Recently two friends and business partners, Amanda Dolan and Meagan Colby, brought their 1990s-themed online shop, Spark Pretty, to the streets. East 9th Street, specifically.
Dolan told Gothamist that "after about five years of steady online sales and a ton of experience as vendors at vintage markets, we got the itch to try something new. We started doing Pop Up Shops in theme with our favorite era, the era in which we were teenagers: the '90s!" After a couple of successful pop-up experiences, the duo opened their brick and mortar store this month in the East Village.
Regarding their chosen neighborhood, Dolan told us, "We both have a sentimental attachment to the East Village," adding, "I've lived in the neighborhood for fourteen years, and one of Meagan's first apartments was on East 9th Street! To us, the East Village has always felt like the heartbeat of Downtown New York. It holds a sense of history and excitement. Forever changing, but also staying true to its roots. We wanted to open a store that would keep the Spirit of the East Village alive."
Their love of the '90s, pop culture, nostalgia, and their fashion hero Betsey Johnson will envelop you when you enter the shop, which features a colorful explosion of authentic vintage items from the era, as well as homages in the form of hand-painted denim jackets.
"We have some many unique and different items to offer," Dolan said, including one of a kind custom pieces by their in-house designer Tom Knight. They've also got "hand-painted and sequin-encrusted jean jackets by infamous designer Tony Alamo, Lisa Frank jackets, bags and accessories, purses with working clocks, Club Kid holographic two piece outfits, a huge selection of novelty and band t-shirts, pins and patches, slinky dresses, outrageous jumpsuits, a funky collection of vintage toys like Trolls, Alf stuffed animals, and Spice Girls Dolls." There's even a talking Fran Drescher-as-The Nanny doll.
Dolan and Colby have their favorites, too—including anything involving Courtney Love, Elvira, Lita Ford, Ozzy and The Plasmatics. And they both "share a mutual adoration" for their style icon: Kelly Bundy, who you'll likely see on their television set if you drop by... which you should do, even if you're not in the market for a nostalgia-purchase. "We want you to feel like you've had an immersive retro experience," Dolan told us. "From the pink glow of our neon sign, to the memories of our childhood posters staring back at you, to the disco ball sparkling on the ceiling, we are so much more then your average vintage shop." And if you are in the market for some '90s treasures, be sure to follow them on Instagram, where they'll be offering up first dibs on items.
Spark Pretty is located at 333 East 9th Street (between 1st and 2nd Avenues)