Student achieves dream of opening up vintage clothing store


Monique Gaines

Mackenzie Borland is one of the craters of Dead Center Vintage.

You know you may have made it when Chris Rock’s little brother comes into your vintage clothing store.

Kenzie Borland is a senior at Wichita State University and is a Strategic Communications major. She recently became a part-owner of a vintage clothing store in Downtown Wichita called Dead Center Vintage. The space for the store was discovered through a Facebook ad. After she and one of her co-owners Lazarus Massey, toured the space a few days before Christmas in 2019, they decided to go for it. 

Borland, Massey, Gabrielle Griffoi, and Morgan Goodwin own the store together. Borland and her friends met through vintage clothing. However, she said she would not consider herself an expert on vintage clothing, unlike her friends. She said her passion for vintage, art, and community all formulate towards her passion for the store. 

“I’m not as a good at the clothing as they are which I’m not sad about,” Borland said. “I can’t remember not knowing them. I just remember knowing them and that was it. It wasn’t like my bread and butter. It really went back to community.” 

 The idea for the name of the store came up when they were hosting a pop-up shop. Griffoi came up with the name Dead Center Vintage. The idea behind Dead Center Vintage is based on the store being in the center of the U.S. which is Kansas, and the heart of Kansas which would be Wichita. Borland said the name of the store is also a play on words since the clothing is old.

When it comes to getting curation for the store, Borland said there are a lot of different methods that they can choose from. Two of the ways they build up curation is going through collections of vintage collectors, and old piles of clothing that could even be rat-infested or have mold on them. They then dye the clothes that they find in the old piles and try to re-work them so they can sell them in the store. 

Borland said the curation of their store and the selection it has, has been pleasing due to how it compares with vintage shops in big cities like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco. 

“When people come from those coastal cities it means that it’s paying off because it means our curation is up there with those big cities and it means they [co-owners]are good at what they do,” Borland said. 

Borland said that being a part of Dead Center Vintage is something she wants to do long-term. 

“Even if I do like ever, like, go and get another job, I’ll always be a part of Dead Center in some way,” Borland said. “I never knew what I wanted to do and so when Dead Center like the idea came from doing pop-ups to like oh man we’d really like to open a shop one day, see how successful it’s been and we haven’t even scratched the surface.”

Borland has a goal of having a pop-up shop through Dead Center Vintage before she graduates from Wichita State.  

 “I would love to get Dead Center more active specifically in campus life,” Borland said. “As a student, we gotta get like WSU and Dead Center like tapped in because students care about sustainability and they can care about being sustainable.”