You know that moment when’ve been you trawling a consignment store for hours and unearth that Helmut Lang bondage bomber jacket from the 2003 A/W collection and feel like you’ve scored the ultimate conquest? Well now imagine that you’ve found, and now own, over 1,000 of those rarest of the rare collectable pieces. Welcome to the life of 25-year-old stylist, David Casavant.
Clothing is dotted around his apartment like a live-in art installation, from that Raf Simons Peter Saville Parka to the kama sutra bomber by Tom Ford for Gucci. His collection has become so infamous that Kanye himself comes knocking at his door.
Born in Tennessee, David started collecting designer pieces like most fashion-obsessed teenagers – when he was around 14-years-old trawling on eBay. At first it was Raf Simon’s subculture-fuelled collections that he fell for, “I love Raf because of the attitude you feel in the clothes, that’s what makes it special to me.” He explains, “And I love Helmut because I feel like he reshaped menswear the most.”
A few years later, David moved to London to study at Central Saint Martins, shortly after graduating he moved to New York to work as a stylist assistant for Carine Roitfeld and Mel Ottenberg (two people he now loans out his pieces to).
“I started bringing clothes from my archive to shoots, which then led to them being requested by friends of mine to also use for shoots, eventually word got out,” he says, modestly. “I mainly collect Raf Simons and Helmut Lang, but I also have Calvin Klein Collection, Gucci by Tom Ford, Saint Laurent, Dior Homme, Craig Green, Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons.”
Over the last few years, the market for the rarer archival pieces has grown exponentially, with hypebeasts tagging on to hip-hop’s ongoing relationship with name-dropping designer labels, whilst the 90s had Biggie and Pac drop Versace verses, today’s rappers are focused on Belgium’s finest, exercising a quality over quantity approach. From A$AP Rocky name-dropping Raf Simons and Ann Demeulemeester to Travis Scott and Future showing their perennial love for Margiela, it’s clear that Antwerp’s avant-garde resonates with a new generation of luxury consumers more than ever.
And Raf Simons’ D.I.Y, subculture-driven incarnations still sit at the forefront. “Kanye loaned the Raf A/W 2001 camo bomber and the A/W 2001 Antwerp hoodie,” says David. “If I was going to choose one favourite piece, it’d be really hard, but I love all of my Raf bombers and they’re some of my most popular items in terms of what gets pulled the most.”
Would he ever flip his pieces? “I don’t flip or sell anything, but if celebrities or stylists are looking for a specific piece I also offer a buying service to help them find it.” Having been a stylist for over seven years, the archive kind of happened by accident. The David Casavant Archive is more of a collect-for-passion than collect-for-profit kind of project. Which means David can be pretty tight on what he lends and to who. “I’m very particular about which clients I work with, but in terms of celebrities, I really only loan to Kanye, Rihanna, Travi$ Scott, Alicia Keys and Lorde. Pretty much all of my clients are repeat clients as I don’t openly loan to tons of people. I’m fortunate in that I have a small client base that regularly borrows.”