Vintage Sponsor is seriously a sponsor like no other. The idea behind their program is completely unprecedented. They go out, search for the very best vintage clothing in the strangest of places, purchase them & give them out for free to their riders and friends.
Back in October 20th of 2015, Matt Roberge started Vintage Sponsor’s IG, their primary selling place for all their goods. Since then, its been a barrage of t-shirts, trackpants & all the dad hats you could ever wish for. From Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica & Polo, Matt’s found it all. His collection of clothing spans from high-end to old skate t-shirts you wish you never grew out of in middle school.
After the release of John Shanahan’s debut video part for DGK, everyone’s been wondering where he got his ‘fits from. Sure enough, Matt’s responsible for the uproar and demand of this vintage 90’s-early 2000’s look that’s becoming increasingly popular. We managed to get Matt away from his usual schedule of scouring garage sales and filming the East Coast’s up-and-coming talent to ask him some questions.
What exactly is Vintage Sponsor?
It’s a few things but mostly it’s an Instagram to sell vintage skate, snow and designer clothes. At the same time, it’s shopping for my friends and giving people clothes I know they would like.
Why sell on IG? Have you found it a lot easier? Or is it a matter of just not wanting to wait for the highest bidder?
So I started selling shit on eBay, which is good for like certain collectible clothes. I mean, I sold a random band t-shirt from the 90’s for $217, but for cool and cheap stuff it doesn’t make sense. Plus eBay has a lot of rules, treat sellers like shit, and they have a lot of fees too. Since this IG started gaining traction, I just list stuff on there but will probably still put the more high-end shit on eBay.
It sounds crazy to think that you enjoy shopping for other people. How did this happen? Have you always been known for your style by other people or something? Or do you just like sharing the wealth?
When I was in 8th grade, I would wear the same clothes a lot and girls would make fun of me. I had the black CKY hoodie with white letters and wore it everyday. All the other kids wore brands like American Eagle and Aeropostale and I was the only skater kid wearing torn clothes and didn’t fit in. At the same time, my mom would NOT pay retail for clothes so I always had to wait for the CCS sale page, so from growing up with that I never was able to bring myself to pay for retail but always wanted a lot of different clothes. Then I met Dave Waltzer, who is really stylish, and I learned a lot from him and just started collecting clothes and wearing all types of shit. I went through different phases and I guess I was viewed as stylish…maybe. I know a lot of my peers kinda scoffed but I was dead center in this snowboard world at the time so I kind of didn’t really fit in wearing RRL jeans and a vintage Polo hoodie.
Then buying the clothes for other people kinda started with buying stuff for girls, and just transformed into seeing something that is just so that person that you can’t not buy it for them. I like making other people happy; I’m a giver I guess. Now, I just wanna see my friends shine.
What motivated to you to start buying and giving out clothes to the homies?
Clothes today just aren’t as good as they used to be, plus I hate seeing the same fucking t-shirt on multiple people. All these clones are wearing the same things to the point where they might as well be in a uniform. I’ve been thrifting for myself for awhile but I would always see things that I thought would look good on a friend skateboarding or snowboarding. I would also see these old t-shirts of brands I knew my friends were sponsored by, like Volcom or something and the older shit was way cooler. At this point, it’s basically like a one-of-a-kind piece.
I can totally relate to not wanting to see people wear the same thing. I remember growing up, me and my click of skate friends would look through CCS’ and call dibs on what shoe we’d want to wear just so we wouldn’t wear the same things. It was about individuality. Would you say that’s the main stake of your cause?
100% yes. A pretty key influence of that for me is Torey Goodall. I remember seeing him in Rich Mahogany and then on Quartersnacks a lot and he would wear so much different random shit and it really made me think you can wear whatever you wanted. Plus, he had incredible style on the board, and is now the TM at Palace.
Are there any particular pieces you look for when buying clothes?
I’m a Polo guy so that’s what I look forward to finding the most, but for making money, I love finding Tommy Hilfiger. The kids love it ever since ASAP Ferg put the boxers on. I like finding the old skate clothes so much too. It’s pretty hard to find them though and when you do, they’re always a medium and/or really fucked up. I definitely have a pretty wild t-shirt collection going on at the moment, like music shirts and just random shit I know I’ll never see again. eBay got some gems too, but its a long game you gotta play.
Can you explain in any further detail as to why Tommy Hilfiger is popular again? Wasn’t there some big controversy where he didn’t want ethnicities wearing his clothing back in the day…?
I heard a story from someone who served him food that said he “didn’t want anyone who wasn’t white handling his food or taking his plates.” No clue if that’s true, but I think he said something like “I don’t make my clothes for the streets” or some shit like that in the 90’s. That spawned FUBU, which is an incredible brand. Either way, the dude’s cut in my book but his clothes are extremely loud and people gravitate to the logos. I think the 90’s were just in style and Rappers were/are wearing Tommy. Tommy can be worn like a streetwear brand, but with Polo, I think it means more. You don’t see Drake wearing 90’s Polo gear, y’know? I back Ralph all day.
Given how much of an impact fashion has these days, have you ever gotten some because you hooked a chick up with a certain brand? Bitches love LV, Gucci, etc…
Nah, I don’t fuck with basic bitches. Yo, stay away from girls who wear Michael Kors, I’m telling you.
Where do you normally look for items?
