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7 Takeaways from Our Conversation with Wild Fabrik

The ethical marketplace is on a mission.

In a city where fast fashion (unfortunately) reigns supreme, it’s time to acquaint with Wild Fabrik, a new online marketplace with purpose at its core. Created by a trio of passionate nature lovers who want to make sustainable style a lot more accessible, its curated selection of fashion, home, luxury, and self-care products hails from the likes of Lebanon, Sri Lanka, Poland, and Ecuador. Not only is Wild Fabrik on a mission to provide small, independent sustainable brands with a platform to sell their goods and create a living for themselves, but also ensure that they are paid fairly. A conversation with co-founder Gergana Abdulrahman brought with it plenty of takeaways about the realm of sustainable fashion. Here are our favourites.

1. Sustainable fashion is an ambiguous term.

“There are different ways that something can be sustainable, and it’s very difficult for it to be truly 100% sustainable. For example, when we select our brands and evaluate the materials being used, there’s a deeper element even then. Let’s talk about cotton: there’s a big movement around organic cotton, but that doesn’t reveal who picks it and how fairly they’re paid. That’s an element of sustainability. It doesn’t reveal that organic cotton takes more water to produce than regular cotton. Then again, there’s no chemical in the process, so in that sense, it is sustainable. 

There really are so many components in sustainability, and that’s where the confusion sets in. You almost have to choose what is more important – is the fair trade element more important or the fabric that something is made of? Is it the process? Further down the line, the production process is another element – dye is one of the world’s major pollutants because leftover dye water usually ends up in landfills or even river water – so it’s very complex. What we hope to do at Wild Fabrik is educate shoppers by using little icons that describe exactly how each brand or each product is sustainable. At the end of the day, you just have to try your best to make more conscious decisions.”

2. Education is key when it comes to lasting change.

“As a region, we’re definitely behind in terms of knowledge when it comes to sustainability. We found out that people like the idea of purchasing ethically, but if you dig deeper and analyse their habits, you find that they’re just saying it because it feels good maybe? They’re not really practising it and they don’t realise it. It’s going to take time. There are some surprising things, though. For example, my husband and one of the co-founders is Emirati and his younger cousins, who are in their early 20s, are very much in tune with the sustainability side. That was a very interesting find for us. There’s a growing community of young people who are concerned and will steer the sustainability movement here. 

Apart from that, we’re not at the point where everyone’s on the sustainability bandwagon, and actually that’s why we structured Wild Fabrik the way we did. We decided to find pieces that people will want to buy anyway, and then that’s giving them a step into the sustainability sphere. And once they’re in, you take the opportunity to educate them – which is usually the hardest part – through social media and other channels. And they learn. That’s how we all started – it can be a platform, a Netflix documentary, or some other trigger. Everyone will get on the right journey, it just takes time.”

3. Sustainable fashion can be affordable.

“Sustainable fashion is expensive, but I’ll tell you why I think it’s true and what we’re doing to combat it. When you look at what’s available, sustainable fashion is very expensive because we, as a society, are pushed to do a business a certain way. Everywhere you go, it’s always profit, profit, profit. Everyone wants to be a millionaire – and the idea is flawed in this sense. You have to take a lesser cut if you want sustainability to work. You have to do things for moral reasons, not just for profit. And as long as the business is seen as just for profit, then sustainability doesn’t work, so what we’re doing is taking a smaller percentage than anyone else within our business. We’re trying to do it for the right reasons and, if we make enough money to be okay in our lives, that’s enough. Whenever you have a lot of gap between the rich and the poor, someone is not getting paid fairly in the process.”

4. Not all fabrics are created equal.

“There’s this recycled fabric called Tencel that I like because it’s soft, so you’d actually want to buy it. I would gravitate away from anything polyester because there’s a lot of microplastics that come out when you’re washing it and end up in the ocean. Cotton is good, linen is the best – linen is actually the most waste-free fabric when it is produced. Something I would also say is stay away from the major brands like H&M and Zara if you can. Yes, they sell these fabrics, but they’re part of the bigger problem in terms of how much clothing they burn and how little they pay the people who make the clothes – this is the real problem. Even if they have a sustainable collection, how are their employees being treated? We need to start acknowledging that as part of the sustainability cycle.”

