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Lilian Fev – “Unique relique from Paris”

Becoming a sponsored skater needs a lot of dedication and time and can even take over your entire life. It could become problematic then if you couldn’t skate anymore for whatever reason or, in fact, wanted to transition out of the skate industry. For Parisian Lilian Fev, this is not a problem at all. At only 25 years old, he and his girlfriend Clara Victorya have already built a successful business about a passion they both share: vintage clothing. At the beginning, it kept him so busy that he barely had time for skating anymore, but he can finally harvest the fruits of his labor. We visited him in the Relique shop in Paris.

Unfortunately, after we had visited Lilian and the mag was printed, Relique had to be closed unexpectedly due to problems with the landlord. But Lilian and his girlfriend are already looking for a new shop.

Hey Lilian, how did you start with thrift shopping?

I’ve always been into second-hand clothes. My mum forced me to buy them since we didn’t have enough money to buy new clothes for skating, cause I fucked up every shirt or pair of pants. It turned out, however, that I really liked being unique, it felt good. Then I met my girlfriend Clara, with whom I run the shop, and she was into vintage stuff for the same reason as me – the pricing of the clothes. It became a big passion for us, and for me, the shop is the result of our love.

Are you only thrifting or also buying new clothes?

The only new clothes I have are the ones I get from my sponsors. All the things I buy are vintage, like this Rolling Stones shirt I’m wearing. It’s an OG shirt from the world tour ’94. I’ve never seen anybody wearing it.

"The only new clothes I have are the ones I get from my sponsors"

And if clothes last for 30 years, it means they’re good quality.

It will easily last for another 50 years. You can feel the quality and the difference to things fabricated today.

Are you looking for a certain style or time period in vintage clothes?

For a polo, I would go for ‘60s/’70s cause I like the cut and the fabrics. For leather, I would go for ‘80s/’90s cause it’s way better and has a little hip-hop vibe. And for the shirts, ‘90s or ‘00s.

Where do you shop and do you have any tips on where to find the best stuff?

One of the best things is Vinted. You can find some really good stuff there and can negotiate a good deal, but I prefer to see things in real life before I buy them – so I know if it’s real vintage or just a bootleg.

Lilian fev slappy fs crooked

Slappy Frontside Crooked | Photo: Kevin Deschamps

What are the basic things to check?

A really common one is the stitching. If it’s a single stitch, you can be sure it’s before 2000. If it’s a double stitch, it’s definitely after. If the tag in there feels like paper, it’s pre ‘90s.

Are you in contact with other skaters that thrift shop, like John Shanahan, for example?

No, but I’ve watched the video where he’s thrift shopping in New York. I also saw a video about Gilbert Crockett’s shop. It’s really good with lots of denim stuff. I’d love to go there.

Are you sometimes looking for stuff for other skaters too?

Yeah, lots of friends are asking me, mostly for shirts of rock bands. Marca Barbier has been begging me for a Black Sabbath shirt for two years, but every time I find one, he finds them too expensive cause an OG one is around 100 euro.

Did the prices go up for vintage clothing?

Oh yeah, for sure. It’s a bit like the art market. There are some details or fabrics you can’t find today. There’s even a museum that did an exhibition of vintage clothes.

Fev 180 sw five o

Backside 180 Fakie Nosegrind | Photo: Kevin Deschamps

Do you also look for vintage skate clothes?

Yeah, but it’s so expensive. The Hook-Ups stuff is my favorite, but every shirt is over 100 euro, so I never bought one. My girlfriend bought me a board for my 25th birthday. Vintage Blind stuff is also super expensive. World Industries shirts are even over 200 euro.

Do you sell vintage skate stuff in the shop?

We used to, but now we are way more focused on the ‘70s/’80s and there’s not that much skate stuff from that period. In France, it’s also hard to get it at all. Maybe it’s easier in the US.

"In the first year of the shop, there was not much skating in my life"

Bonkers skate shop started selling some vintage skate clothes.

