Sam Greenberg is a big name in the vintage menswear business - we went behind the scenes and talked about owner Daniel's ties to vintage and his top products. Listen up...
Tell us about Sam Greenberg Vintage! Who, what, where and when?
You could say Sam Greenberg’s history is vintage itself. He was my grandfather who I never knew as he passed away even before my dad met my mum.
Sam’s father, Benjamin, arrived in London at the turn of the 20th century. Benjamin was tailor from Warsaw who arrived in London with nothing and began selling second hand clothing at Petticoat Lane market in the East End. From a young age Sam worked alongside him and in 1935 he opened a shop selling men’s second hand tailored clothing in Cable Street. With my dad they went into decades of wholesale after that with their own rag yard.
Sam Greenberg is now a new and very different business. When I started I wanted a brand name that kind of sounded like a designer but with a twist that reflected the heritage of an old East End Jewish tailor. People often think I must be Sam, but I’d never have been so egotistical as to name the business after myself!
How did your obsession with all things vintage start?
See above! You could say it’s a family affair and very much in my blood.
Can you tell us what you look out for when buying vintage?
I made the decision a few years ago to make it a menswear brand as that was where our strengths lay. Any womenswear we sell is reflective of where we sell. We have our ASOS Marketplace boutique and concessions in high street stores. I’d say our customers are generally younger and into street fashion more than your typical vintage collector or aficionado, so we’re very fashion-led.
The main thing we look for when buying vintage is great quality products with a sense of fun.
What is selling like hotcakes at the moment?
Being a transitional time of year, lightweight jackets and sweats have been strong. Denim jackets seem to be having a comeback along with 90s patterned jackets - the crazier the print, the better.
This is continuing into summer with similar short sleeve shirts.
We also run the U.S. and European sportswear boutique Back to Snap, where shell track jackets, Champion sweatshirts and U.S. football and baseball sports jerseys have been flying.
Do you have a favourite era?
Not really. In the same way we approach the buying, it’s more fun to just mix it up: vintage '50s Levi’s jeans with '60s classic Italian leather shoes, an '80s Champion reverse weave sweatshirt with a '90s Ralph Lauren button down on the top. I’m not really big on the '70s I guess!
Tell us about your typical working day!
There is no such thing! One day/week I could be away buying. In the studio I have a good team to take care of things; the photography, uploading and customer fulfilment. After we’ve picked and packed what’s sold overnight, we send out orders every weekday to provide the quickest and best service possible.
We also see what’s been selling well to pick out and style similar pieces for shooting, and to try to source more. After shooting I’ll always check and edit items, pictures, descriptions and prices before they go live.
We try to have new stuff to publish daily, so with that and the orders, customer enquiries and social media stuff it’s pretty busy!
Tell us about your studio. Where is it, how have you made it your own, what do you love about it?
We’re based in Cricklewood, North West London. It's not the most glamorous location, especially as we’re in a road of lock-up car mechanic garages, but it works for us and keeps us grounded. The main thing is it’s a good space with great light and we’ve made it our own with bits and bobs we’ve picked up on our buying travels. The main thing I love about it is it’s close/far enough to run home!
We'd love it if you could share a few top tips for hunting down quality vintage!
If I told you, I’d have to kill you. You can’t give too much away in this business! Just be prepared to go further than anyone else. Keep your eyes open all the time - and don’t forget to keep it fun.
Stop by Sam Greenberg Vintage to shop handpicked vintage menswear.