5. Mindset and purchasing habits go hand in hand.

“Personally, I haven’t felt the urge to shop lately – maybe because the need to buy faded after learning about everything? Not to say that I don’t want to shop anymore, but yes, there was a mindset shift. At some point, what matters in your life and how content you are with what you have is more about your state of mind, your state of being. If you’re going to change your shopping habits, you have to have the right mindset. You have to realise why you’re shopping because some people shop to fulfill themselves or fix a bad day. I was one of those people! It was a lot of mind work that led to this moment, but I’m not perfect. None of us are, and that’s why we wanted to create a place where sustainability doesn’t feel intimidating.”

6. Think quality, not quantity.

“Rewear your clothes. One of the biggest problems is that, on average, each piece is worn only seven times before getting tossed, so a lot of waste comes simply from buying new things and throwing out the old stuff. Invest in quality. There’s fast fashion and then there are expensive brands, and both contribute negatively, but if something is high in quality, you’re unlikely to throw it out – that’s not as bad! And if not, we’re partnering with Thrift for Good, which resells clothes at very reasonable rates and donates 100% of its profits to charity. My tip is that if you want to give away something that you don’t love anymore, give it to someone like them so that your clothing can find a second home.”

7. Ask why.

“Think about your purchases – why do you need another black T-shirt ? Make better choices – choices that will make you happy – and try to buy sustainably if you can. There are black T-shirts on our marketplace and there are black T-shirts in H&M. Yes, H&M might be a little less expensive, but you know that it will change shape once you’ve washed it a few times and won’t fit you anymore. You’re going to have to buy another one anyway, so buy something sustainable that will last you and try to consider who makes your product.”

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So You’re Fed Up of Fast Fashion

Start at these UAE-based thrift stores.

An alternative to the traditional fashion shopping experience of factory-fresh items is making itself known in the UAE: thrifting. Not only is it a great way to create a unique look, but it’s also the definitive way to update your wardrobe without breaking the bank. Thrift stores usually sell lightly used items while promoting sustainability by extending the life cycle of a product that might otherwise end up in a landfill. Sound appealing? Here are three UAE-based thrift stores that belong on your radar.

Fashion Rerun

What kind of pre-loved items do you sell?

We sell a wide selection of thrift, retro, and vintage clothing for men, women, youth, and children. Our collection includes activewear, jerseys, running shoes, caps, and so much more!

How long have you been in business?

Fashion Rerun has been in the market for just over four years now.

What makes you different from other thrift stores?

We offer a unique range in quality, price, and choice. Additionally, we are probably the only store that offers a full range of thrift, retro, and vintage.

How do you differentiate between thrift, retro, and vintage?

Thrift clothing is gently used items at a discounted price. They include current styles and trends. Retro clothing is newer clothing that imitates styles of the past (vintage). Vintage refers to items aged 15+ years that are rare and difficult to find, and therefore have higher value compared to retro and thrift clothing. 

Can I sell items to the store? 

Fashion Rerun does not buy from individuals.

Follow Fashion Rerun at @fashion_rerun.

FlairOnThrift

What kind of pre-loved items do you sell? 

FlairOnThrift sells pre-loved clothing that was lightly used and is in good condition to be worn. Our collection includes shirts, jumpsuits, jackets, and dresses. We also sell accessories, so you can find bags, jewellery, and even phone covers on our page.

How long have you been in business? 

FlairOnThrift was started on September 9, 2020 and has been around for almost a year now!

How is your concept different compared to other thrift stores?

