Making waves with Wavey Garms
Making waves with Wavey Garms
INTERVIEW AND PHOTOS BY : MELISSA COLLETT
Wavey Garms : a British slang phrase originating from South East London, meaning “cool clothes.” Also the name of the U.K’s most influential streetwear destinations- part shop, part archive of some of the most iconic ’90s and early 2000’s colorful clad from Moschino, Versace, and beyond. Wavey Garms has been credited for dictating what young people wear both online and from its Peckham boutique. We sat down with Rhiannon to discuss the international fashion destination’s future plans, a three piece outfit for M.I.A, and very rare cow print sunnies.
How and why did you start Wavey Garms, the business. And how does it compare today with your initial ideas?
Wavey Garms never started as a business. It began in 2013 as a Facebook group. The idea was to create an online space where our friends could buy and sell garms, without having to pay eBay fees. To keep it wavey, we were quite strict about allowing only the type of clothes and brands that we liked to be sold within the group. It seemed to catch on, because before long, it grew from about 20 people to 80,000+ members and another 20,000 on the waiting list. It happened totally organically. So, to now be doing our hobby as a business is great.
From a Facebook group, it has grown into a stand-alone store. Do you have plans to expand even more?
For sure. We’ve got some exciting pop-ups planned. And I’d love to open another store in London and do some pop-ups overseas in places like NY and Sao Paulo. In addition, we recently got waveygarms.com up and running, which is an online store, but also a place to find loads of sick content about street culture. And we’re getting lots of opportunities to work with fashion brands right now.
What have been some challenges you’ve faced as the shop has evolved?
It’s a challenge juggling the store, the website, and the WG merch, while finding time and space to take on all the other opportunities that are coming our way.
Has it taken you a long time to develop an eye for rare finds or does it come naturally ?
I’ve been into this since I was a kid, so it’s feels quite natural to me. I’ve been obsessed with brands like Moschino and Versace for over 14 years, so I feel like I know my shit.
You hire out key pieces from your personal archive for shoots and styling. What shoot featuring your Wavey Garms are you most proud of?
There’s a music video for M.I.A where she’s wearing a 3-piece Moschino outfit of mine. One of the fav shoots that I have styled, was for the cover of Notion Magazine with Sita Bellan.
You and your brother, Andres, both do personal projects on the side. Can you tell us about some of these?
We feel really lucky, because Wavey Garms throws up loads of amazing opportunities. We both have a long list of projects we want to do. It’s finding the time to fit it all in that is tricky. Andres did a Wavey Garms photography book last year, and he’s currently working on his second short film. I continue to work as a stylist with directors, photographers and artists. And I’m collaborating with a friend on a documentary about African Aunty styles in South East London.
You’ve worked with Nike. What would be a dream collaboration for Wavey Garms?
Moschino, all day long. It’s been a dream of mine for the past ten years. I feel like it could happen, though, maybe one day ☺. But to work with the likes of Nike is also unreal, and is defo a dream collab for Andres.
Wavey Garms resonates so well with Londoners, do you find that it has the same response internationally?
If you would have asked me this two years ago, I would have said it was definitely just a London/UK thing. For the people who remember the 90s and 2000s urban music/brands/raves and the lifestyle. But it’s getting bigger across UK and spreading across the world. We’re getting people in the shop from all sorts of places, and our online orders are increasing worldwide.
I had some Australian customers come in the shop the other day, asking for ‘off-keys’. Now, off-key was a phrase back in the day for rare, Moschino prints. So, I couldn’t believe how they knew about it. And they said they learned it from a UK Garage documentary they had watched online.
That’s what’s mad interesting about the time we are in now, as you can just pick up your phone, go on Instagram and see what/how people are dressed on the other side of the world. For example, I’ve noticed a massive interest in Avirex jackets in the last few weeks, getting messages from customers oversees. And it’s without a doubt because Skepta is wearing one in his new music video with ASAP Rocky.
who are your biggest style icons?
M.I.A, Donatella Versace, LIL KIM.
What is the most exciting and rarest item you’ve come across?
My cow print Gianni Versace sunglasses. I have never seen them anywhere else, except in a photo of Lil Kim wearing a pair in 1995. I’m a lucky cow to own them.