Visiting Highway Robbery Vintage is like walking into what many wish were their mother’s closet — racks deep with vintage treasures, looking refreshingly on-trend and begging to be paired with those new wide leg jeans you bought on your latest online shopping misadventure.
From kitschy graphic tees, featuring favorite local sports teams and universities, to denim jackets begging to be adorned with enamel pins, Highway Robbery Vintage feels both current and classic. That’s by design, explains owner Kate Colussy.
“We try to stock things that are back in style and back within trend for what’s happening right now. We sell pieces that you could mix and match with something you got at Zara, ASOS, or H&M.”
Highway Robbery Moves Down the Road to a Bigger Location
While Highway Robbery Vintage has been open in the South Side since 2011, it has only inhabited its larger location further down East Carson St. since 2018. Colussy envisioned a bigger space for some time, but it was a condemnation from the city that pushed her to seek new digs for her vintage goods unexpectedly. “It was ‘Find a new location, or close permanently.’ Luckily, we found somewhere bigger and better.”
The larger space suits the vibes of the bustling vintage shop, giving enough space to feature finds from the sixties to nineties; including both styles for men and women, as well as accessories including bags and jewelry.
In a city full of vintage stores, Highway Robbery stands out for its variety. However; there’s always room for more vintage stores, reasons Colussy. “I mean everybody has their own take on vintage. I think the way things are now; there’s a lot of room within this little specific niche. There’s actually a lot of room for other vintage stores.”
Eight years ago when Highway Robbery Vintage first opened, education was more of a hurdle than competition. Pittsburgh had its share of buy-sell stores like Avalon and Plato’s Closet in the suburbs, but there wasn’t much “casual vintage” as Colussy puts it.
“There were proper vintage stores like Yesterday’s News and Hey, Betty, and Eons,” Colussy explains, “but the store I wanted to do was the same store I had seen in a lot of other cities. It was more casual, focusing on the seventies, eighties, and nineties; maybe more so than you see in the more classic-style vintage stores.”
A new take on an old store concept
Colussy, with her experienced retail background, saw a hole in Pittsburgh’s vintage scene for her store. “I’ve had literally every retail job that you can think of. Through all these jobs, I learned so much about how to open and run a business. It was the best education I could get.” Taking the lessons she learned from studio service, traditional retail, and buy-sell with Avalon, Colussy opened Highway Robbery Vintage.
Now, a week doesn’t seem to go by without a specialized vintage store opening in the Pittsburgh-area. It’s a reflection of changing times, Colussy says, and changing spending habits.
“Our demographic is young, typically 30 and under. It goes to show that a lot of younger people are more interested in spending their money in different kinds of ways than traditional retail.” Customers are opting to buy vintage that mixes and matches with their new purchases, supplementing a top from Highway Robbery Vintage with a skirt purchased online.
So how does Highway Robbery Vintage find the unique, but affordable pair of jeans for you to fall in love with?
“It’s a mixture of things,” Colussy explains. “I think people also think I, like, go into thrift stores all day, but that would be physically impossible.” Customers will reach out to Highway Robbery when they’ve inherited whole wardrobes, or bring clothing into the store. Colussy also uses a thrifter’s secret weapon: vintage warehouses.
Shop Highway Robbery Vintage
Ready to shop? Check out Highway Robbery Vintage on 2012 E Carson St, open 12pm-8pm daily.
Can’t make it down to Carson Street? Not a problem, you can shop Highway Robbery Vintage online here.
Follow Highway Robbery Vintage to keep up with their latest styles. Pro Tip: their daily Instagram Story updates include sizing/pricing updates on select inventory.