Building NDWC0's Archive, Brand Image and Expert Knowledge with Abid Khan
by Nova / Marianna Mukhametzyanova·
If you’re into styling, streetwear and/or archive pieces then you’ve most likely stumbled upon the Instagram page of the archive clothing store Ndwc0 and expressed awe at the wide array of unique designer pieces on show spanning Oakley, Salomon, Margiela, Rick Owens, Kiko and more. If I am correct about the above then what you were observing at the time was the careful crafting, curating and visual direction of Abid Khan, founder and owner of the store.
And you wouldn't have been privy to that information because there's no reference to Abid on Ndwc0's channel. He's the incognito ninja researching, sourcing and selling the coolest and most unique clothing garments for the page's 50k+ followers. Prints, cuts, silhouettes and colour pairings that you haven't seen before, the clothing store provides archive fashion fans access to underground brand archives and the rich histories that come with them.
I don't want to give too much away about Abid and his journey but from my conversation with him I quickly gathered how highly ambitious and driven he is, and both how impressive and invaluable his fashion knowledge is for the industry. So g'won, read the in-depth interview with Abid below spanning early beginnings, ambitions for the future, the process of sourcing pieces, sport extra-curriculars, the Instagram wormhole versus. happiness and much more.
Hey Abid. Can you introduce yourself? How would you describe who you are, what you do and what you’re into?
Hi. Well my name is Abid and I own and run Ndwc0 full time. It’s an online platform where I sell clothes. And it's mainly clothes that I'm into, specific brands and clothes types. I try to stay away from trends because they come and go. I just go for things that I personally wear and I'd make use of on a day to day basis. I think that's what keeps it authentic and true to myself.
So are they always things that you'd wear yourself?
Yeah so it’s brands that I would wear myself and am currently wearing. If it’s something like a Prada Women’s piece, maybe I wouldn’t wear it but it’s still something I would be happy to have in my store.
Cool. Why did you start Ndwc0, and when did you start it?
So it was quite an on and off thing. I started when I was in sixth form just to bring some money in on the side while I was doing my studies. And then after sixth form I thought to myself, what's the point of working when I could just do this and make a living full time. And that was in late 2019, early 2020.
And why did you start it? Because you love fashion?
Yeah so I was always into clothes. I got into fashion around 14 and there are obviously not many income opportunities there. So I’d do my research, would get a piece and wear it for a few weeks and then sell it. I would do that on and off. As I started working a retail job I had a bit of extra money coming in and then that's when my collection built up a little bit. And then I used that to start the page and then from there on, you were just making connections with people and sourcing pieces from people around the world. That’s when I was able to really get into it. I was quite fascinated by Margiela at the start and I wasn't even into his clothes at first, it was more so him as a person. It just developed into other brands from there and as I started to explore it more it just grew.
Where did you buy these pieces from? What platforms were you using back when you were 14/15?
Vestiaire was the best site at the start. I think back then it was a really low key website, not many people knew about it. There were maybe two other people I knew that were sourcing from there. And then that's where I really made the connections because I would buy from someone on the platform and also grab their WhatsApp. I would hit them up from time to time and ask ‘do you have any more Margiela, RAF Simmons, Helmut Lang, etc?’. Back then you saw individuals picking up so many pieces from these people and then eventually what was also happening is you would have a list of like 10 to 15 people and every now and then they message you like ‘hey, I'm clearing out my wardrobe, I've got these pieces,’ and then I would just buy it even if I wasn't looking to wear or sell it.
That’s so cool. Do you feel like that’s still possible to do in this environment? Obviously you’ve got Depop and those super rare items are hard to come across now, maybe because people are less likely to give them away for acceptable prices. Prices are just a bit ridiculous now.
Yeah I think now it's all inflated. HYPEBEAST, Complex and all these platforms have posted about vintage pieces and grails and that info has spread. People are much more aware of the value of the items they have hanging around in their wardrobes. And then do their own research and go on Depop and Vestiaire and see sellers are charging a lot more than what they thought pieces were worth. Now the people we source from, they're charging market prices. I can source like one of those rare pieces maybe once or twice a month, whereas before it was on a weekly or daily basis.
Interesting. So would you say that the markets are more saturated with people that do the things that you do? There are loads of vintage and archived shops right now, especially on Instagram.