FlairOnThrift is an Instagram-born store that, like a lot of similar stores, only sell products online through Instagram. The store was created out of passion for sustainability and a desire to cater to people on a budget. We work on a limited product drop basis instead of continuously having items for sale, as we believe this helps us to specially curate items for our customers. Unlike a lot of other stores, we also make sure that all our posts of sold items are archived so that everything you see on our page is up for sale, and not just marketing. We believe that this makes it much easier for customers to shop. 

Can I sell items to the store?

Yes! We accept clothing, shoes, and accessories such as bags, hats, or jewellery to be sold on our platform in exchange for store credit.

How does the process work? What items do you not take?

You can DM or contact us using the contact information provided on our Instagram page, and we will schedule a pick-up. After receiving the items, we will provide you with store credit. The items should not be overly damaged nor for kids.

Follow FlairOnThrift at @flaironthrift_dxb.

Rewynd Apparel

What kind of pre-loved items do you sell? 

We specialise in thrifted apparel that caters to both men and women such as jeans, outerwear, tees, blouses, accessories, and more. Our most sought-after products are from our Premium + Vintage line, where customers can find rare pieces dating back to the 80s and 90s, official merch, and even dead stock. 

How long have you been in business? 

We launched our online store along with our first collection in August of 2020, so we’re just about to celebrate our first anniversary!

How is your concept different compared to other thrift stores? 

Rewynd Apparel was founded by three sisters with a passion for fashion, styling, and marketing, and we aim to create a memorable thrifting experience for all our customers. Every piece on our website has been handpicked by us, every letter that we send out has been handwritten by us, and our packaging is zero-waste as well. We also enjoy showcasing a variety of styling options to reflect the ease and versatility of incorporating thrifted clothes into our customers’ personal styles.

Can I sell items to the store? 

Rewynd Apparel is a specially curated thrift store, and our business model and brand values are not tailored to suit the concept of consignments. Therefore, we currently do not accept consignments.

Follow Rewynd Apparel at @rewyndapparel.

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Sustainable Denims

Doubling Up On Do-Good Denims

Use your fashion smarts, and snap up two legendary denim brand’s planet-friendly collaborations

If you’re in the market for some new jeans, and feel like simultaneously doing your bit for the planet, consider spending your hard-earned cash on two new sustainably-minded fashion collaborations.

Launching in stores and online today, long-standing high street sustainability champion H&M has collaborated with American denim giant LEE on a next-generation collection of more sustainable denim. With advances at every stage of design and production, from H&M’s first ever 100% recycled cotton jeans, to non-leather backpatches made from cork and jacron paper, it’s the first time the Swedish fashion brand will share Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) data on their company website, indicating the water, C02 & energy impact of each denim garment from raw materials to end of use.

An ambitious project that had sustainability central to its design, H&M’s breakthrough recycled cotton jeans are made from 80% post-industrial waste and 20% post-consumer waste. There’s also denim that’s cotton-free, made instead from renewable man-made fibres, as well as water-saving dyes and lower impact denim washes that are 3rd party verified for their lower water usage, chemical, and energy consumption. 

With collections for men, women and children, the womenswear line has a distinctly 90s feel, with wide-legged and cocoon-shaped jeans, oversized jackets, shirts and dungarees giving a workwear vibe, with cute corsets to add a feminine touch and bucket hats and tote bags to accessorise.

Meanwhile, Levi’s has partnered with Brazilian brand FARM Rio on a fabulously vibrant collection that blends the beauty of the rainforests with iconic Levi’s designs. Featuring exclusive prints of native Brazilian wildlife like toucans, jaguars, tree frogs, and parrots, the 11-piece line includes trucker jackets, ribcage jeans, t-shirts, dresses, denim shorts, jumpsuits and sweatshirts that highlight FARM Rio’s commitment to protecting the nature of their homeland, giving back to the environment and helping recover endangered forest ecosystems like those in the Amazon rainforest.

Teaming up with SOS Mata Atlantica and One Tree Planted, for each item of the collection bought online, in-store, or through authorized retailers,  Levi’s and FARM Rio will plant a native tree to help preserve and restore two vibrant and vital Brazilian forests. Which is more than enough reason to buy every piece in the collection twice over, in our opinion. 

