Mother-and-son business partners Olga and Andres Merlos sit outside their boutique Consume at 3452 S. Western Ave.

Vintage Sports and Pop-Culture Apparel Push Fashion Forward at Consume

Published October 2, 2020

Business Name: Consume
Address: 3452 S. Western Ave.
Industry: Retail vintage fashion 
Hours: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily 
Online: @consumechicago on Instagram

The apparel and lifestyle boutique Consume just north of West 35th Street and South Western Avenue (next door to Butterdough) is building a business on classic style from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s now finding huge popularity as contemporary street wear.

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The unique collection and rotating set of items for sale is the brainchild of Andres Merlos, assisted by his mother and business partner Olga Merlos. "We pride ourselves on the originality of our selection," Andres Merlos said.

Consume caps 3452 S Western 20200928Restored vintage caps await lovers of sports fashion and memorabilia at Consume.Consume grew from Andre Merlos' experience working for his father at Pilsen Gallery Antiques, located in the same McKinley Park neighborhood storefront as Consume and still operating in the back half of the property. "I spent years working full-time for my father ... while also dedicating myself to vintage apparel," Andres Merlos said.

"My family’s involvement with antique restoration and upholstery dates back to 1989," he said. It "would eventually translate over to my love for vintage clothing."

Business Practices

Open since the summer of 2019, Consume has hosted fair-weather outdoor markets in the patio space a few storefronts north of the business, a practice the store hopes to return to once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, Andres Merlos said.

Sourcing the now-popular vintage items occurs throughout the Chicagoland area, Olga Merlos said, and they're now more difficult to find within the city.

"Everything has been washed and restored to optimal condition," Andres Merlos said.

With apparel and accessories for all ages and genders, Consume fuses "our experience with vintage clothes, restoration and novelty item repair to provide vintage lovers a unique curated shopping experience," Andres Merlos said.

Consume jackets 3452 S Western 20200928Classic sports jackets line the racks at Consume at 3452 S. Western Ave. 

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