Yeah, especially in the last few years and when COVID started, people realised that jobs aren't safe so they've got to make their own income. And I completely understand people opening their own archive stores and being their own boss because it just allows them to have more control over their income and finances.
I think now with our new generation, these archives stores are being run by people that are like 20 to 25 years old, and on the higher end, you'll be like someone that's 30. It’s just a generation thing where we don't want to go the traditional working route, you know, go to uni, get a job, and work in that job for like 40 years. Instead people are pursuing their passions a lot more when they're younger, and they probably know it in the back of their heads if this fails, and there's always a backup of education and university.
Yeah I guess if you buy something for, say, 100 pounds, then you flip it for 400, it is very easy money, whereas you'd have to work a weekend in retail to earn that same amount.
Yeah, exactly. I think a lot of people did experience that retail or corporate workspace, and then they realise, like, what's the point of me doing this when I can earn the equivalent amount by doing something I enjoy?
Yep! Where does the name come from?
Honestly it was random. I didn’t want to restrict it to just an archive. A lot of stores call themselves an archive or shop and actually add that to their name, and I thought that's not the best idea. If I want to expand into art or something like that, and if I associate my name with just clothes it's not going to be very easy to transition into that. Whereas if I have quite an ambiguous name I can really put anything underneath it.
That's a very interesting observation to have at a very young age. Do you think you’re quite business minded then?
Yes. I've always been into business. I did business, economics and maths at sixth form and the people around me found me quite odd because I enjoyed it. I was always fascinated with it though. So I think yeah, I did go into the store thinking about the future instead of the present.
Okay, and what other safeguards did you take when starting your business? Any other considerations you had, like brand image or website layout, stuff like that?
At first I wanted to be unique. I saw a lot of pages that would put a plain backdrop on their photos and I thought, let me try something else. Let me hang my clothes up or put them on a textured backdrop. And I think that's really helped me because it gives you that distinction. If someone sees my piece, they’ll instantly know it's from my store. It helps distinguish your items from everyone else.
Yeah I understand. And I’m so curious about this - whenever you lay out your clothes on the floor, they're always presented in a specific kind of way, the arms are bent forwards or forward etcetera. How does one come to know what looks good when doing that kind of thing? It’s a level of art direction, isn’t it?
I never really thought about that. It actually takes a lot of experimenting. If I go to my camera roll now I'll probably have like 50 or 60 photos of each piece because I'm very particular about how I want it.
I might take a photo of the piece with the arms behind the main body, and then I’ll try something else. I might try four different types of layouts and then I picked the best one. Everything's done on purpose. So if there's like a particular crease, or if there's like a little bend in the shoulders, or if there's an angle, then that's done on purpose. It’s to make the item present itself in a more eccentric way. Laying it flat can be a bit boring, and doing that same layout all the time. So yeah, I try to experiment but it's more so just trial and error, to be honest.
So why did you decide to put the bananas and a pair of glasses into the Final Home jacket?
I think it just gives people a talking point. If I put a banana into or onto the piece people might comment ‘banana’ or something, and as silly as it sounds, that helps with engagement. I think these pages can seem quite serious at times so I try to add some humour into it.
The more shareable it is, the more reposts that get, the better your business does. Bananas and other accessories are much more likely to get shared than just a picture of that jacket.
I completely agree because it is quite unconventional compared to just a normal picture of a jacket.
It seems like the interests that you had before when you first started this were around real archive fashion as opposed to all that more contemporary fashion craziness that's happening right now. So why do you think that those kinds of pieces - the Arc’teryx, the Margiela, Rick Owens - have blown up so much over the past few years? People are so much more willing to spend more money on pieces like that especially if they're not into it if they're into streetwear brands.
I think there are two reasons. The first one is people have been looking for it and have been imagining in their heads for a while, but haven’t known where to get it from. They always settle for less from other brands. When they do come across that Issey Miyake or Raf Simons piece, it’s exactly what they’ve been imagining in their heads and what they've been looking for. And when they get it it's that thing of like I have it and you don't. People want something that others can't get.
