If you ever find yourself at the corner of Fairfax and Melrose on a Thursday, you’ll see lines down the block of people clamoring to get their hands on the latest drop by streetwear giant Supreme. About half of the people there will be buying for themselves, the other half are there to flip clothes for profit. That’s where people like Louis Katayama come in.
Katayama, a 20 year old business student at UC Irvine, spends most of his time as a marketing intern for a pharmaceutical company, but his true passion lies in his side projects. For the last two years, he has made money by reselling items, primarily clothing, for others. “I also do some freelance modeling and marketing when the opportunities arise.”
For Katayama, buying used and reselling clothes began as a necessity. “I would buy used designer goods and I found that when I would buy it, I would wear it a little bit and sell it for more money than what I paid for,” he says. “It just made sense to buy better quality things and then not lose any money on them and make a little bit of money on the side.”
Katayama first gained an interest in fashion when he was a part of the OC skate scene. He would collect Thrasher and Supreme gear to fit in with his peers. Later, in order to appear wealthier than he was, he also started wearing brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton. Now, he wears an updated version of 1950s youth style, incorporating varsity jackets and tapered jeans, as well as more avant-garde streetwear looks from Rick Owens. He appreciates fashion for the ability “to express and individualize” himself.
From there, others began to take notice. “Then people started noticing asking me to do it for them and it kind of grew into a bigger thing,” Katayama says. “I’d meet people that were just trying to unload certain things. So I said, ‘instead of worrying about this, I could just sell it for you.’”
“There’s a lot of people who are just extremely wealthy and don’t care what they buy,” he adds. “Instead of giving it to Goodwill where they’ll get a tiny tax write-off . . . they can get a lot more through consigning it.” After the sale is finalized, Katayama will get a cut, and he says that many times the rest of the profits are given to a charity. Katayama credits both his knowledge of the market and his ability to find buyers quickly with his success in consigning. Recently, he has begun to sell higher value items such as cars and jewelry.
Katayama says his ultimate goal is to start his own business, selling fashion essentials using high quality materials. He also maintains a presence on Instagram and several online fashion communities. “It’s a way for me to put all my outfits out there, as a way to document them for myself, but also for other people.”
Follow Katayama on Instagram and YouTube at the_renaissance_man.