BRADEN FASTIER / STUFF
Gabriel Boote started selling vintage clothing and shoes online at 13.00. Now 17, he has his own clothing brand and is gaining recognition overseas, including from US rappers.
At 13, Gabriel Boote realized his dream of becoming a rapper was “unrealistic”.
But it wasn’t the end of the world; the teen’s online forays into rap culture had sparked another obsession: fashion.
“I got into rap clothing,” said Boote, now 17. “Fashion and rap go hand-in-hand.”
The teen, who lives in Wakefield, south of Nelson, started researching brands, looking up everything, going into the whole world of that. “Every little detail, I’m so invested,” he said.
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Around the same time, wanting some cash for some clothes, Boote scoured op shops, boutiques and online listings for vintage clothing, which he sold online.
By 16, he had raised enough capital to launch something of his own, and Archangel was born.
“I wanted something of my own to have and do,” Boote said.
Watching online tutorials and scouring the internet for information, Boote built his small brand from scratch. He sourced a designer and manufacturer, and talked a friend into modeling the T-shirts he created.
Then, he worked on promotion, teaching himself the intricacies of Instagram advertising, and hitting up producers and rappers.
One was Nino Andretti, a New Jersey-based producer and DJ. When Andretti did a shout-out on his social media, the 50 T-shirts Boote produced sold out.
A second run of shirts was also snapped up – including the one Boote had reserved for himself, which he intended to wear for the interview, he said.
Boote has had support from other rappers too, including Kiwi musician Melodownz, who sent him an encouraging note after receiving two Archangel t-shirts.
Boote has spent hours watching videos of people who inspire him, especially Louis Vuitton’s Virgil Ablohwho died in 2021.
Like Abloh, Boote sees himself more as a creative director than a designer, involved in all the creative aspects of a fashion brand, he said.
Boote has one year left at Waimea College. Then, he’s aiming to study at a New York fashion design school.
“A job at a big fashion house: like Givenchy or Louis Vuitton.”
You can find Boote on Instagram at @gabrielboote.