The chase: Meet Hollywood’s luxury fashion detective, Gab Waller

1 May 2024
By Amberley Colby

Ahead of her event with The Luxury Network New Zealand, our editorial assistant Amberley Colby chatted with luxury fashion sourcer Gab Waller about her meteoric rise.

For most, the phrase ‘sold out’ might evoke feelings of defeat or disappointment, but for luxury fashion sourcer Gab Waller, they’re two of her favourite words. Waller’s job starts the minute a direct message lands in her inbox, where she receives upwards of 50 requests a day from individuals wanting her to hunt down rare or in-demand fashion pieces for them. The 30-year-old has built her entire business — — around this concept, but as she’ll tell you, she didn’t always know her Celine from her Bottega. 

Today, some of her biggest Kiwi fans will gather for a long lunch at the Park Hyatt to glean trending tips, and hear about her now infamous Vogue ‘Hot List’. She’s been brought to New Zealand by The Luxury Network for this special event that will be hosted by Fashion Quarterly’s Sarah Murray. But it doesn’t end there, afterwards she is off (by helicopter, no less) to the ultimate luxe accommodation — The Eagles Nest. There, she will have an intimate dinner with Maggie Marilyn and a very select group, before flying back to Auckland tomorrow to be part of another exclusive experience at Westfield Newmarket. 

But when I speak to her she’s still stationed at her desk in her West Hollywood office. I can only see her from the waist up but she’s got a chic black bag to the left of her and is wearing a tasteful smattering of gold jewellery. It’s obvious just from a glance that she’s got an eye for the finer things.

Growing up in Rockhampton, a small town in Queensland, Australia, a career in fashion had never crossed Waller’s mind. “I never envisioned or even thought of the fashion industry,” she explains. “I always had a desire to be unique and I think that was a huge influence for starting my company and wanting to do something that did not yet exist.”

It was this ambitious spirit that led Waller to secure a job in the Australian government once she’d left school — a role which, coincidentally, helped to uncover her interest in luxury fashion. “I was quite young and I was on a pretty decent salary for my age, and that’s how I discovered fashion, in particular luxury fashion,” says Waller. “That’s when my real passion for it grew because I was able to purchase [things] for myself personally. I took huge pride in getting very overdressed for my little government job.” 

Waller ended up spending about three years working between the state and federal government, before her interest in fashion prompted a major career pivot. Given her keen desire to enter the fashion industry, she packed her bags for Sydney — knowing this would be the best place to get her foot in the door. After trialling out several roles and internships in fashion buying and PR, she naturally gravitated towards styling before realising it wasn’t her true calling. “I felt that [styling] had come most organically to me. It felt very natural. But it wasn’t that ‘heart on fire’ moment,” she admits. 

The real ‘lightbulb moment’ for Waller came during a trip to Los Angeles in 2017. Still working as a stylist at the time, she realised how much stock the luxury houses were given in the States, and saw how she could forge a career for herself by sourcing luxury items for clients back in Australia. It was the following year in mid 2018 when was officially launched, and from there, things began to move very quickly for the young entrepreneur. 

To get her business off the ground, Waller spent the first few months working with a small handful of local Sydney clients who then recommended her services to their friends. She kept her fees low to get people through the door, and to this day, she only charges a flat fee of up to 350 USD. “I’m so grateful that I was able to launch in a market such as Australia, particularly Sydney,” she says. “I certainly don’t believe I would have had as much success as early on as I did if I had launched in any other market… I just feel for Sydney, and Australia in general, word of mouth is so massive and that is really to this day what my entire business has been built on.” It was through these initial work of mouth recommendations that Waller became known as ‘the old Celine girl’ due to her knack for finding rare and archival Celine pieces. “I was sourcing so many of those alphabet [Celine] pendants, and I remember being on the phone at all hours of the night to boutiques in Italy and Paris — whoever would answer their phone!” she says with a laugh. Given that Waller wasn’t a VIP client at any of the luxury fashion houses, getting access to such items took a lot of networking and relationship building, which soon paid off. 

