Grailed, a Proponent of the Personal Archive

Matias Mollin, contributing writer

Grailed, a site that was created originally for a small group on the hunt for vintage treasures, has turned into an original conversation about the past, present and future of menswear. Grailed is a buying and selling site for luxury menswear, with its own New York City office and a staff team that works on the curation of the site and handling buyer to seller transactions. The site has become a platform for people who view clothes as contemporary art as well as an incentive to start creating a personal clothing archive.

The website makes a case for coveting collections of the past by promoting them in blog posts and features. Grailed even curates its own in-house archive that it lends out to VIPs like A$AP Rocky for his “RAF” music video or Playboi Carti for his Magnolia music video. The high exposure of their archive collection gave popularity for the website and deemed the creators as tastemakers. From their calculated in-house collection, stems the Grailed 100. The Grailed 100 is a seasonal sale that lists the most desired pieces within the Grailed community at a more reasonable price. Grailed also collaborates with a new wave of consignment boutiques that specialize in collectible clothing. They’ve collaborated with Arbitrage New York and Little Sister New York, creating archive sale events or sales of specific archive collections like Dolce and Gabbana’s Autumn Winter 2003. The success of the site and all of its endeavors prove revival of vintage clothing and the craze that can surround one-of-a-kind pieces.dolce2

Dolce and Gabbana Autumn Winter 2003, as featured on Dry Clean Only

This unique passion for archive has spread from its founders to its users and then finally the rest of the fashion industry.High fashion brands have begun to capitalize on the new demand for archive clothing. Helmut Lang, a brand whose ‘90’s collections are highly regarded, has released a collection called Re-Edition Helmut Lang, where they re-release their most popular archive pieces, like their Painter Jeans from 1998 ($275) or their iconic Astro Moto Jacket from 1999 ($895). The original version, that first appeared on Grailed, now fetches around two to three thousand dollars.

To continue their promotion of personal archives, Grailed launched a series on their blog, called Future Grails. Beginning at New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018, the Grailed creators create a collection of current pieces that are most likely sell out. This reminds users that although the site focuses on the past, pieces on the current runway will be covetable in the future.

Although Future Grails spotlights the highlighted pieces of newer collections, a core idea of Grailed’s mantra is that not everything new is good. In a world where the materialistic just want to buy more and more, high-end brands stoop to that level by pumping out items that follow trends. Media portrayal can often morph the fashion industry away from the art of fashion and towards mass consumerism and over-branding. Grailed’s fixation with the pieces and collections that are the most influential distances it from this caveat of fashion.

What the typical person – and even those interested in fashion – seems to forget is that fashion is art. Grailed reminds us that fashion is art while teaching the importance of collecting. In the same way people cherish art of the past and of the present, we can learn to cherish the art of fashion. If we learn to appreciate the influential garments of the past, maybe the future of fashion will withdraw from consumerism and return to covetable creativity.


Featured Image: Inside the Grailed office, Matias Mollin

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