About NMV

Navy Mug Vintage

I am Karson Backer, and I opened Navy Mug Vintage to the public October 25, 2021. This page of the website is where I will share about myself and what led me to starting Navy Mug Vintage.

I have enjoyed vintage clothing for around 8 years, but within the past 5 years I really purged my closet and started filling it with almost exclusively vintage pieces.

I have sort of a longer build to my body, so I can definitely relate to those who find it tough to find pieces that fit. I am 6'3", 200lbs, and I feel most comfortable in baggier clothes. I wear an XL top, Large or 36 waist bottoms, and a size 11 shoe. It can be tricky to mix and match pieces in my closet, but I do my best to find pieces that compliment my frame to create cohesive outfits.

What got you interested in vintage fashion?

I would say it started with my fascination with sneakers. Sneakers have a powerful history in themselves, which led me to the clothing worn alongside these iconic shoes.

I have a taste for Nike, Jordan, Adidas, Converse, and New Balance, and at one point I had north of 60 sneakers in my collection. While my collection of sneakers evolved over the years, I was intrigued with the history behind each shoe I was purchasing. This led me to searching for photos of people wearing the shoe when it had been first introduced to the public. This would give me ideas of how I could style the shoe, which in-hand introduced me to styling vintage clothing.

Have your thoughts on vintage evolved since?

At first, I enjoyed vintage clothing and sneakers for the splash of the aesthetic. A crewneck here, a snapback hat there mixed with stuff I would get at retail stores. Now that I have been shopping vintage for years, I have learned the benefits around these items beyond how they look.

"Vintage" poses the thought that this piece is old, but old does not necessarily mean worn out. Quite the opposite, these twenty-something-year-old clothing pieces hold together better than some modern clothing. The quality of the items draws my attention first, and then I think of how I can style it with the rest of my closet.

However, that is not to say that vintage pieces only coincide with other vintage pieces. Often, my style consists of vintage clothing paired with a sneaker that has been released within the past 10 years.

What is your favorite style of vintage clothing?

I would say that my go-to style for vintage fashion is 80s/90s, but lately I have been experimenting with 60s, 70s, and 00s pieces when I come across them for my closet. I have always enjoyed putting outfits together meshing old and new, and this journey has sparked ideas for my own outfits while I am building outfit inspiration for the shop.

This past summer, I worked at a bank as a teller, and this really let me relish in my "Mid-90s Dad" outfits. Collared shirts, jeans/slacks, and then a splash of sneakers.

Within the past four years, I have found a passion for photography as well. I like to take photos of city scenes and nature. I utilize this skill for my photos of clothing and sneakers for my personal collection as well as for Navy Mug.

In 2017, I committed to playing college baseball for Dickinson State University in Dickinson, ND. This experience exposed me to so many amazing people from all over the country on and off the field. I also played collegiate summer league, which introduced me to a different crop of players from all over.

Getting to know these awesome guys and finding similar passions for fashion in some of them helped me learn more about regional styles in clothing and sneakers.

What sneaker got you into collecting?

If I had to pinpoint one sneaker that I will always remember as a kid, it would be this exact pair. This is the Nike Air Presto Escape from 2001. My Mom had this pair from the initial release in 2001. After a few years of her wearing them, they became her mowing shoes, and I was always obsessed with them. The colors, the slip-on fit, and the subtle Nike branding (rather than the larger swooshes they utilize nowadays). Everything about this shoe was beautiful to me.

In 2018, after years of hunting for a pair in my size, I finally found a pair in this exact colorway! I snagged them, for what I would consider a steal in the great condition they were in. With the age of the sneaker, I sadly only got a few months of being able to wear them. This is a pair that will always remain in my collection, and I have come to find a couple more pairs that are available for sale here.

What is a vintage-related memory you have from your childhood?

I remember being a young buck and going to the thrift stores with my Mom. Actually, I hated it for the longest time, but once I reached the age where I could somewhat pick out my own clothes at the store I began to find a rush in discovering a gem at the thrift.

A yearly occurrence in our house was going to a thrift store to try to piece together a costume for Halloween. Rather than buying an easy, one-piece costume from a retail store, we would go to the thrift and search. This is a picture of me in seventh grade going to school on Halloween as Woody from Toy Story with nearly all pieces found at the thrift.

Is there anything 'vintage' you enjoy outside of fashion?

Goodness gracious, Y E S! I would honestly say that nearly all facets of vintage/old school fascinate me.

For starters, music! I have a small record collection that started in 2018 with a Christmas gift from my girlfriend. I started out purchasing my favorite albums from recent years (Mac Miller, J Cole, Snoop Dogg, Quinn XCII), but gradually expanded into albums from all sorts of decades. My favorites to listen to on vinyl are Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, and old gospel records. I think this 40s-60s music taste I have acquired stems from when I first downloaded Spotify in 2014. I was overwhelmed with the impossible amount of music I had access to, which led me to explore. (Also, my favorite video game of all time is Fallout 4, if that tells anything. The soundtrack for Diamond City Radio still enters my rotation from time to time. Highly recommend).

I also have a weird obsession with 50s/60s household items/decor. I have been gifted 'mid-century' furniture in the past, and once I have the means to furnish a house I want to dig for more of this style.

Another vintage aspect that I enjoy is cars. I am by no means a "car guy." I know very basic stuff about cars and how they operate under the hood, but the look of vehicles from the 20s-90s is so awesome. My dream vehicle is a pickup from the late 40s. When I was little, my mom and I would see one every so often and call them "bubble trucks" for the curvy cab (pictured in the next slot).

*Reference to previous* (I want a maroon pickup, of course with the white-wall tires)