Conversations with Clowe.

                                               No Signal.

Photographed by Isaiah C.

What is No Signal?

An interactive vintage retailer.

How long has No Signal been around?

We just had the one-year anniversary. This space was not inhabitable when I first signed the lease. I signed the lease in May 2018 so from May to September we were building it and from then we got here. We’ve been collecting items with the intentions of having a store for 4 and a half years now. When I went to college I wasn’t happy with what I was doing. I was cool with Calvin and Jalen, and we all kind of sat down because we knew we wanted to do something new. Everyone kept saying there is nowhere to shop in Atlanta, we have all the artist, we have everything living here but no one shops here. I don’t even mean just vintage, where do you shop here in Atlanta? People forget that the stock in Los Angeles and New York is different from the stock in Atlanta so we’re still getting stock that stores think Atlanta wants. In actuality it’s just a representation of people who are actually buying stuff from these department stores. It’s not for the kids that are deciding what’s cool to them.

How did you get into vintage designer specifically?

It ties into the first thing for me, I don’t want something that everyone has and there was a period of time were everyone was doing designer but they wanted current season. When I was in LA, the people at USC would all buy the same bags which is cool but it becomes repetitive. The bags would be cool but you could also spend maybe half the price and have one that people haven’t seen before. I look at it like this: you’re an individual, why would you want to look like somebody else and why would you want to spend five-thousand dollars to look like somebody else? If I’m going to spend money I want it to not be on you.

Hello, I'm Emily and I'm the owner of No Signal.

Where are you from?

I moved around a lot. I was born in Tucson, Arizona. I rode horses professionally as a kid and we would always travel around for that. Eventually I moved to a different area in Tucson then from there I moved here. That was around age ten or eleven.

What sparked your interest in fashion?

I’ve always been interested in clothing because as much as I want to say I hate standing out, I hate blending in. I love to stand out but also like to be left alone which is totally contradictive. It’s like someone wearing something crazy and saying, “why are they looking at me?” You know why they’re looking at you but at the same time you just want to be left alone. I’ve always been like that, not even just with clothing.

When my father passed we got his items shipped to us. My dad was a heavy rock and metal fan. I got this ottoman from him and I knew it was weird but I couldn’t figure out why. The ottoman was really heavy for some reason and I just knew something was up. It turns out that it opened and on the inside was all of my dad’s rock memorabilia. It had old tickets, old vinyls, a bunch of stuff. For three to five years I downloaded all that music onto my iPod and that’s all I would listen to. I started to research Sex Pistols, and other bands like Rolling Stones. I watched a whole bunch of old interviews and there was a bunch of dicks drawn on stuff and mind you, I’m young. I'm looking at stuff like, “people are buying that? That’s crazy.” I figured out that was Vivienne Westwood. I remember going on the Vivienne Westwood website for the first time and seeing three-hundred dollar chains with dicks on them. Vivienne was really one of the first designers that I really gravitated to, everything else was like astronomically more expensive and this was before a “resale market”.

Photographed by Isaiah C.

The store has a welcoming vibe compared to the typical high-end store was that thought about when bringing the space to life?

That definitely was important to us. I wanted this store to feel like a gallery. It’s supposed to look like a speak easy from the front, that was my whole idea of No Signal. I wanted a place for kids of all demographics to feel like they could go and touch something.

Does your closet resemble the store?

The store is my closet [laughing], me and Jalen talk about this all the time. I had to stop taking things home because say I take it home and we’ve got a stylist looking to pull something, now it’s not at the store. I’ll still try something on, like it and take it home but that’s really rare honestly because I don’t really go a lot of places. In all honesty though, my closet at home is just a bunch of big t-shirts, just cozy clothes and some of my archive that I just won’t ever sell. I have some of the Russian Gaultier pieces--I’m Russian so I collect that season in particular and it’s one of his oldest. I won’t ever sell those pieces, I don’t even pop them out I just pet them every now and again. They’re jackets too so I’ve been waiting until the winter.

Photographed by Isaiah C.

Have you ever thought to create your own clothing label?

Personally, I wouldn’t be good at it and that’s something I think people kind of need to have a realization with nowadays. When I say that I don’t mean your stuff sucks, I mean like I said earlier, we see things go up and it puts a lot of people in the position to copy. I love seeing everyone take a creative aspect to their life and there is enough room for everyone to do what they want but sometimes it gets over saturated and if you did have a good direction, you settle because you know this other thing will go faster. That goes back to what I was saying about the marketing situation. Could I put us out there and really just put so and so in this item? Yeah but does that person represent you? Even then, if they do, is it about them or what they are in? It’s now become about them. If we were making the clothes it would be a different story.

Photographed by Isaiah C.

Would you ever consider selling current season clothing? (similar to known department stores)

It’s kind of a complicated answer, but yes and no. It’s not because I’m not into it, it just confuses our consumers since we are vintage retail but I also don’t want people to think this is the “archive store”. I hate that word because really it’s resale. A lot of stuff in here is not archive, we just liked it, take those ski-mask sweaters for example. I want to specialize in what we do, not what someone else does. I try hard not to compete with other people in the city because I want them to do what they do well and I want them to respect what I do well.

Do you have any goals, personal or for the store itself?

Property. It’s so important to own, especially in the city because everyone from out of town with the proper income levels is taking it and it's rising all of the property for us up. I would preferably like to own something like a space for this. 

Would you want to relocate the store?

 I’m up in the air. I would really like to build a space with what I want in mind because I want to get into furniture and there is not enough space here.

Photographed by Isaiah C.

Going forward, what's next?

 I want this to be the Colette of Atlanta. That is my verbal mission statement that I say to people. Basically, I want No Signal to be a place where people come for things simply off the strength of knowing we provide something that’s new. Everything at Colette was hand-picked by the owner, that’s how we are, if it’s not picked by me its picked by Jalen. Our goal is to kind of show you that you don’t have to spend $1,200 on a Raf Simons jacket. Can you buy some crazy pieces here? For sure but you could also get a $100 Cavalli and be fly, that’s what this is supposed to be about.

Photographed by Isaiah C.

Final Words?

Buy less, spend more, like it.

Follow No Signal on social media!

130 Cone St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303

  • Follow No Signal on Instagram
Isaiah Clowe's Portfolio

 © 2020 by Clowe. A Creative Studio

  • Instagram
  • YouTube
  • Instagram
  • YouTube