Cameron Silver has always been ahead of trends and content platforms — as a Los Angeles cheerleader, a vintage clothing guru who opened his Decades shop back in 1997, an early blogger, influencer and reality show star, and a high-low H by Halston pitchman on QVC since 2015.
Now temporarily off-air and in quarantine at his home in the suburbs of West Chester, Penn., he is channeling his charm into a new medium, Instagram Live, where he’s hosting twice-weekly, 35-minute episodes of “Candid Cameron” featuring such guests as Isaac Mizrahi, Amy Fine Collins, Jennifer Tilly and Dana Thomas, and “Couture Kibbitz” with fashion historian Rachel Elspeth Gross. (A schedule is available on Silver’s Instagram.)
“I like to put on a show, and I miss going on air,” said the H by Halston fashion director, explaining that “Couture Kibbitz” tackles a different theme each episode, such as the 1973 Battle of Versailles, as WWD originally coined it. “Candid Cameron” is an interview format that could cover a range of topics. On April 8 at 6 p.m. ET, for example, Silver will chat with Mizrahi about theater, not fashion.
“The idea is to create a community in this crisis and a little distraction and maybe give people a little knowledge,” said Silver, adding that he’s still polishing the tech side of the productions, which he does solo. “I also wanted to do this so it would force me to blow out my hair and keep my grooming going!” he said.
As for the other parts of his business, Decades is currently closed because of the coronavirus crisis. “My staff is trying to do as much as they can digitally, and we’re working on the SBA loans, it’s really scary,” Silver said. “I have had the store for 23 years, and it is a genre of retail that has a relevance that’s never been more profound,” be said, adding that he was an advocate for sustainability before it was fashionable.
His vintage trunk shows (he has about 20 a year across the country) are also on hold. But he’s hopeful, even with the challenges of the pandemic. “There is something about being a legit person in this field,” he said, when asked about competition from recent re-commerce giants, like The RealReal. “I’ve been working on some projects to scale the business in partnership which I can hopefully continue after. And I have a perspective. I’m a white-glove experience for people. I have never tried to be everything to everyone. That’s a lesson a lot of brands will learn now.”
“And a lot of those larger e-comm sites have done so much of the marketing to further demystify the notion of preloved that it has had collateral benefit. I’m also working on a guide to edit your closet, I’m doing all this stuff. We’re all throwing spaghetti on the wall, but it’s coming from a place of authenticity,” he continued.
As for the future of fashion and content, “It has to come back to authenticity and familiarity,” he mused. “There’s a whole new media that happened in two weeks. It’s DIY in the extreme, and there will be personalities who emerge from this period who are authentically creating content. Right now, it’s not about showing off, it’s about showing up.”