And another thing about it is in the back of people's minds they know that if they buy this archive piece for £300 and want to sell it later, the worst thing that can happen is them making their money back and the best thing is making a profit. I've sold archive pieces, say a Raf Simons piece for $1,500, and I thought wow this is quite a lot but then in the next year they've pretty much doubled in price. You just don't know where that markets gonna go because as each day goes on and more people are getting into it it's just getting rarer and rarer, and of course more expensive.
Do you find yourself risking quite a lot when you purchase these pieces to resell?
Yeah but to an extent. I might end up sitting on it for a while but I really don't mind as I can just put it in my own collection. And if I have to sell it for the same amount that I purchased it for then I don't mind doing that as well.
Saying this, I do play it really safe when it comes to buying archived pieces, because the market is so unstable. People can just decide that they don't want to pay that much for it anymore. And then that's it. You're done.
Yeah. On your website there’s a page for ‘Services’ which reads: ‘We specialise in buying, selling, researching and sourcing items that are not only trending but have the potential to be trending in the future. We strongly believe that there is always room for growth and change in the rapidly changing fashion market where there's a new trend just around the corner.’
How do you know when something's going to trend or when something will sell for more next year or you won't lose your money next year?
There's a certain element of risk you have to take with knowing what's going to trend and not trend. It’s having an eye for it, looking back at their work and judging the work it’s producing now versus what culture is looking for. When the outdoor space blew up, so did Oakley and Patagonia for example.
But how do you think trends start?
I think there’s two parts to it. So one part of it is influencers where someone might wear something, and people appreciate that this person has a great eye, plus they take a creative photo wearing it. That kind of content gives a brand new life. Maybe it’s something that people might not have seen before or it’s presented in a new kind of way. It gives people new ideas, maybe new ways of wearing something in a non-traditional way.
Another part of it is sellers. Maybe the way they’ve presented or styled something in their store has caught the eye of buyers. Then other sellers pick up on that and want to get into that themselves. I think those two things, both the sellers and the influencers, are codependent. The influencer takes a photo of a pretty cool piece and then sellers are looking to source more of those pieces now while the market hasn't blown up yet. And then they put it up for sale and take a reel or a cool photo, and then other sellers pick up on that and then it just blows up that way.
It can then catch the eye of big brands. They then do collabs with smaller brands or individuals - think Oakley and Brain Dead. It just goes to show that brands probably do have a team out there on social media following these influencer accounts, and they do their own research.
What other skills do you think are involved to know what trends are coming up?
An element of risk, and luck. That’s it.
Do you think one brand can have the power to change or introduce a new trend?
Yeah, I do definitely think so. Arc’teryx did it. They were popular before with the guy who goes hiking or skiing whereas now it's blown up to the streetwear scene. I think other brands have looked at them and have thought, ‘you know what, we sell the exact same clothes as Arc’teryx, let’s get in that’. If you like at TNF or Goldwyn, that’s what they’ve done because it’s good for business. Just shows how one brand can bring about a new trend.
How do you think Arc’teryx did it? Did you see it coming?
I think I did. I was pretty lucky to get on the trend just before it started to blow up. I pretty much got into Arc’teryx because at the time, it was like 2018 and I worked in corporate. I would see my managers and the partners wearing Arc’teryx and for some reason I just wanted something from them as well. So I would buy it and I remember just selling them off for however much I bought them for, and then eventually the market really blew up. But the thing is, with Arc’teryx, I don't think they played into the hype. Before they were even hyped up, they did collaborations with Beams and other Japanese brands, so I don't think they really paid into it. It just organically happened.
Okay, cool. What do you enjoy the most about doing what you do?
There's a lot of freedom to it. I don't really have to answer to anyone. The reason why I say that is because after working in retail and then going into corporate, you realise how much you take for granted, especially our own freedom and our own time. Working in a big company means you realise you are just like a small fish in a big pond. I don’t mind working late now because I know that the extra hours I’m doing are for myself, whereas if you do the extra hours on a weekend or in the evenings for a big company, and they don't pay you any extra but you might get a meal out of it, yeah, really not the same. It’s being your own boss, you get to do what you want, whenever you want. And you really just don't have to answer to anybody.
