Portraits of Julie Anne Quay photographed by David Toro for Vfiles
When Julie Anne Quay was the executive editor of V magazine she never missed one of the fashion magazine's legendary parties. "There'd be Lady Gaga and Kanye West inside," recalls Quay, "and outside, there were literally hundreds of fashion fans. I realized that the party is not in the party; the party is outside of the party."
So after she left her post at V in 2008, the boisterous Australian went to her former partners with an idea. "I wanted to start a new website for the next generation of fashion people, where [the fans] are curators and participants -- not just voyeurs anymore," says Quay. In mid-September 2012, VFiles went live, housing every issue of Visionaire, V and VMan as well as multimedia folders where users share Kate Moss GIFs and marvel at Lil' Kim's plastic surgery.
The site also connects to their YouTube channel, on which the VFiles crew (a group of late-20-something enfant terribles for the GIF generation who are more Fila circa 1994 than Alexander Wang) takes a tongue-in-cheek approach to the sometimes self-serious world of fashion. "It's not [about asking designers] 'Why are you using crepe in your jackets instead of wool?'" says Quay. "No one cares about that." Instead they film cheeky original video series like Model Files (the baby street casting was a highlight) and TMI, featuring Real World-style confessionals with downtown's crÃ¨me de la crÃ¨me. (Check out rapper LE1F's rant about hashtags.) Then there's the aptly-titled XTREME FASHION WEEK, in which guest hosts like reality star Bridget Helene Bahl and model Matt Logos bombard stuffy shows with cameras affixed to their ears. "There's so much footage of people trying to throw us out," Quay says. There's also the VFiles' store in SoHo, which carries exclusives like their recent X-Girl-inspired collection. A$AP Rocky hosted last summer's opening party, where the kids got rowdy fueled by the open bar and tunes by DJs Venus X and the Hood by Air designer $hayne. The NYPD even made an appearance. "To me, [the party] was the 'this is who we are,'" says Quay. "This is our people, this is our brand, this is the future."