8 Scandinavian initiatives extending the life of our garments
We’re all aware that clothing production is one of the biggest contributors to the environmental crisis. The question is: what shall we do about it? We meet 8 Scandinavian players promoting better fashion consumption through old — and new — solutions.
By OLIVER DAHLE
April 23, 2021
The Swedish outdoor brand has had the environment in mind ever since it was founded in 1993. It lets you discover the outdoors in minimalistic garments that can stand the test of time, both in terms of style and practicality.
Being a brand that is supposed to enjoy and take part of nature, it takes a big responsibility in not consuming it in a degenerative way.
— The goal for us is to have a circular ecosystem where circular products are circulated using circular business models. The products and the material that we have borrowed from nature should be circulated and used, before being returned to nature. It is a way for us to decouple our financial growth from resource use, explains Gustav Hedström, head of product-as-a-service at Houdini.
This is something the brand has been taken hold of in several different ways. Through their rental service, customers can rent Houdini garments for a shorter period, a service that enables users to try the garments before buying and also knowing that the garments will be used through their whole lifecycle. The service was introduced in 2012 in their stores and starting this spring, it’s also launched online — currently only in Sweden, but planned to expand in Europe. The brand also runs a service selling second-hand Houdini-garments, called Reuse, and offers repairs to maximize the products’ lifetime.
When buying or renting clothes that are supposed to deliver certain capabilities, you might wonder for how long that specific garment will be able to actually provide those capabilities. This is something Houdini took hold of and investigated — and it is a lot more than what you would expect.
— In a recent survey on our most used garment Power Houdi, users said that they on average keep their garment for approximately ten years and use it 1287 times. Much of the durability goes back to how the products are treated, where the water resistance can be restored with a DWR treatment, of course without any toxic substances, and for example repair a broken seam using our repair service, says Gustav Hedström.
What are your plans for the future, in terms of sustainability?
— We want to reimagine everything. Keep working on the circular ecosystem and going towards becoming a regenerative company using nature as a blueprint. The goal is to have 100% circular products and to make sure that the products are used often and over a long time and connecting the garments to offer more help and guidance to the users. The goal is to influence more than just the garments we are producing but also the lifestyle we promote.
Learn more about Houdini’s sustainability work here
Since the start in 2016, Yaytrade has established itself as one of Scandinavia’s most prominent marketplaces. By enabling brands to have sample sales selling their overstock in an easier way online, clothes that might have ended up as waste is then being used. But also by letting consumers and influencers sell their second-hand garments — exclusively from high-end brands — allowing the end customer to buy premium fashion at great prices.
A big part of their business model is to take care of things that, for various reasons, are no longer in use and bring those things to life again. A business model that has sustainability at its absolute core, something the company is especially proud of.
— We call ourselves the Sustainable Rebels, committed to combatting climate change and promoting social justice. Our community, consumers, and employees believe circularity is the only solution. We’re not only creating a new international sales channel but also raising awareness and making better environmental choices possible, explains David Knape, CEO.
How will your type of business develop onwards?
— Our immediate goal is to take a leading position for sample and overstock sales, in Europe as a start. We aim to make our way of buying and selling pre-loved premium fashion the new standard by making it easy for consumers to shop sustainably, as opposed to the antiquated fast fashion model. We’re also focused on further developing our tech platform by making it more scalable and continuing to improve the user experience. There is a possibility that we can sell Software as a Service. We’re approaching a huge market and that means we’ll definitely launch new business models on our journey, Knape shares, continuing,
— A as a listed company at Nasdaq First North, we will also be looking for M&A transactions with the overall goal to create a Fashion Tech Group, focusing on premium e-commerce stores and possible tech/Software as a Service companies providing solutions for e-commerce companies. In that way, we create a circular group spanning from e-commerce to Yaytrade’s platform where we sell samples-, stock sales, and premium second-hand.
Next week, April 26, Yaytrade will launch their new campaign, Meet the Icons. Following four iconic fashion pieces through a digital runway show, it symbolizes the circular journey of a pre-loved item. Discover more on their website and Instagram.
The Norwegian app was founded in 2014 by Eirik Rime and Axel Franck Næss. The user experience is similar to how most social media apps works — the user is able to follow other people, like, chat, and add filters — with the main difference being that Tise is a place to buy and sell second-hand products, especially clothes.
Tise is available in the Nordic countries and has grown tremendously over the years. Today it has over 1.8 million registered users and almost 150,000 of them use the app daily.
—We’ve created a committed community and we have great faith in making the world a little more sustainable by developing the way we act, explains Victoria Terese Hauk, CMO.
