We caught up with Lauren Sissons and Gus Walsh, the couple behind Depop sensation "Bare Vintage"
Over the past few years what started out solely as a Depop page has transformed in to a platform for budding models, and an Instagram page that provides some of the most beautiful editorial photography showcasing contemporary streetwear brands. We caught up with founders Lauren and Gus to talk inspiration, running a small business and what the future holds for them.
(Photo: Bare Vintage pop-up, Manchester 2017)
Q: Hello Guys, so to begin with - where did the inspiration to start up Bare Vintage come from?
Gus: When I was 16, I was working in a local pub in Hackney. One of the regular customers in there owned a vintage store, and would tell me stories of sourcing stock in Canada and the US – which was a huge inspiration to me. That’s the first time I had seen American style jackets, jumpers and sportswear I could actually buy at a good price. I’d end up spending my weekly wages on pieces from his store, and a few years later knew I wanted to sell vintage myself.
Lauren: I spent my childhood growing up in South East London, before my family relocated to Australia before I started High School. When I moved back to London after all those years away, I fell back in love with everything I had been missing - tracksuits, trainers, puffer jackets, 90s designer pieces… I was more drawn to the older styles and designs and soon began collecting vintage. When Gus and I moved in together a few years ago, our clothes rails side by side were mainly vintage, so it seemed inevitable that we began selling some when our collections outgrew our apartment!
(Photo: Bare Vintage - Alva @alvaclaire)
Q. One thing that sets your Depop page apart from a lot of others is the effort you put in to the photography. What's the importance of harnessing an editorial style for your photos?
Gus: An editorial style approach to product photography wasn’t really happening from vintage sellers a few years ago when we started. It all seemed to be on a floor or a hanger, and we wanted to bring them to life through styling them how we would actually wear them.
Lauren: We both have a genuine love for the products that we sell, and wanting to style them and capture them stems from that love. Fashion is such a fast paced, throwaway industry today and by selecting pieces and actually photographing them in a more editorial style helps tell the story behind them.
Q. A lot of the brands featured on your page and in your photos have actually noticed your stuff and re-posted it, do you think that stamp of approval helps your brand?
Gus: No, not at all unfortunately. We put a lot of effort and passion into creating imagery that we are proud of, using brands who’s history and designs we love... However, it seems that they feel they have a right to use these images as free social media content without even crediting us.
Lauren: It’s frustrating that as two people working hard to do something that we love and build a brand we are proud of - the brands we know and love seem to take content we’ve created and use it on their own pages without so much as crediting where it came from. It’s pretty disheartening to think they like our images enough to use, but don’t think it is important to support smaller independent people through this.
Photo: Bare Vintage - Jin @hhwanyworld_
Q. Is there any challenges you've had in running a small business that you didn't expect?
Gus: I think time is the biggest challenge as we both work full time jobs. Bare has always been weekends and evenings, and it’s so hard to expand to where we see it growing to when we don’t have all day everyday to bring our ideas and goals to life.
Lauren: I’d have to say time as well… We have always kept everything from the studio shots, the photoshoots, the design, social media, website, post office runs and day to day parts between just the two of us. I think we are at a point now where we see that certain roles or elements could be less challenging if we thought about involving other people.
Photo: Bare Vintage - Wisdom @boywis
Q. What's been your biggest accomplishment to date relating to Bare Vintage?
Gus: Since we started Bare, we have always searched to find young people to model and work with, who a lot of the time have never even considered modelling. Seeing people grow from it, in both confidence and career (going on to being signed by some of the UK’s biggest agencies) is one of the best parts and we hope to continue to show people that we want to push and support the youth in any way that we can.
Lauren: A big accomplishment for me is looking back on how much we have grown. We’ve been lucky that a lot of amazing people have trusted our vision and worked with us and in turn become a part of Bare and we’ve genuinely made friendships through this. I think as well hearing that people thought it was more than just Gus and I, and that they seem shocked when we say we both work full time jobs is always a reminder of how much work we have put into this!
Q. Lastly, what's next for you guys?
Gus: More magazines, more events and of course more amazing vintage pieces!
Lauren: We have a pretty long list of goals for the future, so keep an eye out and expect a lot more before 2018 has ended.
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