From Lincolnshire to Paris…
Starting from a young age, Eddie Wailes eschewed the traditional education route in favour of hands-on experience to cut his teeth in the fashion industry. Progressively discovering the ins and outs of what it took to run a business, he soon began to apply this to his own resale ventures and has since steadily, and organically, seen nothing but success. PAUSE took the time to sit down with the young entrepreneur to talk inspiration, the resale business and his take on the current fashion landscape.
Tell us who you are, where you’re from and what you do for a living.
I’m Eddie, 20. From just out of London. I buy, source and sell designer clothes and items for a living, which was my passion and hobby that turned into my daily job. I have a background in suit tailoring, which involved buying, marketing and all aspects of running a business which is what ultimately led me to start my own.
You seem to collect both vintage and current designer pieces, tell us how you shop?
I’m a selective shopper, I tend to mix vintage and new season closely, often integrating the two. Vintage Gucci is my all time favourite. I get more out of finding rare and unusual pieces than paying for new season, but I tend to find the balance in-between. I’ll never pay retail, unless its an investment item.
What’s the key to buying something great that’s 10 years old?
Nothing brand new will ever hold as much character as a piece that is a decade old. It really depends on what you’re buying. Over a year ago I came across a made to measure Gucci monogram suit from the 1990’s. The original owner from Paris had it made for himself in the Old Bond Street Gucci store by one of Tom Ford’s assistant tailors, only wearing it once to his wedding.
You seem to have grown up so fast. How have you matured?
In our Instagram generation, many people will buy certain clothing for the purpose only of attention and likes. Not just Supreme – but even high end. Dropping £1000’s on an outfit doesn’t necessarily justify style. There’s no wrong in that, but finding the balance without being quickly labelled is hard.
Sometimes styling something expensive with Vans (for example), annoys some. But it’s not about being head to toe, it’s about making it your own.
– Brian Whittaker
Do you think style can be bought?
It’s a controversial subject, some of the most respected public figures in youth fashion are known for their forward-thinking strategies of promoting how to create great outfits on a budget. I justify expensive pieces through investment, quality and cut.
Do those you keep the company of seem to have a similar taste in fashion to you?
I’d say that most of my close friends all have very distinct styles. My best friend @elykong, for example, has a completely different aesthetic to mine – but when it comes down to it, that’s really what I love the most. We share the same interests, but make it our own.
What is one common style mistake that you see too often?
Stop tucking your trousers into your socks, c’mon no one likes that.
Talk us through your opinion of bootleg products, what is your opinion on counterfeit culture in general and how does this impact your business?
There’s a big difference between a straight counterfeit and ‘Bootleg’. I’ve worn bootleg pieces such as a 90’s Gucci monogram sweater, and considering Michele is doing a retake on bootlegs this season, there’s nothing wrong with it.
A big part of my business is helping people to distinguish real from fake – I don’t support the counterfeit business at all. I justify my business through honesty.
Any final thoughts on the being successful in the reselling business?
The reselling business has now become saturated, with now a lot of younger kids realising through social media they can make quick money. Especially within streetwear, which has caused a decline in demand in the market. After my interest in streetwear, I saw a market in high fashion goods. Back then this wasn’t covered, and over the years I have become knowledgeable considering the authenticity of items.
To be successful I believe you have to be knowledgeable and passionate about what you’re dealing with, and not just do it for the money if you’re in it for the long term.
How have you used social media as a platform for your business?
From running Facebook groups for selling high end, it was a wise move starting my own website. With it comes more of a personal connection with your buyers, and I’ve evolved my business by making it more related to me. I’ve used social media to push events such as pop-up shops, having done one in Paris and recently Amsterdam. Meeting people in person, that’s what it’s really all about when it comes down to it.
When running into someone in far away in Asia that purchased something off my website and seeing how happy they were does a lot for me, knowing that you’ve had a positive impact on someone.