At the corner where Robinson Street intersects Griswold Street is Stellar Human, a vintage clothing store owned and operated by LaRue Simmons. Featuring all sorts of eclectic pieces from jackets and dresses to graphic tees and hoodies, Simmons has been expanding his shop since opening in February of 2021.
Originally from Johnson City and now a resident of Binghamton, Simmons was excited for Stellar Human to become a prime opportunity to bring something new to Broome County that was not there before.
“I knew that what we were doing was special and different, and I just had a feeling that it was going to work,” Simmons said.
With the popularization of thrifting among younger groups comes the appreciation of vintage pieces. Instead of packing the store with as many clothes as possible, vintage stores like Simmons’ seek to scale down the overwhelming amounts of items by carefully selecting pieces that are unique and worth more than thrift stores may list them for.
“When I first opened the store, it was definitely more geared toward just a thrift store,” Simmons said. “Maybe like a curated thrift.”
He explained that after much research and learning from other vintage sellers, he was able to look for valuable details on tags or in the fabric composition and stitching of the item.
“As time went on and my eye grew sharper, I ultimately decided to switch the shop over from being labeled [as] a thrift store to vintage,” Simmons said.
Currently, Stellar Human exists as more than just a store, but also a hub for residents and students to come together and connect. Simmons couldn’t help but contain his enthusiasm about meeting new people and creating connections with individuals of all different backgrounds and interests.
“It was a lost art to have conversations with somebody that you don’t know,” Simmons said. “I think that having a space like this where I’ve been able to see people who didn’t know each other meet here and then go outside of here and create something together … stuff like that is something I can’t put a price on. I’m just super grateful for that.”
Furthermore, Stellar Human prides itself on being “a safe space for all,” and Simmons stresses the importance of places existing as an outlet for people to gather and explore new interests.
“One of my goals for the shop was to be able to bring people who had similar interests, whether it was fashion or music or just dope stuff in general out of the woodwork,” Simmons said. “My ultimate goal is just to have a room full of people who just all are into dope stuff and just having a cool conversation.”
Simmons gets to see this vision come to life every Monday night with an event called “Stellar Records,” where all are welcome to bring a record, sit and bond over music.
Stellar Human welcomes all to come in and find pieces that they love. Simmons truly personalizes his store inventory by picking items that he could see himself and others wearing that could work with different styles.
“I pick based on my style, but my style is super eclectic,” Simmons said. “There are days where I want to do streetwear. There are days where I want to do the ‘70s thing and wear bell bottoms, but I think that’s what makes the shop a little more unique.”
Simmons encourages shoppers to find pieces that work and personalize those items to make them their own.
“Everyone wants to be different, and what better way to be different than wearing something that’s hard to find and is your own thing,” Simmons said.
Stellar Human is on Instagram @stellar.human and is open from Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.