Babe in Business: Lone Wolves Vintage
Vintage shopping is not only rewarding but it allows you to own a garment with an unknown history. The possibility of what this history consists of, forces you to ponder the who, what, where, when, why and how of the previous owner. In addition to that, it is likely you’ll acquire one-of-a-kind threads that nobody else will have. Still not convinced? What if we told you that a shop exists that not only provides you with rare puzzle pieces from the past, but, also adds their own? 22-year-old Lois Gaskin-Barber shares with us how her insanely modern vintage shop Lone Wolves Vintage was brought to life, her artistic influences and ton of other priceless gems.
Location: Brightlingsea, UK
Fun Fact: I am absolutely obsessed with dogs!
Maricia: All businesses start somewhere. Tell us about how Lone Wolves Vintage came to life.
Lois: Lone Wolves Vintage came to life kind of by accident. In the summer after my first year of a fashion and textiles degree at university, I got offered a job working as an assistant stylist. The week I was meant to go back to begin my second year I was offered the chance to go to New York to work on a campaign, you can guess what I chose! Whilst over there I travelled to Nashville to spend time with my boyfriend whilst he was on tour, starting my love affair with Tennessee! Since then I’ve been travelling back and forward to visit friends there every 6 months, making it difficult to commit to working for other people. After a short stint working with another vintage brand I decided to branch off and go it alone, giving me the freedom to work on my own schedule. That’s how Lone Wolves Vintage was born!
Every vintage piece has a story behind it, is that a part of the reason you decided to open up a vintage shop?
My parents moved from our family home of 20 years last year, meaning there were a lot of boxed up 70s-90s clothes to go through. My mum put aside a box of the nicest pieces for me, but after spending another 6 hours rummaging, I came away with 3 boxes and 8 bags full! That was the reason I started a vintage shop, I’d been working with other people’s creative visions for a while and wanted to realize my own, I had all this stock ready to go and I wanted to work with fellow creative friends of mine. The fact that my initial 3 collections were made up primarily from my mums clothes (and pieces I had bought back from America) with stories behind them made it more personal for me.
Your look books are well thought out and aesthetically pleasing. What is it like creative directing each shoot?
So far we’ve shot 14 collections and look books for Lone Wolves, and it’s really only over the last 3 shoots that I feel comfortable with where the brand is going. For a while I was floating about with a bunch of different styles, which is why I opened Husk Vintage earlier this year to separate them. Creative directing the shoots can be a challenge but it’s by far the most rewarding part of the job to watch your ideas come together. I work with an awesome photographer Rio Carciero who totally understands the Lone Wolves style, along with makeup artist Katy Short. (who really helps out with all aspects on the day) I’ll mood board all of my ideas pre-shoot, we’ll go through them in the morning together and then we’ll all be outside all day realizing them together. Our model Thea McPhillips is incredibly patient with us. There’s a lot more to running Lone Wolves than the shoots, but without those days where we’re outside freezing in the rain, getting involved and pitching ideas in together, LWV wouldn’t be where it is now.
LWV is a part of the ASOS Marketplace along with many other amazing shops. What’s it like being a part of a collective of unique businesses?
I really enjoy being part of a creative network like ASOS Marketplace. It’s a fantastic platform for emerging brands and designers and it feels like real community spirit! It pushes you to go the extra mile with what you’re creating with your brand to stand out, and the support from the ASOS Marketplace team is outstanding. When I check in on LWV every day I get to see what all the other brands are up to and it really inspires me to keep going and creating all the time.
A lot of the pieces are reworked with modern touches. What is the process like while deciding how to transform each garment?
Social media is half the job with LWV and having 2 boutiques now it can sometimes feel like that’s the full time work. What comes with that though, is a stream of inspiration from other creatives constantly, so I always have a list as long as my arm of the things I was to make next. I like things to be organized and cohesive, meaning I like to make my garments into collections of similar style one off pieces. I already have garments ready to re-work and collections planned for into the winter, but sometimes I’ll have an idea on a Monday and by Wednesday they’ll be ready to shoot. I collect pieces as I go along for about 3 weeks, once there’s a rail full I can usually see where I want to take it, and I’ll sit at the sewing machine for a week.
You yourself are an artist. Who are some of the artists that inspire your drawing style?
I’m inspired by a lot of portrait/illustration artists. I’ve recently discovered a few artists who are incredible. Wendy Ortiz, Rik Lee, Elle Wills. Kei Meguro draws a lot of pretty ladies which is something I do a lot of also, and when I discovered Morgan Davidson I cried a little bit into my sketchbook! I’m still playing around with styles and subjects, so to have such a vast spectrum of artists at your fingertips online to inspire you is something special.
What are your favorite things to bring to life with your pencil?
Growing up I drew all the time, but stopped for about 5 years. Last November I picked up a pencil again and since then I’ve almost exclusively drawn women’s faces. The last couple of months though I’ve been playing around with different ideas. I just completed my ‘UGH as if’ series, which is made up of 6 Clueless inspired cartoony illustrations, and I’m 2 pieces into my ‘Wolves of the South’ series, which are realism dog portraits with flowers and pretty things! I had actually never drawn animals before so I’m really excited to be working on something different.
You also seem to have a love for wolves. Does this stem from childhood? How does it tie into the name of your business?
The Lone Wolves name came about because I wanted my logo to be an animal. I ran through a lot of ideas for a few weeks until I half decided. Once a good friend of mine Kristen Beck had designed the logo of the little wolf, I was sold! Apart from my new art series ‘Wolves of the South’ and the fact I love dogs, there’s no real significance.
Where do you envision Lone Wolves Vintage in the future? Any plans to open a brick and mortar version?
At the moment my dream would be to have a creative space for artists/designers/ photographers to work in, kind of like a communal office. I run Lone Wolves on my own (apart from the shoots) but I would love to work in a space around other creative and I know that for the most part a lot of those careers can be solo in front of a computer. I visited a few like this in Nashville and it just seems like an amazing environment to feed off other people and generate new ideas. It would be great to develop Lone Wolves in to more of a lifestyle brand, so I would even love to have an open workshop/store type space for myself to combine my art/Lone Wolves/Husk Vintage. I’m just excited to see where it all takes me!