Old Gold: The Vintage Buy with Seattle’s Vintage Ty

Words by Matthew Vanatta
Photos by Tyler Likkel

Tyler Likkel has made quite the name for himself over the last several years as one of Seattle’s most prominent vintage dealers. “Vintage Ty,” as he is known to his customers, has developed a keen eye for everything from 90’s-era streetwear to vintage Americana stylings. Ty’s eye for high quality goods has made him a favorite among Seattle’s thriving vintage scene. Everyone from musicians like Macklemore and Adele to actor Jason Segel have copped goods from the Seattle native.

Like most vintage enthusiasts and any entrepreneur, Tyler had to hone his craft through trial and error, but has developed a refined taste his customers have come to count on. We caught up with the busy vintage dealer to get some key pointers on how to find and invest in vintage pieces. Whether you’re a first time vintage hunter or on the verge of starting your own vintage business Vintage Ty’s guide to vintage shopping will be an invaluable resource.


Where to Look

From online sellers to estate sales, there is a wide range of options when it comes to scoring vintage gear and household items. Understanding what you’re looking for and the amount of time you are willing to dedicate to finding it will all play a significant part in understanding where to begin your search.

“You can find a lot of really cool stuff at a great price if you’re willing to invest the time going to garage and estate sales or to second hand stores,” advises Likkel. “The cool thing about Seattle is that there are a lot of really awesome vintage stores with well curated items, so if you still want an authentic vintage piece and don’t have the time to search it out on your own, you can generally find what you are looking for from vintage sellers.”


Forever-Cool Heritage Brands

There’s a reason why so many of the coolest brands have stood the test of time. From quality craftsmanship to an understated minimalist design, the classics are classics for a reason. “You can never go wrong with having a statement piece from a legacy brand,” explains Likkel. “Fast fashion means things will fall apart after a year or two, but vintage pieces from heritage brands tend to look cooler with age.”


The 90’s Are Back

When it comes to fashion, time is definitely a flat circle, as trends seem to be circular in nature. While many of us thought the 90’s died with Clueless and Grunge, the era is back with a vengeance.

“There are a lot of different categories in the sort of late 80’s to late 90’s vintage clothing market, but I’m seeing a huge emergence in the brands that were popular during the era,” states Likkel. “I tend to gravitate towards things I wore in middle school, everything from vintage Wu-Tang t-shirts to street wear brands from that era. All the brands that were popular then are popular now.”

“You can mix and match styles and eras, too. Like take a cool 90’s era streetwear brand and pair it with some vintage workwear. Like a vintage Thrasher shirt paired with a cool Carhartt jacket or a pair of well worn Red Wing boots,” he continues.


Vintage Holds Its Value

Unlike a lot of mass-produced products, vintage items, especially from heritage brands, tend to hold or increase in value, meaning you can invest in a piece and generally recoup the cost or even profit when selling.

“You can buy something, have it for a few years and then resell it to someone who is just as excited to get the piece as you were when you bought it,” tells Likkel. “A lot of times I’ll even justify keeping pieces myself knowing I can sell it in a few years without losing money. It’s a cool way to keep things fresh and change up the look of your gear or home.”

Separating the Real from the Fake

In the vintage world it can be hard to tell if a product is authentic or not. It is important to pay attention to the details to make sure you don’t pay a premium price for an inauthentic vintage piece.

“The number one sign of something being authentic is whether or not it was made in America,” Likkel enthuses. “If it’s furniture, there is often a maker’s mark or serial number on the bottom that you can look up. If it’s electric, the plug can help understand what era it was made in.”


For More Follow Tyler at: @vintagety

If you’re wanting to find some vintage gems of your own but aren’t ready for the hunt, stop into any of our stores or check out our curated vintage selection. Our buyers did the digging so you don’t have to.


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