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Rose Bowl Flea Market Digitally Lives On, Thanks to Free People

Rivet's 2020 Denim Circularity report takes a deep dive into how the global denim industry is plotting its circular future amidst a worldwide pandemic.

Not even a global pandemic can stop vintage denim collectors from getting their Rose Bowl Flea Market fix.

The 52-year-old Pasadena, Calif.-based flea, renowned for its denim selection, is now turning virtual thanks to a new partnership with boho fashion brand Free People. Shoppers can access vintage goods through the Rose Bowl landing page on the Free People website, where they can shop vintage denim, dresses, T-shirts, accessories and other goods from makers throughout the U.S.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, the marketplace, organized by R.G. Canning Attractions, was held every second Sunday of the month in Pasadena and attracted nearly 20,000 shoppers and 2,500 vendors. Featuring more than 2 million items, it was known around the world for its size and unique offerings. But with safety concerns canceling 2020 events large and small, the marketplace relocated online.

The move mirrors an industrywide shift to digital platforms and reflects the success of online vintage marketplaces such as Asos Marketplace, which saw a significant spike in sales and traffic during the height of the pandemic in the U.S. Launched in 2010, the marketplace serves as an online destination for vintage and independent brands from around the world.

The Rose Bowl Flea Market is no stranger to change. Known as a hub for denim, the monthly flea has attracted a greater emphasis on nostalgic streetwear in recent years, reflecting the trend in consumer spend. Data from The RealReal’s Luxury Resale Report 2019 showed that, from 2018-2019, searches for streetwear increased 281 percent, with millennials making up the majority of that number.

New styles will be added to the marketplace throughout the year, and are organized by sellers and product category.

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