It was at the six month mark that Waller saw her business explode unexpectedly on a global scale when she sourced a Celine coat for model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley — a story now synonymous with Waller’s journey to success. “I kind of had my eyes and ears all over the world at that point. I had tapped into a lot of multi-brand retailers that had old Celine stock and [knew] what they were selling,” explains Waller. “Rosie posted on her [Instagram] story saying that she was looking for a coat, an old Celine coat, and I knew in that moment that I could get it.” 

Despite having no way of reaching Huntington-Whiteley at the time, an opportunity presented itself several days later when Waller was approached by a mutual contact who asked if she could source the coat for the model. Naturally, Waller delivered. “I said [to Rosie], in passing, that it would mean the world to me if you could mention my name in an Instagram story if and when you do post one,” says Waller. “But not only did she mention me in a story, [it was] a ten-part series.” The model cemented her praise further by making a dedicated post to her feed, thanking Waller by name for her service.

It was something of a domino effect after that. Waller recalls waking up to see the posts live and feeling overwhelmed by the sudden level of attention her business was getting. “It was definitely an overnight explosion of just, wow, this is [now] a global business and I need to now do everything in my power to manage this,” says Waller. Within 24 hours, she found herself sourcing the same coat for Hailey Bieber, who she has since added to her extensive roster of celebrity clients, which includes names like Kourtney Kardashian, Lily Alridge, and it-girl Sofia Richie Grainge, whom Waller has sourced multiple items for.

In 2019, Waller began making plans to move to Los Angeles so that she could be closer to many of her core clients, but just before she was set to leave, the Covid pandemic hit. Despite the toll this took on many businesses over this time, for Waller, the perks of running a social media-based business became apparent. “Covid truly accelerated my growth tremendously. I think it was because a lot of people did have this urge to splurge and extra funds as people weren’t going out for dinner or on holiday,” she says. In 2021, she was finally able to make the move, and is now based full-time in Los Angeles. “I love my life here,” she says with a smile. “I’m hitting two years and it is very similar to Sydney, I will say. So adjusting to my new life was relatively easy [in that] regard.”

In the last couple of years, Waller has been able to grow her team from two to ten, with three people based full-time in the business’ West Hollywood office and the rest scattered around the world. For the founder, this means she’s able to take more of a backseat when it comes to sourcing and to devote more time to developing the business and overseeing her team. “I’m still very active, especially speaking to the clients,” she says. “I never want anyone to think that I’m not around, but it really is overseeing Elodie and Colin [two of Waller’s sourcing assistants] in their positions and making sure that the business is continuing to grow, hitting certain numbers.” 

True to her word, Waller remains committed to answering all requests that come her way, regardless of volume. “The mentality is that we’re going to absolutely give it our all,” she explains. Each sourcing request that is received is logged in a database, and while it’s common for items to be found within a 24 to 28-hour period, sometimes they can take up to six months to track down. When asked about the most challenging request she’s received, Waller emphasises that it’s not so much about a specific item, but rather the demand. “To me, the most challenging doesn’t come down to the specific brand. I really feel confident in saying that if I get a request for one item, it’s out there, I can find it — but it’s the quantity that we need to source, because of course we’re dealing with high trending pieces. So 20-plus clients [who] all want the same item, that’s when it becomes really challenging.” At the time of our interview, it’s Miu Miu’s rainbow crochet bag that’s at the top of Waller’s request list. 

Of her recent trip to New Zealand Gab says: “I am so excited to meet so many of my New Zealand clients, followers and supporters.” This sentiment is underscored in every facet of Waller’s business; from ensuring no DM is ignored to tirelessly sourcing each request she receives, her greatest satisfaction comes from delighting her clients. “I truly just love making people happy. I think that’s the biggest driver every single day,” she says, “One of my biggest motivators is just receiving positive client feedback. So for them to message and say ‘I received my bag, thank you so much. I had such a great experience and I’m happy’… making my clients happy is just everything to me.”

When I end my call with Waller, I feel as though I’ve just finished speaking with a friend. This, I later realise, is the true Gab Waller effect: the power she has to make every client and individual she interacts with feel seen and attended to. In an industry that’s reputed for being insincere and cutthroat, Waller shines through as one of the real ones. 

Words: Amberley Colby
Imagery: Supplied

Gab Waller x The Luxury Network New Zealand Luncheon, Wednesday 1st of May 2024. Tickets (sold out) available at


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