For more information on the collections, see hm.com and Namshi.com

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Recycled Sneakers

Ree-cycled Trainers For Regenerated Communities

Take a socially-minded step forward with Reebok’s sustainably-focused sneakers.

The Gaggler loves all things with a sustainable focus – and when its fashion, fitness and forward-thinking community combined in one recycled reiteration of a classic sneaker, it races to the top of new season shopping wish list.

Launched in the region this month, Reebok’s Ree-Cycled Classic Leather Legacy and Legacy 83 are both made with a minimum 30% of [Ree]Cycled materials, and have been built with a sustainable future in mind. 

But aside from their eco-friendly construction, the shoes have also been designed to celebrate community and the differing backgrounds, personalities and outlooks that give the ability to make positive changes for the future, and shape our own legacies – with a thought-provoking campaign that highlights these perspectives.

Launched globally with the second iteration of Reebok’s ‘Write Your legacy’ campaign, the latest project was created by three ‘Classics Collaborators’ from across the globe; The Kickback – a group that empowers youth in North American communities by turning sport, sneakers and art into projects that show kids a world they never knew existed; RAAH, founded in Birmingham in the UK to amplify the unheard voices of young people, refugees and victims of human trafficking and generate vital discussions around human rights issues through mentorship and community projects; and South Korea’s Youngmin Kang, part of Seoul-based design collective ISIT, who makes one-of-a-kind sculptural furniture from waste plastic and seeks to change the conversation on waste and re-use in South Korea.

Creating a bespoke piece of furniture by melting different coloured plastics together, replicating the Legacy 83’s colourways through this customizable Pantone, Youngmin’s contribution to the “Write Your Legacy” campaign aims to provoke questions. “I want people to say, ‘Is it trash, or is it so much more?’” he explains. “That’s the question I want people to ask when they see the things I’ve created. I see my Legacy. What do you see?” ​

Recognising that what and how we create now impacts our future, each of the campaign collaborators use their talent and creations to pave the way for a better future for their communities. And while the means of how they impact their communities varies, the focus on their legacy is shared – you can’t change what came before you, but you can change what comes next. ​

For more information, visit Reebok’s Facebook and Instagram

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Women and men walking on fashion ramp

The World’s First Fashion Council For Sustainability

The Middle East Fashion Council makes history as it strives for a more sustainable fashion future.

Following this month’s announcement that Middle East Fashion Week will make its debut in Spring 2021, there’s more good news for the region’s fashion industry – the Middle East Fashion Council has been revealed as the world’s first fashion council for sustainability. 

Positioning the Middle East as a major player in the global fashion scene, the MEFC has made a commitment to the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, aiming to foster a culture of diversity and inclusion, tackle socially and environmentally pressing issues and implement positive change.

Simon Rubel Lo Gatto, CEO Middle East Fashion Council

Founded by Simon Rubel Lo Gatto, who holds the position of CEO of the not-for-profit entity, the MEFC’S board includes two of the region’s most notable sustainability advocates – Faris Saeed, CEO of Diamond Developers and Founder of The Sustainable City, who now undertakes the role of Director of Sustainability, and Director of Arts Nayla Al Khaja of Nayla Al Khaja Films – widely acknowledged as the first female film Director-Producer in the UAE.

MEFC Director Of Sustainability Faris Saeed

Driving sustainable fashion to the forefront of the industry, and working alongside the four main international fashion councils: the British Fashion Council, Fédération Française de la Couture, Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana, and Council of Fashion Designers of America – the MEFC will encourage sustainability that conserves resources and minimizes our carbon footprint.

MEFC Director Of Arts Nayla L Khaja

Collaborating with like minded platforms and organizations to drive sustainable fashion to the forefront of the industry, the MEFC’s regional mission is to connect local designers and talent with the mainstream market, empowering them to develop their brands, and maintaining a strong ethos of quality and professionalism.

