A walk down Power Street last summer might have led you to a casual driveway pop-up, with music playing as people perused clothing racks. Those informal pop-ups have now become Pop-Up PVD, a traveling thrift shop that features vintage clothing and local artists.
Pop-Up PVD, originally named Pop-Up on Power, was started in June 2021 by Luke Dermody, Olivia Gerrits and Jacqueline Jutras, all recent college graduates from the Northeast now living and working full time in Providence.
Most of the trio’s wardrobes are thrifted clothing, and after they individually started selling vintage and resale clothing online, they came together to hold in-person sales, Jutras said. The pop-ups started in driveways, and after receiving an “overwhelmingly positive response,” they expanded to more structured events and have worked with businesses, she added.
“We plan to do more casual driveway pop-ups, but this summer we’re definitely focusing on partnering with local businesses,” Gerrits said.
Dermody serves as the team’s operations manager, Gerrits works as the creative director and Jutras works in social media management. All three also serve as “pickers,” meaning they look for and curate clothes for the pop-ups along with three college students: Cole McGill, Samuel Lynch ’23 and Brian Martin. “If you show up to one of our pop-ups and you purchase an item, one of us picked out that item,” Jutras said.
Picking is done at local thrift stores, including Savers, Salvation Army and Goodwill, along with flea markets and other stores in New Hampshire and Connecticut, said Dermody and Gerrits. Other clothes are donated from friends and family, and the team also focuses on reworking old and thrifted pieces. These sources have brought a great variety of clothing options to the pop-ups: “We all have different styles ourselves, so when someone comes to a pop-up, there’s something for everybody,” said Gerrits.
The team is also working to collaborate with local businesses and artists. “The vision we have is bringing in more local artists and making it more of a well rounded shop beyond just clothing,” Dermody said.
A significant amount of time is put into preparing the pop-up events, Dermody said. Clothing has to be cleaned, hung and tagged, along with transporting everything and putting up flyers around the neighborhood, which is how many people learn about events, Dermody added. The pop-ups also feature some handmade components, such as Pop-up PVD clothing tags.
With more events, the team has had to source clothing more frequently and manage inventory, which has posed storage challenges. The trio has had to store clothing in their apartment due to the volume. “It’s a big group effort, and we’ve gotten better and better every time at streamlining,” Gerrits said.
After the preparation is complete, event days are one of the highlights of running the thrift shop, Dermody said. “I think that casualness is what the community really picked up on and liked about it.”
Because resale can be expensive, Pop-Up PVD tries to keep prices fair, Jutras explained. The team also had one fully free pop-up and are aiming to do another, though these events are usually very short as items are quick to go, Gerrits added.
After running pop-ups on Power Street and collaborating with Fashion@Brown for the Fall Fashion Fair, Pop-Up PVD has a new line up of events in various campuses and businesses. This weekend, they will be having a mini pop-up at Mojo Cafe in Hoboken, New Jersey, where Demobody and Gerrits are from.
Other upcoming events include pop-ups at the University of Rhode Island on April 20, Fashion@Brown’s Spring Fashion Fair on April 22 and events at Pizza Marvin and Kow Kow during the summer, though the list is not yet finalized.
According to Jutras, thrifting has become more popular recently among young people. “My impression is that the city is definitely pro-thrifting and sustainable fashion,” Gerrits added.
After learning about the store through some friends, Chloe Perel ’23 has become a regular at Pop-Up PVD’s events. In order to moderate her own direct consumption, she has tried to do more thrifting and looking for secondhand apparel, though this is not as accessible to everyone on campus. “There’s no thrift store on Thayer Street,” she said, and most students don’t have access to cars.
Calista Manuzza ’23 also learned about the pop-ups through friends, adding that Pop-Up PVD has “a lot of different types of pieces, and they also have accessories.” After attending a thrift and small artist sale on Wriston Quad last semester, she said that she thinks that thrifting is continuing to grow in popularity.
Perel also noted that, beyond clothing, the pop-ups feature the work of local artists. “It's quite the variety and I think there's something for everyone regardless of your style, or taste in clothes,” she said. “The people that do it are some of the coolest people you’ll ever meet.”
Rhea Rasquinha is a Metro section editor covering the College Hill, Fox Point & the Jewelry District and Brown & Beyond beats. She also serves as an illustrator. She is a sophomore from New York studying Biomedical Engineering and loves dark chocolate and penguins.