Q&A | James Veloria

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FLAUNTxJV\_HIGHRES-6.jpg ![FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-6.jpg](https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c346b607eaa09d9189a870/1580828045943-OSQEAB3BPIPLELVPQ9K4/FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-6.jpg) Under New York City’s Manhattan Bridge is the avant-garde vintage group, [James Veloria](https://www.instagram.com/jamesveloria/). Tucked away in a Chinatown mall, Brandon Veloria Giordano and Collin James Weber created a haven— a home to all the Gaultier, Westwood, and Comme garments they can snag. As experts in all clothing archival, the two have built a like-minded community in-store, fostering a safe space for creatives to flourish. In a recent sit-down with Brandon and Collin, we conversed on all things James Veloria, the end of Gaultier, and McQueen’s legacy: **_How did you two meet?_** **Brandon Veloria:** We met in California. **Collin James:** I used to see Brandon around Oakland when I moved there. The style wasn't so exciting there, so he just stuck out. I would see him walking around the street with full looks from hat to shoes, and it took me an entire year to go up to him. Then I saw him at a party, and I was wasted, so I finally approached him. **BV:** Yeah, and I was naked in a hot tub. ![FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-7.jpg](https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c346b607eaa09d9189a870/1580828568886-3ZLIAFQGG33LJ3B4SUKL/FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-7.jpg) ![FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-8.jpg](https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c346b607eaa09d9189a870/1580828568764-QKT4UY1LF64R0X8D2SHJ/FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-8.jpg) #block-yui\_3\_17\_2\_1\_1580824642778\_123817 .sqs-gallery-block-grid { margin-right: -10px; } #block-yui\_3\_17\_2\_1\_1580824642778\_123817 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid-slide .margin-wrapper { margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; } **_How did you start working together?_** **BV:** It happened naturally. We both collected for a long time, loved thrifting, and a lot of stylist friends would rent from us, so we started making money doing that. He worked for an interior designer, and I was working for a clothing designer. We were both unhappy in our jobs and realized we were making more money doing rentals and selling clothes on eBay. **CJ:** It organically turned into what it is now; there was never a plan. We quit our jobs and just kept going. **BV:** We were talking this week about Humberto \[Leon\] and Opening Ceremony; he helped to mentor us and really supported us. **CJ:** He encouraged us to keep going. FLAUNTxJV\_HIGHRES-11.jpg ![FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-11.jpg](https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c346b607eaa09d9189a870/1580829356015-AK8K3WFZB2FNLKXJGLG0/FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-11.jpg) **_And you have done several pop-ups with Opening Ceremony both in New York and LA…_** **BV:** Yeah, that really turned our business into something. At the time, this was our hobby, and we felt fortunate to be doing it and that people liked it. **CJ:** We were waiting to run out of money and go back to working for designers. **BV:** But those pop-ups made us realize we had a legitimate future in this business. **_The vintage market is exploding right now, why do you think that is?_** **BV:** I think that consumers are more aware of what they're buying and want to consume consciously. **_CJ:_** People want to wear items that they love, and that they'll wear over and over, not something that's just cute for a night or a season. **BV:** A friend of ours was just at the shop, and she was saying how vintage prices are climbing because of recent popularity. But for us, a big part of our business is keeping our prices fair. For us, it's more about making nice things accessible to everybody and creating a community which has served us so well. We turn over things quickly; It's almost that same pace as fast fashion, except it's ethical, and the quality is a thousand times better, and you know that it's something that very few people will have. **CJ:** It's the best of both worlds. FLAUNTxJV\_HIGHRES-1.jpg ![FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-1.jpg](https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c346b607eaa09d9189a870/1580829255252-HWLIQ5US50BP13B2DLYZ/FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-1.jpg) **_Where did your interest in avant-garde and experimental fashion begin?_** **BV:** It's sort of how we've always dressed. **CJ:** Growing up in the midwest, I would go to thrift stores to find something that wasn't at the one mall where everyone else got their clothes. I was always looking for 'what's different?' 'what have I never seen before?' But Brandon introduced me to avant-garde designers when we met in California. **BV:** All of my skate friends hung out in front of a 7-Eleven, and there was a consignment store around the corner called Labels, and I loved that place. Allot of my friends would go there to steal, like bad teenagers do, but I never did. The woman who owns it, Lynn, mentored me and taught me about all of these designers— and that's really where my interests began. I love the idea of a history behind each collection and she was really knowledgeable about whatever shows certain pieces were from— it was an exciting education. I would save up my money, and she'd allow me to put things on layaway so I could eventually buy a little piece of history.  