We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend and what's "you"? These are some of the questions we're putting to prominent figures in our column "How I Shop."
If you keep up with our street style roundups every Fashion Month, you've definitely noticed Australian-born, London-based Yasmin Sewell. The front row fixture is a fashion and retail guru with a knack for championing emerging designers. She's opened her own boutique, launched her own consulting agency, was the buying director at Browns and Style.com's first-ever fashion director when the site pivoted to e-commerce. Currently, she's the vice president of style and creative at Farfetch, a hire that was announced back in August, so it's not a stretch to say that if there's anyone who truly lives and breathes shopping, it's Sewell.
"It's my job to editorialize and curate what we have," Sewell tells Fashionista over the phone from London. "And it's fortunate because we have most things that are out there, so it's about surfacing what we have and making sure people can find it and that I'm bringing those things to the forefront of the site." Though it's only been a handful of months since Sewell got situated in her new role, she's excited to see her work come to fruition in the months ahead.
"We really are very much a global business. People don't know that, so you're going to start seeing that very soon," says Sewell. "We're going to shoot in every country in the world."
During some down time during a photo shoot for Farfetch, we managed to pick her brain about how she shops. Read on to find out about her sporadic shopping phases, not overthinking future purchases and what she loves most about fashion.
"Shopping is quite spontaneous to me. I go through phases where I don't feel like shopping and then I have a burst where I shop three times in a week. I have phases where I'm not in the mood and then phases where I just want a certain type of thing and a lot of it.
Right now, I'm in a bit of a shopping phase. Towards the end of the year, I didn't feel like looking at sales and I thought, 'I'm fine, I don't need anything. I'm good.' And then I start thinking, 'Maybe I'm not into fashion anymore. Maybe I'm done now.' And then I went to Miami for Christmas holiday and I got some sun and I felt like summer was coming. Now all I want to do is buy floral or summer dresses. I bought five in the last two weeks and I'm wearing them to work but with big boots and coats. That's my new thing right now. I'll go through a men's suiting phase at some point soon, but right now what I feel like buying are floral dresses. It's the yearning of getting out of winter.
I'm also really into oversize masculine tailoring, as well as really beautiful, quite feminine dresses from Preen and Prada mixed with tailoring. I was also buying a lot of large earrings, but now I want to buy small ones, like from Delfina Delettrez. I still want to wear a lot of over-the-knee and ankle boots. I'm wearing Yeezy boots at the moment and I'm wearing Laurence Dacade a lot. I'm in boots every day. Petar Petrov, too — he does great boots. And vintage; I'm having a moment around vintage.
I go between being very feminine or very masculine in my personal style. It depends on my mood. A gown and man's coat is my favorite thing to wear and probably always will be. I could rotate a different gown or coat every day. It's that mix of boy and girl, which is what I really love. I'll always go back to that, even if I drift off and fall in love with a new designer because I do get very influenced by great design. But ultimately, I do go back to that aesthetic of very feminine and very boyish, separately or together.
Obviously, I do almost all of my fashion shopping online on Farfetch because I'm working and looking on the site and I can instantly start shopping. It's not like I need to shop anywhere else because they kind of have everything you want. We've got the world's greatest edit of big brands, new brands, directional things. We've got amazing vintage, which people don't realize. We've got so much, like men's vintage from Jean Paul Gaultier and vintage Dior. If I shop anywhere else, I'm probably shopping for food.
We quite often will feature new brands to look at or new brands coming in. It's a really great place to go for some newness and inspiration. I love the sports vibe that comes from Proenza Schouler's White Label and cool denim pieces from Nanushka. We have the best of the old and best of what's new.
I don't overthink what to buy at all. For me, it's very instinctive and I'll literally buy something that I love in that instant. I don't think about it too much unless it's super expensive. If something is a high price point, then of course I'll think, 'Okay, is this something that I want to keep for a long time? Is it really an investment? Will this suit me for a long time or go out of date?' But generally, I love the fact that fashion is where I can be spontaneous. It's where I can be very of-the-moment and I can just decide to love something just because I love it and maybe there's no reason why. Because it makes me feel something, happiness or whatever it is, or I can put it on and it makes me feel different. It's all of that — that's what I love about fashion.
We can change ourselves a little bit every season, depending on what that mood is or where you go. You want to keep moving into a different version of yourself based on the fashion that is influencing us and that is truly what I love about this industry and getting dressed. Every season, year, or whatever happens, you can change a little bit of who you are all of the time.
I rarely go back to what I used to wear or what I did before, but now I'm probably wearing things that I wore in the '90s again. I'm not dictated by trends or consciously seek them, but again, if I see something and it feels good, or see people wearing something and I like it, I'll get it. People are wearing bum bags and I want to get a bum bag. I haven't found the right one but I really want to wear one over my winter coat as a belt. Hands-free during the day — that's who I want to be.
I don't like to have too much stuff. If I've only worn something once or realize I'm probably not going to wear something again, I don't keep it. I'll give it away or sell it. It's good to move things on because I hate having a wardrobe that's full. There are certain things that I'm sentimental about, of course, but everything else I generally get rid of. And maybe when I'm 60 or 70, I might regret it, but I don't want to sit with loads of stuff for the next 30 years waiting to see if I'll wear them or not. I don't want to have too much choice. I want to be able to rotate the pieces that I love at that moment and then change it up.
This coming Fashion Month, I'm going to do a bit of London and Paris, maybe a bit of Milan. I'm not sure yet. Fashion Week is a time where I get to really embrace that part of me that likes to wear great fashion pieces. You're looking at new things and you're out there and it's a time where you can wear what you want and have fun with it.
I like to plan what I will wear because I don't take more than one suitcase. It can be challenging, especially in the winter, but because of my one-suitcase obsession, I've had to really think about what I have to take for the week. I could pack seven dresses, a coat, two pairs of shoes and I'm done. I don't know why I have that rule. It's a bit weird. I just like to feel streamlined and it's easy.
Shopping for my two boys is easy because boys want to be comfortable. My boys have always worn track. They've only ever worn track. Neither one has ever worn a shirt. If I put on a shirt and did the button and collar, they'd be like, 'What the hell is this?' They don't even wear jeans. They only wear track pants and sweatshirts and T-shirts and jackets. But they're always so cuddly in their clothes. If I had girls maybe I'd get a little more precious and I'd be more influenced by pretty little dresses. I definitely would go there if I had a girl.
But luckily also, we have kids on Farfetch, so I did a massive shop of kidswear. I bought some Boy London bombers and things that are bit more designer, which I wouldn't normally do. My bigger one is getting really into wearing black. Pretty much most days, if you look at my Instagram, he's mostly wearing the same thing: a skeleton tracksuit in black with a hood and it glows in the dark. He does not take that off. My little one pretty much wears hand-me-downs. Although, he got some new stuff from Farfetch, too, so he's doing alright."
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Note: This post has been updated from its original version to remove the statement that Farfetch has plans to relaunch its site.