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Davis, California

Saturday, April 13, 2024

The World’s Worst Expo curates a unique shopping experience for thrift lovers

Sacramento’s vintage clothing market brings together community members from the surrounding area with an eye for individuality


By ANA BACH — arts@theaggie.org


The World’s Worst Expo, a monthly pop-up market with locations in Sacramento and San Jose, is a mecca of vintage streetwear that features up to 170 small businesses. At the Sacramento location, a vacant parking lot next to the Goodyear car garage and I street, locals peruse the different tents in pursuit of unique clothing items, all the while indulging in street food and live music and mingling with the fashion community that surrounds them.  

Danielle Stubbs, a second-year biotechnology major, discussed the wide variety of both people and clothing she found at the Sacramento market. 

 “I had gone to their previous event and really enjoyed the experience,” Stubbs said. “I thought my friend would love it and so we decided to go this Sunday. It was pretty lively with different types of music… [it] just felt like a very wholesome place.”

Similarly, Mihika Deshpande, a second-year microbiology major, found herself bonding with buyers through their “joint appreciation and love for fashion and style.” She expressed her past endeavors at the Expo and her discovery of the event over social media. 

“I first encountered the Expo on Instagram and have been going since the fall quarter of my freshman year. I would definitely define myself as an Expo regular,” Deshpande said. 

Deshpande also spoke about her experience purchasing clothing from vendors and how often the items sold are sustainable pieces. 

“Oftentimes the vendors post their sales and tag their customers,” Deshpande said. “Also, vendors are shoppers themselves and really enjoy complimenting their customer’s outfits. I’m able to get a lot of style inspiration by just seeing the vendors and other shoppers.”

Ivan Bonilla and Nancy Gallardo, independent vendors, run Instagram and Depop accounts that showcase their clothing finds, which they sell at the Expo. 

“We first started with Repop, a brand based in San Jose, and then we moved here,” Bonilla said. “I applied for like three months in a row and then they finally accepted me. It’s been really really good, surprisingly.” 

Bonilla explained the general process that most vendors go through when trying to make the cut. 

“When applications open, you send your socials or Depop, whatever you have more items listed on, and then they just review every one. There are only 170 spots, so you aren’t guaranteed.” 

Before applying for and getting a stall at the Expo, however, vendors have to source items to sell. Most people find themselves digging through the Goodwill bins, knee-deep in generic fabric, hoping to find a Coach purse or vintage sweater under all of the material. 

“Some people source in different ways,” Gallardo said when discussing the advantages of alternate methods for acquiring products. “Compared to us, we source at the [Goodwill] bins, so, you know, it’s a lot harder. There is not as much good stuff to go around for everyone, which creates competition.” 

When asked about what brings the community together whilst also attracting new members, both Bonilla and Gallardo emphasized the need for uniqueness in one’s wardrobe. 

“When you are buying vintage clothing, you [want to] get a unique piece, so I think everyone is sort of looking for something like that,” Gallardo said. “If you find one shirt here, you are most likely not going to find that shirt in the next thirty or forty booths.” 

At the World’s Worst Expo, shoppers and vendors alike connect over clothing finds, admiring styles and sharing similar tastes in street food. The event offers a niche shopping experience if you are looking to expand your wardrobe with one-of-a-kind pieces. 

Details about when the monthly pop-up events are held and more information can be found on World’s Worst Expo’s Instagram.


Written by: Ana Bach — arts@theaggie.org