Yeah, they did a full section on their website. That was a really cool move. I think everything is sold out.

You started the shop with your girlfriend. How did that happen exactly?

My girlfriend is a clothing YouTuber, and at some point, we started an upcycling brand. We bought a huge amount of Japanese workwear jackets and sewed old French tapestry on the back. We had a 30 m² apartment, there was clothing everywhere. We only sold online but then turned that into a real-life shop in December 2020. That’s when we opened the first Relique store, which was located close to the shop now and a bit bigger. In the new shop, the selection is more curated.

You both started really young with running your own business. What gave you the drive to actually do it?

I don’t know. I was a pastry chef for four years while I lived at my mum’s place, so I saved some money and wanted to use it instead of keeping it. Clara was really down to open the shop and she already had the audience with YouTube. So we put our money into the shop and are super happy how it turned out.

You said this shop is a bit more curated and you can see it with the colors, the furniture, and the selection of clothes. What do you want the shop to be like, to feel like?

With the decoration, we try to make people feel like they enter another dimension. All the furniture is vintage, it took so long to get it. Even our hangers are vintage and we have more than 1,000. We bought them step by step, sometimes ten, sometimes only five or two. It was super hard to find them.

Do you change the theme sometimes?

The first shop had two rooms: one was purple, pink, and orange. The second one was all brown and orange, mostly ‘70s colors. With the new one, we wanted to stay on the ‘70s vibe but changed the color to red. It’s almost the same paint that is used for parking curbs in the US.

Do you also do your own collections, like with the brand you had before?

Not anymore, but we’re thinking about doing new collections in the future.

You also did some pop-up shops.

Yes, but that was not with Relique, that was with Unique, the application we launched a year ago. It’s a worldwide map where anybody can add a pin of a vintage shop or event to build a community and it’s now turning into a marketplace. I’m doing the marketing for and design of the app. For the launch, we organized a huge vintage market in the Marais. We had 80 vintage sellers in an area of 800 m², it was a huge event. More than 10k people visited the market. You had to queue for two hours.

How’s the app doing?

Oh, it’s doing well. We had 60k downloads in the App Store. People from the most random parts of the world are putting pins on there. The community is really involved in the project.

How did the idea start?

For the lockdown, Relique needed a website to still make money. We contacted a developer, who is from Annecy, just like Clara and me. He heard me talking about the application and was interested in doing it. We talked about it, and he and his friend programmed the app, and instead of payment, they got shares, which is good cause programming an app can easily cost you 100k.


50-50 | Photo: Thibault Viardcretat

How does your daily routine look?

Nowadays it’s chill cause we have a shop manager, but the first years were super hectic. We had to sell and make the orders. We worked 24/7. Now we just do the orders and deal with suppliers and do the paperwork. It’s the best thing that can happen to you, to have a running business and people who take care of it.

You skate for Rassvet, a brand heavily linked to fashion. Is there some exchange of ideas in any way?

We have a Rassvet group chat, where they ask for ideas for the new collection, and if we got interesting stuff in the shop, I’ll take a picture and send it. Sometimes they use those ideas.

Since the shop is close to République, do skaters hang out here?

No, but maybe in the first shop a bit. We also had some skaters working there, but here it’s mostly women’s clothing.

How does it work with skateboarding when you have the responsibilities of the shop?

As I said, with the manager now, we have way more time. In the first year of the shop, there was not much skating in my life. Now I can almost skate every day. I can go to République at lunch break and I can go on a trip whenever I want. Thanks to the team at Relique.

What’s up next for you?

With Relique, we just want to keep the business alive, just like anybody would. Regarding skating, we’re filming a big video with Rassvet that is supposed to come out in January – so I’m working on that. Street viewing every day for an hour to find new spots cause Paris is a small city and the whole world comes to skate the spots. You have a lot of ABDs, so you have to go outside of the center by bike for an hour.