Hope Esser and Sophia Cosmadopoulos are vintage clothiers who go by the name Go Bang! They met in college and share a studio in Bushwick where they meld their ideas about art and fashion. Both majored in art and art history and can now be found every other week under their yellow canopy at the Brooklyn Flea Market in Fort Greene surrounded by quietly outlandish accessories and assorted rare ‘90s garments.
Text by Cole Louison
Your line is named after an Arthur Russell song. I’ve seen Hope’s very impressive record collection, and you’re both artists. How do all of these fit together?
Cosmadopoulos: Art and fashion and music are all linked, but it’s really hard to say how. I think there is some reason musicians and artists dress a certain way, but what’s the reason? Arthur Russell had a fashion sense, but it was anti-fashion. He was just this guy from Iowa. He wasn’t flamboyant in any way. But his music was. When I drew up our business cards, I had that mind. As far as Go Bang!, we both loved the energy of that one track, and that woman he samples is amazing. His songs just have a presence—a magic. He can do any style–folk or disco or experimental–and work these styles in such interesting ways. He also had a beautiful voice but was a brilliant musician, and I feel like we don’t have that as much in performers today. I’m also nostalgic for that time I missed, New York in the late 70s. Like, why can’t we all just live in lofts and make art and music?
You’re both visual artists. So how did you start doing this?
C: Sophomore year at Oberlin, we’d go thrift shopping together and that’s when we realized we had similar aesthetic tastes. Then we collaborated on a few costume projects—dresses for the mermaid parade, and for Halloween we were old-time synchronized swimmers.
Esser: And every time I was going into a vintage store or flea market I thought "I could totally do this, but better." Then last December a vintage store in Williamsburg Sweet Virginia was for sale, and I was like "Oh what if!?" It wasn’t realistic then but it that was the point where we started seriously talking about it.
New York has seven major flea markets. Why this one?
E: Once we decided to do this we started exploring other flea markets. We went to the one in Chelsea, the one in Hell’s Kitchen, and the one in Williamsburg, which was icky. This place has a really pleasant vibe. There’s vintage and quality antiques, but also good records and good tacos. A lot of people here have been doing this a long time. That also makes a difference.
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