Chaos Vintage and Thrift opened a brick and mortar storefront earlier this month as the first punk and alternative secondhand collective in Denver.
On August 7, Chaos Vintage and Thrift officially opened the doors of their new West Colfax storefront. With more than twenty vendors, the collective fosters punk/alternative culture with curated vintage and secondhand goods.
However, founders Skylah Marroquin and Omar Sandoval, established the collective with more than retail in mind. Instead, with their newly opened space, they hope to cultivate community in Denver’s up-and-coming punk and alternative scene.
“We want it to be a very creative, accepting community,” Sandoval emphasized. “Anybody that loves it is welcome to be here. We just want to have fun.”
Having grown up on Colfax herself, Marroquin also emphasized the area’s historic Latin roots. As she and Sandoval are both of Latin descent, maintaining this culture was a pillar of the collective’s founding.
“Me and my co-owner, we’re both Latin American. Our parents are immigrants. So, we wanted to incorporate that – the Latin culture,” she noted. “And growing up on Colfax, it was super Latin American. We wanted to bring that back because a lot of Colfax is becoming gentrified. We wanted it to be all Latin-owned and have that culture still with us.”
The energy of their collective reflects another crucial piece of Marroquin and Sandoval’s respective identities: both grew up in the punk/alternative sphere and both have a long history of reselling vintage and secondhand clothing.
Having grown up entrenched in Los Angeles punk culture, Sandoval comes to the Denver scene bringing his knowledge of California punk.
“Growing up, just hanging out with older punks, they showed me the music, and then I started just going to shows,” Sandoval shared. “I was introduced to it at a really young age. It was just something I fell in love with and it was my outlet – the music, graffiti, just the whole culture.”
As a reseller himself, Sandoval saw Chaos as the perfect way to combine his love of vintage with his love of punk.
Born and raised in the area, Marroquin spent her adolecense thriting across Denver before establishing her own vintage and thrift resale shop, WetBatteryz. As such, she’s seen firsthand how Denver has grown as a hub of sustainable fashion.
“I grew up thrifting. My back to school clothes came from thrifting and upcycling it,” said Marroquin. “After that, it kind of just exploded. Denver is a very ecofriendly city – so it was an easy way to translate into having sustainable fashion.”
Combined, Marroquin and Sandoval bring a unique expertise to running their collective – an aspect that sets them apart from others in Denver’s sustainable fashion scene. Wanting to create a safe community space for alternative folks – and noticing a lack of both punk and Latinx representation in local sustainable fashion – the shop’s owners established Chaos to combine punk values with their shared love of reselling.
“Punk is more of a lifestyle. It’s about not giving a fuck – wearing what you want and doing what you want but staying aware politically and staying aware socially,” said Sandoval of the shop’s roots. “That’s the main thing we want for Chaos – a space for people to feel comfortable and safe and can be themselves.”
As such, the collective’s founders emphasize creativity and fun in their space – all while creating space for punks of the truest definition – those who may feel outcasted or other-ed in the public space.
As the store grows, Sandoval and Marroquin plan to host regular pop-ups featuring local bands and creatives. The store will also soon host upcycling and design workshops.
Above all else, with the opening of their store, the owners seek to create a space where local creators can thrive – especially those who may just be getting their feet wet in the Denver vintage punk sphere. Whether it’s featuring up-and-coming models and artists or giving new resellers a space to vend, Chaos provides a space for growing creators to do more than just create – but to share their art and find a community.