Inspiration LA: A Vintage Lover’s Dream

Hey vintage lovers, I think I just found heaven.  

I was lucky enough to tag along with Free People Vintage Loves buyer, Ali, for an afternoon of all-things vintage. Every year, downtown Los Angeles hosts Inspiration LA, a vintage and Americana fashion event. The 6th annual, two day event, connects vintage-oriented exhibitors from all over the globe with enthusiasts, buyers, boutiques, fashion designers and more. The vendors offer unique and rare merchandise for exhibit and for sale — including American vintage apparel manufactured between 1900s-1980s, accessories, hot rods (let’s be honest, I fell in love with a few motorcycles from the 1950s), records, the coolest audio equipment I’ve ever seen, and much more. This is the place to be for fashion lovers. You’ll never see all of the world’s best vintage and one-of-a-kind pieces under one roof outside of Inspiration LA.

But don’t take my word for it, take it from a professional vintage buyer. Ali shared, “I love to go to Inspiration because it showcases some of the best vintage in the world. Inspiration LA is a show where people exhibit all the top vintage pieces in America. Specially curated to display the coolest vintage clothing, jewelry, denim, accessories, footwear and more. A place where the who’s who of the vintage community gathers to share their most prized collections. An eclectic mesh of items ranging from early 20th century up to the 80’s. Inspiration is where I go to catch up with my longtime friends, making it even more than just a business event.”

Inspiration LA

Inspiration LA

Inspiration LA

Inspiration LA

Inspiration LA

We weaved up and down the aisles to carefully scope out the pieces in each perfectly curated booth. Each seemed to have its own personality… and lots of it. Every space we checked out was a different experience and offered incredible variety. Talk about being overstimulated: the colors, the coolness, and just plain wanting everything was wonderfully exhausting. Inspiration LA’s concept is to “buy and sell inspiration.” As a fashion fan, I can truly attest that that is absolutely happening in that 3,000 capacity building. The street style fashion of both merchants and buyers is inspiration alone as they snake in and out of booths, stopping to chat and laugh with each other. Confidence oozes from them as they wear what they truly love.  Whether it’s a pair of 1980 Levis, a victorian lace woven top, a silk robe from the 30s, or a perfectly tied handkerchief, each piece has a past, a story, a history. That in itself is inspiring.

Inspiration LA

inspiration la

Inspiration LA

Are you always on the hunt for the best vintage? Me too.  Well, I asked Ali to share some of her tips and tricks to buying these rare special pieces.

– Bring a big bag when you head out to shop! 

– No prices are ever set in stone. There is always room to barter. A genuine way to negotiate is, “what’s your friendliest price?”

– If you love something, spend on it.

Have you ever wondered what a vintage buyer looks for when curating a collection? Below are some of the things Ali looks for in each piece when she’s hunting for Vintage Loves.


– Degree of collectibility.

– Knowing what the coolest Free People girls are into right now.

– Shop for what’s not already bought; Ali is always searching for new fits, new styles, and new looks. 

Be sure to check out the new Vintage Loves collection debuting on February 16!

inspiration la

inspiration la

+ I’d love to know where you shop for vintage, and feel free to add any tips you have for finding the coolest pieces! 

Follow fp joanna on Instagram.

Leave a Reply

9 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
9 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of

Oh my this store looks amazing! Too bad I didn’t know of it when I was in LA last summer!

Rae | love from berlin

This is awesome – that turquoise is so pretty and I love all her tips. That leather photographs really well too.

Warm Regards,

I love vintage clothes, but don’t own too many pieces. These are all great tips to keep in mind as I’m working on expanding my small collection. I live in the LA area and had never heard of Inspiration LA. Hopefully I’ll be around when it’s in town next year.


So Very Awesome! I’m totally looking forward to the new FP Vintage Loves Collection! Also, if you’re ever in LA you should also check out the monthly Long Beach Vintage Market – It’s amazing! When I go I always end up buying something really cool! Thank you for sharing your wonderful pics!

The Weaver Of Words….weaving fibers & fables….

Thank you so much for featuring Strong Medicine Studio and American River Mining Company’s booth on this blog! (Jewelry and vintage furnishings, with the buffalo head!) We had a great time at InspirationLA and it was a pleasure meeting everybody.

Ashley Smith

I wish I lived in LA to check out this store. I want to share my favorite online store with other vintage lovers. Check it out.


I really like how these pictures were taken, with the use of different angles and how the photos are framed. And I was just wondering if you took all of these pictures.


Loooove this article!! And the pictures are so high quality! What camera do you use??

Ahhhh! Looks like fun. Hope to get to LA soon! Until then, I’m bringing the vintage from the Midwest via Etsy at mizzX. xoxoxo