A young man with an old soul — that’s an apt description of Phil Ashenbremer, proprietor of Philthy Vintage Clothing at 2017 W. Franklin St. Fans of retro clothing and accessories flock to Ashenbremer’s shop to land the perfect sports memorabilia, vintage tour tees, pop culture pins and patches, and rare sneakers.
A 2014 Castle High School graduate and lifelong fan of vintage duds, Ashenbremer studied fashion design at Indiana University. While living in Bloomington, Indiana, he learned to sew, sold vintage clothing on the side, and made friends with a group who punched their own pins out of magazine pages and finished them with their very own pin maker.
Deciding to turn his love of old-school fashion into a full-time business, Ashenbremer opened his own storefront on the West Side in 2020, and Philthy Vintage Clothing has quickly become Evansville insiders’ one-stop shop for nostalgic threads, many with local and regional ties. A lime green Frog Follies Street Rods T-shirt proves perfect for a 1980s Halloween party. A geometric Halston design pays homage to trends as well as the one-time Evansville resident. Bulls fans can rejoice over a Dennis Rodman jersey from Chicago’s late-1990s three-peat, while a Western Kentucky University graduate will feel a surge of school spirit from a bright red letterman jacket affixed with an emblem for pre-1966 Western Kentucky College.
Even Evansville Living fell in love with a pin-laden Hard Rock Café jacket and wrote a story about it (“Pinned-Up Passion”) in our January/February 2022 issue.
Ashenbremer scores his retro finds by scouring yard sales, thrift shops, antique stores, flea markets, online auctions, and estate sales.
“Sometimes, people bring stuff in and sell it to me, and I add it to my inventory,” he says. “Sometimes, people bring stuff in and give it to me, which is a blessing.”
Ashenbremer also is delving more into embroidery. He’s taken on some custom jobs for friends, and many jackets adorning the brick walls of Philthy Vintage Clothing feature patches sewn on by Ashenbremer himself. An active Instagram account with Ashenbremer’s friends modeling his latest finds also helps drive traffic to his shop, which is so stuffed with vintage goods that it can display only a fraction of his inventory. But shoppers beware: Retail items don’t stay in stock long, so if you can’t live without that Chalkline satin Larry Bird jacket or “A League of Their Own” baseball pennant, hop over to West Franklin Street and get it before it’s long gone.