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Navigating the Pop Up Flea V

  • Najib Benouar

The Pop Up Flea has become the stuff of #menswear legend. And it’s back for its fifth installment—but you’d be mistaken to think they’re still doing the same old stuff. This one is going to be even bigger and even better. (Trust us, we know a guy.)

If you’ve never heard of the PUF (though we highly doubt that, if you’re reading Kempt), imagine all of your favorite bloggerly things on the Internet materialized in one place: knobby wooden posts you can actually touch, your favorite shoemaker in the flesh, the smell of motor oil and vintage tweed in the air... The whole thing was conceived by Michael “ACL” Williams and our very own editorial director, Randy Goldberg, who has so graciously allowed us to pick his brain on what to expect from the three-day extravaganza that kicks off at 3pm tomorrow at NYC’s ROOT (Drive-In) studios. (And show you a few sneak peeks.)

The definitive guide to navigating all of the menswear, automobiles and art installations that will be at this weekend’s Pop Up Flea.

While we’d like to focus mostly on the newcomers, we should take a moment to mention that every vendor (43 in all) is doing something unique to the PUF—for instance, the Hickoree’s Hard Goods stand will have an artist on hand drawing caricatures for anyone spending over a hundred bucks. And we’re happy to see the likes of 3sixteen and Aether back in the fold after a short hiatus. Alright, on to what's new:

The Heavy Machinery: That’s right, there will be classic cars and custom motorcycles in the building.

Man of the World: The achingly well-appointed magazine/shop will have a vintage MG on hand, along with a handful of other impossible-to-find worldly goods.

Deus Ex Machina: The Australian-born custom motorcycle company has landed on American shores, with the requisite two-wheeled Mad-Max-meets-Steve-McQueen vibe you’d expect. (Also expect a motorcycle or two.)

Gerber Gear: They make knives. Not exactly heavy machinery at first take: until you get a look at the monstrosity of a vehicle that they rolled in on. (It’s the one with #hellotrouble plastered across it.)

The Menswear: Ah yes, the meat and potatoes of the PUF. And the new class is looking very strong. Almost too strong.

Filson: Not new to the workwear game by any means, but new to the PUF this year. And they’re coming out swinging for the fences on their first at-bat. They’ve carved themselves out a solid space—more than a few booths’ worth.

Private White V.C.: They’re here to represent the UK with some handsome chunky knit sweaters, rugged outerwear and everything else you might need to survive a long weekend in the British backcountry.

Wittmore: One of our new favorite online shops is getting in on the action. We’re hoping to get another glimpse of the notorious parka-robe and dig into the stuff they’re breaking out for the holidays.

General Knot: It kind of feels like GK would’ve been at the PUF all along, but this is their first go-round—and we’re looking forward to seeing what kind of neckwear heat they’re bringing to the table.

Unionmade: The San Francisco shop has done more for the cause of well-made rustic menswear in three years than anyone else—but it’s been confined to the West Coast. Until now. This will be their first voyage to the Eastern Seaboard. (If this were actually happening on the Internet, it would surely break it.)

The Goods: Everything from shave gear to vintage leather jackets used as canvases.

Ursa Major: The first grooming-product vendor to grace the PUF with its presence. A milestone—and a good place to start winter-proofing your skin.

Schoolhouse Electric & Supply Co.: Getting 100-plus notes on a Tumblr photo of yourself is old hat. Now it’s all about turning your digs into Tumblr-bait. And this is the place you should turn to. While you’re at it, make sure to ask for some tips on lighting.

George Frost: This could very well be the most manly jewelry on earth. It’s all been inspired by WWII “trench trinkets” that soldiers would trade for in order to send back to their sweethearts. (Which also makes for a surprisingly thoughtful gift idea as well.)

Levi’s Vintage Clothing: Saving the best for last, here. LVC has rented an entire additional gallery space (upstairs) for the exhibit The Biker, displaying hand-painted leather motorcycle jackets and the books, photos and archive of photographer Danny Lyon. (And during the PUF will be your only chance to see this exhibit.)

The Pop Up Flea V | 2012 from Michael Williams on Vimeo.