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The Fashion Designer Who’s a Vintage-Shopping Expert

“I’m a vintage maven and an eBay and Etsy queen.” Photo: Kyle Dorosz

Kimberly Colombo, Fashion Designer

Great belt.
Thanks. It’s Gianni Versace, vintage. I have five Gianni Versace belts. Nine acid-washed jackets, several pairs of acid-washed shorts, at least two acid-washed dresses. Six Norma Kamali sleeping-bag jackets. This late-’80s and early-’90s thing isn’t my first phase: I’ve had a Victorian phase where I wore bloomers all the time, a pirate phase. I’m a vintage maven and an eBay and Etsy queen.

When do you do most of your shopping?
Into the night. I look at stuff. I buy a lot, then take a breather, then buy some more. I am very good at winning an online auction. I wait until the last 30 seconds to bid so that other buyers aren’t aware I’m interested. Then I swoop in like a vulture.

You must have a wealth of vintage tips.
It’s about persistent searching. If I’m looking for a shirt with a balloon sleeve, I’ll try a million different terms — some might describe it as a romantic or puff sleeve, others might call it a batwing or a cocoon sleeve or a dolman. And sometimes I try misspellings of designers’ names because sellers will get it wrong. I see a lot of Gianni Versacy.

And what do you do for work?
I’m a designer at Express. My area is casual knits.

Lightning Round

Age: 39.
Neighborhood: Greenpoint.
Favorite movie: I love horror movies. I just watched The Thing for the thousandth time.
Favorite TV show: “I put on the cooking network when I shop online and just watch for hours. Which is strange, because I don’t cook at all.”

*This article appears in the February 4, 2019, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

The Fashion Designer Who’s a Vintage-Shopping Expert