If you read taoStyle regularly, you know I am big on sustainable style.
And a supporter of the Fashion Revolution, a global movement that started in the U.K. advocating for change and transparency in the clothing industry. The campaign targets all fashion designers, manufacturers and sellers — big and small, and was initiated after the 2013 factory collapse at Dhaka, Bangladesh, that killed more than 1,100 workers.
I love clothes as much as the next woman, but fashion shouldn’t be killing people and nor should it cost the earth.
Last week I popped into Reneux to see owner (and Floral Designer extraordinaire), Shelia Ross and her right hand gal, Michael Simone Mingo, who many of you may know from the late, great Pieces. They were busy with putting out new inventory, helping several customers as well as tidying up the carefully curated racks and myriad displays in the gorgeously appointed space, that feels more high-end boutique than second-hand store
In fact, the major difference between Reneux and hunting through secondhand clothes at the local thrift shop, are the brands on offer – a Gucci wallet and a Jean-Paul Gaultier jacket and bodysuit among them. And its continued existence is testament to the growth in “preloved” or “preowned” fashion.
Recent years have seen a boom in the number of people buying this way – this year the area is expected to grow by 15 percent, compared with three percent in the regular luxury goods market.
The reason is, in part, simple – people can buy brand name and designer goods at lower prices. But its popularity is also about a higher emphasis on sustainability.
A recent study found the preloved market was “moving into the spotlight” and any stigma about wearing secondhand had gone as more consumers were rejecting fast, disposable fashion.
The fashion industry is one of the most polluting in the world and consumers increasingly understand that extending the life of a garment has a big positive impact.
“People come into the shop and say they are not buying anything new this year. There is a money-saving element, but it is usually about shopping ethically and not creating so much waste.” Says Michael, who emphasises that shopping for clothes in itself, should be fun. “Whether pre-owned or not.”
“All the items we choose are in amazing condition – almost new.” Says Shelia, as she drapes a sparkly sequined scarf around her neck.
Sparkles are aplenty at Reneux right now, after all, ‘tis the season. A pair of black sequined pants hanging near the dressing room caught my eye. Size 2 wouldn’t fit, but if they did, I’d rock them with moto boots and a chunky pullover. During the day. Christmas after all, only comes ‘round once a year!
Michael told me they are happy to assist women in styling outfits around old and new to them, pieces.
“We encourage them to bring in key items and help them to create new looks with things they already have and love.” She told me. She was dressed all in vintage that day, but the printed midi dress she wore with boots, could have been shown on the most recent Fall/Winter runways.
“I look for stuff that translates,” she explained.
Quality wool coats can cost a small fortune when new, but savvy shoppers can pick up one preloved at Reneux for under $100. And a new leather saddle bag would set you back a paycheck but here the bargains are beyond!
“Handbags typically sell quickly, particularly if they are current or from designer collections.” Shelia said. And in some cases, a handbag with a blue-chip name – Hermès or Gucci for example – may even appreciate in value. This is because, for some styles, it is difficult or impossible to find exactly the same item in the primary market. When demand is high, limited or rare, prices rise. Look for classic designs with not too much hardware, and learn to care for these luxury items.
Consumers are buying into the resale trend, whether to make money, save money, or help the environment by reducing the amount of discarded clothing. And the resale industry is responding.
“It’s an economical way for a shopper to purchase clothing, and a socially conscious way for a seller to part with unneeded garments.” Says Shelia. It’s also a way for a business owner to become part of the fabric of the local community.
Reneux accepts current and vintage styles in excellent condition apropos to the season, and will look at your garments every day. Consignment agreements have the term of about 60 days from the date they are put on the floor. Reneux pays 40 percent of the final sale price by check or store credit.
“In essence we partner with our consignees. People are much more comfortable with buying something, wearing it once or twice then selling on – perhaps using the resale to fund their next purchase.” She explains.
Buying and selling gently used clothing is more than a trend—it’s a movement. And by choosing consignment or resale, smart shoppers and sellers are guiding the flow in a fashion forward direction.
So whether you are on the lookout for some sparkly pieces to see you through the Holidays or are in town visiting family and friends and need ski gear, or are shopping for unusual gifts, do drop into Reneux, just off the Plaza, next door to U.S. Bank. The sizing and styles are all-inclusive.
“There’s truly something for everyone.” Shelia emphasizes.
The selection of accessories and jewelry is truly mind-blowing. And if you are looking for a pair of dancing shoes, well, they are here too!
“Our mission statement is clear,” says Shelia. “Create a passion for fashion;rewear, recycle and reuse.”
For more information on Reneux, please visit their Facebook Page linked below.
For more on the Fashion Revolution and how you can get involved, please visit their site as well.
All photos taken on my iphone