Conscious consumption is one of the few positive themes emerging during this global pandemic. Trend forecaster Li Edelkoort is calling this period “a quarantine of consumption,” in which people are seeking out less or committing to buying sustainably made clothes and accessories, produced within ethical supply chains. Though it is certain that we will experience a global recession unlike any other in the last century, the necessary shifts toward buying smarter may change the way we shop forever.
According to ThredUp’s 2019 report, resale grew 21 times faster than the retail apparel market over the past three years. In a post-coronavirus world it’s only likely to trend upward, but the children’s rental and resale category remains a smaller sector, even though it most likely accounts for a large percentage of clothing and textile waste each year.
To help combat this, a former buyer for Net-a-Porter and Moda Operandi has launched her own platform focused on renting and recycling clothing for kids and babies. Laura Roso Vidrequin, who has a one-year-old son herself and is based in London where she’s been working as a buyer for Harvey Nichols, launched Kids O’Clock late last year in an effort to promote the circular economy around children’s garments. She wants to dispel the notion that secondhand clothes, especially in the kids category, are dirty or tattered to the point of nonuse. On her site, she stocks a mix of high-end brands like Chloé and Christian Dior as well as more moderately priced items from Columbia, Zara, H&M, and more. All items are vetted by her and organized according to age and size. Vidrequin is currently in the process of expanding her platform and incorporating new technology for a rental component.
“I’ve been a buyer for almost 10 years now,” Vidrequin notes. “After giving birth, I realized just how much money is spent on clothes for a baby during the first few months.” In all other facets of her life, Vidrequin followed a sustainably minded regimen: buying organic, eliminating plastic at home, cultivating a personal wardrobe of mainly vintage and upcycled clothing. She intended to shop only vintage or secondhand for her son, but found it difficult to find clothes that she felt were both safe and stylish, on a platform that felt like a more intimate community rather than a vast corporation.
“I decided to create a dedicated and cool online platform that would bring trustful parents together and would empower them to invest in the circular economy,” Vidrequin explains. In the beginning she worked with a close-knit network of friends and colleagues, but now she’s beginning to expand and evolve. At the start, Vidrequin would go to homes to pick up items people were willing to lend to her on consignment. “For every item sold, we take care of the process and send them payment, minus a commission,” she says. Eventually, parents will be able to upload their own items to the site digitally. Vidrequin is also speaking to brands about partnering on upcycling and reselling their deadstock, similarly to what the RealReal did with Stella McCartney.
“It’s interesting how relevant this tool and platform are during this lockdown period,” Vidrequin says. “So many retailers are going to pile stock in their warehouses, and hopefully, we can utilize it and resell it.” She also points out that despite the frightening and uncertain nature surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, now is a better time than any for her to pursue the Kids O’Clock platform. “I almost feel like this pandemic has hit the reset button for the fashion industry,” she says. “I really hope that soon enough, customers, especially in the kids market, will be able to buy now and have their children wear [something] again or pass it along. It should be about having visibility into the garment’s journey, rather than being fed newness or trends every month.”
For Vidrequin, it’s really all in the name of her passion project: “For me, our lives should be about making time for kids, but also as they grow and time passes, we should find more ways to help clothing move around.”
Originally Appeared on Vogue