Give your garments a longer life

Carol Saffer

Each year Australians acquire an average of 27 kilograms of new clothing per person and discard around 23 kilograms of clothing into landfill.

Love It Longer, a preloved, vintage and designer garment retailer, accepts garments from their clients to sell to other customers in a true recycled fashion.

Co-owner Giulia Ferrari, with her sister Mattia and mother Armanda, opened the store above the Biscotteria Café on Rathdowne St in Carlton four months ago.

“We wanted to offer the women of the north side preloved designer clothing,” Ms Ferrari said. “What better place than on top of a café; you can get your lunch and Louis Vuitton all in one building.”

Mattia said the family had been in fashion “forever”, and consumers were more into preloved and giving back to the environment.

 

“People feel guilty now about fast fashion, and we want to promote slow fashion with well-known brands,” she said. “We source these preloved garments, and they get another life; they live longer.”

 

Clients are found mainly at the moment by word of mouth.

A recent client Sarah, who lives a block away and noticed the sign outside, took in a Christian Lacroix skirt she didn’t want to throw away.

“It’s in perfect condition, and I hope someone else will love it,” she said.

The garments in the store are on consignment with the selling price agreed with the client.

If the item doesn’t sell within three months, Ms Ferrari will discuss lowering the price with the owner or returning the garment.

The client receives a commission when the item is sold; 50 per cent for items under $999 to 70 per cent for anything more than $2500.

Love It Longer sells local labels alongside imports.

Mainstream retailer Country Road has a different approach to keeping garments from landfill.

Customers are encouraged to take their preloved Country Road items into the Country Road store in Lygon Court (as well as all stores) to place into its Fashion Trade donation box.

Each customer receives a $10 voucher to encourage people who haven’t donated before to consider bringing in their preloved Country Road pieces.

The garments are then delivered to Red Cross shops for resale.

Since the program’s launch in 2011, Red Cross Shops have received more than 270,000 preloved Country Road items, including more than 16,000 donations during the past year, raising $810,000.

Country Road Lygon Court store manager Paul Anderson said the staff were ambassadors for the program and loved speaking about it with customers.

“Our customers love that they can be involved in making a difference, as the clothes donated to Red Cross raise much-needed funds,” Mr Anderson said.

The Red Cross funds support the great work of First Nations people in remote communities, helping refugee families settle safely in their new homes and supporting young people in the justice system, to name a few examples.

Retail shop manager at Red Cross Collingwood Maria Vaz said, “Our customers love it; we get top dollar for Country Road [garments].” •

 

Caption: Love It Longer owners Giulia, Armanda and Mattia.

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