“I definitely don’t believe in pricing an item because of its hype or status. I just want to do honest business.” – Ariana Sheehan
When it comes to pricing an item, it’s difficult – “How do you price something that does not exist a second time on the internet? Do you hope for a fellow fanatic that would spend even more or do you price it lower for a quick sale?”, he wonders. The factors that play into his pricing are age, condition, quality, longevity and the current market value. He does his research, compares and generally tries to price his item lower than the general market value. At Aro Archive, the consensus is that if an item is ugly it’s going to be cheaper – Comme or not. “We are super fair with our prices,” says Ariana, “I buy at 25-50%, so people always know I mark up. I definitely don’t believe in pricing an item because of its hype or status. I just want to do honest business. Our prices vary between £25 and £1,885.” She sources the clothing anywhere and everywhere from the carboot to shops in Japan, Antwerp, and Brussels.
“I source where everyone else is sourcing, additionally, I depend on the people who reach out to me, who know what I am looking for and think of me when they want to sell something.” – Leon Teke
After his period of living in Italy, Leon moved back to Berlin and had to start sourcing online. “It’s about building relationships, being respectful and honest with people. I source where everyone else is sourcing, additionally, I depend on the people who reach out to me, who know what I am looking for and think of me when they want to sell something,” he adds. The most popular brands he is selling are Prada, MiuMiu Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier. This is all bound to specific eras of the brands, for example, Dior by Galliano is very popular. The biggest increase he noticed in the past few years is Prada and MiuMiu. “I remember when the small Prada Nylon bags were super hyped. Around late 2019, going strong through summer 2020. After that, the rise of MiuMiu began. Pieces that you could previously find for a price below 100€ were suddenly shooting through the roof, now retailing for four times the price.”
We might be at the MiuMiu peak now, he says since other brands are slowly gaining popularity. But yet still, his current most demanded pieces are footwear from MiuMiu FW1999, a period that brand marked the “ugly chic” era of the brand.
For Ariana, in London, the most popular brands remain Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake, Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe, Alexander McQueen, Stone Island and Jean Paul Gaultier. The highest increase in worth was in Balenciaga and Stone Island over the last few years, she adds. Repping a high number of Japanese designers, it is no surprise that Pleats Please by Issey Miyake is her most demanded product line.
The popularity of the archive is reviving the profession of the archivist as the clothing is being worn, touched, looked at and used for research instead of being stocked in a dark basement room.
Operating from home, his pieces are stored and preserved in the way he was taught to take care of everything he owns himself. “The knits are folded and stored flat, the shirts are hanging and the mesh tops, depending on their weight, as well. Items with details and materials that easily oxidate are stored in garment bags,” he says. For now, CopMeIfYouCan, is exclusively stored in his home, but in the future, he wants to find a showroom for a fully-functioning system to store the archive. In London, Aro Archive see themselves as a living archive, with items in constant use and without a crazy storage system. It seems the popularity of the archive is reviving the profession of the archivist as the clothing is being worn, touched, looked at and used for research instead of being stocked in a dark basement room.
Among fashion students, archival fashion has been collected and worn for a long time. It is a way of conserving history in times characterised by quick trend circles and constant overproduction. “It teaches you about construction, cut and materials,” says Leon. The day before his prom, Raphael del Bono, researcher and art student at Central Saint Martins, purchased his first Pierre Cardin jacket. Monica Moon, who is a writer and history of design student at the Royal College of Art, saved her money to spend on a Comme des Garçons piece on a school trip to Tokyo a few years ago. What makes archival fashion valuable might be the price, but is certainly the emotional and nostalgic connotations we have to it.