50 percent.)“People want to look different than everybody. It’s a perfect way to stand out.”

With the recent uptick in the sale of menswear it seems women aren’t the only ones you want to stand out, especially in regard to more high-end fashion for men.

“I think more men are becoming aware of being able to set themselves apart from other suit wearing men,” she says.

Another reason for more people buying vintage? The clothes last longer.

Take for instance some of the items they’ve found. Hannah had a wedding dress dated back to 1837 and still in surprisingly good condition with a note stitched in it. Said note had names of the family on it. She did some research and found out the family was in a cemetery close to her house.

Another amazing find would be a 1930s Marine uniform coat Zack found. Even though the coat itself isn’t super rare the note inside was. It had a telegram from the Marine’s commanding officer allowing him to go on R&R to Atlantic City.

But the most rare piece they’ve found? A 1917 coat by fashion designer Paul Poiret, which they sold to the the Museum at FIT. Hannah posted a photo of it on Instagram before hearing from one of the exhibition’s curators. She bought it at a theater in Old Flint as part of a lot of items.

“It was an awesome thing to come across, once in a lifetime,” Hannah says.

“It would be like having the equivalent of a one-of-a-kind, handmade Versace piece today,” Zack says.

Even though they find themselves selling to museums and Hollywood costume designers the vast majority of their business is still your everyday wearer, just like in the beginning.

At first, it was only LivedIn — which Hannah started in 2009 — until Zack got laid off from Chrysler during the recession. Hannah suggested he start doing the men’s clothing side. What began as a hobby is now a full-time job for both of them.

They work from the home they share with their five kids. Luckily, they have a very big basement, and outside storage units for everything they need to store.

“It’s racks and racks of clothing,” Hannah laughs.

On LivedIn it’s often more boutique style items — even though Hannah says they do sell a lot of vintage workwear there — with Oxblood Finery also selling vintage and some newer items Zack acquires at wholesale closeouts from department stores.

“Going to eBay is like going to an outlet store, hers is like going to Somerset,” Zack says.

Moving forward the married couple hope to continue working in Broadway, TV, and film, and don’t expect them to open a brick-and-mortar any time soon. Both say the stars would have to perfectly align for that to happen.

Zack says they want to be like the American Pickers of clothes.

“That would be ideal,” he says. So people would be like I found this sweater, call Zack, he’ll tell you what it is, maybe buy it from you.”

Much like Mike and Frank’s mutual love for antiques Hannah and Zack are clearly equally as passionate about vintage clothes. They not only like getting to learn about the items in their collection — you’ll learn a lot from spending time with them — but it’s also something they can do together.

“On date nights we go thrifting,” he says.“If I find something amazing she’s just as happy about it as I am.”

“He gets it,” she says.

“I’m a catch, really,” Zack laughs.

 

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