On a late Sunday afternoon, a college student eyes the patented blue corduroy Future Farmers of America jacket — an item usually worn by members of the agriculturally oriented high school program while showing livestock for auction at county fairs.
But today, this undergrad sees the blue jacket as the perfect addition to a college wardrobe.
Located on the second floor of the historic Kennell-Ellis building on 13th and Willamette, which was built in the mid-’40s, Freestyle Superette is the newest addition to Eugene’s vintage stores offering customers a well-curated inventory of clothing.
Kasey Jackson opened the store in April 2022. Jackson moved to Eugene a few years ago with her partner from New York City, where they lived for a decade, she says. As she explored Eugene, she says she found vintage stores, like Oak Street Vintage near the Whiteaker, and she decided she wanted to open a store to monetize her hobby of collecting clothing.
After opening its doors on 13th Avenue, the store joins various resale stores along that stretch between the University of Oregon’s campus and downtown, such as Eugene Jeans and Thrift King vintage stores, House of Records and Nostalgia Collectibles action figures and comics. “Eugene has a resale renaissance row with its vintage and antique and resale shops,” Jackson says. “That spoke to me most about this space.”
With vintage stores a few blocks away from Freestyle Superette, Jackson says she doesn’t see those shops as competition. “It’s not a typical mall store where you have 30 of the same thing,” she says, adding that the stores often recommend customers to visit the other businesses. “They’re not going to see any of the same things here than they would there.”
Jackson says the store is also a way to cut down on the wastefulness of the fashion industry. “Fashion is obviously one of the most wasteful industries,” she says. “Anything I can do to try to keep a piece out of the landfill.”
Fast fashion is cheaply made clothing that mimics high-end labels at lower prices and often has a shorter lifespan. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, fast fashion is the second-largest water user and is responsible for about 2 to 8 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
What sets a vintage store apart from a typical thrift store — besides the price difference — is having an inventory that is carefully curated. Jackson says she has friends who work as buyers for the store, all of whom provide the store with their own individual taste and style. The various tastes of the store’s buyers supply Freestyle Superette with an eclectic mix of clothing. “There could be a Dior bag and a ring for $4 to a pair of Diesel jeans that were big in the late ’90s,” Jackson adds.
Being in a college town, the store has a wide variety of University of Oregon vintage clothing, from fanny packs to T-shirts, from past football bowl games and jerseys. Jackson says she keeps an eye out for varsity jackets, especially those from the ’40s and ’50s, her favorite era for that gear, which usually fly right off the shelves.
Whether customers are coming in to buy quirky blue corduroy jackets or are inspired to build a wardrobe influenced by pop star Harry Styles, Jackson says they’re excited to discuss the purchase with her.
“A lot of pieces have a little history and a little story,” she says. “A lot of folks who come shopping will end up talking about why a piece is sort of interesting or significant. And they’ll give me a little backstory about why they think it’s great.”
Freestyle Superette is at 37 W. 13th Ave #203. Find on Instagram @freestylesuperette. Hours are noon to 7 pm Wednesday through Saturday.
This story has been updated.