Last week, when the Guardian wrote about vintage selling Facebook site Wavey Garms and talked it up as “the most influential fashion site in the UK”,
I had to chortle a little at the hyperbole. I had never heard of Wavey Garms and had a peek to see that it had 972 likes. Describing it as “most influential” is a bit of a stretch. *EDIT* As pointed out by a helpful commenter Wavey Garms in fact has 30,000 members in its very active Facebook group. That said, my point still stands. To call it the “most influential fashion site in the UK” when held up to the likes of Net a Porter for instance is still a bit of a stretch. Click bait headline objective achieved. It did however make me think about the little corners of “influence” that can spring up from anywhere and the fact that we now procure our clothes in ways that are are more sprawling than ever. Whilst these niche corners might never become household names, they can amass their own cult following and be “big” by their own yard stick. The media would have you believe that numbers are the be all and end all but quality interaction that involve hardcore loyalty on the part of a few rather than scattered likes from millions, do ultimately matter.
I haphazardly stumbled upon Somewhere Nowhere whilst on an internet link-to-link, fumblin’ around, Google-powered browsing session. Their e-commerce site hosted on My Supa Dupa isn’t entirely profesh. It doesn’t need to be. Instead designers Elly Cheng and Rex Lo are DIY-ing their own world of rainbows, unicorns and magic and sprinkling it all on super affordable garments that have something to say and speak to an eager group of fans (as evidenced by their following in Instagram). Turns out I had written about Cheng’s BA collections from when she graduated LCF in 2012 – the year she started Somewhere Nowhere with Lo, also a fellow LCF graduate. Pressed by a two year restricted visa to make some dosh, they started making hologram clutches and key rings to flog online. “It’s a mixture of Spice Girls, Back to the Future, some Pokemon and Hello Kitty,” said Lo over email. “Basically SomewhereNowhere is a mixture of fancy stuff from what we see and experience through our daily lives. Our intention to make and share things we love.”
They’re things that I, along with Somewhere Nowhere’s followers love too. Their SS14 collection (they drop collections and pieces as and when they have things ready) features heavy doses of candy floss pink, teddy bears (both as a motif and a texture) and interesting contrasts of intense fraggle furriness (faux of course) and sheer awesomeness. All of this stuffed into prices that rarely go over £50. They’re having a sale at the moment so the prices are even more pocket friendly. Why so low, I asked Rex. “One reason is that we think it is not appropriate to put a huge price tag on a good design as this is against our intention to share our loves with everyone. Another reason is that we do everything ourselves, from design, production, social media to photography… every single order from our collection is made by both of us.”
Their AW14 collection has just started dropping on to the site and whilst the colour has been dialled down to shades of grey and white, they’re loudly saying “woo” with their little ghosts on furry dresses and mesh t-shirts.
Unsurprisingly I enthusiastically ordered a bunch of things. It was the thrill of discovering something new and feeling like it wasn’t a heavily tapped corner. It may not be “big” in the wider scheme of things but it sure feels big in terms of persona and aesthetic. Somewhere Nowhere has a defined point of view and it’s very plainly and democratically putting it out there. They will be putting up a collaborative collection again before the year is out and will soon be moving back to Hong Kong where they’ll make Somewhere Nowhere more offish. Physical stockists, wholesaling, formal collections… in other words the conventional route. Their pastel-hued and Barbie raver-esque online realm will be a reminder though that winging your way through the internet has its benefit when it looks like this much fun.