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Rock and Fold

This summer is rife with reunion tours, from the Police (one last time) to New Kids on the Block (finally!). Here are six stores for throwback band tees.

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Vintage tees from Flying A and What Comes Around Goes Around. Photo illustration: Jed Egan.  

Amalia
44 Prince St., nr. Mullberry St.; 212-966-6813
Beneath racks of gauzy sundresses and Michael Stars tanks, this trendy Nolita boutique shelves stacks of vintage knockoffs for women from Trunk, Ltd. The tees are created in limited batches and feature hand-printed serigraph replicas of original designs from bands like Run-D.M.C., Bon Jovi, the Doors, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Check back later this summer for an expanded roster, including Blondie, Jimi Hendrix, and KISS. Prices range from $60 to $130.


Flying A
169 Spring St., nr. W. Broadway; 212-965-9090
This Soho concept shop, by way of Denmark, has a retro feel, mixing new apparel from brands like Joe’s Jeans and the namesake Flying A line with vintage finds. The store’s buyer scouts band T-shirts from Arizona and Toronto, uncovering eighties styles from Pink Floyd and the Rolling Stones ($39). The selection is hit or miss—vintage wares sell out quickly—but new stock arrives at least once a week.


What Comes Around Goes Around
351 W. Broadway, nr. Broome St.; 212-343-9303
The curated stock at this vintage showroom for serious collectors includes a Rolling Stones Love You Live tee from the mid-seventies signed by Andy Warhol, a Def Leppard Pyromania-tour tee, and a shirt from Pink Floyd's 1977 Animals tour. Although it specializes in seventies rock and eighties hair metal, the store also carries designs from pop idols like Boy George, Madonna, and Michael Jackson. Prices start at $100, but can jump to $10,000 for particularly rare pieces.

Metropolis
43 Third Ave., nr. 10th St.; 212-358-0795
This gritty vintage store seeks out worn rock shirts like its competitors hunt down designer labels, scouring eBay and shows in L.A. The 100 band tees on display range from those of the Cramps, Quiet Riot, Led Zeppelin, and Metallica to old-school Madonna and U2. Shirts sell for $60 to $200, but unlike the collectors, the typical Metropolis regular prefers the lived-in (or moshed-in) look—“the uglier, the better,” declares the clerk.


Allan & Suzi
416 Amsterdam Ave., at 80th St.; 212-724-7445
Lydia Criss, ex-wife of KISS band member Peter Criss, once brought in a T-shirt signed by the drummer himself. (It sold for $300.) Scattered among floor-length gowns and leather jackets, you’ll find a 1990 shirt from the Police, a Styx tee from 1981, a shirt from Roger Waters’s 1990 Wall concert in Berlin, and—if you’re lucky—others from Iron Maiden and Ozzy Osbourne, priced anywhere from $80 to $200.


John Varvatos
315 Bowery, nr. Bleecker St.; 212-358-0315
This high-end boutique in the old CBGB space receives biweekly shipments of vintage T-shirts from What Comes Around Goes Around, with an emphasis on the Ramones (naturally). The selection features rare collector's items like a black-and-white Ramones tee from the late seventies ($750) and a long-sleeve Cheap Trick "Live at the Budokan" shirt from the early eighties, of which only 100 were made. More common eighties-era designs from Depeche Mode and Guns N' Roses sell for $150 to $200.


Beacon’s Closet
88 N. 11th St., nr. Wythe Ave., Greenpoint, Brooklyn; 718-486-0816
This sprawling used-clothing store offers anywhere from 30 to 50 concert tees at a given time, from artists like Mötley Crüe, Jethro Tull, and Def Leppard. While the selection skews toward the eighties, regular Closet hunters have found Stones tees from the seventies and Nirvana ones from the early nineties. Dedicated diggers can score serious deals, since the store prices even collector’s items at $15.95 to $19.95.


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