There’s something thrilling about finding the perfect vintage, designer wardrobe piece after searching through racks of clothes and eBay listings. And for a pair of Toronto best friends, chasing that thrill is now a full-time job.
Twenty-year-old Alex Maxamenko and 18-year old Christian Ferguson are archival fashion resellers with nearly 200,000 Instagram followers between them. Last year, they dropped out of university to move in with each other and pursue their businesses full-time, where they sell rare pieces like a $1,485 Dior biker jacket and a 2001 Jean Paul Gautier sweater depicting Marlene Dietrich.
Their mutual interest in clothes collided when they first met at the ages of 11 and 12. Ferguson had just spent the entirety of his bank account on his second archival purchase ever and had secured a trade for a piece of even higher value. But then he realized he was given a fake. Maxamenko reached out, when he heard what had happened, and the pair began swapping insights about sourcing practices and market prices. “Eventually we were texting almost every day about business,” says Ferguson.
They’ve been best friends ever since. In their teenage years, they often sourced inventory in Toronto and would meet up with stylists, but they found that people in the industry didn’t take them seriously because of their age. “They respected our work but didn’t respect the fact that we were 15- and 16-year-old kids at the time,” Maxamenko says.
When it came time to pursue post secondary education, Maxamenko enrolled in a business degree program, to appease his parents, and Ferguson deferred. They continued sourcing pieces together until they took the leap to do it full-time. Maxamenko dropped out of his program after the first year, the pair found a place, and since then, their businesses have grown exponentially.
“The amount of time we put into sourcing is unholy,” says Maxamenko. “We’re doing auctions and bidding four to six hours a day, every day.”
They both sell on Grailed, and Maxamenko sells his collection on Instagram (with a website in the works), and Ferguson has his own website, Archive Threads.
“Together, we hit a broader audience,” Maxamenko says. “I lean more toward vintage and streetwear, but Christian really hones in on hyper niche designer pieces and sometimes more expensive gear than I sell. It’s a balancing act, and it helps draw in the majority of our overall audience.”
They’ve hosted multiple pop-up events at Messy House in Toronto this year, with 1,500 pieces for sale at their last one. As for shoppers, Ferguson and Maxamenko have seen a larger and larger turnout at each event. And they’re not surprised — the pair say there is no other vendor in Canada selling rare archival and designer pieces at this scale. Pieces can sell as low as $20, while more rare items, such as a 2008 Maison Margiela leather jacket, reach five figures.
Their next goal is to use the profits from their pop-ups to open a retail storefront in Toronto. For now, they offer shopping and rental appointments out of a private studio and accept bookings and inquiries through Instagram.