Vintage shops have taken over the streets of Denver, displaying the greatest fashion from past eras. But using both vintage and customized clothing to share a time period’s best fashion is what Miah Richards of Fourth Place Vintage has been doing for years. Seeking out vintage pieces, in addition to customizing clothing to every customer, comes from his years of experience and love for fashion.
303 Magazine: Tell us how you got into fashion in the first place.
Miah Richards: My original course of action with fashion was mainly just a means to make money. Growing up, I never really had any money so I grew up hitting up all of the garage sales and Goodwill and thrifting. I started to sell things when I was still in high school at 17 years old. I’d buy some thrifted goods and sell them on eBay and because I was too busy doing sports, that was my way of making money. It really took off when I was in film school. That was kind of the inlet of it. Now, I feel like the two go hand-in-hand. I get to use my film background to go with my fashion. I do my own lookbooks and style my own shoots with my background in film.
303: How did you get started with Fourth Place Vintage?
MR: I’ve been living in Denver for about five years. I think it was about three years ago that my house was just overflowing with clothes. My roommate and I were just getting annoyed with having all these clothes around. I found a place on Zillow as a space to sell my stuff out of. One room was an inventory room and the other was a video and photography room. I was just getting out of the service industry so I was just leaving that hectic mindspace and wanted to literally organize all of my stuff. My initial thought was, “How do I make money right now?” I was just dropping out of college probably in 2012 and that’s when that one Macklemore song came out about thrift shopping so I guess there was a celebrity aspect of it almost. It really came from a place of having so much stuff and so many clothes and needed to organize it all.
303: Describe the store and its style.
MR: I think the only way I could describe it is something that anyone could find something that they would want. I have something for everybody. I have 5,000 pieces of clothing. It just got out of hand in my own showroom. My personal website took everything that was so sporadic in my brain about having and selling vintage and custom clothing and helped me spread it out in a digital space. It’s a perfect visual of my brain. You click to shop vintage styles or you can click to shop custom styles.
303: What’s the process of getting clothes to sell? What’s a day in the life doing that like?
MR: Two years ago I got into making my own clothes. I really started to customize things. I was tired of seeing the same things here. I started distressing, sandpapering and cutting things apart. I feel like I was doing something everyone was doing but that’s how I found my niche here. So, I asked myself what I could do to push myself but also bring something new that not mimicking something that’s already happening worldwide. Sourcing is just kind of something I’ve always done. I find clothes in any place you could imagine finding clothes — thrift stores, antique malls. I’ll walk down the street and find something and clean it even. I do vintage and custom pieces. So with custom clothes, it was the most organic evolution of designing clothes. I started with just distressing pieces then adding things or blending two pieces together. Now, I start from scratch. First and foremost, I think of myself as a collector, then as a seller/buyer. My first true passion is the collection.
303: Where does the name “Fourth Place Vintage” come from?
MR: Growing up, I’ve always embraced being an outcast and what makes you different. Fourth place is the only one who doesn’t get a trophy. You never have to prove you’re fourth place. I love the meaning because I just want to feel like fourth place. And that’s who I am, I’ve been fourth place all my life.
303: What do you hope for the future of Fouth Place Vintage?
MR: I think I want it to become its own self-sustaining business. I think for me, in the long term, I would love to have showrooms or a website that is making a profit to where I can really get into the fashion world that I want to get into. I want it to be a cornerstone in the community of fashion, whether you want to come to me to be styled head to toe, or just shop, or even if you’re a photographer and want to learn. It’s a weird niche here, everything kind of goes together. I want anyone and everyone to find something and be able to connect to it. I want everyone to connect with Fourth Place.
All photography by Danielle Webster.