A Zabar Who Prefers Fashion Over Food

Rachel Zabar at home with her vintage collection in Los Angeles. Credit Amy Dickerson for The New York Times

Any New Yorker knows Zabar’s, the one-of-a-kind food emporium on the Upper West Side: New York is Zabar’s and Zabar’s is New York. Though Rachel Zabar spent her childhood and teenage years working at Zabar’s (her father, Saul, and her uncle, Stanley, took over the store from their immigrant parents who founded it in 1934.). She says her father insisted that his children work in the family business from a young age. Rachel, however, could never make Zabar’s her career like her older sister and younger brother. Says her father, Saul: “The store was never part of her. We knew that from a very young age. She was artistic. Even as a child, she had a natural talent for color and style.”

And, apparently, a sophisticated eye. Now, after years of trying her hand at photography, screenwriting, and documentary filmmaking, she is finding her niche as a dealer of high- end vintage clothing and accessories. And she is doing really well. After leaving New York to find her home in California, known for the vintage-obsessed, Rachel got serious about her own business five years ago. What I love is that she showed tremendous determination to make it work, as there was very little room for a newcomer in the industry. “It’s a sharp-elbowed little world, for sure, and I have learned some business lessons the hard way – who to trust, how to price, what to focus on,” says Rachel. It was at the California flea markets where Rachel started selling vintage clothing and accessories, where she learned so much. And at the heart of her present business success is her enthusiasm for her work and her passion for the clothes and accessories themselves.

Rachel Zabar fought hard to get to where she is. From ‘caviar girl’ to vintage couture dealer, she is finally seeing her vision come to life.

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A Fruitful Purchase

Clothes do many things: they give us a sense of power when we are making a presentation or need to take control of a situation; they give us calm when we are in need of relaxation and peace; they provide comfort at the darkest times in our lives. And when we are feeling a little low, clothes can provide the whimsy we need to lighten our mood. That is what this strawberry cross-body bag and flea market fashion find does for me. Not only does it transport me instantly into the warm summer months, but the colors make me happy. The bag makes me happy. If you have a chance to dress with whimsy, I say yes! Do it, and lighten your load, too!

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Found Treasure at the Flea Market

Optimized-P1030582Sometimes you find well-loved fashion treasures in a most unlikely place – the flea market. Guaranteed to find one-of-a-kind pieces, you can be sure that a purchase from the flea market will be both cost-efficient and unique.

Albert LaFarge, author of U.S. Flea Market Directory, says, “Today’s American flea market is a modern version of a phenomenon that has endured throughout history in all civilized societies – wherever there is a high concentration of people, there will be market days when they assemble for the exchange of goods and services.” The marketplace of the ancient Greeks was known as the Agora and in Rome, the Forum.

I found this wicker handbag just in time for strawberry season. Here’s to finding your own treasure!

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