The Glass Archival Fashion Collectors series: Glass talks to Steve Karas about his passion for JP Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood and Maison Margiela

FOR THE Glass Archival Fashion Collectors series, we spoke to some of the most influential collectors from across the world to hear more about how they started their collection, the purpose behind it, and their take on the ever-growing industry. Today, we focus on:

Steve Karas who collects Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood and Maison Margiela


Steve Karas with some of his JP Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood
and Maison Margiela collection

“I come from a background where we didn’t shop for big brands, though my flamboyant mum always let me live my truth through my clothing choices. I could have a wild look as long as I didn’t ask for too much money for it.” Growing up in France, Lord Warg – known to his friends as Steve Karas – has always been surrounded by fashion. What started out as a passion to source a wardrobe that was unique and, more importantly, affordable, soon transformed into a hobby and then a career.

“Buying second hand linked my love for shopping, my love for the planet, and my beginner’s budget,” Karas tells me. Spending hours searching for the most beautiful clothing online, Karas reminisces about “the hustle of the first years of collecting – it was cheaper and there was more clothing to choose from”.



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A post shared by Steve Karas (@lordwarg)

Talking about the way in which fashion has changed with the rise of digital, Karas tells me, “I think of any teenager in a small town without a vintage shop and no one to explore fashion with. Now they can go online, buy vintage, find a new community and make new friends. Who you will be can be inspired from people thousands of miles away, that’s the best part of the internet.”

One of his fondest experiences of sourcing an item was during a holiday in Carcassonne, in which he messaged a potential seller online after noticing he was based in the city. “Here I was, 4000 miles away from home, buying a vintage SS97 Jean Paul Gaultier top from a stranger on the streets of France!”


Karas’ collection reflects his personal ethos, “I choose to support brands that I see myself in”. He particularly focuses on designs by Vivienne Westwood, for the fact that she uses her brand for climate change activism; Jean Paul Gaultier, for speaking out about racism, sexism, and his celebration of queer people; and finally, Maison Martin Margiela, for showing the world how “creativity and actions are more powerful than circumstances”.

Together, the way in which each designer has “deconstructed or rebuilt pieces, and the way collections were presented, completely changed how fashion was seen. They paved the way for many new designers that we know today”. His collection of Jean Paul Gaultier, in particular, is very dear to him, “he redefined what a man can wear and that meant a lot for me when I was growing up and questioning my identity”.



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A post shared by Steve Karas (@lordwarg)

Today, Karas is based in New York where he runs House W. NYC., ‘the result of almost two decades of collecting vintage fashion’. On speaking, the collection spans more than 1000 pieces, the majority being Jean Paul Gaultier. “Now I share my fashion knowledge with others all over the world, photographing each piece in detail, discussing the facts that were once forgotten”.

Sharing his collection online has opened up many doors for Karas. Among his notable achievements are dinner invitations from the friends of Stephen Sprouse –  the American designer who “was the only person in the world that could use Andy Warhol’s art in fashion”, “invitations to the Brooklyn Museum and the MET museum for unforgettable nights of shows like Cardin, Gaultier and McQueen”, and collaborating with the Fashion Institute of Technology to show some of his personal collection of Susanne Bartsch in their 2015 exhibit.



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A post shared by Steve Karas (@lordwarg)

In terms of his notable pieces, Karas tells me it is a Stephen Sprouse coat from the AW98 runway that features an Andy Warhol print of a giant robot. “Only a few pieces were made and the print was specifically placed to respect the art. Today, we see Warhol on clothing everywhere but without the feeling of excellence with it, instead art is used for the quantity that will be sold, not the quality of products.”

He concludes, “What I love the most in vintage is what it represents and its exclusivity”.

by Lily Rimmer