Q & A with The Pre Loved Closet

Young entrepreneur Lisa Caldwell has a sustainable fashion solution: to help elite fashionista’s sell their designer clothes online through her new business, Pre Loved Closet. We decided to speak to her about her new business venture and why she thinks buying preloved fashion is important for the environment.

When did you become aware that fashion needed to be more sustainable?

Firstly I want to say that the O-it campaign is a fantastic initiative for promoting sustainable fashion!

I started Pre Loved Closet (PLC) a little over a year ago, prior to that I had always sold my clothes or donated my preloved items to charity (something I learnt from my mum). It is around the time I started PLC that I became increasingly aware of the fashion industry and how important it was for Fashion to move in a more sustainable direction. At PLC my aim is to provide a premium pre loved platform that sells second hand items & extends each products’ lifecycle.

Why do you think sustainable fashion is good for our environment?

The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world and has a disastrous impact on the environment. Already, fashion accounts for 10% of greenhouse gas emissions from human activity. If the fashion industry grows, so too does the damage done to the environment.

A family in the western world throws away an average of 30kg of clothing each year with only 15% being recycled or donated. The items used in sustainable fashion are likely to be better quality, of natural and semi- synthetic fibres and able to be recycled; a win- win for the owner (or multiple owners) and the environment.

With sustainable fashion, not only is the environment benefitting from less emissions, less waste accumulation, less land destruction, less water consumption and less water pollution; the awareness for more sustainable living and eco-friendly modifications is brought to attention.

Do you think people have more awareness surrounding environmental issues that the fashion industry face, or do you think there still needs to be more education around this subject?

I don’t think you can ever be over educated in subjects such as environmental issues, particulary ones that are faced by the fashion industry or any industry for that matter. So yes I do think there needs to be more education around this subject. I feel as though people are becoming increasingly aware of the damages caused by flying, diet and energy production, yet fashion- which uses more energy than both aviation and shipping combined- is lesser known for its detrimental impact on the environment. People are undoubtedly becoming more aware of their footprint and diverting to a long-lasting quality item sourced from a sustainable brand, yet there are still plenty of fast-fashion consumers out there buying quantities of the same pair of jeansfrom a high street supplier in multiple styles, simply for wardrobe ‘variation’.

There used to be a stigma about buying pre-loved fashion. Do you think it exists among Millenials and Gen Z?

I don’t believe the stigma has completely disappeared among those generations but with increasing awareness of environmental impact, younger generations are realising that whilst fast fashion makes clothes more affordable, it comes at an environmental cost.

Designer brands have caught onto the fact that millennials and Gen Z are conscious consumers and have adapted accordingly. Stella McCartney for example, is sustainable, cruelty- free, uses no fur and uses ethically sourced, recycled textiles. Clothes are as distinct and unique as the wearer and if a brand does not reflect the morals and beliefs of the owner, they will suffer in the long run.

What is your advice for those of us like yourself who loves fashion but wants to do the right thing environmentally?

There is so many ways to love fashion and still do the right thing environmentally, I think it just comes down to slowing down, researching & choosing wisely.

Firstly we are so lucky in this day and age to have access to so many incredible second hand selling platforms. Prior to purchasing something new I think if consumers could get in a behavioural pattern of searching for the item they are after second hand, they would be pleasantly surprised at how often the item would be available and also at an increasingly lower price & without compromising on the quality of the item,  

However, I am not under the illusion that one must only shop second hand all the time for every item which brings me to my next point.

Sustainable fashion is becoming increasingly more favoured,  influencing many brands putting sustainability and ethical production at the fore front of their business.. An example of a bread leading the way is Patagonia. They create their products with smart technology and use as many sustainable and recyclable elements as possible. Alongside brands businesses are are also adapting to being more sustainable, by implementing sustainable edits & sustainability goals which can be found on their websites. Mode Sportif & TheUndone are perfect examples of businesses that are adapting and incorporating sustainability into their business model. These are the businesses & brands we need to be supporting.

Lastly I think it is important to consider, when buying an item, if this is an investment piece. This is something I live by. I am not a big shopper but when I do make a (pre loved) purchase I ensure that it is a classical & timeless piece that I know I will wear time and time again.