Being inspired by a well-known format has made the app particularly popular among young people, which also is something the company is aiming to strengthen in the future.
— Tise is a mix between Instagram, Pinterest, and a typical classified ads site, so we are always looking into the social platform to make it as interesting as possible for the young target group. We are also looking into developments that can make second-hand shopping even more convenient for our users, Hauk elaborates.
— We encourage people to see the value in their clothes. If you are tired of a piece of clothing, remember that there could be someone else who is looking for it and that it has value even if you are tired of it. Buying a used item from us gives you the same feeling as buying a piece of clothing in a store, because it is new to you. Buying more second-hand clothes is helping the environment. Research by WRAP found that extending the average life of clothes by just three months per item, from 2 years and 2 months to 2 years and 5 months, would lead to a 5–10% reduction in each of the carbon, water, and waste footprints. It keeps clothes out of landfills and prevents the production of new clothing items. This is why we exist, so we can work together for this goal.
The Swedish e-tailer was launched last year with a vision to be a microcosm of elegance where people will be able to create a more beautiful life, with a focus on style and sustainability. To get there, Pete & Harry is selling second-hand accessories, interior objects, and paraphernalia from renowned makers such as Hermès, Omega, and Ralph Lauren. Things to decorate yourself as well as your surroundings with.
Behind the platform is two experienced fashion entrepreneurs — Fredrik af Klercker and Erik Mannby. Both famous for their great style and with a keen eye for seeing the beauty in old things.
It feels like the items you sell are very curated. How do you source them?
—Yes, that’s a very big part of our business model. The most important thing is that we only sell items that we’d like to use ourselves. Or, if the item is particularly iconic in any way. We source items ourselves, from the internet, vintage stores, markets, and more. But our biggest source is people who contact us and want to sell their items. We love to give these pieces a chance to live a little longer. We’d like to encourage everyone who has high-end, elegant items at home to contact us, af Klercker explains.
What, according to you, is the best thing about shopping pre-owned goods?
— That you are kind to the environment and contribute to a more sustainable world while shopping. The prices are amazing and you get high quality for a fraction of retail prices. Also, you discover these older items, sometimes it is things you didn’t even know existed.
Earlier this spring the Swedish e-tailer Care of Carl launched their new department Care of Carl Pre-Owned. Founded in Borås in 2010, the company now offers a wide selection of men’s clothing within the premium and luxury segment, catering to the Nordics and Germany.
The launch of Pre-Owned is widening their offering, in line with their own core idea— that customers should be able to shop in a way that is both sustainable and long-term.
— The last couple of years we have noticed a growing interest in pre-owned garments, not least among our customers. At the same time, many lack a good platform to shop previously owned premium garments in the menswear segment. We are both proud and happy that we can now provide a platform for this, in addition to our existing business, says Henning Källqvist, CEO and founder.
The launch is also a step towards working with a more circular business model, he continues.
— We have always struck a blow for making long-term investments in quality that last over time and beyond trends. At the same time, we believe in letting someone enjoy garments that someone else has grown out of, or lost their passion for. The work with Care of Carl Pre-owned has been going on for a long time, to achieve the best possible user experience and quality. Hence it feels fantastic to finally be able to launch this department as part of striving towards a more circular business model overall.
What is the best thing about shopping second-hand?
– In addition to extending the lifetime of garments that have a lot left to give, it is exciting and extra fun to rediscover garments from previous collections, and perhaps get your hands on a piece that you missed out to buy or that was not available in your size when it was new.
The pre-owned section is driven by a commission-based model, where people will be able to sell their garments after they have been approved by the Care of Carl quality control. A step to ensure the high quality and premium selection that Care of Carl has been known for.
Club Vintage is a Stockholm-based second-hand concept catering for menswear-aficionados and people who are into tailored clothing. It’s a pop-up event taking place twice a year, once during spring and once during the autumn, selling men’s tailoring and accessories of the very best quality there is.
The man behind is Tobias Skogquist, a fashion entrepreneur who, besides Club Vintage, is running made-to-measure shirt company Shirtonomy.
— While working with my other company I got to know many people in the industry — influencers, buyers, and all sorts of people. And there has been a resignation in that you have a full closet with stuff that you for various reasons no longer use, but which others would think was nice. Then this project was born out of it. There were so much clothes and things that could have a better life, rather than just hanging in the basement without getting any use. So first and foremost it is an idea about recycling behind the concept, but there is also really nice stuff being sold.
