#14: How Grailed Helped Democratize Archival Fashion
This week, HYPEBEAST Radio paid a visit to Grailed HQ to sit down with Founder Arun Gupta, Marketing Director Jacob Metzger, and Branding Director Lawrence Schlossman to talk about how the site has quickly morphed from a secondhand-marketplace startup to a formidable force in both the fashion and tech worlds. Their offices reflect this intersection perfectly: desk-pods of back-end developers and community managers are literally surrounded with racks of vintage Raf, Rick, and Rei. Visitors are encouraged to peruse the archive, and many do—Luka Sabbat, Playboi Carti, and A$AP Rocky have all paid visits.
The team also asserts that all of the site’s extensive work with rappers, celebrities, editors, etcetera have come from an organic place. “It’s not part of the revenue stream,” says Schlossman. “A lot of it we do from a marketing perspective. It’s good to be associated with people that we’re fans of. Anyone that you’ve seen us work with publicly, it’s a real seeing-eye-to-eye thing.”
Above celebrity and capital-C clout however, the Grailed team values democratization most of all; the site lives and works by the motto “Fire For All.” When we broach the subject of Grailed’s role in the vintage and archival fashion trend, the team shrugs, acknowledging it’s a chicken-and-the-egg scenario. “I’m happy that anybody can get this stuff now,” says, Schlossman, “instead of a select few.” The secret to using Grailed, according to the team, is in diving into the site’s Core vertical: “The best, cheapest, most fire shit is on Core,” says Schlossman. “Like, Prada Sport track-pants from twenty years ago? They’re in there for like 80 bucks.”
They joke that they hope to one day create a utopia with liberty and fire for all, but as the site expands into womenswear and editorial with the launches of Heroine and Dry Clean Only, it sounds like the sky is the limit. Gupta also hints at an upcoming fourth vertical with a heavy, foreshadowing whisper. Each feed is, according to the team, its own eco-system, and the marketplace as a whole will naturally reflect current trends as much as it effects them.
The conversation covers the site’s origins as an alternative to menswear forums and message-boards; the first item ever sold on the marketplace (a pair of J. Crew Quoddy Mocs); the stigma of men discussing clothes IRL and maintaining “aspirational and inspirational” authenticity. Check it out above.