Photos courtesy of Wavey Garms
This post originally appeared on VICE UK.
Wavey Garms comes from humble beginnings. Its creator, Andres Branco, made a Facebook group in 2013 so he and his friends could trade old clothes—but the page struck a chord, quickly picking up fans, to the point where it now has almost 70,000 members. It's also spawned a brick-and-mortar Wavey Garms shop—a label that collaborates with global sportswear brands like Nike—and now, a book.
As said book comes out next week, I gave Branco a call to ask him what we can expect to see.
VICE: What's your new book about?
Andres Branco: It's about the London I grew up in, and what influenced me and my friends. We didn't have iPhones and social media, buses were 40p [50 cents], and you'd have to use a payphone to ring your mom. You couldn't just go on Hypebeast to find out what was cool, and Brixton was still moody.
Which aspects of London play most into Wavey Garms?
Graffiti and raving were my two biggest influences. The graffers would all wear [Nike] 110s and banging tracksuits, and in raves, you'd see the olders wearing Moschino two pieces and big gold chains. We used to run around just being naughty—doing graffiti, sneaking into raves, smoking cigarettes on the bus. London has changed a lot since then. I'm not saying it's a good or bad thing, but I just wanted to show people the London that ended up influencing Wavey Garms.
Why did you want to release a photographic compilation of your beginnings now?
Well, I've been wanting to do it for a couple of years, but things took a while because I was so busy. Also, we're in a time of image saturation, where photos get seen and forgotten on a daily basis, if not quicker. A book is something you go back to again and again.
How do you mean?
Well, our photographs are very personal—we didn't want them to be reduced to Instagram posts. My friends and I have been taking photos since we were young, and most of us only started because of graffiti. None of the photos were taken deliberately for the book, so they're all scanned from printed photographs, which were taken on disposable cameras. Back then, we would sit at London Bridge for hours, seeing all the pieces rolling past on the trains. This was when the only way to see photos of graff was either in Graphotism magazine, or through your friends, so it was like collecting soccer stickers or Pokémon cards—that's why we took as many photos as we could of trains or sick pieces. All the photographs in the book have been tucked away in shoe boxes for years. I'd look through them with my friends from time to time, but that was about it. So doing a book now seemed like the perfect way to share it with our wider audience.
So what do you want to show with this book?
I want to demonstrate how Wavey Garms came about. I didn't sit down one day and decide I wanted to dress a certain way, or start listening to certain music. The things in this book have been a huge part of my life since I was about 12. I still love going raving, I still look out the window at graffiti when I'm on the train. I still get excited when I find a certain garm I've been after. We spent a long time choosing the photographs to appear in the book. I didn't want to make the book about me. It's more about what we all used to do, wear, and see.
What's it been like seeing Wavey Garms grow and expand to what it is today?
It's pretty surreal, to be honest. I started a Facebook group in 2013, for no other reason than for me and my friends to buy and sell clothes. I had no idea at the time that it would catch on the way it has and become so popular. And it's given me so many great opportunities, like putting on raves, opening a physical shop, and doing collaborations with brands like Nike, which I love. And now getting to publish the book.
What makes this—and Wavey Garms in general—different from other fashion books and movements?
I think for any brand like ours, the key is authenticity. Take Palace as an example. The people who started that have been a big part of the London skating scene for going on 20 years. Their brand has blown up, but at its core, you can't fault it. They're not pretending to be anyone they're not, and they are smashing it. It's a similar thing with Wavey Garms; it's not trying to be something. We've all been a part of the London graff scene and going to raves for years. You can't fake that kind of history.
So how does it feel personally to have inspired and dressed a whole generation?
If people say I've inspired others, then that's very flattering. Everything I do with Wavey Garms represents my background, my experiences, and my tastes. So seeing it strike a chord with a lot of other people is obviously extremely gratifying.
Do you worry your look will go out of fashion one day?
No. Things move on and so will I.
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