Yeah, that’s great. You’re much less motivated to do those extra hours for someone else versus for yourself. On the flip side, I do think it's bad that this generation that's growing up right now doesn't understand what it's like to have those types of responsibilities, or doesn't really want to work in those spaces. I don't know if you can agree or not but it seems like everyone wants to make a living out of being creative or being cool.
I think everyone should experience a corporate job or a busy retail job because it makes you value money so much more. If you've never really worked hard for it, and you're trying to work in that creative space, I don’t think you value it in the same way. It also removes that sense of arrogance that can come with working in the creative space.
What does your day to day look like and what's the part of the day where you're like, yes, like, I love doing this?
So I usually wake up, go for a run, and then I'll come home and do all the emailing and the website updates. And then if the natural light is good outside - depending on the day - I take photos of as many pieces as I can. And then what I do is I edit them on the day and I have them updated on my website.
Then I source clothes for a few more hours, just like going through what I can and making note of pieces. That usually brings me to around 7/8pm. If I can, I'll go out and if not, I'll just chill for a bit. The part of my day I like the most is just sourcing the clothes. I can imagine that sounds quite boring to other people but I just love being able to see what I can find, whether steals or new pieces. And sometimes what I do is, if there's a new brand I'm looking into, I do quite a bit of research on them.I'll go across all the marketplaces and do a bit of like research on their pricing, what they've sold for, what they're going for, what's on the higher end or lower end etc. I really enjoy the observation part of it.
Your job sounds pretty cool. I don't think digging for wicked pieces is boring at all. It’s probably every fashion lover’s dream to source clothes like that. On the flip side, what's been hard about starting the company and what have been some hurdles that you've had to come across since you started?
I think one of the hardest things was when I first made it full time. It was accepting the fact that this is my job. I felt this guilt; I just came out corporate and that was like quite full on and here I was with this chilled life. I couldn't accept it for like a year. I didn't want to think like, oh, this is my job. When my family asked me what I did for a living, I would always tell them I'm working in finance. I think just recently I've been able to accept that this is my job.
Another hurdle I’ve had to face is probably opening a retail space. I want the perfect one in London but they’re either charging too much or are not big enough. But that’s the dream.
Cool. Are you based in London right now?
No, I’m just outside of London, in Essex.
And what’s the primary objective of having that physical space?
Lately I've been getting a lot more requests with people asking me if I have a studio or whether they can come and try things on. I've got so much stock so by having a store I can open myself up to a whole new market. In the grand scheme of things, I'm so small so it would give me a much bigger audience. And on top of that, because I rely on Instagram quite a lot for my viewership, it makes me very reliant. A store would help that.
Very true. And have you thought about what your store would look like, what kind of vibe you'd want to channel? How would your brand come through?
So because I carry brands that don't really relate to one another, I think I'd want something that's a bit minimalist. So why a lot of why I like a lot of space. I want it to be easy, so people want to come and hang out then they can. I just want people to like being there.
How important do you think the community is in this space?
The community right now is very polarised. You have that one community that wants to gatekeep everything and the other one that's friendly and open. They want to share ideas.
Do you think that what you do, and the types of pieces you source, has blown up off of being exclusive, that same gatekeeping you speak of?
There is always a level of people wanting something that's exclusive. And as our generation grows, there's a lot of moneys made a lot easier now. If you think about crypto, people are earning tons of money from that. There's so many new ways to make money and I think through that, it feeds into people wanting that thing that no one else can have.
Jaimus mentioned that you’ve consulted for a few brands.
Yeah. So I can’t tell you the brands exactly due to NDA issues but usually the work is the design team hitting me up and wanting to build a collection. They have some ideas already and want me to help them source pieces similar that may help them design the collection. Sometimes they want some advice and want to send their designs over - what’s good, what’s bad, general guidance like that.
We spoke about you getting into fashion, but was there like a moment in your past where you were like, yeah, I love clothes, or Yeah, I feel really good about wearing this piece of clothing or, you know, my identity is a part of this.
Yeah. I was into streetwear first. You meet so many new people and you guys can talk about clothes forever. I think that was kind of cool about it. And then when I got my first archive piece in hand, that’s when I was like yeah, I’ve never had anything like this in my life in terms of quality, fit and design. No high-street store has provided that sense of satisfaction from owning a piece. I haven’t really shopped in a high-street store probably since I was like 15 or 14 because I would always prefer to buy an archive piece.
