London-based alt-pop duo Oh Wonder looooves a good DIY project. From music (the band wrote and recorded their debut album independently in a home studio last September) to set design, DIY fashion projects and beyond, Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West put their heart and soul into everything they create. And we do mean everything!
Charming fans with their dreamy pop tunes, Oh Wonder have gotten the chance to travel the world and perform in nearly every continent over the past 12 months. Needless to say, they’ve become packing experts and have discovered some amazing shops and unique designers along the way.
When we met up with them following their electric performance at Montreal’s Osheaga festival, just before they set sail for Chicago to perform at Lollapalooza 2016, Josephine and Anthony were sweet enough to let us in on all of their best-kept fashion, travel and beauty secrets. Woo-hoo!
B+C: For your debut album, you wrote, recorded and released one song per month. What inspired such a unique approach?
Josephine: It’s very easy to slip into complacency when you don’t have someone breathing down your neck. We set such tight deadlines so we were challenging ourselves to build a portfolio of songs!
Does this passionate DIY approach translate to other aspects of Oh Wonder as well?
Anthony: Everything has to come from us. The live show, the set, the props — all the ideas come from us.
Josephine: As far as fashion goes, I don’t feel comfortable working with a stylist. I’ve tried it a few times and I’m always like, ‘You don’t know my body like I know my body’. I know what I’m comfortable in, which, to me, is what fashion is all about. It’s about feeling great. We also design all our concepts, we designed our logo ourselves — whatever happens, it comes down to us. But if stuff goes wrong, it comes down to us. *laughs*
Anthony: That’s when we say, ‘It’s your fault!’ *laughs*
You’ve been on the road for over a year now. What are some of your top go-to travel tips?
Josephine: Always pack more underwear than you think you’ll need! I end up wearing two pairs a day — it just makes you feel fresh. I haven’t showered in four days, but I’ve got clean underwear on! *laughs* Also, iron everything before you go, even though it gets creased. At least then it’s only going to be half-creased when you take it out.
Do you have any must-know beauty hacks for all the traveling fashionistas out there?
Josephine: Dry shampoo is what we live on! I use Batiste Dry Shampoo a lot. I also use Moroccan Oil on my hair because I straighten it far too much and it gets really dry. Oh, and nails! I started getting shellac manicures. I always painted them myself, but you can’t be painting your nails on a tour bus or plane. Everyone’s like, ‘Dude, put your nail polish away!’
What’s the best (and worst!) thing about London fashion?
Anthony: London is quite quick. Trends disappear very quickly. I came home after a tour, we were away for two months, and all my friends were wearing different things. I was like, ‘When did this happen?’ *laughs*
Josephine: The best thing is London is very creative and very happy to express themselves in a very outlandish way. We’re not classic chic French. Also, all my friends are very resourceful and we have some amazing vintage shops. If you go into the really posh areas, they have a lot of really nice charity shops.
You can find unbelievable things there! I’ve got the most beautiful pair of leather brogues from Russell & Bromley, which would be like $300. I got them for £20 [about $26]! So the best thing about London is that there are loads of rich people who give away their clothes. *laughs*
Having traveled to nearly every continent, what’s your favorite store in the world?
Josephine: My favorite shop in the world is in New York actually. It’s called Awoke and it’s vintage. They curate [their collection] and only have a few things in the store at one time. It’s always my size and everything looks great! Every time you go in there, they’ve updated all of their stock.
I got this amazing ‘80s flared black jumpsuit with a sparkly top and slits down the legs — I’ve been wearing it on stage. There’s one in Greenpoint and one in Williamsburg. That’s my top tip! Oh, and another amazing person is Marie Lockhart who does the most beautiful embroidery and custom pieces.
So what’s next for this darling duo? They have a few more weeks of touring left, then they’ll be returning home to London to record their followup album and, undoubtedly, visit all those wonderful vintage shops for more jealousy-inducing deals. They’re also looking forward to enjoying “the beauty of the small luxuries in life. Being able to make your own breakfast is something that Anthony and I haven’t done in ages,” gushes Josephine before naming her ultimate dream breakfast: “Scrambled eggs on sourdough with Sriracha.” Yum!
What’s your absolute fave place to shop? Tweet us @BritandCo.
(Photos via Katherine Dydyk)