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Jared Kinley with Josie. Lost Era Collection

An interview with Lost Era Collection, the retro rebellion lifestyle brand

Lost Era Collection has grown from a retro photography blog into a successful magazine, clothing store and lifestyle brand in just a matter of years. It’s headed by 23-year old Jared from Oklahoma, a content creator who wanted to expand and empower his local creative community.

The brand prides itself on showcasing retro and rebellion aesthetics, fashion and attitude. We spoke to Jared to gain a deeper understanding of what Lost Era Collection represents.

Jared, where are you based?

So both myself and the brand are based in the American Midwest, specifically Oklahoma City. This might seem a bit surprising since our content doesn’t typically seem like something you’d see in a place like Oklahoma, but I think that’s what makes it unique. Our photos have a Californian aesthetic, but for the most part they were shot here at home. We do travel out and do photoshoots elsewhere, but for the most part – at least when I’m photographing – our photos are taken in the Midwest. I do love California, though!

How did Lost Era Collection come into existence?

Lost Era Collection has taken many forms but I think it has finally found itself. It started out with this feeling like there wasn’t a safe environment in Oklahoma for models to completely be themselves and take the kind of photos that we do. I wanted to change that, shake up the culture. I quickly found that there were a whole lot of people – both models and consumers – that really valued the type of content I specialise in. And so the community grew from there.

Our style is a bit risqué; the goal is to help our models feel confident and sexy and realise how badass they are. We do this through quality photography, the type that is common in advertising and magazines, but with a distinct retro edge.

Our models and photographers have worked incredibly hard to get Lost Era Collection going. We’ve found that Instagram has been really useful for promoting our work and networking with other like-minded creators. But our main pride and joy is our photography magazine – print has always been the final step of the photography process for me. There’s something about the physicality of it – being able to hold it in your hands, feel the texture of the paper. It’s something copy that you will never get from digital outlets like Instagram.

So yeah. Lost Era has come into its own as both a physical piece of art and expression, and a lifestyle. And of course, we’re extending into a fashion store, too.

Why are you drawn to the retro aesthetic? What does it mean to you?

So I was born in the 90s; ’96 to be exact. As a kid growing up in the late 90s, early 2000’s, I wasn’t much into pop culture. It wasn’t until I picked up a film camera that I dove deep into learning about the culture of my era. I started researching supermodels, photographers, and everything else related to life in the 70s, 80s and 90s. I was hooked and realised how boring (in terms of art and fashion) my generation could be compared to previous ones. I feel like the 70s-90s was a time where people weren’t afraid to be unapologetically themselves – especially artists. Nowadays it feels like everyone is trying to be someone else.

I discovered that there was a community of people who loved shooting film and creating retro content, which excited me. There are so many social media accounts out there dedicated to posting retro-themed photography, and there really is a huge audience for it. I guess we’re all just a bunch of hippies!

How big is the team you work with?

It’s quite small, actually. All of the photography and design work is done in-house by me, unless we have a featured photographer. I’m lucky enough to have an amazing girlfriend who works as a stylist for the photoshoots and sometimes doubles as a model. She’s a 90s babe herself; bangs, attitude and all.

We also have a few videographers on call for when we decide to shoot a serious film, although most of our footage is filmed by Josie or myself with our cheap $40 handycam – it works with our aesthetic!

Where are your garments made, and what materials do you work with?

Our clothes are made by Hanes, an American company – if it’s good enough for Michael Jordan, it’s good enough for us! I appreciated the fact that they sell eco-friendly shirts, as I think it’s important to do our bit for the environment. And of course, their garments are really comfortable and high-quality, made of materials like cotton.

Our clothing line is quite new, as for a long time we focused on just creating print media. I wanted to find another way to grow our sense of community, and it made sense to make graphic tees and crewneck sweatshirts. We wanted to recreate the look that was readily worn in the 90s. Print tees with oversized images were big back then – one of my favourites was one with Kelly from ‘Saved by the Bell’ on it.

Our first line up is the ‘Static Series’, crewneck sweatshirts and t-shirts with our photos edited to look like they’re from an out of whack TV or VCR tape. I wanted the clothing to be pieces of art rather than just plain merchandise. We’re working on more lines to release soon.

Do you have any goals to expand your brand in the next few years?

Our brand has been expanding since its inception, and with our recent successful launch of the first edition of Lost Era, I feel it’s only going to keep growing from here. We’re transforming from a photography outlet to a lifestyle brand. That is, we’re not just selling an artsy photobook, we’re selling a lifestyle. This lifestyle incorporates art and rebellion. We are a symbol, an entity; at our core we’re just knuckleheaded kids rebelling against social norms. Join us.

Summary

Lost Era Collection is continuing to grow as a successful retro lifestyle brand thanks to the hard work of Jared and his team. To view more of their offerings, visit their website, where you’ll find video content, photography and an online clothing store.

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