WHAT IS ARCHIVE FASHION?
Fashion has always been a reflection of the times we live in, but sometimes, we find ourselves drawn to the past. Archive fashion is a trend that has been gaining momentum in recent years, as more and more people seek to connect with the history and culture of fashion. Archive fashion refers to pieces that are no longer in production, but are still highly sought after for their unique designs and craftsmanship.
With the rise of sustainable fashion, archive fashion has become even more relevant, as people look for ways to reduce waste and celebrate the beauty of luxury clothing. If you're a fashion lover who's fascinated by the past, you'll be excited to know that there's a new way to access fashion's archives.
TRUSS is a company that specialises in connecting fashion lovers with the archives of some of the world's top designers. With TRUSS, you can discover rare and unique pieces from fashion's past, and add them to your own collection.
WHAT ARE THE KEY ARCHIVAL BRANDS?
Many of the world's top fashion brands have archive pieces that are highly sought after by fashion enthusiasts. Among these are rare and unique pieces that showcase the evolution of the brand over time. Some of these garments sell for far above the original retail price and are rising in value every day. Most notably, in 2018, a Raf Simons bomber jacket from his 2001, "Riot! Riot! Riot!" collection sold for $47,000 dollars on Grailed's marketplace. This was after Kayne West was seen wearing the item at the height of his cultural fashion-relevance.
Not all archive fashion is as inaccessible in terms of price. Stone Island is a key archival brand which has garments that remain sought after both due to the "hype" factor, but also because of the lasting quality of production and materials. Archive Stone Island can often be found in great condition despite being 30 years old.
Here are some examples of key archival brands.
ARCHIVE RAF SIMONS
Raf Simons is one of the world's most iconic menswear brands and remains prominent in archive fashion. Raf Simons’ launched his label in 1995, a self-trained menswear designer whose clothes are inspired by rebellion, subcultures and other forms of subversion and countercultures. The limited supply and novelty of Simons’ archive pieces have particularly boosted the appeal.
The persistent relevance in popular culture also has meant more people have taken an interest in Raf Simons back-catalogue. One of the best examples is A$AP Rocky, who can often be seen in archive Raf Simons. A$AP Rocky admiration for the designer was extended through the song RAF, where many of his most iconic designs can be found in the music video.
ARCHIVE MAISON MARGIELA
Maison Margiela is another iconic archive fashion brand with a rich archive and history. Much of this is owed to Martin Margiela and his legendary status in the fashion world. Martin Margiela has a famous tongue-and-cheek approach to design which has brought the brand to archive fashion status. This approach has influenced fashion houses like Vetements & Balenciaga to much success.
Iconic designs include their 2012 collaboration with H&M which had a number of iconic pieces but undoubtedly, the ‘Belt Jacket’ has a continued cultural relevance being worn by several celebrities. Notably, it has been worn by Young Thug on multiple occasions.
Another design that cannot go without mention is the $11 Dollar Bill wallet from 2008. Like many of Martin Margiela’s designs, which focus on reconstruction of unsuspecting every-day items, the $11 Dollar Bill Wallet takes the paper currency and reimagines it as a wallet. Instead of money being encased in the interior of the wallet, this has $11 Dollar bills as the laminated outer. In other words, storing money in money? Where one might expect to see the founding father of the USA Alexander Hamilton, there is instead a black outline of the figure. The wallet originally sold for around $600 USD but is now worth thousands on the resale market.
ARCHIVE STONE ISLAND
Stone Island was founded in 1982 due to the enigma that is Massimo Osti. Osti invented a new Fabric, Tela Stella, that couldn’t fit into the ethos of the existing C.P Company brand.
Osti’s new brand required a name that could capture its strong military/maritime inspired look and for this he looked to the unlikely source of Joseph Conrad, a Polish-British novelist. Osti Charged his wife to pick out word’s that could resonate with the vision of the brand. Osti from this list picked out stone and island. Stone, because of the functionality and strength of the new material. Island, because of Osti’s own affiliation with the sea.
This ethos of functionality has persisted over time which is what makes Stone Island amongst the important archival brands. Gorpcore and utilitarian wear has become mainstay in today’s fashion with brands like Arc’teryx or Nike ACG. Stone Island was among the first to experiment with these themes almost half a decade ago. What makes the brand so appealing and why people keep looking back into Stone Island’s archives is due to the lasting quality of the garments and their own focus on their roots, techniques and history.
The Stone Island badge is a recognisable symbol of the brand's dedication to pushing the boundaries of fashion and material technology.
With so many iconic items through time it is only fitting that an item from 1982 is showcased here. A Tela Stella jacket which has been subsequently recreated for their 30th and 40th anniversaries. This has become a true statement piece from Stone Island enthusiasts interested in archive fashion.
ARCHIVE PRADA (SPORT)
Prada has a long and rich history as a designer fashion house. Founded in 1913 it has grown to be a recognisable household name. Like many of the brands listed here, they are self-aware about their own history and provide a portal into it through the pradasphere section of their website.
