Sacramento’s ‘Worst’ Kept Secret: underground streetwear market reopens

Worlds Worst Expo gathered over 100 local vendors Sunday in Downtown Sacramento


Alan Trinidad

Customers in Sacramento browse the selection of vintage streetwear at the expo on Sunday, Feb. 21. The event included 82 booths and gathered around 105 vendors, co-creator of Worlds Worst Expo Jamison Lyons said.

Alan Trinidad

Located on I Street between a Goodyear garage and a vacant parking lot is a marketplace that allows the people of Sacramento to explore a sea of clothing racks filled with vintage streetwear on the third Sunday of every month.

Worlds Worst Bodega hosts an event called the Worlds Worst Expo with local vendors offering vintage streetwear, handmade goods and more. With sounds of indistinct laughter, blasting music and sizzling barbecue grills, the environment is comparable to that of a neighborhood block party. Worlds Worst Expo advertises its events solely on Instagram, and vendors attending spread the word through sharing posts. 

Worlds Worst Expo last opened in November with around 40 vendors. The event was canceled in December and January due to COVID-19 shutdowns. 

However, this time around, the event included 82 booths and gathered around 105 vendors, said co-creator of Worlds Worst Expo Jamison Lyons. Due to the restrictions involving large outdoor events because of COVID-19 safety guidelines, Worlds Worst Expo has incorporated ways to ensure public safety. 

Worlds Worst Expo requires all customers to wear masks; staff members carry extra masks for customers in need of one. In addition, Worlds Worst Expo has hired specific staff for controlling areas of the grounds from getting too crowded, co-creator of Worlds Worst Expo Casey Mann said. 

A year ago, Mann and Lyons came up with the idea of a market that could be a comfortable, personal shopping experience in Sacramento.

Story continues below photo.

Co-creators of Worlds Worst Expo, Jamison Lyons, left, and Casey Mann, right, pose in front of the side entrance of the streetwear market Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. A year ago, Lyons and Mann came up with the idea of a market that could be a comfortable, personal shopping experience in Sacramento. (Alan Trinidad)

“I would go to other events like this, but I felt they weren’t curated the best that they could be,”  Lyons said. “I wanted to make something that was more tight knit, why not do something with your friends?”

It’s impossible to walk through the expo’s E-Z Up canopies without coming across hundreds of flags of the times: varsity jackets embroidered with logos for unknown schools from decades past, faded T-shirts sporting Michael Jordan and his rivaling NBA stars of the 90’s, puffer jackets covered with the original Pokemon and Simpsons character arts. 

Donner Ungewitter and Anthony Lawson, Grailongrail store owners, curate items for the generation of kids who grew up reading Marvel comics and watching Saturday-morning cartoons. 



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Ungewitter, a Sacramento State alumnus, said that when he was attending Sac State, he was interested in vintage streetwear but never considered reselling. After graduating with a degree in business, Ungewitter realized that selling vintage in Sacramento was highly profitable compared to working his day job. 

“Right after I graduated Sac State, I was working at Target, and I felt like I was wasting my time  getting paid like $13 an hour,” Ungewitter said. “I’ll make my two weeks’ pay being out here and doing online sales times 10.” 

Many sellers have become aware of the strong vintage streetwear presence in Sacramento. Adrian Carbullido, member of the streetwear collective Backdoor Bay Area, described the difference in selling at Worlds Worst Expo versus other markets in San Jose or San Francisco. 

“There’s a certain type of style that’s with Sac, you’ve got so many thrift stores over here, you’re gonna have a lot of people wearing the type of clothes you sell,” Carbullido said. “Sac has its own specific market, we feel like we relate to this event a lot more.”

Worlds Worst Expo not only features vintage clothing but also gives local vendors like Emery Reyes a way to offer their clothing brands to the community. Reyes created his own clothing brand, Undying Love, which he said is inspired by his love for popular streetwear and sneaker culture at a young age. 

Aside from the vendors selling clothing, the “and more” that Worlds Worst Expo offers is seen with Eliza Haze, creator of withlove.healing, and her handmade jewelry. Withlove.healing specializes in healing stone accessories incorporating hypoallergenic metals and rare imported beads. Haze mentioned that despite the physical distance needed during these times, this expo gives people a great reason to gather as a community.  

“We’re in such a weird time where everyone is so secluded and to themselves and not about the community,” Haze said during an interview. “We might need to physically stay the six feet apart, but we don’t need to completely distance ourselves. I think it’s a really great opportunity to bring people together and showcase everyone’s different capabilities.”

During the past year, the ability to visit markets and expos has been interrupted because of COVID-19 restrictions. Having events like Worlds Worst Expo reopen helps local vendors with exposure to the community, Lyons said. 

“It gives people a place to make money, and even if it’s not money, it gives people a place to be seen,” Lyons said. “It’s hard to tell people what you really do, but now they can come touch it and feel it and see the quality of the presence behind it.”