Flea Markets, Pop-Up Shops & the Army of Gypsy Nation Purveyors

The pop-up shop. That “limited time only” fortress of I-gotta-have-it-now retail therapy that seemed to gain more and more momentum these past couple of years until even big box retailers started doing it. Love it or hate it, pop ups are one of the greatest compromises in retail trends to emerge from the obnoxiously skyrocketing rents that were being extorted from enterprising indie boutique starters from SoHo to Silver Lake. A bit lost in the pop up shuffle was the notion that your weekend flea market has long served the need for an alt retail experience. While Brooklyn Flea’s mass media marketing muscle undoubtedly helped give the centuries’ old flea market thing a bit more currency, lifting the profile of some salvagers from the proverbial trash heap to membership in the more rarified cultural elite of upcyclers, the fact is that for those folks who have long been connected to that roving community of vintage obsessed hunters and gatherers, markets are their home.

Markets are the grand daddy of the pop up. And in that rich history are 2 people in our community whose provenance, sense of cultural relevance and command of the cool and the hustle is without parallel or peer.


Ricky Becker (pictured top), proprietor of Spooky Boutique, is no stranger to the world of stylists, vintage enthusiasts and lovers of fashion. His bona fides in the New York City vintage scene reads like a tenured Columbia sociologist with Becker racking up the years at many of the City’s hallowed institutions and a rolodex to show for it. He takes styling seriously and his love of fashion, the art of the fit and the magic of pulling it all together shows.

Gypsy Nation Vintage is Martha Camarillo’s immaculately conceived love child. And it’s a love like no other. A working photographer who regularly shoots around the world for some of those big glossy magazines and even your downhome New Yorker Magazine, Martha is tireless in her devotion to finding the good stuff (see photo above). She knows her shit and is practiced in the art and skill of merchandising and the craft of the deal. Artists & Fleas has been home to Gypsy Nation for 2 years running, serving as a Brooklyn outpost for her loyal followers from across the blogosphere, the fashion world and the cachet Manhattan crowds who get a taste of it at the Pier or Manhattan Vintage shows but want more, more, more. More is what she’s got.



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