Review: Old Soul Vintage Attire and Records
Old School Cool with Modern Sensibilities
This review was written after an email interview with Katy McClenathan conducted in March 2020.
About the shop
The Carousel Park in Mansfield, Ohio is a genuine thrill for all ages and a testament to midwestern perseverance. The park opened in 1991 and has become the center of downtown Mansfieldâ€™s Carousel District. This district is home to numerous shops and restaurants that exude a genuine type of charm. This is often simulated by big corporations, yet money cannot buy the authenticity of small business.
No shop exemplifies this better than Old Soul Vintage Attire and Records. Owners Katy and Phil McClenathan combine their love of music and sense of style to provide the denizens of Mansfield with a lovingly curated selection of new and used records and timeless clothes. The layout of the store is fluid and always evolving, but the selection is consistently exceptional.
The first time I went to Old Soul was January 19, 2018. I had a recommendation from the Discogs app for the shop, so a short road trip was in order. Immediately upon arrival, I was delighted by the building. It is a vintage piece itself, dating back to the early 1900s. The shop has a gorgeous carved ceiling complete with chandeliers. Wood panels act as a place to hang art and clothes alike, ensuring that no space goes unused.
After browsing the extensive selection for a while and talking to the employees in the shop, I purchased Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails and First Impressions of Earth by the Strokes. Both records were on my radar at the time and this was the perfect opportunity for me to pounce on them. I have made several trips to the shop since then, picking up records by King Crimson, The Mamaâ€™s and the Papas, Vangelis, and several singles from the Colemine Records label. Whatever mood youâ€™re in, Old Soul has a record for it.
Shop Highlights and Features
The aforementioned art that lines the walls is from the community. Three different artists provide the art that is for sale. McClenathan provides the space for them to display their work with the potential to make some money. Some of my favorite pieces are of beautiful landscapes and abstract modernist compositions. The range in art is as broad as their music and clothing selection.
The selection of clothes is equally as impressive as the records and art. This is expected as Old Soul began as a vintage clothes shop that evolved to include records. According to McClenathan, carrying records was â€œa natural fitâ€ due to the â€œrising interest in recordsâ€. Mansfield is home to an active music scene, and every scene needs a good record shop.The clothing selection comes organically to the shop via word of mouth. â€œFolks learn that I buy vintage clothing and I give a fair priceâ€. Every article of clothing is carefully chosen and is in good condition. Priority is given to unique clothes from the 1940s-1980s. The selection of menâ€™s and womenâ€™s clothes is always changing and has something in every size. Merchandise with the shopâ€™s logo is also available, something that is on my wish list the next time I visit.
One of the best things about an independent record store is the sense of curation that big box stores or online retailers cannot provide. Old Soulâ€™s approach to curation is inclusive. McClenathan cites her broad taste in music as a big reason for this. She â€œnever want(s) anyone to feel that what they like isnâ€™t â€œcoolâ€ or good enough. With that in mind along with whatâ€™s popular and what Iâ€™m hearing from customers and what I read, (this) directs my orderingâ€. This pays off with one of the best and broadest selections in the region. My latest visit to the shop had me leaving with a Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab pressing of Elvis Costelloâ€™s Goodbye Cruel World, an underrated record in Costelloâ€™s lengthy discography. While I was digging through the crates I saw records from Bjork to Bob Dylan. Music from all genres are available here at Old Soul.
Is It Worth It?
With the rising popularity of records, it is easy to buy music from an online retailer or big box store. This may be convenient for some, but much of the fun of vinyl records is the community that surrounds it. Old Soul Vintage Attire and Clothes provides an excellent and diverse selection of clothes, records, and art to the city of Mansfield. Their tie to the community is what makes them unique. If you are ever in the neighborhood, do yourself a favor and visit the store.
Located at 106 N. Main St in Mansfield, OH.