Despite its simple exterior, Montage Vintage clothing store is bigger – and brighter – on the inside. Brightly colored 1940s through 70s style clothing line the walls of the front room, accented by shadow box displays of big-rimmed glasses, classic boots and sandals, bold patterned scarves and fun belts. A collage of empty, distressed picture frames, animal head mounts, and mirrors cover the back wall. Various crystal chandeliers (some lit, some not) hang from the ceiling.
Walk to your right and you’ll pass a hallway into another similarly ornamented room. Shop owner, Shelby Guevara, is scurrying around making sure each article of clothing, each accessory is in its place. Everything is well-organized and easy-on-the-eyes in this classy kitschy-southwestern-chic (the décor, not the attire) boutique.
From a very young age, Shelby Guevara knew she wanted to own a vintage clothing shop one day. She bought her very first vintage garment in middle school, a pair of bright, 70s , floral-patterned bell bottoms.
“I wore them to school and everyone said ‘Oh hey, those are cool! Where did you get them?’ After that, I just started shopping at vintage stores and second-hand shops,” Guevara explains. She’s been seeking, buying and wearing vintage ever since.
Located near the Pearl Brewery off Grayson St., Montage opened its doors in 2006 and has become a San Antonio vintage mainstay and go-to for an easy-to-navigate second-hand clothing store. It’s hard to come by a shop like this that carries more than just the stuff nobody wants anymore.
“I’ve seen a lot of second-hand stores come and go, and I’m not really sure why,” Guevara said. “I’d really like to see more stores open up here. There are so many in Austin, but San Antonio is just so spread out. That has something to do with it.”
Montage has experienced long-standing success due to a couple of factors. The first of which has to do with the vintage niche. You ca certainly come across a good find or two at places like Plato’s Closet, Buffalo Exchange, and the newer Uptown Cheapskate, but Montage’s appeal is really a different animal all together. It caters to a certain cult following – simply calling it “hipster” seems disrespectful to the curatorial, quality craft.
“I love vintage clothing because it’s limited edition; many pieces are handmade and nothing is ever going to be made like it again. I also love the bright colors and bold patterns,” Guevara said.
Montage’s set-up does nothing if not communicate this shop owner’s passion for fashion. Her prices are relatively affordable compared to other vintage shops. And while there are several great vintage stores to peruse in Austin, the SA boutique often sees vintage shoppers from the capital city seeking out a good buy.
Guevara also recognizes the advantage of the shop’s location. “We chose this location because we knew the Pearl was coming,” she said. Much of the demographic that shop and dine at businesses at the Pearl likely crossover into Montage’s clientele.
Montage is teaming up with several businesses in the Pearl complex to throw their second annual Montage Spring Mixer, benefiting autism research at the University of Texas Health Science Center. The goal of this mixer is two-fold: to give back, and to connect with other local businesses.
“It’s all about community. We want to highlight other businesses around us and let people know: ‘Hey if you like us, we love these other places. Try them out.’ So it’s about promoting each other,” Guevara said. So far event partners include The Granary, Local Coffee, Bakery Lorraine, and Mood Boutique Nail Salon with more to come.
Of course, Montage stands to broaden its customer base with the mixer as well.
“Last year, random people were just showing up because they heard a party was going on. People that didn’t know about Montage,” Guevara said. Naturally Montage saw a boost in their clientele and was able to show appreciation to existing customers as well.
“It’s a party. Snack on some foods from local eateries, listen to good music and wear your best dancing shoes. We have been spending so much time to make this party exciting and super fun,” Guevara said.
To show further appreciation, Montage will be handing out $5 gift cards to everyone at the door. The shop will also hold a drawing to give away two pairs of tickets to the Arcade Fire concert at Austin360 Amphitheater on April 10 as well as two pairs of tickets to the Maverick Music Festival happening right here in San Antonio March 21 and 22.
In the spirit of giving back, Montage is donating proceeds to a cause near and dear to them. Last year, Montage donated proceeds to the San Antonio Food Bank. This year’s mixer will benefit Tooth Fairy for Autism.
“Ray Palmer is actually the owner of the building where we are located and a good friend of ours. He heads the autism research program at the University of Texas Health Science Center. It’s a really important study,” Guevara said.
Similar to blood and hair analysis, Dr. Palmer’s research involves analyzing donated baby teeth from children with and without autism to determine what compounds they might have been exposed to in the womb that could contribute to the development of autism. This research is hoped to shed some light on the many unknowns about what causes autism.
Check out Montage Vintage clothing store at 423 West Grayson St.
*Featured/top image: Inside Montage Vintage. Photo by Anthony Ibarcena.