Being born out of influencers and profiles within the industry, the event has in a short amount of time created a big and devoted following among enthusiasts in Stockholm. The success is also quite easy to explain — Club Vintage is focusing on having only the best garments within its category from some of the most prominent craftsmen and brands from all over the world. Garments that, when being sold second-hand, become way more accessible.
— Those who come always return. A lot of it has to do with what we are offering. When you find something that is tailor-made and fits perfectly, then you make a really good deal as a buyer.
How would you sell Club Vintage to someone who has not heard of it before?
— The unique selling point is that you make a great deal. For those who are really into this, they can all of a sudden come across a bespoke Italian blazer, which would cost €3-3500 off the rack, but at Club Vintage it would be €4-500. Then some people are not at all interested but must have a jacket or a suit to wear at the office. And it’s always good to have a navy suit!
This weekend Club Vintage will have an event at Jungfrugatan 29 in Stockholm, following Swedish health and safety regulations. Saturday: 10-17 Sunday: 12-15
Arkivet (Swedish for The Archive) is the second-hand store that helps the local community in Stockholm and Gothenburg to update their wardrobes in a responsible, yet trendy, way. Founded four years ago when opening their first store in Stockholm it has since expanded to two stores in Stockholm and one in Gothenburg.
What distinguishes Arkivet, which for now only caters to women, from other second-hand stores is that it is always offering an updated range of clothing to its customers, the clothes that are handed into the store is chosen by the staff and can’t be more than three years old.
— What is very interesting about Arkivet is that new garments always come in, it is a new store every time you visit us. We are receiving between 2-300 garments every day to our stores. So it is based on big volumes that come in and out and it goes pretty fast. We are also quite commercial with what we select to the stores. We bring in clothes from more famous brands, but also clothes from the high street which feels modern and relevant, says Caroline Hamrin, founder and owner.
Arkivet is run on a commission basis. The clothes that are handed in are in the store for 30 days. If the clothes have not been sold, the customer gets their clothes back or they are donated to charity. But, according to Hamrin, most of the time all clothes are being sold, and then the person who submitted the garment gets a 40% share of the price.
In this way, Arkivet has become a facilitator of a more circular fashion system. It is a new way of consuming clothes that are modern and in line with current fashion trends. Something that has given Arkivet a reputation of being more luxurious than it actually is, which to Caroline is a misconception that is both for the good and bad.
— Arkivet is for everyone because we sell all types of brands and price ranges. Many people think that our stores are a sort of luxury second-hand, and we are glad that we are perceived as such, but we have everything and caters to everyone. It is very important because fashion should be permissive, it is for everyone, it should not just be for a few to have nice second-hand fashion. Our stores are for everyone and look great at the same time.
Why should people be shopping second-hand?
– Well…all consumption is, unfortunately, not sustainable in the long run, no matter how much you try to make a green production. The only sustainable thing is to shop less. Shopping second-hand or renting clothes is the only way. That’s what it’s about.
The Swedish app has been described as ”Tinder for your wardrobe”. The concept is simple and quite similar to the dating app; through the app, you are able to upload your wardrobe and the things you don’t like or use will be made public. You then swipe to like clothes and follow friends and influencers to see their closets and get inspired. When two users like something from each other’s wardrobe, they match. They chat, make swap suggestions, and meet up or send the clothes to each other.
Popswap was founded by Lin Kowalska, who wanted a new way of updating her wardrobe in a conscious and guilt-free way, that at the same time was easy and fun.
— We’re a community and social network for fashion lovers, users, and even brands that all want and believe in the same thing — that clothes are meant to be loved and used. The app makes it easy and fun for people to have a constantly updated wardrobe without a bad conscience for the environment and without big holes in their wallets — by swapping clothes with old friends, new friends, and fashion twins from all over the world, she explains.
How does Popswap contribute to a more circular fashion industry?
— The awareness of the climate creates an emotional barrier for us as consumers — we want a continued updated wardrobe, but at the same time live environmentally friendly. People lack sustainable alternatives that are not expensive or force them to make major changes to their habits overnight. Popswap possesses a unique combination of a social platform, an entertaining circular marketplace, and a tool for digitizing and mapping your wardrobe. The result for users is that they get a tool, community, and social network that in a fun and social way creates a sustainable and circular wardrobe while giving them insights into why it is important.
What are your plans for the future?
— We are just about to close an investment round. The coming phase will be all about growing even more. We never stop developing our product and have some amazing features coming up related to gamification and extended value that have been requested from our users and community. We also have a couple of brand collaborations coming up, brands that will add value to our users by sharing experiences, activities, and knowledge that contributes to fashion living longer.