David Casavant, 25, is a stylist with an eye, an education (Central St. Martins, though he dropped out to work for Carine Roitfeld) and a secret weapon: an archive of vintage Helmut Lang and Raf Simons, sought by Kanye West, Travis Scott and Rihanna: “She borrowed a 2001 Raf camo bomber just to wear for fun, like, down the street,” he says, adding that he charges up to $1,000 per week per item.
Raised in a Tennessee mountain town, Casavant began collecting clothing at 14. After assisting Roitfeld, he worked for Mel Ottenberg, Rihanna’s stylist, as well as Love magazine editor Katie Grand. While these connections helped, they didn’t build his collection for him.
“It became a business through hard work,” he says. “I woke up every day and looked on eBay, built a contact list of sellers who would come to me first. I didn’t just throw money at it. I learned all the tricks.”
You’re a stylist but an anthologist. Your process speaks to more than trend.
My viewpoint of what styling is has expanded a lot. Fashion is changing. Models aren’t models anymore; they’re supposed to be personalities. Magazines have to be an art form, because people go online for their information. People come to me [for] these vintage items [because they] add personality.
Would you ever divulge the stores you visit?
Yeah, I love Tokyo 7 [in New York]. I go to others, but that’s my favorite.
What do you think the draw of Raf and Helmut is for these high-profile artists?
The idea of youth empowerment, rebellion. That’s what Raf’s collections really emphasize. It’s the idea of it being cool to be young, having new ideas.
The most famous people in the world wear hugely expensive clothes on the red carpet. Hard to think of anything less rebellious.
I disagree. That’s what’s amazing about it. The prices of the Raf clothes have gone through the roof. The clothes are being valued in the way that art is; they can be in a museum and cost $20,000.
Who are you looking at that might be the next Raf?
You can’t compare, but I love Craig Green. I love Grace Wales Bonner. For commercial brands I still love Calvin Klein men’s collection. They mix new materials but keep it masculine.
Is image more important than ever before, less or the same?
It’s more. People love a persona. Rihanna will show us her personality through Snapchat and it’s like we can hang out with her. Ten years ago, you wouldn’t imagine celebrities showing us their living rooms and kids.
Stars, they’re just like us.
?This story originally appeared in the March 19 issue of Billboard.