Ally Blackgrove first started Handsome Freaks as a market stall before opening her Margate store in 2013. She’s since garnered over 40,000 followers, who can’t get enough of her curated selection of vintage pieces – each sourced from LA and Europe.
How would you describe your shop?
The only criteria I stick to is sourcing classics and future classics. Having said that, I will fine-tune it for the customers I’m targeting in different environments. In the Margate shop, for example, there’s a massive demand for skatewear and streetwear; on Depop, people are looking for bargains, so I sell the more affordable sportswear and trend pieces. For Selfridges, I flew to Italy to source high-end vintage designer pieces of all the stuff I’m vibing off right now, across all platforms, to show a true representation of Handsome Freaks.
How do you set it apart from similar stores on Depop?
I believe it’s always better to buy second-hand over new, but the way to counteract fast fashion isn’t simply to buy ‘vintage’ clothing as that could be as disposable or as harmful to the planet as sweatshop garbage. At Handsome Freaks, we take a more considered approach. We believe the secret is to only have items in your wardrobe that you absolutely love. Our aim is to be the destination shop for people who share this ethos.
How do you source your pieces?
I go picking almost every day, splitting my time between LA and Europe. When I’m in LA, for example, I’ll arrive at a flea market as soon as it opens. Then it’s all down to instinct. I’ll follow my gut to the right vendors and adrenalin kicks in – I get to all the good stuff before everyone else! I do this because I want my customers to have a concentrated version of that same experience when they look through our curated rails.