“Style is a simple way to show the world who you really are,” said Simon, whose endorsement of Middle East Fashion Week will see more than 20 designers take part in the five-day fashion extravaganza, which includes a 3-day forum on sustainability in the fashion industry. “Our platform was born from an inspiration to address climate change and pollution as a direct cause of the industry we love, and the Middle East Fashion Council is committed to sustainable fashion for a healthier planet.”

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A woman wearing green colored dress with ring neckles

Wearable Waste – The Sustainable Fashion Choice

H&M’s latest sustainable collection crafts gorgeous clothes from rubbish

H&M has long championed the sustainable fashion movement. But the high street giant’s latest Conscious Exclusive collection, launched this weekend, highlights the incredible technological innovation behind what will become the future of the fashion industry.

Crafted from fabrics and processes that transform food crop waste into a natural fibre, the AW20 Conscious Exclusive collection is created from fabrics made from sustainably-sourced wood pulp, or use a unique garment-to-garment process. Resulting in a selection of incredibly advanced materials including a jacquard taffeta fashioned into two show-stopping cocktail dresses, the new fabrics have been transformed into a stunning capsule of opulent evening wear, voluminous tops, ruffled dresses and sharp tailoring in a fresh pairing of colour and print, all of which feel perfectly relevant for this year’s more considered party season. 

“For A/W20, we really wanted to be trailblazers – pushing the limits of creativity and sustainable fashion – by focusing on waste,” revealed Ann-Sofie Johansson, creative advisor at H&M. “As a result, the pieces in this collection are crafted from truly amazing materials produced from waste. Working with this kind of transformation and being able to speak to our customers through beauty, we hope that waste can be part of the future of sustainable fashion.” 

Accessories include bold necklaces, earrings, and shoe clips made from recycled metals, and a pair of sunglasses crafted from Made of Air®, a material partly made from waste biomass. Shoes created using VEGEA™, a vegan leather partly made from grape by-products, can be worn as both a mule and boot with a removable sock. Meanwhile, prints throughout the collection are inspired by floral wallpaper that has peeled off over time or tapestries from days gone by, while flower appliqués and moth motifs allude to both life and decay.

Zinnia Kumar is the face of H&M’s AW20 Conscious Exclusive campaign

Encouraging consumers to “wear the waste” in an endeavour to change fashion, the collection campaign features Zinnia Kumar, an Australian-born, London-based ecologist, activist, and model. 

“I’m thrilled to be a part of this Conscious Exclusive campaign, especially as H&M is paving the way for sustainable collections to become the industry norm,” says Zinnia. “As consumers, we will no longer need to differentiate between fashionability and sustainability, as they will become one and the same. As an ecologist working in fashion, this fills me with hope.”

Shop the collection now at HM.com

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Bazaara mobile application

Pre-Loved Fashion App Bazaara Launched This Weekend

Get your slow fashion fix, fast, at your fingertips, with the UAE’S latest sustainable style app

As fashion-lovers become all the more focused on sustainability, pre-loved style app Bazaara launched this weekend – and looks set to become the sustainable UAE shopper’s fashion go-to.

An online marketplace for pre-loved clothes, accessories and home goods, Bazaara allows its users to turn their closet and household clutter into cash, or shop from an ever-changing mix of fashion and lifestyle pieces. 

Co-founded by Dubai resident Alyssa Mariano, the app makes the process of buying and selling super-simple – users just upload a photo of their item to the app along with a description and their desired price, and list it. Once the item has been bought, Bazaara sends a courier service to collect and deliver the item, and the payment is pinged to the seller. Shipping fees are included in the listing price, so buyers and sellers don’t have to meet – allowing the entire transaction to be done from the comfort and safety of home.

Alyssa Mariano, Co-founder Of Bazaara

“Fast fashion is responsible for 10% of all greenhouse gas emissions,” explained the app’s co-founder, Alyssa, who hopes to do her part in reducing the impact fashion has on the environment by shifting consumer focus from new to preloved.

