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By Mel Wade, Strategy & Innovation Consultant at SPARCK
The Start-ups are getting it right: Emerging businesses often share the same values as their consumers
Start-ups are the real innovators. They are changing the materials we use, disrupting the supply chain and are shifting our interaction with everyday products.
Although sustainable fashion often steals the headlines, other types of retailers are often making the most innovative changes. To fully explore how the start-ups are filling the sustainable supply-demand gap, we visited a spread across: fashion, accessories, grocery, concept spaces and second-hand. Due to their different nature, each type is disrupting retail in a different way. But all still face the same external challenges: brand, communication, community, integrity and in-store experience.
Henri, founded by Henrietta Adams, is a women’s fashion retailer that focuses on ‘making mindful clothing’ with their business model based on having staple sustainable wardrobe items. Visit the HENRI website >
RE:Store's concept is to reduce the amount of plastic used by reusing your own containers and refilling them with everyday products. Products from cleaning detergents to pasta, toothpaste pills and beeswax wrappers (to replace cling film). Visit the RE:Store website >
The Keep Boutique
In 2012, the poor quality of high street clothes, both in terms of durability and the materials they are made of, drove the Keep Boutique’s founder to begin a blog with a mission: reducing waste by showcasing durable fashion discoveries. This blog turned into an online store and boutique in the heart of Brixton Village. Visit Keep Boutique's website >
Charlie Borrow has successfully combined British heritage with sustainable design, focusing on both UK sourced and high-quality durable materials - supported by the 15-year Charlie Borrow guarantee. Visit the Charlie Borrow website >
The Third Estate
Whilst not in one of London’s sustainability ‘hubs’, the Third Estate is a modest fashion and accessories store. Selling multiple brands that produce vegetarian and vegan shoes, sustainably sourced bags and clothing, and handmade accessories. Visit the Third Estate's website >
Neal’s Yard provides Londoners with a colourful, organic escape with a courtyard in Covent Garden full of restaurants, bars, shops, yoga studios and treatment rooms. Visit the Neal's Yard website >
Till We Cover
In 2017, Till We Cover found a gap in the market: contemporary modest fashion with a sustainable edge. Whilst the boxy clothes may only appeal to their defined market, their owner, Ruby, is driven to be unique and make a real difference. Visit the Till We Cover website >
AIDA nailed two of the sustainable challenges for us: community and experience. Located on the busy streets of Shoreditch, it hosts numerous music events, artisan classes and sample sales throughout the year.
Visit the Aida website >
As one of London’s first stores devoted to transparent clothing, 69B Boutique have partnerships with over 50 sustainable brands, and all suppliers are either compliant with GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) or anti-slavery. Their close partnerships mean that they can, and do, track clothing back to suppliers. Visit the 69B Boutique website >
Rather than a focus on sustainable design and material sourcing, Reworn emphasises waste reduction through the re-sale of pre-worn clothes. Whilst still a vintage shop, their main differentiator is providing ‘staple’ items that were fashionable 30 years ago and are now looping around again. Visit Reworn's Instagram >