They say it takes at least 20 years for nostalgia of a particular period to come at its peak. This has been abundantly clear for the decade of the 1990s, as from its fashion trends to the music videos and photography has been experiencing a loud tribute from the children of that time now in their mid-to late 20s. This yellow-brick joy ride especially provides a visual amusement for those that just missed it alike, and if you’re in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City, the shop VFiles is a colorful time machine worth dropping by.
Across its address at 12 Mercer Street are the offices of V Magazine, also home to VMan and Visionaire. Once closely associated with these titles, VFiles as a brand is slowly branching out as its own entity. On the storefront, they sell an array of items that exemplify the fashion categories of “Vintage”, “Exclusive”, “Hard to Find”, and “Must-Have”. VFiles is one of few places left in Manhattan to truly find something not everyone will inevitably own in their wardrobes, and is direct competition for Opening Ceremony, over on the opposite way on Howard Street. Both retailers pride themselves on private label collaborations, slightly high price points, and lust-worthy items only appreciated by the true students and slaves to fashion.
VFiles is a small space that once as you step into, instead of feeling like another shop, hits your nostalgic sweet spot without even trying. It’s a museum of classic Versace of the Gianni era alongside Vivienne Westwood and Margiela accessories that adorn the table on which you can also score some Diplomats socks from the cult favorite rap crew, once led by Harlem rep Cam’ron.
The greatest features you’ll see at VFiles is their installment of labels that had disappeared for American consumers, products odes to the ’90s underground and its significant magazine collections, as many of those issues are reaching their 20th or 15th anniversary marks.
Milk Fed was a brand founded by filmmaker Sofia Coppola and a few pieces like a cotton jumpsuit can be found here as its currently only available in Japan. Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon and co-creator Daisy von Furth’s line X-Girl from 1993 which was recently resurrected is also available for those seeking refuge in riot-grrrl ideals. On the fellow racks are forward brands like Joyrich, Fuct, and Pyrex, and there’s much to ogle at in VFiles. Once you get passed the tees with the movie credits of indie landmarks “KIDS” and “Nowhere” by DAD Video, the tons of magazines, some atop each other, some nicely stacked in a row, are sporadically placed within the shop, including a ceiling to floor shrine of some of Madonna’s most iconic and notorious covers including a nude Entertainment Weekly one, discussing whether she had gone too far with the release of her coffee-table book SEX. The ultimate feeling of I Love the ’90s will be reached in sight of these bypassed periodicals, from a influential time in popular culture writing.
VFiles also works as an artistic community that has a site of full-on original content and videos with fashion and culture commentaries and day-in-the-life segments. They indefinitely encourage freedom of expression and a sense of irreverence that translates as authentic in shocking those unfamiliar or never fully accepting of the 1990s vainglorious attempt at honesty, reflection of society, and pull for change.
Visit VFiles at 12 Mercer Street in New York City.