“Warning. This is not your average vintage shop! We do not sell crap.” Reassuring words from the discreet sign in Zone7style’s sometime-store a few weeks ago. And now even more reassuring words for fans of quality old Versace, Moschino, Cazals & co: Zone7style is going from pop-up to perma-shop.
Upon seeing Nike Airs in a Littlewood catalogue in the early ‘90s, Zone7style’s Seth Bradley, “thought it was just the most amazing thing that there was an air unit in a shoe. That was the beginning of the end if you like.” That and a three-week trip to New York with his dad in 1996, where brands like Fila, Rockport, Timberland, Tommy Hilfiger and GUESS were blowing his young brain. Now 27, Bradley is just as hyped about such brand and design greats and has amassed a mighty collection of Versace and Moschino, makes he fell in love with when coming up to London from Devon for Carnival. “I remember seeing the guys in mid-to-late 90s. Rudeboys,” he recounts. “It was a style that I wasn’t used to, because I grew up in the West Country. I was like ‘Wow, that’s amazing’ and I really liked the idea of city life and the fashion that went along with it.”
As well as the flash and fun prints, the shop will show off subtle sportswear and a vast collection of sunglasses and frames that go from Carrera to Cartier. Whilst some visitors will see the shop as a massive nostalgia trip, Bradley is adamant that his love for the brands, design and quality go deeper. “Oh I remember that!” is like nails down a chalkboard for poor Bradley. If old Chanel is timeless for some, vintage Henri Lloyd is classic for Bradley. i-D online caught up with him to talk shop.
There was plenty of Versace and Moschino in your pop-up shop. Will that be the mainstay of the permanent store? I quite like the idea of displaying collections from one week to the next, but we’ll always have Versace and Moschino available. My interests have continually expanded and broadened. I’ve looked back to a time that I wasn’t familiar with, the mid-80s and the idea of the football casual and European preppy – brands like Chevignon and Chipie. It was back when Europeans were obsessing over Americana, so they were recreating a lot of those Western and military styles. There are more obscure brands like Best Company, an Italian brand, who did a lot of sweatshirts with heavy embroidery, again looking towards American iconography, like golf clubs and crests and American animals like beavers.
Do you always keep an open-mind as to the brands that you might bring into the fold? I think some people understand the message of Zone7style, other people are too caught up in what Versace and Moschino mean, but for me it’s an aesthetic. I’m massively into print and they both pioneered print; Versace in digital printing on the silk shirts, which hasn’t ever been eclipsed. In its pure form, it’s art. Same with Franco Moschino. He wasn’t scared to print anything on a t-shirt, like ‘Fuck Fashion’ and he was always behind interesting things like the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament and AIDS Awareness. He got all these interesting messages across, but it was so fun and totally crazy.
Have you had your hands on most of the Versace and Moschino prints over time? No, I’m always finding something new, which is amazing. I’ve been searching for those pieces for five or six years on a full-time basis and there are still new prints turning up.
How can you bring yourself to let go of all of your amazing finds? Originally I bought stuff and hung onto it, but now I’ve got to sell them, so I try not to have too much of an emotional attachment anymore. Stuff that I really consider amazing, I have to keep hold of. Sometimes I pull pieces out of the personal collection and put them out. In a way, what we’re trying to do is tell a story. It’s completely missed by some people, which is understandable if you’ve got no knowledge of that world. But if you don’t know about it and are open, I’m always happy to explain what it’s about and what it means.
Zone7style opens on Saturday 13th August at midday, 63 Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DJ.