The End? / Mish Mash, the sweet little year-and-a-half old vintage shop with an attitude that held a strong force on the frontlines in Chinatown with Otto Cake will, sadly, raise its vintage lamé surrender flag at the end of November. Store owner Nicole Franco says the reason for deciding to close amounts to “a combination of things . . . I think a lot of the continuing issues going on in Chinatown played a part,” but added that she’d planned on closing shop for a while. As it turns out, a shop for vintage clothing is hard to sustain when we don’t have the cold weather to sport those belted sweaters and parachute pants.
She’s got other things to look forward to, anyway. As co-creator and -organizer with Aly Ishikuni for Art & Flea, the monthly art, craft and flea market at Fresh Café, she says the plan is to continue to build that movement. “[Art and Flea] has always been a full time job . . . we’re looking at maybe taking it to other parts of the island,” she said. After this Thursday’s Art & Flea at Fresh, they’ll move the tents to Smith Street in Chinatown for the Makahiki Festival.
If life in Chinatown was a little harder than she expected, Franco sounded bittersweet. “I can say that it’s been really great. You know, I’m really proud with the local community embracing vintage–it’s not for everyone . . . It was fun while it lasted. I really love Chinatown and believe in Chinatown; it’s always felt like [Chinatown’s] on the verge, but it also feels like we’re on a plateau.”
The bright side? Starting on First Friday, and through the rest of November, she’s knocked the prices down by 25–75 percent. “I’m just trying to minimize the stuff I have, because I’m not a hoarder!” she laughed. She’ll also keep a table at Art & Flea (“Where it all started”), and is working on stocking up her eBay and Etsy online storefronts. “I’m going to put a lot of stuff online, because that’s where it sells. I hate to say it!”