Ian Campbell's Arbitrage NYC presents 30 pieces of Archival Helmut Lang in their latest Capsule Collection
Ian Campbell's keen eye for collecting some of the rarest "archival" pieces of clothing, has helped him turn his passion into a thriving business. Arbitrage NYC (Campbell's business) is a consignment website that sells rare designer clothing, but mainly focuses on vintage Helmut Lang. Arbitrage doesn't only sell vintage designer clothing, but also helps teach people about fashion all together. This is something that we at Fashion Moves Forward admire and wanted to learn more about, considering the growing popularity of rare "archival" garments. We teamed up for this exclusive photoshoot of Arbitrage NYC's capsule collection which features 30 vintage pieces of rare Helmut Lang clothing. The collection will be available for purchase tonight at 8 pm Eastern time (arbitragenyc.com). These items are very rare and hard to come by, so please do not hesitate. Below is Arbitrage NYC's collection lookbook and our exclusive interview with founder and curator Ian Campbell.
What got you into fashion, and then eventually buying and selling "archival" clothing?
" I've always sort of been into fashion, thanks to my mom and her crazy closet, but I never really knew anything about fashion until A$AP rocky dropped Peso. At that point, it was really just about owning something nice; something no one else at school had. As for what got me into selling clothing, well I've always been running some small buy/sell operation. Since I was a freshman I highschool basically. I'd just start selling whatever I was interested in at the time, and as I got more and more into fashion, I shifted my focus to that. Because of that, I was a pretty experienced eBayer before I ever heard about Dior Denim, so I think the secondary market and, by extension, archiving, came naturally. Also that stuff is just really fun. It is like owning a piece of art."
How has living in New York affected your business, or your sense of style?
"Living in New York inspired me to take my business much more seriously, and Arbitrage was born from that inspiration. Not only is the city a fashion capital, but everyone is always working on something and making something of themselves. On top of that, I've a ton of people my age who are doing more than just going to class or whatever, they're building brands or writing on blogs or chasing some dream internship and I guess this is just my version of that. When you're young, owning something you've built yourself is a powerful experience, and I can't recommend putting yourself out there enough. The city is constantly affecting my style. At first I was just incorporating bits and pieces from your stand NYC trends, like normcore and work wear and things like that. NYC has this very powerful sense of cool, even if it isn't that cool all the time, so I started incorporating that confidence and aloofness into my style. Really, I just wanted to stop trying so hard."
So with that being said, what is your perspective on NYC fashion , as well as the entire men's fashion scene?
" That's quite the question! There is a ton going on right now in fashion, and particularly in menswear, and a lot of things are changing really quickly. The most obvious thing to me is that there are a ton of newcomers. As fashion with a capital F becomes more mainstream in the US, you have a huge influx of people who are interested in fashion, but have only been into it for a few seasons now. I think that will be really great for everyone in the long run, but its pretty easy to be negative about it right now. I see a lot of people riding trends too hard and struggling with finding a coherent style and dressing simply to look rich or whatever, but I've been guilty of all those things when I was still really new to this. I guess my hope is that we start to see a shift away from competing so much among each other to see who can buy whatever Justin Bieber or Kanye was wearing the fastest and people can start to see the more introspective and individual sides of fashion."
Quite the amazing answer. What do you think about newer fashion, considering your business focuses on 90's era Helmut Lang?
"As far as design goes, I think there is plenty of amazing stuff happening in fashion at the moment. AW16 shows were a little weak in my opinion, but in general there are some talented designers around right now. however, there are a lot of newcomers to design, too. And with them you see some of the same rookie mistakes that your average fashion new comer is making. That will even out in the end though, I'm sure. I think the thing im most upset about lately is the death of Burberry Prorsum. Looks like Burberry won't be cool again for a while. Aside from design, I'd have to say I thoroughly prefer archival clothing. It's more fun to have clothing that someone with a bunch of money can't always just go out and buy, and despite the rarity of the clothes, they're actually a lot cheaper than what you see in retail stores. I'm also partial to hunting down cool shit online than just picking out the new cool thing to buy."
Tell us about your latest capsule for your website and business ArbitrageNyc.com
"Well this is Arbitrage NYC's first capsule collection. Up until this point I had just been releasing weekly (which I still do). I hadn't really thought about doing one until I started getting in a batch of Archival Helmut Lang that all happened to be new with tags. I decided I would release all the new pieces together, and the collection just grew out of that. It's been really fun trying to wrangle all 30 pieces together, this stuff is actually pretty hard to get! But this sort of thing is important for Arbitrage, since it's still so young, because being able to release this much Lang all at once has really helped give my store legitimacy and get noticed. I don't have a million Instagram followers or anything, but thanks to this collection, the right people are hitting me up."
What would be your advice to others who want to build their style?
"That's a question people ask quite a bit, so I'll avoid the answers you normally hear. My advice: try something new. I don't mean something nobody has ever done or something really crazy and flashy, just something new for you. If you've never worn loafers and you've always said they aren't your style, try them! Or try scarves, or sandals, or ditch the jeans and try trousers. Just try something that you never thought you'd wear, and make it your own. Beyond that, really focus on the proportions in an outfit. Having a good idea, theme or piece is not really enough to make you look good. Think about your height and weight and dress in ways that make you look as good as you can, in terms of fit an proportion. Smaller shoes and tapered pants for shorter people, and long coats and high tops work great if your tall. Personal style is really a game of fundamentals. That, and looking like you didn't try! Nonchalance is probably the next most important thing in style. Also take a look at what women are wearing. Believe or not menswear steals almost everything from women. "Basic white girls" we're wearing skinny jeans, olive coats and suede boots looooong before Kanye was. The ladies really know what the fuck is up."
We are very happy to announce that Ian is now a part of the Fashion Moves Forward team, and will be schooling everyone about vintage designer gear in the form of "Archival 101."