Check out our recent interview with Ross King Power to learn a little about The Dandy and why we do what we do
Retro-Perspective: An Interview with The Midtown Dandy
Interview by Mary Imgrund, photography by Meghan Jones
Andrew Kintzi, owner of the Midtown Dandy, is one of the most authentic, enthusiastic, cool people I’ve ever met, and not just because he has an enviable collection of dad hats. During our photoshoot, we discussed the fashion supply chain, the charm of old buildings, and the future of Harrisburg. We shared thoughts on his growth and the power of vintage clothing to subvert the global fashion supply chain and his personal style. Andy and The Dandy have graced the HBG Flea in May and June, and we’ll see him again on August 6th.
Note: This interview was edited for clarity and conciseness.
MI: What inspired you to start the Midtown Dandy?
AK: The idea started in a conversation with friends. We were lamenting that there are very few places for men to find really stylish vintage clothing. Maybe you’d find a small rack in the back of a women’s vintage store to placate the men shopping with their other halves, and every once in a great while, you may find a cool old flannel or fedora, but by and large the selection is focused on women’s clothing and accessories. That sucks. Men want to look good too. How awesome would it be if you had someone curate the most stylish and best quality vintage and secondhand for you? BAM – up popped the concept for The Dandy: a place where men can go and know they will walk out with cool clothing and accessories. Even better if you get ideas and advice there on how to wear things you might not otherwise put together.
MI: How did you become interested in men's fashion?
AK: I’ve always been interested in cool clothes and funky things that help people stand out from the crowd. I remember back in the mid-90’s when my Mom showed me an article about the ‘new trends’ in men’s fashion; ‘Tight-fitting clothing!’ This was during the baggy clothing fashion craze – EVERYTHING was oversized. I remember saying, “no way I’d ever wear that – it looks stupid.” Sure enough, a few months later, baggy clothing began to fade away. I’ve paid attention to changing trends ever since.
MI: What attracts you to vintage clothing?
I’ve recently developed a distaste for mass-produced, cheap clothing that you get at your local box store or mall. When I see someone wearing the same shirt or shoes that I’m wearing, I feel unoriginal and uninspired. Plus, the inspiration for the big-box clothing COMES from rare or funky vintage items – big companies take these looks and re-create them. Vintage clothing is also often better quality. It stands out because of the craftsmanship that was put into the clothing’s construction. Denim work shirts and leather belts from the ‘60s or ‘70s are still in great condition today.
I also love the nostalgia and memories that a vintage piece creates in a person’s head. Every time you wear a vintage find, you remember when and where you bought it. You know that it’s unique. I want the shop to be part of those memories – when you remember picking up that really cool piece at ‘The Dandy’.
MI: What is your personal style?
AK: It changes from day to day, honestly. I’m always willing to try some new look or combination. One day, I’m feeling the rockabilly/denim/biker look and another day I go full preppy. The key to style is that little edge to whatever you wear – sporting some detail that stands out, whether that be your watch, a cool hat or a classic vintage T-shirt. The key is to not overdo it. Treat your clothing like you treat your home: decorate with a few accent pieces that stand out and draw attention. And don’t shy away from pieces have some wear and life in them. A small tear or some wear marks just adds to the look.
MI: What and who are your style inspirations?
AK: I find inspiration in the workwear of the ‘30s and ‘40s, western and outdoors styles from the ‘60s and ‘70s as well as ‘80s and ‘90s street wear. I love the classics like Levi’s, Wrangler, and LL Bean - clothing designed as much for function as form. The key is to pay attention to the world around you. Look at people as they walk by. Something may catch your eye and inspire you to incorporate the look into your own. Look back to the past and observe how fashion trends from previous decades have shaped and transformed current trends. Seeking out the origins of a current look leads to finding some really great pieces. Being a child of the ‘80s & ‘90s, I find it very inspiring and nostalgic to see fashion from those eras returning in modern looks.
MI: There aren’t a lot of places for men to shop in the Harrisburg area, especially for non-corporate, unique pieces. What are your thoughts on the culture of the area and how do you see yourself fitting in?
AK: The Harrisburg area is a hot bed for arts and culture. There are a number of great places to shop and eat and drink in the Midtown area, and I’d love to see more unique and creative shops open up. Today, there’s nothing particularly “guy-centric.” The Midtown Dandy can be it.
MI: Why Harrisburg? Are you here by choice or circumstance, and how do you see it growing? How would you like the city to change?
AK: I actually grew up in Lancaster and have been very proud to see how far that city has come in terms of arts and culture. I think it’s really got its stuff together. But now that I live here, there’s something amazing about Harrisburg. I love the variety of businesses and diversity. There is so much opportunity for us as a community to invest in ourselves.
I’m also very excited to see all the improvements over the past few years. I see a resurgence of ‘city life’ in Harrisburg – Midtown in particular. I’m hopeful that more businesses come here to cross-promote and encourage each other. I’d love to see the 3rd St. area grow into the hot shopping and dining district, with lots of options within walking distance.
MI: What are your thoughts on the outpouring of interest in the Midtown area?
AK: Midtown houses a lot of people who believe in our city and want to see each other succeed. Places like HMAC, The Midtown Scholar, Little Amps, and The Millworks have been steadily drawing more and more people into Harrisburg. And right now, Midtown is a hub for the Harrisburg experience.
But Harrisburg is a big, diverse place. I love that our customers span different ages, ethnicities, and interests. Those traits are exactly the things that make a culture unique and strong, and that’s different from other places in central PA.
MI: What are your long term goals for the company?
AK: I’d like to open a brick and mortar in the Midtown area in the next year or so. Currently, the store operates online and on Etsy; both are great. We are also trying to find more opportunities for pop-up shops – where we ‘pop-up’ for a day at different places around the Midtown area, announcing on social media where we’ll be, kind of like following a food truck. And I’m looking for partnerships with other local businesses to host an event or pop-up, as well. The HBG Flea has been an awesome supporter of ours, and we plan to continue participating in their events moving forward.
MI: What do you hope to achieve with Midtown Dandy?
AK: A number of things. I’d like to add to the already growing Midtown business area. I hope to help draw people in to shop and dine and experience all that Harrisburg has to offer. I would also like to provide a place that guys know they can come to find those special pieces for their wardrobes. I want to create an environment in which they can find inspiration and creativity in their outfits. You can give us your sizes and style, and we’ll help you look great. I’d love to develop a customer base that seeks us out, knowing that we will find exactly what they want, and didn’t know they wanted.
MI: Is there any style or era that you’re particularly interested in, when finding vintage clothing?
AK: I’m a big fan of all things denim. I love old distressed jeans, denim jackets, work shirts, etc. There is something classic and timeless about good, worn denim. Even better knowing that the denim I sell was broken in by life wear, not manufacturing. Leather is another favorite. Tooled leather belts and buckles are such great accent pieces and can take a simple outfit to the next level.