We all have items of clothing that haven’t been worn in years, but dropping them at the local thrift shop or donation site just doesn’t seem like enough. Wouldn’t it be great if there was somewhere you could learn about other people, share things about yourself and trade your unneeded garments, shoes and accessories? Well now there is.
Founded by editor, writer, fashion lover and former professional boxer (yeah, she’s that cool) Kate Sekules, Refashioner is a business built around the idea of sharing — and saving the planet. After her world came crashing down when the print media industry began to crumble, Kate looked to unload her editor-in-chief office attire and get new stuff. Consigning was a hassle, paid little and in-person swaps were just too hard to schedule. That’s when she thought of Refashioner.
Inspired by her story and excited about the company’s recent launch, TWF reached out to Kate to ask her a few questions of our own.
TWF: What inspired you to start Refashioner?
KS: As a fashion obsessed, consignment and vintage junkie — and over shopper — I saw the need for a smartly edited, community-oriented trading place for all the good pieces festering in the backs of our closets. I wanted to create something new that changes how we consume—a viable secondary market for designer and good vintage, with an entertaining eco message that’s fresh and unboring. We get attached to our clothes, even the pieces we never wear, and I wanted a marketplace that honored the stories and history, to give our wasted couture a good send-off!
KS: We have the best stuff! But seriously, we are constantly working to refine how we serve this very particular demographic. We help them through every step of the process, and make it super easy to put their things on the market. Conversely, our members can do it themselves & have fun with it: tell the stories of their pieces, use emotion tags, stalk other closets, etc. We believe in a sharing economy, and in fact, started in beta as a swap site, which is famously hard to scale, but we still have a barter system in place so you can do cashless trading. We have a manifesto and a message—don’t shop less, shop better; dress consciously; have fun with it. But none of this matters if the quality of the pieces isn’t up to standard, and we’ve got that covered.
TWF: What has been the hardest obstacle for you in the process of building the company? What has been your favorite part?
KS: Reaching our very specific audience, driving traffic to the site, and then encouraging them to try a whole set of new behaviors is a challenge, but challenges are what makes it all interesting. My favorite thing is collaborating with fun, creative people—and in this we’re only just beginning. Oh, and I did love winning Project PopUp NYC last fall!
With a business built around sharing, and a focus on quality, Refashioner is more than just a giant closet. Refashioner is bringing the community back to fashion, and we’re excited to see what the future holds for this bright startup.
Third Wave Fashion has been your fashion tech think tank since 2011. We publish the first ever printed fashion tech magazine, Third Wave. Follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our newsletter to stay on top of the latest in fashion tech + wearables.
Image via Refashioner.