Thrift stores are the main place, but the best place is garage sales. My mom literally raised me on going to garage sales on Fridays and Saturday mornings. She’s honestly addicted to it so I’ll just go home for the weekend and get in the car with her and my dad at 7am and go to all of them. The reason garage sales are the best is if you hit a good one, they’re always cheap. And if the person is selling clothes, usually they’ll be selling a lot of similar shit so you can come up on a shitload of clothes for like 5 dollars. The downside of yard sales is it cuts into weekend filming time.
Garage sales are the fucking best. You also film on the side? How did you get into that?
Yeah, I’ve been filming since high school. I filmed professional snowboarding for years, which is a huge chunk of this Vintage Sponsor thing getting started, but I moved to NYC and have been focusing on skating full-time.
Since you’re primarily filming these days, is there a VS mixtape or video to drop in the near future?
I definitely have a lot of ideas for videos and footage being used or reused. I stay putting off the video work, though because I hate staying home. I need it to rain or something.
Of the VS squad, who’s on the team?
[laughs] The team aspect is kinda just a joke, but John Shanahan and Mike Rav are a big part of the conception of VS. On the snow side, I been sending boxes to Scott Stevens, Matt Bothfeld, Bar Dadon, Nirvana Ortanez, Jesse Gouveia, Christian Sparks, Desiree Melancon, Brynn Hayes and Jake Luczak. Probably forgetting some in our skate team, but we got Kentaro Powell, Emily “lil Nice Girl” Tarnacki, Mike Heikilla, and Georgio Villone. I also have a few friends who I don’t wanna put in either of those categories that I buy a lot of clothes for. Some like Jayell White, Jordon Emerson, Tim Lyons and Dave Waltzer, really close personal friends.
You mentioned sending boxes out. How can you afford to do this? From a business perspective, it doesn’t sounds like the most lucrative idea…
Yeah, I’m barely getting by honestly, that’s why you might see me flood the gram. I’m really trying to get rid of these clothes. A lot of the people I send shit to wanna give me money but I don’t wanna take it. I’ll take money for shipping but I think selling the clothes pays for itself. Whether it’s for me or my friends, I just hope it pops so I can sell everything I list.
What’s your buying process like?
I mostly just see something, and if it strikes me, I know I have to buy it. I will immediately think of a plan for it, sometimes its like “yep, that’s his” and I’ll get so hyped to give it to them. Other times I just see dollar signs, but finding these pieces that I know someone is gonna love is what I get the biggest kick out of.
So certain articles of clothing are for certain team riders. Not just anyone gets what they think is cool, right?
I like to have people come over and I’ll show them stuff I can see them wearing and they’ll take what they want or what fits. Sometimes they want stuff I’m trying to sell and I’ll wait till it hasn’t sold to give it to them or I’ll just tell them if they want it they can pay. I have my room set up like a store with a bunch of rollings racks and plastic bins full of shirts.
Is there one item out there that you’ve looking for and can’t find? If so, do you take requests?
I love requests. I honestly can’t stress to my friends enough about requests, especially the ones I don’t see very often. It’s hard for me to get a grasp of what they’re wearing or are into so I really like requests from anyone. Some kid requested medium track pants today over IG.
As for one piece, I have a funny story about this specific shirt. I’ve been looking for it on eBay for awhile. I was trying to find it for under $15 shipped. It’s a Korn “Follow The Leader” Tee. Anyway, I have been looking for it for awhile. One day I’m up in this random town in Southern New Hampshire and its just like a bunch of like 65 yr old New Englanders at 10am in the store. I walk in wearing a Yankees hat, 6’5 wearing slimmer jeans and basketball shoes and I start shopping. I find a bunch of random ass shirts, then BOOM there it is, the fucking korn shirt- I’m beyond hyped. I’m walking around with an arm full of clothes and it’s like me and 5 other people shopping in the store. I set my bundle of clothes down on top of this rack and go infront this mirror to try on a shirt, like 20 feet away. So, I come back less than 60 seconds later and all my shit is gone. I’m thinking it fell on the ground or something but no, it’s fucking gone! I start looking around and figured one of the 90yr old store attendants picked it up and took it somewhere. I go to the back and everyone’s looking at me funny, treating me like I’m crazy, I’m thinking “YO WTF MY CLOTHES AT” but I’m being very polite at the same time. I’m told “maybe some one stole them” and I’m like “HOW?”, so they end up pulling out like 2 things I had out of the back but that’s literally it. The Korn shirt was gone, along with 5 other gems. I’m looking all over this fucking place… The fucking shirt had vanished, and in that moment, I felt exactly like Larry David. Just asking all these people for help and they’re just giving me dirty looks and shit.
Wait, what’s so special about this Korn shirt to you?
I loved Korn when I was in like 7th grade and this one shirt is just aesthetically appealing. Wearing it would be kind of funny and serious at the same time.
Do you literally dress the team or just give them random pieces of clothing and have them figure it out?
I don’t dress the team, but I do guide them and bring them stuff I know is really sick. Items that they might not have thought to wear or know the story behind but for the most part everyone knows what they’re doing, some of them really don’t give a fuck about the clothes so its hard as fuck to get them hyped.
Has there ever been a time where you brought one of the team riders some clothing and they’ve just looked at you like “Bruh!?”
Nah, not really. I think most of them trust me and at the same time, I know their personality so I don’t bring them stuff that isn’t them. Plus, I know not everyone can put on Girbaud Jeans, and not everyone should. I have held up shit like “do you fuck with this” not knowing what they’re gonna say and they give me the “BRUH” look but its never been something I’ve bought for them specifically so its all good.
Future plans with Vintage Sponsor? Where do you see it going in the next 5 years?
Plans: Thrift, get this money, make people happy, push the limits. 5 Year plan: Don’t die.