This post was written by Lindy Shopper.
2015 was a great year for vendors at the International Lindy Hop Championships, highlighting a range of merchandise from tee shirts to custom suiting to vintage and everything in-between. The new hotel, the Marriott Crystal Gateway, was more ideally suited for hosting vendors, with a more obvious space near the ballroom for display tables and a more trafficked area near the elevators. Here’s the who’s who of the vendors:
Laurie Gilkenson, affectionately known as (and actually) Nina’s mom, was set up with a selection of shoes from Dancestore and an assortment of clothing and shoes formerly belonging to Nina herself, an avid and long-time vintage clothing collector. Helping Laurie at the booth was Carol Dant, Nina’s cousin, who was attending ILHC as her very first dance event! I am glad that Dancestore remains a presence at ILHC, as it is always nice to try dance shoes on in person and you never know what mishaps may happen with the dance shoes you have, so being able to find a replacement immediately is invaluable. There were some truly choice vintage pieces for sale, such as rayon print dresses, silver 1930’s t-strap heels, and a crazy 1920’s coat with fox collar and clasp.
A first-time vendor, Victor Celania (who I blogged about just before ILHC), was present with his custom line of menswear and some ready-to-wear items such as ties and socks. Victor was a welcome sight, with his tape measure around his neck like a stole for much of the event, ready to measure dancers for their custom suits. The display was so cheerful with colorful silk ties and patterned socks.
Forties Forward may earn the award, along with Dancestore, for the longest-running attendance at ILHC, selling their staple colorful blooms along with some new feathered beauties, vintage neck ties and bow ties. Their booth is always a welcome sight!
Chloe Hong‘s custom menswear and womenswear was another bright spot, with fabric swatches for days, colorful socks, starched collars, braided belts and sparkly bloomers. Thoughtful details in Chloe’s designs include shiny buttons on trousers and skirts and all the pleats and belt back details one could ever ask for in a jacket. Having experienced tailors and designers like Chloe and Victor present at ILHC make taking the plunge on a custom suit so much easier and more accessible. They are friends, fellow dancers, here to help you look your best!
Last, but certainly not least, the largest display at ILHC was from Behind the Beat Apparel, with a full range of tees, hoodies, hats, and bags with clever Lindy Hop and jazz-themed screen prints. I have two items of particular note:
1) Behind the Beat is conducting a fund-raiser for Dawn Hampton to raise money to publish her book – Dawn needs cash in hand to hire a publisher and here’s how you can help: Behind the Beat is offering “2 different T-Shirt Options, a Tote Bag, and a 24” x 36” signed, numbered, and framed Limited Edition Commemorative Poster. We will be giving a percentage of each sale directly to Dawn.” For more information on the fundraiser, please visit the Behind the Beat website and watch the video below.
2) I am in love with their Duke Ellington shoe bag, not only because it bears Ellington’s handsome mug, but because it has two slots sewn in the back of the bag for your shoes, with a main compartment for everything else. It’s so simple, it’s brilliant. And now I can’t find the bag on the website to link it! Arrrrgh! Will hopefully edit soon and add link.
And that’s a wrap! Until next year, ILHC!