Libby Smith talks about her business like any average 20-year-old flogging some of her old bits ‘n’ bobs online for some spare cash. However, with nearly 80,000 followers on Depop, Libby is now rated as one of the highest selling traders on the trendy app and is fast growing her business into a Bristol-based powerhouse of vintage fashion. From humble beginnings, Libby’s story rings true to the ‘zero-to-hero’ background that a select handful of young innovators find themselves swept up in, once their talent is claimed by the creative world. “I got started as something to help bring in a little more money, since life is super tricky for a 19-year-old not at university! I was working a rubbish job and had far FAR too many clothes!” She offers on the matter. However, her new-found status clearly remains an alien concept and her sweetness and patience is strikingly poignant in an industry dominated by corporates.
Organic and individual, Libby’s branding strategy is no more than the combination of her own personal tastes with a keen eye for vintage treasures. With a product page as beautifully curated as an art gallery, Libby owns a charming era-grace that translates elegantly through her displayed images. Using little more than an iPhone, a trendy haircut and an elegant arrangement of her slender limbs, Libby has snapped her way into Depop’s ‘hot’ sellers for 2016. Describing her own, personal style as; “Approachable, distinctive and groovy” Libby’s unique grace and passion for vintage clothes has attracted the attention thousands of trendy Depop users all over the country and continues to donate towards the nu-vintage explosion amongst the student population of Bristol. Airing her thoughts on the matter of funds over fashion, “I love clothes, but being a young person with not a lot of money you’ve got to be clever and creative with how you put clothes together.”
Injecting new life into the stagnant world of high-street fashion, Libby breeds a certain lust for quality in her fan-base and helps to promote longevity in fashion by hand-picking quality, vintage garments as her product. “Well, I think there’s vintage and then there’s vintage. High street fashion turns over so quickly, that I’ve found something that’s as little as 3 years old is sometimes referred to as ‘vintage’ on Depop. There are sellers that are true vintage, and there are others that use the term on every item. I’ve also noticed the tag ‘vintage’ is used to denote quality rather than age, if you see what I mean! – it seems to be an ever changing term!” A nod to the ‘vintage-boom’, Libby artfully plays with the rapidly modernising meaning behind vintage fashion, and the more contemporary use of the label to market jumble sale junk. Nonetheless where others may brush over a car-boot or a charity shop in disregard, Libby views such establishments as an opportunity to scout a treasure-trove of potential. “most of my stuff is from vintage whole salers, with the odd treasure from other places like car boot sales/kilo sales/flea markets even charity shops sometimes! I’ve found some of my all-time favourite items from old ladies at car boots!”
Hailing from Bristol, Libby studied an art foundation degree at Falmouth University before moving on to selling off her personal wardrobe to make some spare cash. “It’s crazy, I started off by selling most of my wardrobe, like nearly all of it! Then I explored a little bit – I was working in a bar down in Cornwall, and my boss there also owned a lovely vintage shop, so she gave me a few tips on where to source some beautiful clothes.” After gathering substantial interest, Libby’s Depop business took off and continues to grow to new heights. An aspiring artist, Libby has big hopes for the future of her brand, “I want to start linking up my Instagram and my Depop accounts, because I’m hoping I can start introducing some of my own artwork to my brand – as that’s what I’ve always wanted to do – and Depop is giving me the platform to do it.” When we asked her thoughts on the future of vintage garments in her brand she replied, “I want to keep promoting the more adventurous items on my Depop, but striking a balance with what sells, as I am running a business. I’ll always sell clothes though, because I enjoy it so much!”
A born artist and vivid eclectic, Libby is fascinated by retro fashion and culture. It is easy to forget she is only 20-years-old, as her keen eye for crisp glamour shines from an old soul bursting with the vibrant colours of the 1970s. Talking about her charming creative processes and inspirations behind her tastes, “I’ve always been obsessed with colour in art and fashion and this is reflected in my clothes. My wardrobe looks like a rainbow mess right now! I’ve been watching a HBO series called Vinyl which is set in 70s New York. Every outfit is perfect.”
Drawing inspiration from an unlimited resource of international film and media as well as her own, local culture bubble, Libby is a born Bristolian and is leading the city to new creative ventures her online brand. A city with vast potential and an untapped, creative corner, Bristol is bubbling with young innovators just like Libby who are keen to push the city to the forefront of British art, music and fashion. “Bristol is amazing” Says Libby, “it’s a city that seems to have a pull on young, creative people – there’s such a buzz here. And where there’s creative people, there’s fashion. So yes, I really do think there’s amazing potential here!”