Other brands tend to strictly follow fashion trends. Prada either ignores or creates them. Looking back into Prada’s archives, this could not be more true than in the case of ‘Prada Sport’. This is a non-canonical name given to the brand’s technical arm.
300700.Store is perhaps the most important collector of Prada Sport. He comments:
Only a few years after the debut of the Prada Menswear line with English Designer Neil Barret, CEO Patrizio Bertelli announced the launch of the new ‘Prada Sport’ label. This was likely a combined result of Bertelli’s decision to begin putting together the Luna Rossa sailing team in 1997, which created the need for a more functional design approach, and Barrett’s own desires to take his designs in a more technical direction. It was also not uncommon at the time for luxury fashion houses to release their own athletic sub-brands with relatively cheaper products aimed at the leisure consumer. Some were sceptical of this move at first, unsure if it would be of interest to consumers and if this was just an attempt by Prada to offer lower prices and attract a different type of customer. However, Prada had made it clear from their first collection that this was not the case with their Sport line. They aimed to transfer their expert tailoring across and experiment with a much wider range of high-quality, high-performance materials. Prada stated that they were creating “metropolitan garments with materials and shapes that assimilate the features of technical mountain clothes, identifiable by the now-unmistakable small red Prada tab on the cuff or hem of the garments.
Prada sport, again was early to the technical wear party and was an early advocate of the GoreTex material. The sailing jacket from 1999 displayed below is a summation of what makes the brand special in the archive fashion hall of fame. This jacket was one of the first of its kind and utilised a high-quality GoreTex created especially for Prada.
TRUSS will update this article with more brands over time. More honourable mentions include: Issey Miyake, Number (n)ine, Undercover, C.P Company, Helmut Lang, Rick Owens, Dior Homme, Commes Des Garcons Junya Watabe, Dolce & Gabanna, General Research, Final Home, Gucci (Tom Ford), Louis Vuitton, Bape, Vivienne Westwood, Patagonia Oakley.
HOW ARCHIVE FASHION INSPIRES CURRENT FASHION TRENDS
Archive fashion is not only relevant to the past, but also to the present and future of fashion. Many current fashion trends are inspired by archive fashion, as designers look to the past for inspiration and reinterpretation. Archive fashion provides a wealth of inspiration for designers, from the unique silhouettes and materials to the intricate details and craftsmanship.
One example of how archive fashion has inspired current trends is the repurposing of iconic archive fashion designs. Examples include Raf Simons Archive Redux. This 2021 capsule saw Simon's iconic Archive designs recreated and ironically became as expensive as some of the original pieces. Prada in 2021, For Spring/Summer 2021, reinvented the brand’s iconic ‘red line’ which took inspiration from the original design motifs of the early 00s.
HOW TRUSS PROVIDES ACCESS TO THE ARCHIVES
TRUSS specialises in connecting fashion lovers with the archives of some of the world's top designers. With TRUSS, you can discover rare and unique pieces from fashion's past, and add them to your own collection. TRUSS curates the world's leading archive sellers all to one place, making it easy for fashion enthusiasts to explore the archives of different designers. This is a project years in the making and is a summation of the research of hundreds of resale businesses and collectors.
TRUSS offers a range of services to help you access fashion archives. Their online platform allows you to browse through a curated selection of archive pieces from different designers. You can search by designer, era, or style to find the perfect piece for your collection.
THE FUTURE OF ARCHIVE FASHION
As the fashion industry continues to evolve, it's likely that archive fashion will become even more relevant. With the rise of sustainable fashion and the increasing demand for unique and rare pieces, archive fashion is poised to become a key trend in the industry. As designers and fashion enthusiasts continue to explore the archives of different brands and eras, we can expect to see more reinterpretations of archive pieces in contemporary fashion. This is what makes collectible fashion items attractive investments. They usually retain their value or rise in value over time as items become rarer and harder-to-find.
More brands will also expand into the Archive Fashion sphere. This is forwarded by stores like Disarm Store who focuses on Armani and their historic releases. Brands like Stussy, Nike ACG, Supreme and Patagonia and more are slowly moving into the archive fashion realm.
WHY BUY ARCHIVAL FASHION? HOW TO INCORPORATE IT INTO YOUR STYLE
Archive fashion does not have to break the bank. Collectible items from brands like Number (n)ine, Prada or Stone Island can often be cheaper than the initial retail price but are still primed to rise in value.
Incorporating Archive into your style is extremely simple. All you need to do is find your initial statement piece. This could be a green-edge Stone Island item, Prada red-tab piece or a Jean Paul Gaultier Mesh Top. The beauty of archive fashion is that you may choose a unique and eye-catching piece from years of productions that speak to your personal style to match your existing essentials. TRUSS provides the tools in our archive app to explore past releases and find your statement piece(s).