Even over a grainy Skype connection, Octavius La Rosa’s outfit is arresting. “It’s Comme des Garçons
, from Summer 2000. Probably the most famous menswear pieces are the patchworks from that season. It’s tapestry fabrics from the 18th century, but done in patchwork like rags.” He is wearing a coat from his extensive personal archive of avant-garde designer garments, a collection built steadily over the past decade. What began as a teenage fascination with the brash, inventive work of Walter van Beirendonck and
Bernard Willhelm snowballed into passion project and, eventually, a business. The 25 year-old La Rosa operates Dot COMME, a Melbourne-based boutique and online store that deals vintage items from a small group group of Japanese and European designers, with a particular focus on Comme des Garçons. Dot COMME acts as a hub for aficionados worldwide and an important
resource for the fashion community at large—La Rosa has sold pieces to museums and regularly fields borrowing requests from stylists, publications, and art galleries. In a medium fixated on constant churn, labors of love like La Rosa’s function as important links to fashion’s recent past.
La Rosa spoke with Adam Wray about the origins of his obsession, its transition into a business, and the importance of archiving.