Jacqueline Cowan owns Lil J’s Vintage, it is an online store that sells top quality vintage clothing. Jacque also runs an event named “BRISBANE’S BIGGEST GARAGE SALE” where she invites vintage clothes resellers to host stalls in Bizzell’s Garage Paddington. To Celebrate its 12th Event happening on the 27th of August, i hung out with Jacque and some friends and snapped up her favourite pieces!
I asked her a few questions too! peep it all below !
What would call your relationship with Ralph Lauren POLO?
Obsessive & Compulsive … Just kidding, but let’s just say it is extremely passionate, to say the least. I fell in love with both the story of Ralph “Lifshitz” Lauren and the history of “Lo Life’s” back when I began listening to Hip Hop at a younger age. Ralph Lauren is an incredible human being who came from absolutely nothing who continues to go above and beyond with the work he does and the philanthropist that he is. His tale of hard work and perseverance blew me away and after reading numerous books of his, I immediately fell in love. Not to mention the people who believed in him and boosting his brand religiously, the Lo Life Crew. Their stories and struggles during the late 80’s are both fascinating and inspirational. I have mad respect for all the people that formed such a movement and continue to do it with pride and style, they are truly one of a kind, fly as hell and unlike any underground movement, I am yet to come across. It would be an insane Steezy exploration to back in time and explore the prime of the Lo Life Era (1988 – 94). Despite all the robbing and hustling these guys did, the truly knew how to Lo the fuck Down and prove all expectations of them wrong. They made transitions, grew as a culture and continue to thrive on the movement that they made themselves. If you ever have an opportunity watch the Haitian Polo Documentary by DJ Scripz or grab yourself a Copy of Lo Life: An American Classic.
Can you tell everyone about the pieces you selected for the photo shoot?
The pieces I selected for the Photoshoot are from my personal collection of Ralph Lauren and other Accessories. I don’t necessarily have another reason for selecting them other than to show off … without sounding like a pretensions shit. Over the years I have gathered and stored what I find the best of the best in my terms, whether it be because of the Vibrant Colours or the dapper style the items possess. I am obsessed with Bikinis, but I couldn’t really get the boys in those today. I get a lot of my inspiration from Ralph Lauren himself and try to encapsulate the power suit and also a gentleman touch. I love Flat Caps (not the ones you expect … imagine a golfer hat), so any opportunity to use these in a shoot, I will jump on immediately – hence my love for Kangol and their incredible timeless designs.
How long have you been collecting Vintage Clothes?
I have been collecting Vintage clothing since I was about 10 years old. My Aunty (bless her socks) would take me out to Wynumm and North Brisbane during school holidays and show me her stooge ways. Being introduced to such a hobby/recycling habit has been nothing but a god send in regards to both my wallet and finding my own style, individuality and feet in this crazy world. In saying that my style has changed rapidly over the last 11 years, so you can imagine some of the shocking pieces of clothing I have owned.
Vintage clothing has always played a huge part in my life, whether it be bonding with my family and hanging out with my friends or being a creative outlet. I don’t know how to paint or sing but I am good with clothes. In the most non-materialistic way possible, I go to sleep planning an outfit and I wake up continuing to think about it. I like bringing people together and I like forecasting fashion, hence why Lil J’s Vintage and BBGS go hand in hand.
At what point did you say to yourself, I’m going to start selling vintage clothes?
I had essentially been collecting Vintage clothing from the day I had disposable income. In late 2015 I was fired from a job at a local hotel. I went home, drank a XXXX and that afternoon I had created Lil J’s Vintage Etsy and Instagram. I had wanted to do it for years however never had that drive and I personally think I needed that kick up the ass to get the ball rolling. Prior to that, I ran a blog named “Ralphy Baby” but never had the intention of selling the garments, it was more for fun and gave me an opportunity to showcase my personal collection of garments and sexy friends.
You host an event called Brisbane biggest garage sale? Can you tell us what happens at these events?
A bunch of groovy kids getting down and listening to beats, buying good vintage and used garments and hanging out with new and old friends. I like to think of it as a place to hang out with like minded people whilst not having to be intoxicated and just, in general, having fun. We fit just over 30 sellers tables in the venue, so there is always a different variety of clothes and intriguing sellers. In saying that some people will make quite a few transactions here and there, but there is no pressure to make sales and I also have no expectations in regards to the garments and quality. I have heard some comments from people actually getting dates and meeting significant others from the sales which makes me giggle. Here is the link from our latest video
How has Brisbane responded to the “garage sale” since the first one? The crowds you attract are deep.
It has been nothing but hard work from the get go. I held the first Garage Sale in my parent’s Garage last April, I would go to the extent of saying near 1000 people came. I was ABSOLUTELY blown away by the crowd and a friend and I put our heads together and decided “hey … we need to go bigger”. Since then there has been some downs and slow times but mostly highs, our last Facebook event had over 9000 people in total both interested and attending. It can be of overwhelming sometimes, but nothing beats meeting all the awesome people I get to meet and talk to on daily basis and seeing the hard work unveil, lets just there isn’t a boring day.
What inspires you to keep on growing with this venture?
There are numerous things that inspire me to continue with this venture, the main one being my parents. From a young age, I have grown up around two extremely hard working individuals who basically taught me that anything and everything is possible, with a bit of blood, sweat and hard work. My Mum and Dad own a Mortgage Company and growing up in such a busy family really paid off. I love having them as mentors and such awesome idols to look up to. When I was 17 I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and went through 33 rounds of Chemo and a Stem cell transplant. This played a large part in 1. The idea of Lil J’s and the diving into the event industry but it also 2. Inspire me to keep going every day. Last but definitely not least, my customers. I am constantly in awe at the groovy individuals I get to cross paths with every day.
You have collaborated with many awesome creatives (e.g. Artist Carsha, rapper nerve, photographer Kyel Golly and Angus Mckenny), is this something you will continue doing?
Absolutely, I love supporting my friends and other local creatives. I am surrounded by such incredibly talented people, I would be silly not to. I will continue to support those around me and also young entrepreneurs until the day I die, no one is meant to be alone in this world. Lil J’s wouldn’t be anywhere near what it is without the help and idea of these people and my super supportive and selfless friends, family and customers.
What’s next for Lil J’s VINTAGE?
We will be holding Lil J’s Second Birthday and Nerve / Wombat Album Launch so make sure you keep your eyes out on social media for a groovy event coming your way. Honestly, looking into the near future I hope to either have a Store front of some extent if not a pop-up store. With the help of an Events Diploma, fingers crossed BBGS will only get bigger and bigger. I can hope to continue to collaborate with exceptionally talented people and definitely another Lil J’s Vintage Swimwear photo shoot.