A black-owned boutique in Harlem transcends fashion and sends a message about money, reports Alex Vadukul in The New York Times ((9/8/13). Located on Frederick Douglass Boulevard and 134th Street, Vault (whose centerpiece is a giant bank-vault door bisecting the shop) also sends a message by way of its neighborhood. Kyronne Anthony, a Vault loyalist, says: "I respect the shop because they’re not scared," he says. The unfashionable, uptown location, he says, indicates "you’re for your people." The store itself has no sign outside, but is well known for "its distinctive line of caps, shirts, and hoodies."
Items include a cap featuring "the store’s V in the motif of a dollar bill; another trumpets ‘Paper Chaser.’ A shirt reading ‘Hustle Pays’ has its H personified with hands counting out cash." As store manager Doug Knox says, the store’s focus is "pretty much money," adding: "I think Vault represents a lifestyle that people want to live … The messages on our clothes say: ‘At the end of the day, I can say I worked hard to get it and that’s why I am where I am in life.’ I think that’s why so many are drawn to the brand. Everyone is a paper chaser, even a lawyer, even a doctor."
To "stay fresh," is another important aspect of the Vault experience. Chase Reed, 15, saves up for new sneakers "by buying and selling sneakers," and his big thing is to attract attention when he goes back to school. "I’ve had people stop me when wearing new sneakers," he says. "I want to be unique." His dad agrees: "It’s a chance for young, black men to express themselves through fashion. Some people like graffiti, some bikes, and some kids just like expressing themselves through their swag." He adds: "Urban fashion has lost itself … Vault is one of the few places offering specialty clothing."