NEW ORLEANS – The French Quarter will be home to a new vintage clothing store on July 31. Swamp Rags Vintage curates the ’80s & ’90s pop culture nostalgia in the form of t-shirts, jackets, denim, collectibles and more. They will host their grand opening at 533 Saint Louis St. on Saturday, July 31, at noon, with the store open until 7 p.m.
Swamp Rags Vintage was created by co-founders Chris Olsen & Dante Graziani during the COVID-19 pandemic when their love of vintage became a solution to the disruption caused by pandemic shutdowns. Dante, a tour manager for internationally touring bands, saw his industry grind to a halt overnight. Chris, a partner at a creative agency whose New Orleans clients were primarily bars & restaurants, felt a similar shift.
Like many people, Graziani and Olsen turned to their passions to make ends meet. “It was like a fresh slate,” said Olsen, “with everything closed, when things re-opened, we could do anything.” Dante began sourcing and selling vintage t-shirts, and Chris formed Vice & Graft, a vintage clothing and furniture business within the Merchant House co-op. After working together on and off for months, they decided to join forces to create Swamp Rags Vintage.
“We always knew we wanted to open a store in the French Quarter, but weren’t quite sure how we could make that happen,” said Dante. What happened next seemed like fate, though. While hunting at early morning estate sales, Chris & Dante happened upon a sale with over 3000 vintage t-shirts. The former owners had put their shop stock in storage preparing for Hurricane Katrina, and it had been closed up ever since. They were finally cleaning everything out, and Dante & Chris offered to buy it all. “As soon as I started looking through the boxes, I knew we just had to have it.” said Dante. By that afternoon they were sorting through boxes upon boxes of vintage gold which became the foundation of the new Swamp Rags Vintage store.
Since then, Dante & Chris have found many more troves of t-shirts and vintage clothing, focusing on 80’s & 90’s pop culture items and pieces of New Orleans history. “We wanted to curate a store of the things we grew up on,” said Chris. Clothing and collectibles from the movies, cartoons, video games and music of the ’80s and ’90s fill the shop. Their inventory also includes dozens of early Jazz Fest shirts, rare Saints clothing, historical pieces from Pontchartrain Beach, the 1984 World Expo and more. “We just filled the shop with the things we love.”
Swamp Rags Vintage will open at 533 Saint Louis St, between Decatur & Chartres. “We’re proud to be a part of our new block,” said Chris, “which includes famed restaurants NOLA, the Napoleon House, and the New Orleans School of Cooking. It’s a dream to be opening our store here.”
All public and media are invited to attend the grand opening Saturday, July 31, from noon – 7 p.m. For more information, please visit @swamprags on Instagram, swamprags.com, or contact us directly at email@example.com.