Shop Talk || Lovefield Vintage in Kingston, NY

My husband and I love to take little road trips. We jump in the car, head to a nearby town that looks cool on the internet, and pal around for the day. Jon likes to check out the local restaurants and coffee, and I'm always on the hunt for vintage. Recently, our passion for close-to-home adventure brought us to Kingston, NY. It's about a two hour drive from New York City and boasts a growing art scene, restaurants, bars, antique shopping, gorgeous views of the Hudson, and beautiful architecture. I mean, what more could you ask for?

After checking out a vintage store in town and not finding exactly what I was looking for, the owner graciously pointed us in the direction of Lovefield Vintage on North Front Street, one of the main drags in the Stockade District of Kingston. Jon and I went in and I fell in love, the store was so thoughtfully curated. There were glittering evening gowns from the 70s, basket bags from the 60s, amazing denim from every decade, and more. I quickly picked up an armful of options and jumped into the dressing room. Because I could have left with the whole store if able, I ended up editing my favorites down to three wonderful pieces. Whoever did the sourcing for the inventory clearly had an amazing eye. The items, although undeniably emblematic of their respective moments in history, never fell into being costumey - a fine line many vintage spots have difficulty with. Everything felt one of a kind and unique, but also extremely relevant for today's trends. Not to mention that all of the items were in perfect or near-perfect condition. I was thoroughly taken and had to learn more about the husband and wife duo who run this shop.

Not surprisingly, owners Darbie Nowatka and Justin Rice are as cool as their store and were nice enough to chat with me. Darbie acts as the buyer for Lovefield, choosing each piece that makes it into the shop. Read on to check out her and Justin's story, her approach to vintage hunting, and exactly what inspires this rockstar couple.

Before Lovefield Vintage, what were your creative/professional backgrounds?

Before Lovefield Vintage we mostly worked on music.  We were in a band called Bishop Allen, and we recorded a bunch of records (4 full-length albums and 12 4-song EPs!) and spent a lot of time out on the road touring the US and Europe. 

 

How did the jump from your previous roles to vintage curators occur?

In 2010 we moved upstate from Brooklyn to Kingston, NY.  We weren't touring as much, so it gave us time to work on other projects. Justin started working on score for movies, and I started making handmade jewelry and selling it at pop-up markets.  Eventually, I brought a few racks of vintage clothing to sell alongside my handmade stuff, and people were just really excited about it, which was super thrilling for me. I've been collecting vintage clothing since high school and love nothing more than traveling around and treasure hunting, so the realization that I could buy and sell clothing as my job was pretty mind-blowing.   

 

You just opened your first brick & mortar location for Lovefield in Kingston, NY. Why did you choose that area?

When we started looking at storefronts and thinking about opening a brick and mortar location we knew we wanted to be in Kingston.  So much has changed since we moved here seven years ago.  A lot of creative people have moved to the area and opened beautiful shops and bars and restaurants. There's a really great energy in Kingston right now, and we wanted to be a part of that.

What is your favorite decade for vintage?

Ooh, that's a tough one.  I love moments from almost every decade.  But if I had to choose I'd go with the 70s.  I spent most of high school in the 90s dressed like it was 1976.  I'm still a sucker for super high-waisted flares, platforms, and embroidered blouses. 

 

Everything is so well curated in the store. How do you decide if something is right for Lovefield?

I have to really love something to put it on the racks.  I just stay true to that when I am out sourcing.  I'll pull a bunch of stuff and go through it all two or three times.  If I'm iffy about something I don't buy it.  And I try to always carry a well-balanced mix of super wearable staples, some over the top statement pieces, some more playful nostalgia stuff, and some special designer pieces.    

Right now, what is your favorite vintage piece in the store?

We have a killer pair of Yves Saint Laurent knee-high lace-up boots from the early 70s that are to die for.

 

How is it working together as husband and wife? How do you balance work and your relationship since they are so intertwined?

We've been working together in one way or another for almost the entirety of our relationship, so we mastered that pretty early on.  When we were touring we were crammed in a van for lots of thirteen hour drives, so hanging out in the shop together seems like a piece of cake.  Selling vintage clothing involves a lot of sourcing, so we use our two days off every week to travel to find new things, and we always treat it like a mini vacation.  

Where do you go for fashion/creative inspiration?

Vintage magazines!  I have a bunch and I refer to them again and again.  I love grabbing a big stack and reading them in bed.  They are like little time capsules.  

 

Besides your storefront in Kingston, where can vintage lovers find you?

We're hoping to have an online shop at some point, but in the meantime you can catch us on Instagram @lovefieldvintage.

 

Photography by Jon Cospito.