Old Culture, Pop Culture

Just before the midterm elections the winds of change blew through the streets of the quaint city of Hudson, New York, 711 Warren Street to be exact, in the seat of Columbia County – now home to Vintage Black Label, the brand of Greg Urra.

signature VBL worn by Greg Urra
Vintage Black Label is one of the few non-consignment vintage stores in New York, allowing shoppers to experience a collection from a lifetime of travel to souks, bazaars, flea markets and antique fairs around the globe. Each piece is carefully curated by Greg to appeal fluidly across all genders.

artist drop cloth inspired kimono - a Greg Urra & Charles Lahti collaboration
Vintage Black Label has been a regular member at the Manhattan Vintage Show held in the Chelsea district of Manhattan. The show draws stylists like Patricia Fields of “Sex and the City” and “Emily in Paris” fame, Jenna Lyons, former President of J.Crew, and various fashion editors like Marilyn Kirschner, Hamish Bowles, and Lynn Yaeger, as well as thousands of passionate vintage fashionistas.


VBL upcycled quilt trench coats & jackets

Before that, Greg found his vintage fashion niche in New York City on Lafayette in Soho - featuring select designer clothes and accessories that lured NYC’s stylists, celebrities, and fashion connoisseurs. His signature window dressing and paper divas were regular crowd drawers.
"I have always been amazed by Greg being soft spoken, delicate, refined, and quite ethereal. His creations are a true extension of him, such a beautiful being." ~ Lulu Tan Gan, Fashion Designer

VBL upcycled denim jackets with vintage Hermes scarves

Marriage to the artist Charles Lahti has augmented Greg’s creative experiments using Charles Lahti Studios artistic designs and silk screens. Inspired by paint drippings on the artist’s drop cloths, he took that idea and transposed art onto dead-stock canvas by turning them into fashionable, one-of-a-kind lab coats.

VBL on Instagram
His background as a University of the Philippines fashion student provided a variety of skills - to recut old quilted blankets into colorful coats and jackets, upcycle vintage denim jackets and jeans with no-longer perfect Hermes scarves, convert antique Japanese embroidered kimonos into more modern silhouettes, and turn old linen tablecloths into patterns for summer dresses and polo shirts. Greg combines his passion for repurposing old things no longer in use with a love of design.

VBL on Instagram

Greg was bitten by the fashion bug early in life, having been raised in Negros Island by his very stylish mother Isabel, and growing up with four fashionable and talented older sisters constantly outfitted for a variety of recitals, pageants, and balls.

 ceremonial kimono window display - VBL archive photo

When he moved to Manila for university he began designing friends' outfits while still in school, eventually setting up a couture salon in the popular Palm Village neighborhood, now the Makati Rockwell complex.

by the water - The Friendly City, Hudson NY

On one of his early antiquing adventures, Greg came upon the city of Hudson which has had a long reputation as a resource for great antiques, ever since people got wind of the news that Sotheby’s had first set up their restoration offices there.

Formerly inhabited by Mohican Indians in the early 17th century, the whaling industry in the 19th century made Hudson a notorious town for sailors who kept the prostitution, gambling dens, and liquor bars in business.

Greg greeting guests at 711 Warren Steet, Hudson NY

Hudson is the first city of the United States - the first to be incorporated after the 13 colonies that first formed the U.S.A. In 1797, it was just one vote short of becoming the capital of New York State, losing to Albany.
At the recent weekend opening of Vintage Black Label in Hudson, the Halloween theme (and a lot of free candy!) enchanted adults and children, finally bringing home Greg’s fashion discoveries of a unique collection from around the world and giving old things a chance for a new life in a historic city.

Halloween window dressing - VBL archive photo

TAGS: art Charles Lahti Studios fashion Greg Urra Hudson NY Vintage Black Label
Text By: Isang Urra
Photo Courtesy: Isang Urra

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