And what did your friends think when you started getting into all of this?
I remember one of the first pieces of archive clothing I had was the Helmut Lang painter jeans and they were like ‘what is that?’. They mocked it but I think they appreciated the clothes itself for what it was. After I explained the items and the brands, I think they understood and I never really get funny looks from my friends anymore. It's always the locals that’ll give me that side look.
They’ll never understand! If you had to say what your favourite part of an outfit, what would it be?
I’m always wearing jackets so yeah, probably a jacket.
And what’s your favourite jacket?
I recently picked up this CDG Home jacket. It's got a two tone check pattern to it and is cut and sewn. I think I love it just because it's so unconventional for the CDG to do something like that.
And how do you decide when something's gonna go into your personal archive, like the CDG jacket, and when something's gonna get sold?
When I source these pieces one thing I try not to do is try them on. If I try something on and it fits me, I'm like, oh crap that was meant to go for sale. If that’s the case then I’ll still put it up but I’ll be more hesitant on selling it, I might not push it as much.
And then if it doesn't sell then I'm like, alright, you know what, I'll keep it but sometimes I source pieces for myself. I collect vintage Margiela so I if I do buy that I know before it even arrives that it’s gonna go into my archive.
Interesting. How big is your personal archive?
I was going through a bit of it yesterday. It's quite big. I try to keep it controlled but sometimes when I just get pieces in and I put them away into the archive, you can lose track. So yeah I shocked myself yesterday, I need to sell more of it. Having too many things isn’t good!
And then when it comes to shoes and sneakers, are you into them? Or do you wear other types of footwear?
I try not to wear too many different types of footwear. I wear running shoes, Salomons and I do try to keep some formal footwear as well. I try not to buy the latest sneakers because I think it's just the same thing with different colours, so I'm not really too into them.
Right. Do you not like buying new stuff in general?
I really don't have anything that's new in general here. Like, if I do buy something that's new, it probably does have to be something that really does amaze me. I wanted the new JJJJound New Balances for example, but I just couldn’t get them. But yeah, new clothes or trainers don’t appeal to me.
You bought those Novablasts though!
Yeah but they’re for running. Running can be quite boring at times so I wanted some running shoes that were a brand I’m into as well, so I got the Affix collab ones.
Yeah, they're very nice. Do you have a favourite sneaker silhouette?
It would probably have to be the yellow and black Oakley Flesh sneakers. I was meant to sell them and just ended up keeping them.
I want to talk to you about your visual inspirations and how you get inspired day to day. Do you have any platforms that you go on? Or do you have specific people that you're always like looking at looking at their content on Instagram?
I don't really look at anyone for inspiration to be honest. I try not to do that because I feel like it's not authentic.
But if it’s not people, do you maybe have brand histories or like brand archives?
Yeah probably with that I can get excited. Margiela archives, and lately I’ve been getting into Oakley archives. If you want to know about Oakley archives, just search Oakley Forum and there’s a whole database on there.
There’s obviously Arc’teryx archives but that’s quite hard to find. You'd have to go through the old catalogues to find any inspiration from there. I’d say Margiela is my biggest influence in terms of fashion and as a person too, looking into him he had a lot of anonymity to him and like humility as well. I try my best to carry myself in that way.
So anonymity is a big part of you as a person or you and your brand?
I’d say me as a person.
And why do you think you appreciate that quality?
It shows that he has no ego. He didn't want people to like his brand because of him, he wanted them to appreciate his clothes. And I think if we look at its history, he wanted his tags with the four stitches to be cut out of his clothes after you buy them because he wanted people to appreciate the clothes for what they are and not the brand behind them. I respect that a lot, there’s something very authentic in that.
Would you say that that's a lot harder to achieve in this contemporary day than it was back then?
Oh, yeah. That will be impossible as a designer now and just to make clothes in that way as well. A lot of designers now copy a lot of old clothes but I don't think they do it directly. I think it's sort of like a secondhand inspiration that they're getting from somewhere. You can't really blame them. Now with the internet there's more like inspiration out there than ever before. I would say they have no choice but to get influenced by what came before. I think when people go into a brand's design team, there are always like multiple people working there. I think people blame their lead designer too quickly. There are so many moving parts to it.
