Mr. Throwback feat. Arga Yudhistira

June 9th, 2014

We’ve said it time and time again: you don’t need a lot of money to dress with style!

Like our in-house thrifting expert Westley our friend Arga Yudhistira – who first recognized Alex and I in the streets of downtown LA – is an expert in the art of vintage shopping. The co-founder of Vintage Manifesto is also a historian of sorts, who appreciates the origin and backstory of his hand-selected pieces as much as their throwback appeal.

“I’m Arga Yudhistira, I work as a creative director by day and I fill the role of co-founder of Vintage Manifesto at any other time possible… Embracing my Indonesian roots, I always considered clothing as much art as functionality.

Growing up in a suburb of Los Angeles with a single parent, we didn’t have much income…to be brutally honest. Back then, I was often left with the choice of either spending whatever change I had on daily necessities, or on clothes. Naturally, you can guess which one I usually chose – the struggle to stay fresh… I’m sure many guys out there can relate.

After high school I moved to Pasadena where inspirations flow abundantly throughout the city. From the architecture, the Rose Bowl, the Art Center Campus…I couldn’t resist the fact that I was destined to pursue art and fashion. It may sound very cliché, but if you do what you love, then it doesn’t feel like work at all.”

Here the purveyor of vintage clothing gives us a taste of his day to day style; one part throwback gentleman, one part super-thrifty shopper.

1. Varsity Chain Gang

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“I always considered myself as someone with style, but I never felt truly confident that the fast-fashion I was often wearing was true to what I believed in… Then it all changed when VM came to life. With the words vintage and heritage in mind, I invested my energy in researching menswear history… In my opinion, every piece of clothing must have a history as to why it was made in the first place… It almost always comes back to functionality or social position.

Of course, it’s not about costume dressing. I still infuse a touch of contemporary in my looks every now and then. You have to make it your own and add some personality.

The beauty of vintage shopping is that, at any given moment, you can stumble upon the deal of lifetime. For example, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I first this varsity jacket for $13. Literally I didn’t have my glasses on at the time, but I spotted it from far away. Though I invested the extra $50 for leather restoration, it’s still considered a robbery by today’s quality standards.”

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2. Pay It Forward

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“My style speaks to my work and my character… As Dan always says, providing inspiration for others can be very rewarding. More importantly, though, I think you need to keep yourself inspired.

As a vintage collector, I’m not trying to out-style anybody. I’m in it for the love of menswear and to learn from others in the game. No one can possibly cover every aspect of fashion styling… A denim expert has something to learn from a suit tailor. A hat maker has something to learn from a shoe cobbler. We are in this together. It’s what makes style exciting and relevant; the stories behind the men behind the pieces.”

In this look Arga highlights some great items to look for in your local vintage shops: one-0ff waistcoats, navajo jewelry, workwear trousers (that you can easily cut into shorts), deadstock sunglasses, handmade bags, etc.

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3. Modernized Old-School

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Arga often straddles the line of looking old-school inspired to looking straight-up like he stepped out of the Delorean. The secret is that he always modernizes his look with at least one-piece that is more contemporary (like the sockless oxfords in look 2 or the designer shades here).

That said, I’m really feeling the vibe of the wide-legged trousers (I can’t wait for me truly full-cut bespoke suits to arrive) and the other-worldly shape of that textured waistcoat.

And the best part is, almost all of these pieces were purchased on a strict budget (saving a few bucks for alterations at the tailor, of course).

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4) Any advice for our readers who are looking to upgrade their style?

“Study the past. Historically, men from past generations put more effort into dressing-up. Look at old pictures, read history articles, watch black & white Hollywood movies, etc. Recently, I made a trip to Chimayo village in Santa Fe, New Mexico. There I discovered this peaceful vibe, in the land where the locals stayed true to their heritage in manufacturing native weaving jackets, vests, bags, etc.

Sometimes it’s not an upgrade that you need, it’s a new discovery.”

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Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Articles of Style

Photography by Alex Crawford