It's fair to call Playboi Carti a fashion iconoclast, yeah? The 25-year-old's inimitably goth style, a blend of luxury fashion and retro pieces, is partially fueled by Kyle Julian Skye and Clif Shayne's Middleman Store, one of the forebears of the contemporary archivist movement.
Like most of their peers, Middleman's co-founders only sell their stuff online and through private appointments, though they also curate a permanent collection of stuff that can be rented for shoots which you might've seen worn by big names like Carti, Drake, Miley Cyrus, or Nic Cage (seriously).
Not that Middleman shuns physical sales, though: it usually does a few IRL pop-ups each year and it's already got a special one planned to end the year, hosted by OG Los Angeles retailer Fred Segal.
Expect a couple IG-famous folks to stop by the pop-up, which runs from December 16 until January 1. All the usual Middleman hits will be on hand, from all-star brands like Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Yohji Yamamoto to some lesser-knowns like General Research, the former incarnation of Japanese outdoor label Mountain Research.
This is what you come to these archivist sellers for: the hand-picked selection of covetable retro gear sourced from brands both recognizable and overlooked.
If you're a real fan, though, you'll be stopping by the pop-up to pick up one of Middleman's own shirts, worthy archive grails in and of themselves.
Produced by fellow reseller Horrorvacuo, the shirts are cut from double-layered deadstock cloth and modeled by Carti himself.
They sold out immediately after the initial one-day-only launch so their reappearance at the pop-up ought to be catnip for fans, as if the unique vintage finds weren't enticing enough.
As the resale market booms, everyone from sportswear labels to luxury players is getting in on the action but outlets like Middleman serve a different kind of client: the social media savvy youths who obsess over Carti's every move.
It's a restless, youthful market that considers cred to be an essential part of the flex, one that's influential enough to inspire retailers to follow suit with their own offerings.
Doubt Fred Segal will be launching its own archive section, of course, but its willingness to host Middleman is a sign of things to come.