We’re gathered here today to (metaphorically speaking) snoop inside the suitcase Bella Hadid packed for her recent Cayman Island escape with beau, Marc Kalman. FYI: they stayed at Palm Heights – the beachside spa hotel where Chloë Sevigny, Emily Ratajkowski and Katie Holmes have all been spotted this past month.
The supermodel herself may have been enjoying some well-deserved rest, but Bella’s “recherché Y2K hype-girl” look never takes a day off. She’s macro-influencing while whizzing up a Kinsicle smoothie at LA’s Santa Monica branch of Erewhon, or nibbling a kerbside pizza in NYC, or reclining on a sunlounger in the Caribbean.
Yes, the word “macro-influencing” probably just made you slightly nauseous but, semantics aside, Bella being at her vintage fashion zenith is overwhelmingly good news for our generation. At a time when more than 60 per cent of us are cutting back on our non-essential outgoings, the internet’s best-dressed person – who also happens to be one of the world’s most successful supermodels – is demonstrating the appeal of affordable, sustainable fashion by furnishing her wardrobe with pre-loved Depop finds that typically cost less than £90.
One of her favourite suppliers? Amber Ramon (AKA Timeless Wear), a 25-year-old biology graduate who turned her talent for sourcing vintage Miss Sixty, Guess and Ed Hardy into a full-time business from her childhood bedroom in Brighton. Now in the super league of celebrity second-hand dealers, Ramon launched her Depop back in 2017 while at university in Bristol, having inherited a love of car boot sales from her vinyl-collecting father.
“Back then, it was all about Christian Dior by John Galliano,” she tells me over a mint tea at a noisy health food café in Brighton’s The Lanes (her roomy Guess handbag occupies the third seat at our table). “Today, it’s about vintage high-street pieces from affordable brands like Karen Millen, Faith and Jane Norman.” More on Bella and Karen Millen below, but first: what is Hadid’s secret sauce? “She dresses in a way that’s accessible for normal people, instead of choosing to wear really high-end things that celebrities often borrow or are gifted,” Ramon says.
The two have never met and the Timeless Wear founder is modest about her part in the supermodel’s idiosyncratically chic Aughts look. Back in autumn 2020, when Bella was snapped in a vintage Miss Sixty top seven months after she’d mailed an identical piece to “a random New York address”, Ramon joked to a friend that it would be funny if it was thetop she’d sold on Depop. Then Bella stepped out in a vintage pink Karen Millen blouse and a pair of Miss Sixty jeans, which had been inside the same Timeless Wear bundle... It wasn’t long before the model scooped a further twenty items, including the Nike pants which went viral following that now-legendary gas station outing in January of last year. Fast forward to August 2022 and a denim bustier and baggy jeans set made their first public appearance. We’re not done yet…The Takashi Murakami-inspired £20 bikini Bella wore to the beach at new year’s? Timeless Wear again (among a batch of 40 affordable items the supermodel selected last autumn, many of which she’s yet to debut).
“A lot of the pieces she buys are by obscure brands,” Ramon says of the deadstock Miss Sixty, Ed Hardy, Cop Copine and unlabelled pieces in the model’s latest discerning haul. “It’s about building an authentic, everyday Y2K look.”
For Depop sellers like Timeless Wear, affordability is just as important as the curation. The coolness or scarcity of a particular item makes it highbrow, but that doesn’t equate to high prices. Instead, this youth-owned fashion ethos is about a bigger economic and eco-conscious reality check which is currently reframing how – and what – we shop.
The fun part is that we’re on course for a boom in IRL vintage shopping experiences in 2023 thanks to spaces like 2o2st Soho, a London pop-up market founded by Mya Nicole (and run out of her dad’s hair salon) giving young creatives the opportunity to showcase their wares to followers and build real-life communities with other sellers. The next sale is happening on Sunday 15 January.
In Brighton, there’s Pixie Collective, curated by Kate Robinson, and Timeless Wear recently held a pop-up at Sook Spaces in Leeds – one of a new wave of high-spec temporary shops that offers visionary Depop sellers a sophisticated physical platform, and moodboard material. “I get so much inspiration whenever I do pop-ups, everyone dresses so uniquely,” Ramon explains.
So, what Y2K staples should we be buying now? “When it comes to bags, micro styles don’t feel relevant anymore – I’m only looking out for bigger, slouchy silhouettes. This is a great moment to own a vintage Thierry Mugler handbag.” Plus, there’s good news for gorpcore enthusiasts: “Diesel’s retro utility handbags are another strong purchase,” Ramon adds. As for shoes? “The Bumper boot is about to go viral.” Snap them up now before Bella magics them into a mainstream global phenomenon.