She and I are still really close. **CJ:** And this is what we want to be with our community. **BV:** Yes, the doors are always open. So many students come, and I don't care if they buy anything, I just want to create a safe space for people to express themselves and maybe learn something new. **CJ:** And for them to be able to try things on and talk about the pieces with us. **BV:** Who knows, maybe one of them will start a business like us. For me, Labels was such a safe and inspiring place. While my friends drank forty's, I would sneak off for hours to try on dresses. It bought me so much joy. Whenever I go back, I visit her, she's our biggest fan and supporter. **CJ:** Many of our friends now were just customers in the beginning. When you have this passion in common, it creates a bond. It's like a little club. We love it when people nerd out with us. FLAUNTxJV\_HIGHRES-11.jpg ![FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-11.jpg](https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c346b607eaa09d9189a870/1580829503459-CUXBSNTVT0PCEF5G0RHG/FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-11.jpg) **_Growing up, Vivienne Westwood circa early 2000s solidified my obsession with fashion. Who was that designer to the both of you?_** **CJ:** It changes day-to-day, but I think Gaultier is the obvious one. We could have a store with nothing but Gaultier from every era… **BV:** And it would make sense for us. **CJ:** We went through a big Westwood, Galliano, and McQueen phase as well when we did a UK theme for Opening Ceremony. **BV:** If I could only choose one designer, it would be Gaultier, but It's hard to pick even one collection, anything from the mid-nineties is so good— everything is queer and fun. **CJ:** And now that Jean-Paul has had his last ready-to-wear show… It's the end of an era. **BV:** It truly is. McQueen is also someone I felt a connection to. He didn’t come from very much money and managed to find his way in fashion.  When I was younger and learned about his upbringing, I identified with it because I had always wondered, 'How did I end up in Ohio? Why am I this person?' In my family of construction workers, I didn't understand why I was so different. He had a similar upbringing, but he followed his calling and made such meaningful pieces and beautiful moments happen. Losing him still feels very tragic. FLAUNTxJV\_HIGHRES-5.jpg ![FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-5.jpg](https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c346b607eaa09d9189a870/1580829457611-OEDLK7A6X77XSYAK0GU0/FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-5.jpg) **_What are your favorite pieces in your current collection?_** **BV:** There's so many, and I've worn them all. I just had a Chanel gown on 30 minutes ago. **_You didn't want to wear it out?_** **BV:** It's too cold today. **CJ:** With most of these pieces, we like to document them, and then let them go. There will always be more. **BV:** I would say the Gaultier corset cage jumpsuit \[Fall 1989\] with the cut-outs is my all-time favorite. I sold it because I wanted it to be out in the world. My other favorites are Gaultier lingerie from the late 80s, several Margiela artisanal pieces that we still have, and the Comme des Garçon "Lumps and Bumps" \[Spring Summer 1997\] pieces which we have hidden in a suitcase at our home. **CJ:** We don't want anyone around them; they're just so delicate. ![FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-9.jpg](https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c346b607eaa09d9189a870/1580827867019-V96MQ3ZZ4H3XNQRN5P43/FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-9.jpg) ![FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-10.jpg](https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c346b607eaa09d9189a870/1580827863914-9U7Q3R18RIMD52W2LRR4/FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-10.jpg) #block-yui\_3\_17\_2\_1\_1580824642778\_78747 .sqs-gallery-block-grid { margin-right: -10px; } #block-yui\_3\_17\_2\_1\_1580824642778\_78747 .sqs-gallery-block-grid .sqs-gallery-design-grid-slide .margin-wrapper { margin-right: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; } **_What's in your future? And what should we look out for in your months ahead?_** **CJ:** Well, we've talked about designing a few little things. That's always something we talk about and never get around to. We'd like to do something sustainable though, reworking old textiles into new clothing, and in small batches. **BV:** And our store in New York is doing well, so we're thinking about other cities; I think something on the west coast might be in our future. But coming up, we're throwing a 'House of Veloria' party on Valentine's day. **CJ:** We've been throwing parties to get the whole community together and dress up— everyone comes in their craziest outfits. **BV:** I don't even know the location for this one yet, It's kind of a secret. **CJ:** Stay tuned… FLAUNTxJV\_HIGHRES-4.jpg ![FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-4.jpg](https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/56c346b607eaa09d9189a870/1580827990525-QVNHHRVX5QAEKKY5SVPB/FLAUNTxJV_HIGHRES-4.jpg) * * * JAMES VELORIA vintage clothing, and Model’s own jewelry. Produced and styled by: [Morgan Vickery](https://www.instagram.com/morganvickery/) Photography by: [Jack Maffucci](https://www.instagram.com/jackmaffucci/) Makeup by: [Mia Varrone](https://www.instagram.com/miavarrone/) Model: [Coral](https://www.instagram.com/sadistitt/) at [Unite Unite](https://www.instagram.com/uniteuniteus/) Styling assistance by: Dontaya Bobb