Broke AF With Blake Hardy

Fall is here, winter is on its way, and we’re all still broke AF. As the trends change with the seasons our wardrobes seem to always be lagging behind. Last week, MILK.XYZ joined LA-based photographer Andrew Hazeltine on a style excursion with model and all-around fashion guru Blake Hardy to see how he keeps his closet up to steez.

We showed up to Blake’s east LA residence on a Monday afternoon. His only instructions? “Come through the showroom.” He pushed open the sliding door to his in-home vintage boutique wearing nothing but a pair of Girbaud pants and Raf Simons Ozweegos, his torso splashed with tattoos. Clearly comfortable, he knew that this was going to be a day in his element—an inside look at what has transcended a hobby and developed into a lifestyle.

Blake’s 90’s vintage “showroom”, which is the brick and mortar manifestation of his company “Pastime Paradise”, looks like a boutique on a popular LA strip. And being that his house is just off Glendale Boulevard in the up-and-coming Atwater Village, it basically is.

We sat down for a few cups of coffee before hunting vintage at Community Thrift in central Los Angeles.

When did you get into thrifting? 

“Some of my earliest memories are of garage sale-ing with my Grandmother in the summers while my parents worked. She did pretty well for herself as an antique dealer and I think that’s when the seed was planted. I also remember in high school I would hit Goodwill with my good friend Matt Gettlefinger (RIP) and early on in our thrifting I found a Judas Priest shirt that had a giant skull on the front and a skeleton hand flipping the bird on the back—above the hand said ‘ram it down’ and below read ‘shove it up’. I wore it once and later that week I made the mistake of tossing it in the laundry basket and my mother threw it out when she did the next wash (she’s a good Christian woman but I still give her a hard time about it). I’ve pretty much been looking for that shirt ever since.”

Why do you do it? 

“I guess nowadays the real reason why I do it is because it has become something that compliments the rest of my life. It’s definitely become something folks associate me with. As you mentioned I make a living modeling, that is what originally brought me to Los Angeles. Over the years as I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin, I’ve embraced my job and in turn embraced some pretty far out style choices, some hits, some misses. I think those choices have been heavily influenced by what I’ve been able to score from my countless hours thrifting. Now that I’ve gotten more into styling and creative direction, it’s become an invaluable resource. I probably own 3000+ pieces of clothing old and new and it is largely being put to good use, whether at a casting, a booking, a styling gig, or the rose bowl flea market when I occasionally venture out to sell.”

Over the years as I’ve become more comfortable in my own skin, I’ve embraced my job and in turn embraced some pretty far out style choices, some hits, some misses.

What do you look for? How do you determine value in the pieces you choose? 

“Some basic things I look for are single stitch sleeves on t shirts (when there is a double stitch it typically means it is mid 90s or newer), made in USA, made in France, made in Italy, designer names, pop culture references, obscure and weird items, western wear, work wear, early street wear, real leather … I could go on and on.

I’m forever surprised at what the next person in line is buying but at the end of the day what looks cool and makes someone happy is subjective. Sometimes you just don’t know what you like until it’s sitting right in front of you—and if you like it, that’s how you determine value.”

Stay tuned to Milk for more frugal fashion.

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