Image courtesy of Lucas Connell
Lucas Connell, a sophomore computer engineering major, sells clothing at a vendor event.
September 28, 2022
Ranging from 1980s T-shirts with the original Roc the Panther graphic on them to ‘90s snapbacks featuring Pitt’s former navy and gold colors and Y2K Pitt hoodies, Lucas Connell’s shop Elcon Threads has a variety of vintage clothing options.
Elcon Threads is a student-run business that sells vintage Pitt gear. Lucas Connell, a sophomore computer engineering major, launched the business in July 2021 on Instagram.
Connell said he started his business before he was a Pitt student, in his hometown of Indiana, Pennsylvania. His interest in vintage clothing came from his brother, but his passion continued to grow the year he arrived at Pitt.
“When I started my page, it wasn’t just Pitt clothes, and I started it the summer before I came to Pitt, so like a year ago now,” Connell said. “My brother used to thrift, and he kind of got out of it. And I saw what he had been doing in that, and I liked the clothes, so I was like ‘Oh, I’ll start doing it.’”
Before arriving in Oakland, Connell posted any and all vintage clothing he could find on his business’s Instagram account. However, after seeing the absence of vintage Pitt apparel on campus, Connell said he wanted to switch his business’s focus to target the Pitt student body. The Elcon Threads account has gained more than 4,900 followers on Instagram since starting the business.
“Once I got to Pitt, I realized no one was really wearing vintage and there really was not a lot of vintage clothing, especially on campus,” Connell said. “So I was like, ‘Maybe I’ll start selling Pitt stuff,’ and it didn’t take off at first because I didn’t have an audience for it.”
Connell offers an assortment of vintage Pitt items, such as an old-school football jersey, a cozy ‘90s crewneck with vivid graphics and an assortment of vintage tees featuring rare designs.
Elcon Thread’s shirts can range from $20 to $60, depending on the rarity of the item.
Connell also chooses vibrant backgrounds of well-known Pitt spots in his posts to promote his finds. Connell said the company’s Instagram is what made Elcon Threads what it is today.
“Elcon Threads became what it was when I started posting Pitt stuff at Pitt locations,” Connell said. “When my page really took off I did a drop where I had 15 really cool Pitt items and I photographed them at the Bronze Panther and on the Cathy stone area and in the garden in Schenley Plaza.”
Connell also holds pop-up events for his business. He recently attended the Neighborhood Flea in the Strip District, as well as Slippery Rock University’s VillageFest.
Connell will also partner with one of Pitt’s campus thrift stores, Thriftsburgh, during one of their upcoming events in October, where he will have a pop-up. Connell is also planning to attend a vintage market event, Pittsburgh Pickers, at the Highline.
Logan McKito, a sophomore business student, said he and Connell met on Instagram and their shared passion for all things vintage fostered a friendship between them. McKito runs his own vintage business as well, Mickey’s Vintage. McKito said he admires Connell and Elcon Threads.
“He really knows what he’s doing. He’s a great marketer. All of his pictures and stuff, he goes very in depth. He really knows what he’s doing. I admire him,” McKito said. “He’s always on his game. He’s very hardworking.”
Christian Meskanick, who Connell calls his “mentor,” is the owner of local Bellevue vintage store, The Closet. Meskanick said Connell exhibits a great work ethic for his business.
“Lucas is a great kid, ever since I’ve met him he’s always been nice and polite,” Meskanick said. “He has a great work ethic and is always eager to learn as much as possible.”
Like McKito, Meskanick met Connell through the vintage community on social media and forged a friendship. Meskanick said Elcon Threads provides Pitt students with one-of-a-kind vintage pieces that people rarely find elsewhere.
“Elcon Threads is a great business and even better if you love vintage Pitt gear,” Meskanick said. “He provides a better and more unique alternative than just some bookstore merch everyone else has.”
Being both a student and business owner is rather time-consuming, according to Connell. Connell not only has to worry about studying for exams, but also preparing for his latest drop or pop-up for Elcon Threads. In order to figure out how to manage his time, Connell said he places school first and works on his business during his breaks and off-time.
“Honestly, I just fill the gaps. The nice thing about having my business is I can fill the gaps whenever I’m not doing other stuff, because you know, you pick when you work,” Connell said.
Connell said he plans on continuing his business during his time at Pitt and hopes to work in the tech industry after college. Connell said he enjoys seeing students wear his pieces around campus. Knowing that unique pieces are going into the hands of Pitt students makes it all worth it, according to Connell.
“Anything that goes into a Pitt student’s hands I feel good, and I love seeing people wear the stuff. It’s pretty often that I’ll walk by someone and seeing them wearing something that I sold them, which is a good feeling,” Connell said. “I know that I’m spreading my mission of getting sustainable and unique fashion on campus.”
Connell advises other students that are interested in starting their own business to recognize the importance of school and make it the first priority. He said once they recognize that, the appreciation for their business will follow.
“I would say go for it, and just realize like school comes first. And if you can focus on school first and get that down, then you’ll appreciate the time you spend with the business more and be more efficient,” Connell said. “Time management is number one if you want to have your own business in college.”
Serena Garcia is a junior majoring in English writing with minors in creative writing and legal studies. She is an avid 76ers fan and a french fry fanatic.
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