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Riches from RagsEdited by Julia Beeson
JOHN KEDDIEíS T-SHIRT BUSINESS relies on two basic fashion tenets: Vintage shirts never go out of style, and sometimes a sense of humor is the best accessory. His company, Vintage Vantage, was born out of his love of vintage T-shirts. Working out of
his Ocean Beach studio apartment, Keddie, 27, shopped area thrift stores for the best T-shirt finds, which he'd then post for sale on eBay.
"With an interest in art and all these old T-shirts lying around, I started working on my own concepts, and the resulting line of original T-shirts has become our core business," says Keddie, who later moved the operation to a Miramar warehouse where he now employs four others, full-time. One of their tongue-in-cheek original designs - with the words "AWARD-WINNING WIFE" written across the front - was spotted on tabloid media darling Britney Spears, pre-divorce. Other loyal customers include college students and Gen-Yers, enthusiastic participants in the offbeat contests Keddie hosts on vintagevantage.com. (One current contest: A re-creation of the Britney look, snapped on film, complete with aforementioned shirt, miniature dog and that just-rolled-out-of-bed look, garners contestants two free T-shirts.)
From a $5,200 1952 T-shirt to the "TV: MORE FUN THAN HOMEWORK" original design ($22.50), Vintage Vantage caters to both the connoisseur and the curious. As the site explains, "Some of these shirts are ultra-rare museum-quality pieces, and are priced accordingly. The rest are just mind-bogglingly awesome." Vintage Vantage shirts are sold at major retailers such as Urban Outfitters and hundreds of boutiques (such as The River in Pacific Beach).