You may have noticed a funky new storefront on the corner of Spring and Prospect Hill Streets. It belongs to Folk Vintage, owned by Sydney Gordon who recently relocated to Newport from NYC.

We had a chance to take a peek inside this 70s-style thrift store and talk with Sydney about the inspiration behind Folk Vintage, here’s what she said.

Owner Sydney Gordon. Photo provided by Folk Vintage

1. Tell us about yourself and your background. Where are you from and what’s your connection to Aquidneck Island?

I am from 35 min away, Dartmouth Massachusetts, loved spending many weekends in Newport but never knew this is where I would end up!

I used to always tell my mom, I will never live here in the cold miserable northeast. I have lived in many parts of the world like Thailand, Turkey, Australia, and later realized there is no place like New England. I grew up to only realize that this is where I wanted to plant my roots.

During covid, I lived in NYC and had to get out so I came to Newport and fell in love.

2. Tell us a bit about the inspiration behind Folk Vintage. Why open a thrift store and why now?

I have been collecting vintage for about 8 years now. It all started when I was a freshman in college in South Florida, and didn’t have the money to buy clothes full price. A friend of mine introduced me to Good Will and I had fallen in love with the hunt to find trendy clothes. The more I collected and the more people I met who shared the love of vintage clothes, I was educated a whole lot more about fast fashion and how I didn’t want to support that in any way. I am now always on the hunt for flea markets, estate sales, yard sales. I only buy second-hand clothes because it’s sustainable and rewarding! Buying second-hand has become more popular and I wanted to take advantage of this opportunity.

3. How did you choose the Spring Street location and how did you approach designing the layout for your store?

On my walk to and from Thames and my house, I would always take Spring Street. I kept seeing the For Rent sign in the most beautiful double wooden doors. I loved how it was on the corner and it looked to be the perfect size for my vintage store which was only a thought/dream at that point. My boyfriend bit the bullet and called our now landlord, Scott. Scott said he wanted this place to have a pulse and was eager to see my shop in here. We acted fast and called him that night to say we were in! The layout is like a 70s basement. I already had all the decor either in my basement or photography studio. 

5. What sets Folk Vintage apart from other thrift stores in Newport?

Folk is Vintage Streetwear for anyone of any gender! It is all curated by myself and many pieces were hand-selected in places all over the world that you can not find anywhere else. For example, my two fringe jackets came from a second-hand Australian market. When you walk into folk you feel you were sent back into a 70s basement. My prices are reasonable, I don’t want to steer others away from sustainable fashion with high prices. Many other stores look for second hand that look brand new, some of my pieces have wear and tear because I believe that gives the piece more character especially when the pieces are from the 60s, 70s, and 80s.

6. Any holiday shopping or end-of-year deals local shoppers should know about?

I just want shoppers to know that your Christmas shopping doesn’t have to be brand new products. I believe something second-hand could be just as much, if not more of a thoughtful gift. I also have holiday sweaters, dresses, mugs, and more!

Folk Vintage is located at 221 Spring Street in Newport and on Instagram at @folkvintageco.