Exclusive Interview: Kyle J Pak

This week we caught up with Kyle J Pak,  L.A.’s thrift guru and design impresario, to talk about his denim collection and vintage inspiration.

With the online denim world full of purist and archival blogs and tumblrs, Kyle J Pak’s 90s-infused tumblr emerged as a refreshing page to us when we discovered it just over a year ago. Defined by a distinctly urban style, Kyle draws inspiration from the hip-hop and R’n’B styles of the late 80s and early 90s as well as some newer influences, championed by the likes of Tokyo’s Verbal or Harlem’s ASAP Rocky. The clothing selection is of course the primary focus: from vintage YSL, Gucci and Versace to Pierre Cardin, Fendi and Calvin Klein. These are highbrow, hard-to-find pieces, and Kyle goes nuts for ’em. His acute eye for for these pieces has been channeled through his years of hunting and hustling thrift stores and garage sales as a teen.

His enthusiasm helped him acquire not only a great collection but a successful business. Kyle set up online ventures S.L, selling new and vintage hard-to-find attire and an eyewear website, VintagEye, selling and displaying unique frames from the 70s, 80s and 90s.

We asked Kyle to select a few of his favorite denim pieces and style them alongside his personal collection of vintage accessories and designer wear. The oversized silhouettes and stone- and acid-wash denims perfectly reflect the era of late 80s and early 90s that Kyle is obsessed with, further reinforced by Baroque Versace prints and gold stitch embroideries.

When did you start collecting? Your main focus is eyewear but you have an extensive clothing archive, too!

I started my collection of vintage eyewear my sophomore year. Around the same time I was really heavy on thrifting so I would go almost everyday for a couple years. I would acquire a lot of nice vintage garments. I also became friends with some really dope collectors as well so I could learn the history behind the pieces I’d find. In 2010, my senior year, I launched my online vintage eyewear shop. (www.vintageye.com)

A lot of your styling cues on the blog are inspired by 90s hip-hop, what draws you to this era?

There are a few reasons why the 90s is my favorite era. The late 80s, early 90s to be exact. When it comes to style I feel that it was the first era that was fully able to take inspiration from other eras/styles and clash them together into one outfit. Also the music. They had Biggie, Aaliyah, Tupac, and NWA. Not only hip-hop. The club kids, disco scene was killer as well. Very avant garde and free. Pushing all the boundaries. Gianni Versace, Ralph Lauren, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Karl Lagerfeld were killing it in the 90s. I could go on and on. Those are only a few of the masterminds of the decade. I was also born in the 90s so maybe I’m a little biased.

Who are your muses/favorite style icons?

I think Miroslava Duma is the best dressed women. I love Yoon, who is also responsible for Verbal. Many Japanese individuals inspire me, too many to mention. Taz Arnold, Curtains, ASAP Rocky & Bari are definitely icons.

Favorite places to shop for denim?

I just stick to my vintage Levis, APC, & Ksubi but I know American Rag and Barneys have a great selection of denim.

Fave denim item of all time?

My favorite jacket is this custom piece that my friend Niko da Ikon made for me. He took apart a vintage Versace shirt and stitched it on the back of a denim jacket. I wear the jacket almost everyday. Favorite pair of jeans are my vintage Levi’s that I have done a lot of patchwork on.

For more information and images on Kyle, check  his tumblr or online stores, Vintage Eye and S.L.

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