"As we know, all good things must come to an end," Wallet Editor in Chief Elise By Olsen told Highsnobiety. "But what is left behind after the end?" In Wallet's case, nearly a dozen issues of insightful interviews and nuanced perspective provided primarily by By Olsen herself, who founded the pocket-sized periodical in 2017 at age 17.
Issue #10 is Wallet's purposeful swan song — it was only intended to last for 10 issues — a final flash of fashion fascination angled around the art of archiving, a forward-looking practice that makes for a neat bookend to the disparate topics Wallet covered over the years.
"It felt natural to end with a conclusive issue tapping into fashion history and archival practices in fashion," By Olsen continued. "This theme also made perfect sense in relation to the times we find ourselves living in."
In particular, she cites the very en vogue practice of upcycling currently being explored by upstart designers, directional labels, and giant luxury houses alike as they dig into archival textiles and deadstock for new product.
It's a subject authoritatively explored in "Heirs of History," as Wallet Issue #10 is called. By Olsen spoke with Dr. Valerie Steele, David Casavant, and Emman Debattista — a historian, collector, and archivist, respectively — to deduce the role that archives play in the future of fashion and how the clothing of yesteryear informs tomorrow's collections.
"Urgently, there are several important archiving traditions... that are ripe for discussion," said By Olsen.
For instance, "there are sizable Margiela archives in Tokyo and COMME des GARÇONS libraries in New York — often led by private collectors and savants driven by passion or niche forms of entrepreneurship. The digitized secondhand market is growing exponentially year after year, cultivating in the process a new popular interest in archival fashion."
As usual, Wallet Issue #10's interviews are accompanied by an evocative visual exploration of historic fashion moments. This time, By Olsen has curated 20 pages of impactful events from designers who are no longer practicing, be that because of mainstream ignorance, death, disinterest, or hiatus. Selections have been culled from presentations by the likes of A.F.Vandevorst, Max Mara, Final Home, Willi Smith, Martin Margiela, Alaïa, Helmut Lang, and Phoebe Philo — the latter of whom is unexpectedly back in business.
Though she hasn't spoken with any of those luminaries (yet), past issues of Wallet hosted By Olsen's other great chats with influential industry insiders. "It’s been a true pleasure to be able to sit down for in-depth conversations with highly powerful figures within the fashion industry," she recalled. "In order to try to redeem a sense of critical journalistic practice in fashion, the conversations we have posed on these figures have been sharp."
"I vividly remember going to Paris to interview Sarah Andelman (before colette’s closing) for the very first Wallet issue, 'Admins of Authority.' We sat down in the basement of colette over a very strong espresso, and one of the first questions I asked her was, 'Do you think the industry can survive without you?' She looked at me very skeptically and answered, 'Why do you ask this?'"
"I honestly think she was expecting it to be a really calm interview with the same questions she’d always be asked and that I was some kind of school newspaper journalist. [Laughs] We ran that interview, just like all the other ones, very raw and almost un-edited, for the readers to really pick up on the nuances and layers of these conversations."
For one last raw review of the industry, pick up a copy of Issue #10 from Wallet's web store for €10.00. It'll also be available at New York's MoMa PS1, Paris' The Broken Arm, London's LN-CC, Milan's Slam Jam, Berlin's Motto Bottoks, and Tokyo's Tsutaya Books from August 5.