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Machine-A Partners With Byronesque to Launch Vintage

The London-based concept store will stock a selection of e-commerce site Byronesque’s hard-to-come-by vintage pieces.
Machine-B is a partnership between concept store Machine-A and vintage retailer Byronesque. Machine-B.
Machine-B is a partnership between Machine-A and vintage retailer Byronesque. Machine-B.

Machine-A is going vintage.

The London-based concept store known for its fashion-forward edit of emerging labels has partnered with self-described “contemporary vintage” e-commerce site Byronesque to launch a curated selection of archival pieces.

The partnership — styled Machine-B — will feature items from Rick Owens, Maison Margiela, Raf Simons, As Four and Gareth Pugh. Much of the edit is made up of rare runway pieces that have never before been made available for sale. “We are very excited because this is the first time that As Four are opening up their private archives, specifically for Machine-B. We are also sourcing directly from Gareth Pugh’s private archives,” said Gill Linton, chief executive of Byronesque.

It may seem like an unlikely pairing: Machine-A typically champions young brands such as A-Cold-Wall, Martine Rose and Xander Zhou that cater to a younger audience reared on a fashion diet that prizes newness above much else. Meanwhile, Byronesque’s philosophy is to reject the hype that surrounds many streetwear-focused resale sites, rebranding vintage from the realm of luxury to cover brands that have achieved cult status over the last 30 years.

“We get frustrated with the way the resale industry presents itself. It encourages people to buy things without much thought because they buy with a view to reselling. All that does is keep more stuff in circulation,” Linton said. Byronesque “is all about encouraging people to buy a piece and keep it for a long time because it’s going to increase in emotional value, and if we’ve done our jobs right it will definitely increase in financial value.”

That’s an approach that resonated with Machine-A founder Stavros Karelis, who’s made it his business to play with retail’s norms. From day one at Machine-A, Karelis wanted to ensure that “there was never any physical distinction between womenswear or menswear and that emerging brands were mixed with high-end brands.” Now he’s partnering with Byronesque to mix rare items from vintage runway collections with his contemporary brands.

Linton and Karelis describe what they want to create as “contemporary vintage,” a concept encompassing both Machine-A’s “streetwear” designation and Byronesque’s “vintage” tag. Blending the two allows for both companies to reach new consumers who may not otherwise have purchased from a retailer outside of their preferred style.

For Byronesque, there is a strategic angle to aligning with Machine-A’s contemporary appeal. “For us there is a clear commercial benefit in knocking the aura of vintage clothing off of its pedestal, normalising high-quality vintage items via a really good edit,” Linton said. Machine-A provides a platform — both physical and digital — for Byronesque’s collections to be exposed to younger consumers who may not ordinarily have access to rare vintage pieces.

“People go to Machine-A because they trust it. They trust the buys, they trust the team and they trust the brand that Stavros has built,” said Linton. “For Byronesque to have our curated vintage pieces in this trusted environment is so valuable. We need to dispel the idea that vintage is untouchable because it belongs in a museum.”

We need to dispel the idea that vintage is untouchable because it belongs in a museum.

Alongside the archival pieces, Linton and Karelis plan to promote up-and-coming designers as a “future vintage” cohort. The goal is to tap into consumers’ desire for items that could retain or increase in value over time and hold cultural or societal influence beyond fashion. By interspersing Machine-B’s archive items from cult brands such as Rick Owens, Raf Simons and Maison Margiela with products from emerging designers, Karelis is hoping to elevate Machine-A’s younger labels in the eyes of consumers — contemporary vintage by association.

Linton and Karelis based their assessment of these “future impact brands” on a combination of data and trend analysis, instinct and cultural criteria, according to Karelis. “This partnership made me see that I already had pieces in my collections that can be construed as vintage,” he said. Brands including Kiko Kostadinov, GoomHeo, Stefan Cooke and Kwaidan Editions have been included in the first edit of “future vintage.”

Machine-B will run digitally, as well as having a physical space inside Machine-A’s Brewer Street store in Soho, central London. The partnership launches on Nov. 4 and has no end date, with both Karelis and Linton intent on evolving Machine-B’s offering on an ongoing basis.

Related Articles:

Machine-A’s Mia Poirier: ‘Fashion Is a Reflection of What’s Going on in Society’

Tomorrow Acquires Majority Stake in London Concept Store Machine-A

Why the Resale Boom Shows No Sign of Stopping

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