PHIPPS Gold Label is the model to make vintage fashion modern
This story originally appeared in i-D’s The Earthrise issue, no. 368, Summer 2022. Order your copy here.
Since its inception in 2018, PHIPPS – the Parisian label helmed by Spencer Phipps, an affable Californian, avid rock climber and perhaps the best-groomed beard in fashion – has won over industry and fashion fans alike for its inimitable and vintage style. -y sensitivity. That’s not to say the patched denims, ranger shirts, and pieces evoking sports memorabilia he conveys see used, but rather that there’s something about the spirit of outdoor Americana they’re steeped in that makes them feel like gems that would have to be carefully combed through countless Beacon’s rails. Closet to find them.
Over the past few seasons though, that vintage-y feel has turned into true vintage – for a significant portion of PHIPPS’ offering, at least. Thanks to PHIPPS Gold Label, Spencer challenged assumptions that a fashion brand should focus solely on selling “new” clothes, presenting a precisely curated and personalized edition of vintage pieces alongside its main collections. Specifically selected to fit into the aesthetic universe of PHIPPS and embroidered with the brand’s logo, the garments that make up the Gold Label are given new life.
Awar wears NIKE socks. UNDERGROUND shoes.
Certainly, the current resale market fad is undeniable, with brands increasingly keen to explore potential avenues into the second-hand sphere, driven by the environmental urgency for fashion companies to develop solutions of circular production – alongside the lucrative success of resale platforms such as Depop and Vestiaire Collectif. The intentions behind PHIPPS’ venture into vintage, however, are altogether more humble and straightforward. “When I started PHIPPS, one of the pillars of the brand was sustainability and trying to do things as responsibly as possible,” says Spencer Phipps, sitting in his sunny studio in the 10th district. “However, at some point, while thinking about the most eco-friendly way to make jeans and a flannel shirt, I realized that I had never bought new jeans. I’ve only ever worn vintage. So I wondered if there was a way to put that into the brand.
A cross-pollination philosophy is what spurred the creation of PHIPPS Gold Label – although it was not what it was known at the very beginning: it simply existed as a capsule of vintage pieces discreetly nested within the main offering. “We did it as a test. I put a few coins in the show, and I really didn’t say anything,” he recalled. “And then I put a little space in the showroom, just to see if anyone would get it, and people freaked out. Like, all these buyers were coming in and saying, ‘How can I get this!’ It’s this approach that has enabled PHIPPS Gold Label – which covers custom ’90s Man United shirts and Utah team wrestling jerseys, humble plaid shirts and Hulk Hogan-signed briefs – to sit so comfortably in the brand’s universe. . That’s why “on our shows, we can take a mainline costume and put a vintage t-shirt underneath it, and it doesn’t look fancy,” says Spencer.
Saskia wears bracelets designer studio. Earrings (worn everywhere) belonging to the model. UNDERGROUND shoes.
This meticulously curated edition of vintage items has since evolved into what Spencer describes as an “experimental recycling project”, featuring everything from cotton T-shirts to rarities like Yao Ming’s basketball jersey from the 2005 All Star game. with the PHIPPS treatment: this latest piece, for example, features an embroidered logo and is dotted with glittering gold stars.
“It’s kind of like modern couture,” notes Spencer. A notable point in its favor are the more accessible prices, even for “coins that are crazy to collect and super rare”. Admittedly, choosing to work exclusively with vintage clothing presents some challenges, especially when trying to scale a business where the materials you work with aren’t in reliable supply. Of course there is a lot of second-hand clothing, but trying to source multiple items in a variety of size runs — like when scouting for a collaborative capsule with Browns Fashion — is no simple task.
Byul wears the necklace stylist’s studio.
Yet while some retailers come to Spencer with a specific brief in mind – for LN-CC’s 10th anniversary, for example, the Dalston-based concept store has requested a series of anniversary T-shirts and anniversary – others have delved into what makes vintage shopping so distinct: the surprise factor. It’s even started offering a “mystery box” – a sort of selection of lucky dips, where shoppers don’t really know what they’re going to get until their order arrives. “I always say, ‘Trust me, it’s gonna be cool, there’s going to be some really collectible weird stuff, but you just have to trust us!'” Spencer says. growing number of retailers are beginning to do so.
A big part of the reason is that with Gold Label, Spencer has managed to select pieces that nod to the past without feeling encumbered by it. “It’s about being contemporary,” he says. “It’s vintage but not necessarily nostalgic. I like to use these kinds of pieces to tell a modern story and have a point of view that feels very current – which looks at how people dress now and how these vintage pieces can be incorporated into something that feels very today .”
Saunders is wearing an ARIES ARISE SS18 t-shirt (worn underneath). Jewelry (worn everywhere) designer studio. UNDERGROUND shoes.
It is certainly an approach that seems relevant from an aesthetic point of view, but it is also a relevant approach in the context of the abyssal propensity of the global fashion industry to produce waste. “Vintage is ultimately the most responsible way to shop and participate in the fashion industry,” says Spencer. “You don’t use any new raw materials. You even save clothes by sitting in a warehouse and you get a unique item.
Yet, although PHIPPS Gold Label was founded with the intention of demonstrating a responsible approach to garment production, this has not diminished the fashion credibility of the end results. Niche, distinct, and sometimes downright corny, these are clothes created (or curated in this case) by a fashion fan for other like-minded people. “I’m just trying to find better solutions that are viable business options as well, rather than being like, ‘We have to change everything and start from scratch!’ he says. “It’s about asking, ‘What can I do?’ So let’s explore vintage – I like it, other people like it, and see if other brands respond the same way as it grows. Without naming names, it should be noted that they have. Still, as a testament to her character’s benevolence, it’s not something Spencer is one bit bitter about. “At the end of the day, I’m just happy to be part of the conversation, and part of that is also not adopting the mindset of, ‘Well, I’m a sustainable brand and you can’t. ‘be because it’s my point of view’.!’ Let’s all be!”
Puck wears DICKIES socks. ADIDAS shoes.
HANRO briefs. MARC BY MARC JACOBS boxers. UNDERGROUND Hat. Designer workshop for necklaces and belts. ADIDAS shoes.
Bracelets owned by the stylist. NIKE socks.
The mayor wears the necklace stylist’s studio.
Sunglasses designer workshop
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Lola and Pani Photography
Dan Sablon fashion
Hair Naoki Komiya at Julian Watson using Kiehl’s Cream with Silk Groom
Crystabel Riley makeup at Julian Watson agency using BYBI
Photo assistance Milan Rodriguez
Fashion Assistant Lily Leetah Hill
Makoto Hayashi Hair Aid
Makeup assistant Ayesha Anandji
The production canvas represents
Casting Director Samuel Ellis Scheinman for DMCasting
Casting assistant Alexandra Antonova
Models Puck Schrover at Platform Agency, Awar Odhiang at Models1, Saunders at Premier, Byul at IMG, Saskia Jesson and Mayor Dutie at Elite
All PHIPPS GOLD LABEL clothing