Introducing Zac Cowell, the Parks Project vintage curator based out of Pennsylvania. With a passion for conservation and resource management, Zac's love for vintage stems from the way it allows him to contribute to decreasing the fast fashion cycle and reducing his environmental impact.



How do you define vintage?


This question is really difficult because vintage means so many things to different people. I define vintage as anything around 20 years or older. When I search for vintage clothing, I generally try to pick up cool pieces from 2003 or earlier. You can tell the “age” of clothing based on things like tags, stitching, material, graphic art dating, and others. A lot of the nature shirts that I select for Parks Project have a date printed directly next to the graphic on the shirt. I look for all of these indicators when I am searching for clothes!


I think vintage clothing depends a lot on the individual and what they personally find nostalgic. For instance, I like to collect nature tees, Harley Davidson shirts, Grateful Dead concert tees, and other conversation starting pieces. Lots of people like to look for shirts specific to their favorite movies, tv shows, and concerts and they may set a different time period that they label as vintage.


Favorite vintage tee right now?


My favorite vintage tee right now has to be my “Please Don’t Murder Me, I Beg of You” Save the Earth Tee from the early 90s. The t-shirt has an Earth graphic printed on the front and borrows the phrase from the Grateful Dead song 'Dire Wolf'. My initial interest in environmental sustainability stemmed from learning about the environmental and social consequences of fast fashion so this shirt highlights how I practice sustainability through vintage clothing. Also, this shirt wasn’t officially licensed by the band so who knows how many were made and have survived!


When did you start collecting vintage clothing?


I started collecting vintage clothing when I was 16! I grew up in an area with a lot of thrift stores and on one of my early trips, I found a vintage Patagonia Synchilla pullover for $3. From that moment on I was hooked!



How would you describe your style? Does your style influence how you curate the vintage collections for Park Project?


I would describe my style as themed vintage. I exclusively buy clothing second-hand (excluding socks and underwear!) and I love to express myself through every piece I own. I love to dress the part! If I go to a rodeo, you bet I look like a Western cowboy. If I have a wedding to attend, you’ll find me in 70’s high waisted bell bottom dress pants. If I’m going hiking, I’m decked out in 90’s outdoor wear. My style allows me to really understand what vintage customers are looking for and I try to emulate this idea of functionality and fun when curating Parks Project collection.


What parklands and wildlife art are the most sought after by vintage curators?


The most sought after nature designs by vintage curators are definitely all over print tees. All over prints are items with screen printing all across them, on the front, back and sleeves. I recently found an all over print shirt with Bald Eagles that was a really great find. Specifically for Parks Project, I’ve noticed that customers really enjoy specific National Parks and novelty tourist shirts. I personally enjoy finding pieces from Rocky Mountain National Park and Yellowstone National Park!


What does “leave it better than you found it” mean to you?


I think a lot about my individual impact on this Earth and ways that I can reduce my carbon footprint and support the environment. Shopping and selling second hand gives me a way to reduce my environmental impact and disrupt the fast fashion cycle. To me, leave it better than you found it is all about giving things a new life and a second chance to better the world!


Explore more from: In Park

Shopping Cart

Your cart is empty

Let's find something like you

{% assign product = active_story.product %} {% assign prev_product = prev_story.product %} {% assign next_product = next_story.product %}
{% if prev_product %}
{% endif %} {% if next_product %}
{% endif %}
{% for image in product.images %}
{% if forloop.index == 2 %} {% for project in projects %} {% if product.tags contains project.tag %}
{{ project.description }}
{% break %} {% endif %} {% endfor %} {% endif %} {% endfor %}
{{ product.body_html }}

{{ product.title }}