“Bazaara was created with the hope of minimising the damage fast fashion has upon the planet by providing a seamless experience to trade preloved and vintage treasures. I wanted to bring the excitement of finding a steal at the mall or a thrift shop to the online shopper in a safe and social community to discover, create, and inspire new trends.”

Available for iOS on the App Store now, Bazaara will be available on Google Play Store in the coming weeks. Check it out now on Instagram @bazaara.ae

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The Palm Jumeirah Dubai’s First Second-Hand Store Arrives!

Sustainable shopping that supports a great cause – Thrift for Good opens its first retail destination in the UAE

We at The Gaggler LOVE a charitable initiative – and when it’s an initiative that supports a brilliant cause that boosts another of our favourite topics – sustainability – it’s always going to be a win-win situation.

Following a massive response to the region’s first-of-its-kind online charity store which launched midway through COVID-19’s lockdown in April, Thrift For Good is opening its first retail store on The Palm Jumeirah next weekend.

THRIFT FOR GOOD

Rehoming a variety of secondhand items, Thrift For Good raises funds for children’s charity, Gulf For Good – and was founded by the charity’s former Operations Manager, Jen Sault.

“The demand and appreciation for good-quality, second-hand items in Dubai is growing, and thanks to the support from the community, we’re delighted to open our first retail store,” said Jen. “This is a great opportunity for us to make charity thrift accessible to a wider audience in Dubai, reduce waste and raise even more funds for children around the world in partnership with Gulf for Good”. 

Engaging some 100 volunteers, 250 donors and more than 350 customers since it’s conception, TFG or, as its team lovingly calls it ‘The People’s Store’, has gained incredible support from eco-conscious consumers, humanitarians and fashion lovers across the city, with the physical store giving both existing and new customers the chance to shop with enhanced transparency and communication.

Opening to the public over a special launch weekend of November 13 and 14, the store at Golden Mile Galleria 2, Palm Jumeirah Dubai, will be hosting a fashion show, environmental up-cycling and craft workshops, raffle prizes, musical performances and much more whilst customers are encouraged to shop for brilliant secondhand bargains. Serving as a clothing donation drop-off point, supplementing TFG’s weekly mobile collections as well as a retail destination, the store has been created with the help of some key local business, with furnishings sponsored by Marina Home Interiors, Interior Design work by Project Piña, storage sponsorship from The Box, and event decoration by Twenty 7even Events.  

Open seven days a week, from 10 am until 10 pm, the new store promises to be a must-visit for savvy, sustainably-minded shoppers keen to get their hands on secondhand finds from all over the city, and who want to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate across the globe.

“We’re so proud and delighted to have our sister social enterprise open its first retail location, which we have no doubt will raise a significant amount for children around the world,” says Gulf For Good’s Anne Edmondson. “Aside from boosting the city’s new-found focus on sustainability, TFG’s profits are supporting Gulf for Good and its international projects for underprivileged children, which has raised nearly US$4 million through more than 60 charity projects in 27 countries, helping more than 35,000 children over the last 19 years”.

Shopping for a really good cause, and being sustainable at the same time? We’ll see you there next weekend. Check out TFG’s Instagram @ThriftforGood

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A woman smiling

10 Things To Know About Retold

The pioneering sustainable fashion boutique helping Dubai get dressed up the environmentally-friendly way

As they move to a brand new space in Al Quoz, RETOLD’s Chief Storyteller, Sian Rowlands, tells The Gaggler why Dubai’s best-kept style secret is also it’s most sustainable fashion concept store.

TG: WHAT’S THE CONCEPT BEHIND RETOLD?

SR: RETOLD is pre-owned fashion boutique reselling gorgeous, lightly used items in perfect condition from your favorite high-street and luxury brands

TG: WHAT KIND OF CLOTHING DO YOU ACCEPT?

