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Reselling, vintage fashion and charity shopping are once again on the rise, as more and more consumers begin to examine their contributions to the industry’s overconsumption problem and feel the desire to own more sustainable, better-quality clothing; sustainable shopping ideas, whether you buy eco-friendly, recycled, heirloom or preloved. Beyond Retro is a vintage clothing retailer with shops in the United Kingdom and Sweden. The first store was opened in a disused dairy factory on Cheshire Street in East London in 2002. The first store in Sweden opened in 2005. Today, with fifteen shops in London, Brighton, Bristol and Sweden, plus the first Finnish branch recently opened, BEYOND RETRO is known for flying the secondhand flag long before sustainability became a buzzword.

“The fashion gods have been really good to us,” usually says its founder, Steven Bethell. He and his wife, Helene Carter-Bethell, are the masterminds behind the family of businesses making up BVH Holdings and have dedicated their work life to innovative and relevant solutions to the crisis of stuff. They have travelled to over thirty countries working extensively amongst the robust second-hand markets of the world. A self-confessed “vintage geek,” Bethell became interested in clothing after his grandmother knitted him a traditional Canadian Cowichan sweater – “like the one in the Big Lebowski” – when he was 12. He launched the parent company Bank & Vogue in 1992, which buys clothes and other goods that have been donated to charity, but which charities are unable to sell themselves. Nowadays, one of the world’s largest wholesalers of used goods. Sellable items are sent to BEYOND RETRO.

Now, BEYOND REMADE, their new venture, is solving the textile waste management problem by creating brand new products out of fabrics and materials from unwanted clothes, closing the textile loop and saving tons of used clothing from ending up in landfills. BEYOND REMADE will celebrate the best of our past, to give fashion a future. By taking recycled materials such as denim, duck canvas or suede and upcycling them into brand-new pieces inspired by vintage classics. BEYOND REMADE intrinsically understands the relationship between iconic vintage garments and the world's love affair with them.

To reinforce the message of this committed universe, Bethell has an upcoming documentary. The Secondhand Superstar is a story about how and why Bank & Vogue, and its group of companies, is making fashion circular with post-consumer clothing and textiles. This new documentary is a statement to the world: there is no such thing as waste! Join BVH behind the scenes with founder Steven Bethell and product management team Hugo Harris and Padmini PV and sign up for free with Water Bear Network to watch the video here.

“Our quest is to show that existing materials have the same if not greater value than new materials. And to prove at scale that we can design and create a premium, upcycled collection.” A healthy ecosystem bases its success on the interconnectivity of all the organisms in our world. An honest conversation between nature and society, between past and future, to bring the most possible value in the most responsible way for the planet.

Words
Jorge Lorenzo

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