Would you say that it's a detriment to people's creativity that there are so many references out there? Do you think people even have enough space in their brains to have their own opinions, or their own thoughts on creativity and design? Or is it like you said, taking from what's happened before or doing what they think is trending?
I think it’s the second half of what you said. People are going back to what there was and taking in from that. Now there are a lot of designers that are focusing on the business side of things. They're more aware of what will sell, so they may halt a production phase or do more pre-planning, things like that. There's a certain element of like trying to please the audience, whereas before it was like, alright, the designer would make what's inspirational to him at the time.
And what are there any brands that are relatively new, even if they're up and coming designers that you feel still have that ethos of art and creativity of the business side of things or the commercial side of things?
As soon as you said that I thought of Kiko. He's pretty much changed the game. He does reference older designers but I think he does it in such a respectable way. He always adds his own like element to it and his own inspiration from where he's from.
Okay sweet. And what about designers starting out? Is there anyone that comes to mind?
Yeah, so there's Karu Research from New Delhi, India. I'm from that part of the world as well so I see a lot of inspiration from Indian clothing going into their pieces. It's really unique. I haven't really seen anyone else do anything like that. I've seen bits of it from Story MFG but still nothing like Karu Research. So I really hope for the best for them. I think they just made their way into Selfridges so that’s pretty huge for them.
I think growing up the designers might have been embarrassed of their culture whereas now they're able to embrace their culture through their clothes and their own artistic expression. That's why I think they’re worth mentioning because I haven't really seen anyone like them.
Great. What’s your favourite brand to collect? Did you say Margiela?
Yeah. That’s the brand I have the most of.
Okay and what’s your favourite brand to wear?
Probably Helmut Lang because he has so many basics that you can read every day. Margiela is cool to collect but you can't really wear it casually. The paint concept for example is very cool but it's very difficult to wear whereas Helmut Lang has a lot of basic denim, T-shirts, jackets, and then you can just wear them without it being an inconvenience.
Got you. I also wanted to ask you about fit. Are you a believer of items of clothing fitting you and your silhouette, that everybody has a certain look or item that suits their body best?
I think that's something to keep in mind all the time. When you see something on a website, like SSENSE, and it’s shown on the model, most times you won’t be that shape, or size and height. I have to keep that in mind - would that item fit me as I want it to? So when I do get pieces in, I'm very selective of how they fit me on my body type because everyone's different. Everyone has to find their own. And I think people are looking at these influences, buying the products they’re wearing and then it doesn't fit them quite the same.
Exactly. Because they will look so much better if they actually did their own research and looked into what would suit them. Maybe then not everyone would look the same.
Yeah, I think as you said, if people took the time to experiment with their own shape a bit and find what fits them they'd be so much more confident in what they wear and they'd find their own little brand. There's too many people wanting to look like everyone else now and it's quite sad because everyone does have their own unique style. If they just expressed that bit more it'd be so much more interesting.
So my next question was going to be what brands would you say have come up recently that no one expected to come up over the past few years?
The obvious one is Arc’teryx. But other than them Prada comes to mind. They’ve always been popular but that was more in the high fashion, luxury space. But then they did that thing where they looked back into archives and resurrected their older pieces. I think that made them blow up a lot more.
Yeah especially alongside Prada Sport. On that note, that brings me to accessories. Have you noticed the popularity of accessories on your page, bags, balaclavas, scarves, glasses? All the things that are more affordable than a jacket but still let you in on the lifestyle or the look?
Yeah I have noticed that accessories are really good sellers. They’re so practical. If you’re wearing a white t-shirt with a backpack or a crossbody bag, that’s something that anyone can put together. It doesn't confine you to a size or gender, you can use it on a day to day basis. I think we all enjoy things that are practical and that we can get use out of.
Interesting. What brands do you think are bound to become less popular soon? I think Arc’teryx.
Yeah you know what yeah, maybe. They’ve probably used up that streetwear fanbase. They’ve always had that core market but I feel like the hype will die down. They’ll still be those few people that are in love with the brand but the majority will jump off it in the near future.
I think when it comes to other brands, whether Oakley or Prada, people know why they like it. No one really knows why they like or wear Arc’teryx. I have a hunch it’ll be easily forgettable because there’s no real loyalty or love for the brand.
