As many of you already know, Alpha Industries was originally founded in 1959 as a contractor for the U.S. Military. For decades, we supplied numerous military branches with jackets such as the MA-1 Flight Jacket and M-65 Field Coat.
Because of this, thousands of our jackets ended up in military surplus stores scattered across the nation. However, the time has taken its toll on the once vast quantities of authentic surplus gear made by former U.S. military suppliers. These rare pieces are now some of the most sought-after authentic vintage military items out there.
We decided to link up with Jeff Carvalho, Highsnobiety’s own managing director, who knows a thing or two about military surplus gear. He’ll take us around the country to find rare surplus gear that you’ll probably never see again.
For Carvalho, what started out as a hobby of thrifting old army clothes has turned into a vintage military obsession. That’s exactly why we choose Carvalho to explore and revisit some of the best surplus shops in the country.
Our first stop on our journey was in Carvalho’s adopted hometown of Boston at Kenmore Army & Navy. He’s known about this spot for years, and he actually started shopping here while he was an undergrad.
Back in the day, it was known as the place to get the newest gear, but it was also the place to go for cool kids in the know to find legit surplus gems hidden among thousands of clothing racks.
Although the military look continues to gain popularity, store owner Gerald Blocker says he’s been hearing the same thing for years. “Every time I tell somebody I have an army/navy store, they always say, ‘Oh camouflage, that stuff is really hot now.’ I’ve been hearing that for forty years,” Blocher says.
Check out the first of four episodes above to see all the rare vintage Alpha Industries pieces we found and stay tuned as we gear up for the next episode of sick vintage finds.