Byronesque Vintage is now collecting badly photographed archival designer pieces via a new Instagram account titled @shitpicturesofgreatclothes
“We see a lot of shit pictures,” says Gill Linton, the CEO and editor-in-chief of Byronesque Vintage. The company, which Linton founded in 2013 alongside creative director Justin Westover, prides itself on an ability to source some of the rarest vintage designer clothes in the world. From original Vivienne Westwood Seditionaries to coveted pieces by Margiela, if it was made between the 1980s-2000s, Byronesque either already has it, or can source it for you via its network of collectors, archivists and amateur fashion enthusiasts.
It was the latter that became the starting point for Byronesque’s new project, an Instagram account bluntly titled @shitpicturesofgreatclothes. “Every day we have random people getting in touch and saying: ‘Hi! I have this insanely awesome piece of clothing here it is!’ And they’ll send over the worst image of the garment imaginable – we thought there was something really funny about it.”
The lo-fi digital images uploaded to the account could easily be mistaken for snapshots taken by any regular eBay user shifting secondhand clothes that were once sold on the high street. Yet, looking beyond the terrible composition and out of focus filters, we see a Gucci by Tom Ford bra from 1996; an early John Galliano skirt circa 2000; knee-high leather tabi boot wedges and a duvet coat by Martin Margiela, artfully modelled by a cadaver-like mannequin. “They’re all from people who are either collectors or have clothes that they’re really proud of,” says Linton. “So proud that they want to take shit pictures of them. That’s the irony; they have these beautiful clothes and they just photograph them in such a nonchalant way. There’s a leopard print Alaïa coat from 1991, for example, that is one of the most iconic pieces. But it was sent to us lying on the floor like it was a rug. Then another person laid out this amazing Yohji Yamamoto coat from A/W89 on a garden table to photograph it! There’s just a wonderful blasé quality to it all.”
Byronesque is now seeking to expand @shitpicturesofgreatclothes by inviting Instagram users with their own horrendous pictures of vintage designer garments to slide into their DMs for a chance to be featured on the account. “If you think your picture is shit enough, then come and have a go and tag us in your posts,” laughs Linton. She also makes a final disclaimer: “Don’t get me wrong, we do still take the clothes really seriously. But what we sometimes hate about our area of expertise is that we have people who really show off about their collections and are very precious about it. Whereas this is a bit more accessible. It takes away all of that grandiose nonsense and snobbery. Which I know is a little bit rich coming from us... But still, we always like to have a sense of humour.”