Yeah. I think when something blows up that much people begin to resent it, and then move onto something different. Sounds right. The problem is that because it’s such an old brand, there's so much out there. It's not like they're making limited drops, they're producing high quantities and it's just so easily accessible now.
Yeah. So I’ve been told that you’ve sold clothes to Travis Scott before?
I did yeah. His stylist hit me up and wanted to buy a few pieces for when he was in London. I'm not sure if he ever wore them but he bought quite a few pieces off of me.
And how was that experience?
At first it was just like a normal transaction but when I was dropping them off at his hotel lobby, it felt a bit surreal. He’s the first person I started listening to as I got into fashion. I did take a bit of inspiration from him and yeah, it hit me a little bit then. I try not to get caught up in it because at the end of the day it is just like another human being.
You’re obviously very humble. Do you think there's a certain part of you that is confident, proud of yourself and pats yourself on the back for what you've achieved, how popular your page has become?
Yeah so it is something I'm proud of but it's something I try not to give myself too much credit for. It happened so organically - I wasn't in a rush to get 50k followers in a month. It just happened naturally and I think I never really paid attention to that and I still don't think that's what I care about. If you get too caught up in the follower count, insights and engagement, you can drive yourself crazy over it. Whatever happens, happens. I do give myself a bit of credit for what I've built - I'm happy but I'm not like I'm not content.
You’re not content?
It’s too easy to get complacent when you are.
Is there something that would make you more happy or make you more content? What are you yet to achieve or trying to achieve?
Going back to that retail space, that would be pretty nice to have. My space feels more like a storage unit right now, it sometimes feels like I’m back in sixth form doing this as a hobby. Having that retail space would make it feel more like a business.
And if you had a retail space, you'd have to be more public facing and you would become more so your brand. Do you enjoy that aspect of things, as well as meeting more people?
I really like meeting people. I do think if I did have a retail space, then you know, it’s part of the job, you have to put yourself out there and engage more. And I think it'll be nice to meet the people that come into the store if they want to buy something and just have a chat with them.
Yeah for sure. I think that’s a really big part of it, actually interacting in the real world.
I do get quite caught up on my Instagram and you can end up thinking it's your world. But then when I think of my parents, they don't have the app and there are millions of people out there like that. They’re not on Instagram and they’re doing a lot of cool stuff. Some of my biggest connections have been through in-person.
Yeah. The best days are when you forget it exists. It can be such a mood killer or anxiety inducer sometimes.
Yeah our generation is showing all their best moments on Instagram and I find myself comparing myself to people who are younger and seemingly have more or something I don’t have. Then I’m like ‘oh shit, I need to work harder. Good for him but I need to work harder, really step it up’.
Instead, you really need to appreciate what you have. The days where I'm just out for the entire day, and I go for a run, get lost in the day, out from like the morning to the night, and I come home happy. Those are good days. Then on the days when you wake up and go on Instagram, you start to put all these new things in your head and then don't appreciate what's around you.
Exactly, exactly. And I wish more people knew that. It makes you feel unhappy and you don’t even know why.
As scary as it may seem, you gotta look at your life and ask whether you’re too caught up in something and need to change, whether you need to diversify who you are as a person instead of having one thing as your entire identity.
I know that identity can be taken away the next day. I think it's good to reflect on the various things that you're into and meet new people and just be into various different things, have a life outside of the apps or social media. None of it is actually real. I think it builds up a lot of anxiety for people our age. They feel like they have to look a certain way or they have to dress a certain way. But when they go out, to be honest, no one's judging them. No one really cares.
Exactly. No one cares.
It's just like if your life and be true to who you are, and then that's the best you can do.
I think a lot of people are friends with other people that wear the same stuff as them or have the same interests as them. And that's like you said, they build their identity around that.
I think those relationships will last for maybe like two years, the relationships where they take a picture of you and you take a picture of them. My best friends now, none of them give a shit about what I wear, I don’t care what they wear. We go out and have a good time because we have interests outside of just clothes.
What makes a garment unique?
