Retro Gate vintage store is the latest player in Singapore’s thrifting game. We ask them what makes them different.
New kids on the block Retro Gate is run by three friends who met in university, Paul Low, Ryo Yamamoto, and Tao Kwong (TK). They say Retro Gate’s differentiating factors are its abundance of stock, accessibility, and affordability.
For a small place, Singapore has something of a burgeoning vintage store scene. There are the old guards down at Peninsula Plaza, but there’s also a new wave of vintage stores coming up in industrial areas in Singapore and some others that operate by pop-up (we’ve covered a few of them here and here).
Retro Gate, the newest of such vintage stores, is located at Citimac Industrial Building (a three-minute walk from Tai Seng MRT station) and is open from 1pm to 8pm daily. And just for customers of the FOMO generation, Retro Gate also makes announcements on new releases, sales, and even secret auctions via Telegram (link is on their Instagram @retrogateofficial).
“Telegram is a great platform. It not only allows us to sell products but it gives us an opportunity to communicate with our customers. We get a chance to really interact with our customers and get feedback on what other products they would like to see and how else we can better improve our services,” explained Ryo Yamamoto.
At time of writing, Retro Gate’s Telegram channel has about 510 subscribers. One thing’s for sure, Retro Gate has got its comms down pat; its instructions are crystal clear, there are FAQs, and dos and don’ts (including a caveat on flaking). To transact via the Retro Gate Mobile Store, customers can transfer money by PayNow/PayLah (money transfer by mobile number) or by bank transfer.
Its decidedly millennial sales touchpoints already tick the accessibility box, but that aside, Retro Gate is determined to set itself apart with its abundance of stock and pricing.
“We want to break the stereotype that streetwear has to be exclusive and expensive. We want Retro Gate to be a one-stop vintage streetwear store for everyone. We want to create a streetwear culture that is inclusive,” said Ryo.
In-store, customers will find over 1,200 products ranging from vintage t-shirts to Hawaiian shirts; military wear to workwear; hockey jerseys to vests. Bargain hunters can head straight to the S$10, S$15, and S$20 thrift racks.
The variety is there so customers are encouraged to experiment with different styles. Not content with serving just a niche customer base, Retro Gate vintage hopes that a greater variety in stock means it will appeal to a wider audience.
By the end of this year, you will be able to shop from Retro Gate in three ways: at the store, via Telegram, and on its online store which it plans to launch soon. If you can’t wait and Tai Seng’s too far, look out for Retro Gate’s booth at Street Superior (by the same guys who bring you Sole Superior) happening October 27-28.
Retro Gate vintage store is located at 605A MacPherson Road, #08-03, Singapore 368240. The store is open 1pm to 8pm daily.
This interview has been edited and condensed.