Interview with Malcolm – the owner
Interview by Svetlana Likhacheva
Firstly, thank you so much for this interview today and hope all is well especially with what’s going on at the moment with the pandemic! Let’s start at the beginning; how and when was SteamRetro created and when did you first get the idea to create the shop?
We started a few years ago, first just doing handmade jewelry, gothic and steampunk, once we started working big events Europewide we decided to add more things, just things we like, clothing, accessories…
What is the appeal of Gothic and alternative clothing for you?
I grew up in Leeds in the 80s so the goth culture was very alive there, every week I could emerse myself in the culture, the gigs, bars, the people.
Were you always interested in the alternative gothic scene and fashion?
First was the music, then the fashion for me, I could always remember the sights and smells around the scene when I was a kid and wanted to recreate that.
How do you feel the fashion industry has changed over the years?
Like everything, it’s all about the money, so its become a bit more commercial and no so alternative, but we know when things become mainstream they loose character. I do like the fact that Goth fashion has endured though, especially as some movements come and go really quickly these days.
I know that before the pandemic you guys used to work on big events around Europe – can you tell more about that period of your work? Did you sell only on those festivals, or online orders were available too?
We mainly sold in events, we prefer the old fashion style of meeting people, getting to know personally your clients that eventually become friends, and through the events, after people will order stuff from the webpage, once they know you and know the quality you sell.
What were the pros and cons of being a traveling shop?
Its exhausting, all the hours on the road, but its more than made up for by seeing all your favourite bands, meeting new friends, and experiencing all Europe’s most beautiful cites, their food and culture!
You had to stop traveling open a shop because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Was it somehow harder or unusual for you? Do you enjoy running this shop now?
It has been quite hard, losing your way of life, like it has been for so many people. Culture and music are not a priority for any of the politicians around Europe, so they don’t care about these events, and many people lost their livelihood. I guess ignorant people with no cultural interests are easier to manipulate. This seems to be the political objective. The shop it’s a bit of a shock, working the same hours, in the same place, but luckily our region is one of the nicest in Spain and we have a lot of support from the local people. Also we are using the time to update our webpage and our social media, though we still prefer the face to face.
Has COVID-19 affected your business in any other way except for opening a stationary shop?
Well, basically we lost our job. Not having a decent living for 2 years now, its pretty stressful, but you just have to get on with it, we cannot change it, so…
How big is the whole shop team? Have you all worked together from the beginning?
It’s a family business, just me and my wife.
Do you have any celebrity customers or any you have wearing and endorsing your designs?
During the years in all those events we had a lot of people passing our stand and buying things, some more famous than others: actors, musicians… it would seem rude to mention them!
How would you describe the range of goods on your site and your shop?
Basically we sell the things we like, we have a bit of everything: clothing, accessories, jewellery, figures. I’m a bit of a collector of military history, so we also sell military surplus , medals etc.
You sell many products featuring different rock/metal bands. What music genres do you prefer yourself? Any bands you can call your favourites?
I prefer the goth scene more, my wife the metal, so we have a wide range of choices: Sisters of Mercy, Killing Joke, Bauhaus to Iron Maiden, Slayer and Opeth! We usually have arguments about the playlist in the shop each day!
How do you get inspired to make your products and come up with new ideas?
Paying the bills inspires me! Haha, no, some days its harder that others to come up with new ideas, inspiration can come from anywhere. We spent a few months at home during lockdown which was quite productive, rather than being tired from travelling between events I could be creative.
Who would you love to collaborate with in the future, be it a model, musician, photographer?
No one really, we are not really into the influencer fashion (im old school!) just to say.. We are just honoured when any of our customers wear our stuff, sometimes they are famous, sometimes just famous in their own home! Who cares? Just makes us really happy, whoever wants to wear it!
Is there anything new coming out soon? If so, can you tell us?
We are always working on new stuff, a few months back we started our latest gothic clothing collection, it had a very good reaction so we hope to have a new one soon! Boots/ Shoes could be the next thing, never really had the space to do that in the live events (or space in the van!), so we are looking at that!
What other interests do you have outside your business? Do you have any hobbies?
We like music, so when we are not working in festivals we are travelling to see concerts. Also we like very much animals, we have rescued a few over the years, we live in the countryside so our land and animals keep us busy, we try to grow stuff too, with varying success!
Is there anything you would like to say or wish to our readers?
We hope this shit hopefully will be over soon, see you at the next Festival!!
Thank you so much for your time! To our readers – if you wish to check out the amazing products in SteamRetro shop – please go through the links above!