I think it's to do with the shape, the design, the cut, the silhouette, and the inspiration that it's taken from. When you asked that I thought of Kiko’s pieces again. What makes it so unique is that you haven't really seen them before and you won't see them again after that. Same with Vivienne Westwood and her early punk pieces, you didn't see them before then and you won't see them again. People will always reference back to that.
Have you ever designed garments yourself or thought about getting into it?
There was a period of a few months where I wanted to go to CSM and become a designer. I think I really wanted to do that. But then I was just like, you know, do I really want to go through that uni experience? Let me not do that.
Do you think you need to go to uni to start designing?
Yeah that's why I thought and then I spoke to Jaimus and he told me he learnt everything off of YouTube and that there are so many resources online that can help you.
Yeah he’s entirely self-taught I believe. You probably have such a superior understanding of garments now through Ndwc0, what materials are good, what pieces look good together, what colours match, what makes the silhouette unique, all that kind of stuff. That’s why I asked the question.
Yeah not gonna lie, it has always been in the back of my mind.
OK. So in terms of buying and selling archive pieces, having a shop or having an Instagram page, it seems it's about curating that page, it's about the lifestyle coming through, the pieces being presented in the right way, in the right place. What does curation mean to you?
I think it's an expression of yourself into a visual format. It varies for everyone, obviously, because everyone likes things in different ways.
Unfortunately a lot of people aren't really expressing themselves through their page. You see a lot of pages copying one another in terms of the way they styled the pieces and the layout and it's and it's quite sad to see. People aren't really being true to who they are and it eventually will catch up.
Do you ever wish you lived in a different country, a country that maybe you could source more pieces from?
Yeah, probably Japan to be honest. For such a small country, they've had such a big influence on fashion. The designers that have come out of there, the newer designers now and the amount of pieces that are there. I think it would open me up to many different brands. There’re so many independent and smaller Japanese designers that haven't really gotten their recognition and I would love to get into that.
And so we've spoken about what you do professionally even though I know it's personal to you but what are some of the things that you do in your spare time, hobbies, interests?
I do like going to boxing. I don’t have fights but I enjoy the training a lot. It’s mostly fitness related, I either like going for runs or hiking, cycling or like boxing. I just really enjoy it.
Wrapping up the questions. What are some of your favourite magazines or books?
The Margiela Volumes One and Two - I love that book because it's such an important time capsule. It goes back and shows photos of his collections that you don't really see on the internet anywhere. I think the way it captures not the models but the audience watching the show is great. Now when you look at fashion shows there’s something very different about the people that attend. Before it was a small community of people whereas now it's just journalists and influencers. It was very authentic, people who truly love the brand.
I think another book I really like is High Fashion Japan. Their magazines are really cool because they show such a wide variety of brands and the shots are really unique and it gives you an insight into not only the more popular brands but brands that you might have heard of but never knew that they had so much influence in the past.
So what's the best piece of advice someone has given you?
I've never really been given advice more like I've sought advice. It’s mostly to have discipline. You're gonna hate yourself for having it because you're gonna put yourself through a lot of things you don't want to do but it's so good for you. And it can be in anything. You can build a financial discipline or the discipline to study the discipline or complete your daily tasks or something like that.
I think what another really good piece of advice is find something you truly love in life because living a life without any passion or hobby is quite so draining.
Yeah. Hardship is not something everyone wants to go through but I think it’s important that people do. And what’s one piece of advice you could give to someone related to your job, and one piece of advice that’s not related to what you do at all?
One piece of advice not related to what I do is find something you truly love. If you have a life where there's nothing you truly love and enjoy and you’re just lulling through life, you're going to be miserable. If you go in pursuit of finding something you enjoy in life, I think that something will give you meaning and purpose and drive even if it's something you can only do once a month or once a year. I think that's a problem that a lot of people are going through now, they don't have anything that they truly love and enjoy and they don't have that passion in life.
A piece of advice I would give to someone when they're trying to start an online store is to have your own little niche. Just because someone else sells something and it sells good for them doesn't mean that it will sell good for you. If I randomly started to carry CELINE in my store, it might do well for other online stores but I don’t have the market or the audience so it just won’t work for me. Find a few brands that are true to who you are and just sell them. I promise, organically it will grow. Not only will you be able to source it, you'll be happy sourcing it and will enjoy what you do.
Great advice. Thank you Abid!