INTERVIEW WITH YOUR FASHION ARCHIVE
I can clearly recall when archival fashion started to take off around 2015. The kids who never hands-on experienced RAF SIMONS or HELMUT LANG from the 90’s or early 2000’s, would refer to US rapper’s as icons to create their own original styles in a completely different context to earlier collectors. This was a totally fresh vibe that put a new value into archival fashion. The people who always talked about Kayne West’s bomber jacket, were all of the sudden wearing oversized sweats or sleeveless hoodies and everyone started searching for the first collection from 1995.
The knowledge of archive was absorbed on a daily basis at an unexpected speed, almost to a geeky level. This knowledge was not from fashion school reference materials or runway photo databases like firstVIEW, but the information was from several different personally curated social media accounts.
In the past few years, archive related accounts managed by youngsters in their teens and 20s has increased and as they connect all around the world, they create synergy and continue to share what they’ve curated. Among them, one that demonstrates an academic individuality is @yourfashionarchive.
In this Instagram account, along with scanned images posted of famous designer collections from vintage magazines like Men’s Non-no, Smart, Gap Press, Soen, there’s also posts of unique campaign ads to the Harajuku styles from back then. With the extremely broad range yet firm perspective, the account unravels archives and sends a message to the world.
Only the details of this Instagram account and the name ‘Oliver’ was known, but after a few text messages, I was able do an interview.
First of all, let me know about yourself. Who are you, Oliver?
I'm a 21 years old loser who loves fashion and bonding with people over its history.
What is “@yourfashionarchive”, and the idea behind it?
It is a page on Instagram I made to post scans of my vast vintage fashion magazine collection. I enjoy teaching people about obscure brands and designers and unearthing the beautiful imagery associated. After I gained a following I started interviewing fashion designers and adding editorials and photo shoots along with the scans I post. I want to inspire people with fresh artistic ideas from the past and present.
From the page, I feel that you must have been obsessive with something from childhood. What were you obsessed with then?
That's funny you knew I’ve always been an obsessive. I’ve always loved collecting things from Pokemon cards, to sea glass, to snow globes, to dead preserved creatures. I remember when my dad first took me to a men's clothing store at the mall when I was in 4th grade and bought me cool military inspired clothes. I felt super confident at school and since then my style has been evolving.
What was your first fashion moment, which eventually brought you to the world of designers’ archives?
I began buying and reselling vintage clothing as a side hustle which eventually opened my eyes to the world of fashion history. I only became tapped into the “archive community” after I watched a YouTube video of JC(@jcdachurro) showing off his Raf Simons collection. Since then I’ve been enamored.
How did you find the fascination to vintage magazines?
I first learned about designers’ archives and then had to research Japanese fashion magazines. I thought the magazines would be a good idea since they are a raw source of recorded history. I love all my magazines, I get inspiration from the non-fashion related sections as well.
Why do you specifically love Japanese magazine from the 90s, such as Men’s Non-no, Smart, Gap Press and So-en?
The fashion is just so expressive and fantastical! I also love the editorials and art featured in these magazines! It’s interesting to see coveted archive clothes in their original runways/editorials. Street fashion and outfit pictures are great for inspiration and magazines like Gap Press have collection coverage of brands that aren’t online anywhere.
Tell me your favorite designers of all time and best collection for each?
That is very difficult for me however Alexander McQueen’s “Voss” collection will always hold a dear place in my heart because the themes of mental health touched me along with the overall beauty of the show. Every runway show of Hussein Chalayan, especially SS2000 I cherish. For Japanese brands, I love Undercover and Issey Miyake, I’d say “Languid” is my favorite collection of Jun’s and SS1991 was my favorite of Miyake. I love too many brands/collections to really rank them sorry!
Do you actually collect designers’ archive pieces?
Yes, I have a HUGE collection! I sometimes rent out my clothing and am always buying more! It’s an unhealthy addiction that I have.
It seems you also love the Harajuku style in the 90s, as well as designers’ archive. Could you let me know why you find them interesting?
I love the Harajuku style and aesthetics that came out of that era so much. Lolita, Kawaii, Cyberwear, Punx, etc. To me that was the peak of expressive fashion, my favorite magazine from that era is Kerouac. Not only was the fashion so iconic but the style and formatting of the magazines had a very particular aesthetic that I am attracted to.
How do you see the new collections and current fashion magazines?
To be honest I’m not the best at being up to date with new collections. I am not subscribed to any new fashion magazines however I watch a lot of Youtube and will go through coverage of current collections sometimes.
What is the critical difference between something new and archive for you?
In my opinion an archive piece has to have historical significance in some manner that transforms the wearable garment into an artifact.
Why do you think many people are now fascinated by designers’ archives in general?
Honestly it’s mostly due to rappers choosing archive over new designer pieces to talk about in their songs and wear in their music videos. Also, platforms like Grailed have given newcomers an easy entryway into owning archive fashion. I’m glad people are interested in it because it’s the only thing people associate me with, haha.
Do you think the current boom of designers’ archives will last?
Yes and No, I think people will always have an affliction for the past and for archive fashion but the hype around certain pieces and brands (i.e Raf Simons) will eventually die down. Time will prove who is actually interested in the historical collectibility of the clothing and who is just into it for the hype.
What do you plan to do in the near future through @yourfashionarichive?
I really hope I can use this page as an entryway into the fashion industry. I have such a large influence but I still work at a fast food restaurant and struggle to pay rent. I’m going to do more editorial/interview work and hope to eventually drop clothing and make YouTube videos. I get scared that one day everyone will just stop caring and I’ll become a nobody so I need to continue to reinvent myself and be interesting.
Interview text_ YASUYUKI ASANO