If the changing of the seasons has left you in the mood for a wardrobe refresh, you’ve come to the right place. With autumn well and truly here, you might feel the need to Marie Kondo your closet, clearing out items that you no longer wear to make space for others that will “spark joy.” In our increasingly eco-conscious world, however, the concept of a closet clear-out feels a little dated, as we’re no longer inclined to just dispose of our pre-loved items. Now, it’s all about finding a new home for them.
Enter Bandi, Nuw and Thrift+. These three companies are helping to change the way we think about pre-loved clothes. There are so many new ways to refresh your wardrobe, from swapping your old favourites for items that are new to you to selling your second-hand gems in exchange for credits or vouchers. Of course, it’s not simply about the clothes you get rid of. These companies want to change the way you shop for clothes, too.
This week, I spoke to the founders behind each of these brands, and they were all equally passionate about championing a more circular shopping model. “The more people that buy second-hand, the less demand there is for new clothes and the resources needed to make them,” explains Joe Metcalfe, the founder of Thrift+. Aisling Byrne, the founder of Nuw, echoes a similar sentiment: “There are simply too many clothes in the world, and we cannot keep producing more at the rate we are now.”
“We produce over 100 billion garments globally with only 7.6 billion people,” says Francesca Theakston, co-founder of Bandi.
Keep scrolling to learn more about Bandi, Nuw and Thrift+ and consider them next time you’re in need of a wardrobe refresh.
Photo:Courtesy of Bandi
As sisters usually do, Nicole and Frankie Theakston often swap clothes and raid each other’s wardrobes. Unsurprisingly, it was this exact sisterly activity that led to the creation of their new app, Bandi. “My sister and I have been swapping clothes forever, and we wanted everyone to be able to find their clothes twin like we have,” Frankie explains.
Bandi allows users to make direct clothing swaps with other people on the platform, so you can effectively trade in an item you no longer wear for a piece that is new to you. “We match users with people who have a similar taste and body shape in fashion,” Frankie says. “After their first exchange, they have a message thread open to keep in touch, swap tips and arrange future swaps for years to come.” Did I mention it’s completely free? On Bandi, there’s no subscription fee, and users only pay for the price of postage.
The app only launched in early October, but Frankie tells me they already have over 300 users. That’s a lot of potential new clothes twins! “We already have enough clothes on the planet,” Frankie concludes. “We have found a way of getting them into the right wardrobes.”
Photo:Courtesy of Nuw
“We wanted to authentically replicate the experience of sharing with friends,” explains Byrne. “When you exchange or borrow from a friend, you rummage through their wardrobe. You don’t ask about price or brand. You simply find an item that you love. We found that the perceived monetary value of high-street items going on to their second life is hampering the ability to get clothes quickly out of wardrobes and into the hands of someone who will wear them.” So the solution, Byrne explains, is to “cut out the pricing.”
Nuw works by offering customers a token each time they upload an item to be swapped. It’s a silver coin for high-street items and a gold coin for mid-market or designer buys. You can then spend the coins you’ve earned to choose items of clothing from other users. (Swaps don’t have to happen directly.) There’s a small 99-cent transaction fee for each exchange that takes place on the Nuw app, and the person receiving the item is the one who pays for postage. It’s that simple!
Byrne adds that members often re-exchange pieces they’ve found on the app once they’re done with them, using the heading “Renuw.” So now, items are being given a second life and a third and so on.
Photo:Courtesy of Thrift+
“We try to make it as easy to resell your unwanted clothes as it is to discard them,” Metcalfe, tells me, explaining the genesis of Thrift+. Essentially a digital charity shop, Thrift+ allows people to donate clothing they no longer wear to be resold, earning the seller credits which can be donated, spent on the site or redeemed for vouchers with Thrift+ partners.
Unlike other resale sites, Thrift+ does all the hard work for you. The brand will send you a bag to fill with unwanted clothes, and once it’s returned, Thrift+ will “process, price, photograph and upload the clothes and send them out to customers when they buy them.”
Thus far, Thrift+ has raised “£1.2 million for charities, having resold hundreds of thousands of second-hand clothes, ensuring they get a second life and stay out of landfill.”
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