At first glance, Topper Luciani looks like the guy leading your woodland yoga retreat — with more spirit beads around his neck than a proper monk. But his actual day job is as the fashion CEO of the future, spearheading the earth-first era of fashion and flipping the vintage game on its head. Sure, selling old clothes on the internet might not sound glamorous, but it’s given Luciani a chance to support himself while helping save the planet, one used t-shirt at a time.
Luciani’s little-known first foray into the fashion world started with a polo shirt line called Sir Drake. The brand was picked up at Neiman Marcus, but ended in dramatics intense enough for a Liam Neeson film. The first problem was that Sir Drake had high manufacturing costs — costs that weren’t sustainable when the economy crashed in 2008, and sales dried up. The second (and arguably bigger) problem was that Luciani claims he’d set up shop in a factory run by the local mafia. Even with no sales, his factory costs stayed the same, naturally, and he soon learned a tough lesson about taking out credit. After dissolving his line in an attempt to dodge the debt, the mob made it clear that he still needed to pay them.
“Two men [from the mafia] cornered me in a coffee shop,” he says. “They took me into their car, drove me to a live poultry butcher shop and… let’s just say scared me into finding those funds to repay them.”
This anecdotal episode put Luciani off manufacturing completely. He turned to vintage clothing, and after experimenting with various vintage resale ventures, he came to learn about the actual lifecycle of the things we wear. Luciani realized he could do a lot more than turn a few bucks on used jackets, he could actually help reduce the ever-worsening environmental footprint of the apparel industry.
This moment of clarity led to Tagpop, Luciani’s latest venture, which is well on its way to becoming a new industry standard, changing the way we buy and value clothes, forever.