An array of colors flashes in front of shoppers’ eyes as they peer at the vintage wear and vibrant jewelry made with meticulous designs. Stonewashed denim and ‘90s inspired baggy sweatshirts hang in vendors’ tents, with handcrafted earrings and plant holders laid out in the booths across the walkway. A passerby picks up a beret designed by hand, admiring the golden flakes that shimmer beneath its turquoise translucent color.
Indigo Vintage — a second-hand vintage clothing store based in Berkeley, San Francisco, and Santa Cruz — hosts a monthly outdoor event called the So-so Market, which helps queer, femme, and Black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) small business owners make sales and gain recognition. Its most recent market was held on March 28 at a parking lot across from the UC Berkeley campus.
Berkeley location: 2505 Telegraph Ave 94704
San Francisco location: 1649 Haight St 94117
Santa Cruz location: 1517 Pacific Ave 95060
“At this particular market we wanted to focus on queer, non-binary folks, women in general, and anybody who presents themselves as more feminine,” said event organizer Zak Mai. “Our whole deal from the get-go was always supporting small businesses and giving them the opportunity to make money.”
Mai first joined in July of 2020, relocating to Virginia to join the So-so Market as an event manager and become part of the pop-up market scene in California. Mai helps with management and social media, going through applications, and creating graphics for the community-based organization.
As a way to celebrate Women’s History Month, 15 percent of the sales made at the So-so Market’s “Femme Fatale” themed event went to organizations within the Bay Area that support women and femme rights. The So-so market welcomes vendors as young as 16 years old and hosts several student vendors. Many of the local vendors are given first-time opportunities to showcase their creations and deep finds.
Vanessa Vigil, a queer and Chicanx woman who runs Vavis Trenzitas, sells hand-wrapped hoops and other kinds of earrings with unique designs that hang loosely from buyers’ ears. Being her first time selling at So-so Market, Vigil was excited about the long line of shoppers that wrapped around the block.
Her color palette is inspired by her Native American and Mexican background, channeling her mother’s use of burgundy and mustard yellow to decorate Vigil’s childhood home into her own creations of chunky jewelry.
“Using my hands with yarn and weaving, I feel like it’s tapping into my ancestry,” Vigil said. “It makes sense when I look back at it that it flows back to my childhood and my roots.”
Vintage Variation (V2)
Anthony Williams owns V2, where he highlights one-of-a-kind fashion pieces on his website. He joined So-so Market last year as one of the first vendors and has since watched the fair grow. His style was influenced by streetwear, but has shifted toward more vintage items.
Inspired by memories like walking around Lake Merritt with his father in the early ‘90s, Williams’ wardrobe and retail business consists of pieces that range from the ‘70s to the Y2K era, including brightly colored windbreakers and limited edition Air Jordan 1’s. According to him, the clothes that catch his eye remind him of his Black culture and cater to his unique sense of style.
His brand embraces all ages and gender identities, recently adding women’s apparel to his collection of clothes. Even elementary schoolers can shop at his store since he offers vintage pieces in child’s sizes.
“I’ve been recently getting into a lot of women’s wear and have a variety of vests and women’s blazers, and I’m working to continue expanding the woman’s market,” Williams said. “But any piece that you see from Vintage Variation is a piece of my history, my culture, and the things that inspire me to keep going.”
While there is no confirmed date for the next pop-up market, Indigo Vintage will continue to support the unique creations and vintage finds of BIPOC and queer individuals.
The So-so Market first popped up at the Graduate Hotel in Berkeley in July of 2020 with the same mission statement to connect the greater community to locally curated merchandise and has since expanded to a larger venue. They’ve gained almost three times the number of vendors than what they began with, raking up 50 vendors in total at the most recent market.