SR: We accept both high-street and designer clothes, shoes and accessories. We only accept items in perfect condition however –  anything that shows any signs of wear and tear will be donated to a charitable cause.

TG: HOW CAN I EARN MONEY BY SELLING MY UNWANTED CLOTHING THROUGH RETOLD?

SR: There are two ways to earn with RETOLD, you can either opt for a cash payout for the clothing you bring to us, or you can choose to use store credit – which will earn you up to four times as much! 

We offer our payouts based on value, so the more designer pieces you have to sell with us, the more you can earn.

TG: CAN YOU BUY ONLINE?

SR: Yes, we have a small selection of available pieces on our website, although because we have upwards of 8,000 pieces in stock at any one time, you won’t be able to find it all listed online – especially if you are working on a budget.

TG: WHAT’S THE BEST DAY TO SHOP AT RETOLD?

SR: Every day! We are open seven days a week – it’s always a good day to shop sustainably.

TG: DO YOU HAVE AN IN-STORE STYLIST TO HELP ME SHOP?

SR: We do indeed. All of our staff are happy to help you find something that you’ll love, and because they are very familiar with all the pieces we have in stock, they know exactly where to look for the pieces perfect for each customer. Our in-house retail manager Jelena also has a seriously keen eye for ‘what will look good on you’!

TG: DO YOU SELL VINTAGE PIECES?

SR: We have a small selection of vintage pieces – think pre-1980’s-type vintage! Our vintage selection is always really popular and often gets snapped up as soon as we’ve restocked. We’re a little low on our vintage finds since the COVID lockdown and subsequent travel restrictions (our vintage items are sourced by the team personally overseas!), but we have a few pieces left. We also have a range of amazing vintage cameras and some original vinyl and decorative items.

TG: HOW OFTEN DO YOU GET NEW STOCK IN STORE?

SR: Every day! Well, pretty much. Because our items come directly from our clients, we receive new stock on a daily basis. 

TG: WHAT DO YOU DO WITH ALL THE UNSOLD STOCK?

SR: Obviously our stock has a shelf life, although we try and sell it before resorting to anything else. But if it doesn’t sell straight away, after some time we’ll discount the price. And if it doesn’t sell after that, it’s donated to charity. There’s a couple of charities we work with – namely Gulf for Good (and their social enterprise Thrift for Good), but we also work with Red Crescent.

TG: WHERE CAN WE FIND YOU?

SR: We’ve just moved to an awesome new location in Al Quoz, at Warehouse 11, Red Crescent Compound, 6th Street, Al Quoz First.

It’s directly opposite the big DEWA Sustainability Office, and Emirates Post Al Quoz Branch, and right between Dynatrade Auto Servicing and our friends at Cash Converters. 

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Plastic and steel bottles waste

8 Ways To Live A More Sustainable Life

From remembering to shop with your recyclable tote, to donating your old laptop to charity, here’s how to live a better, smarter and more sustainably-focused Dubai life

Here at The Gaggler, we’re all about making great choices in life – and when those choices help others whilst simultaneously saving the planet, we know we’re onto a winner. Living a more sustainably-focused existence was top of our to-do list on January 1, and as we battle through probably the toughest year on record (yes, we mean you, COVID-19) here are eight easy ways to give back to the world right now…and continue to do so when 2021 finally arrives…

Recycle plastic and paper
Recycle recycle recycle – PC: Shutterstock

RECYCLE, RECYCLE, RECYCLE…

If you’re not doing it already, start right now. Whether it’s paper, plastic, metal, glass or textiles, most household waste can be recycled – and there’s no excuse not to do it. Thoroughly wash out empty packaging when you’ve finished with your product, and separate it into type. If you’re lucky enough to have one, make sure you use the designated recycling bin outside your house to dispose of your recycling or use the special recycling shoot in the garbage room of your apartment block for recyclable materials. Not got either one of those? Make the effort to find out where your local recycling bank is, and make a weekly trip there. Millions of tonnes of what could have been recycled waste go to landfill every year, and it’s our responsibility not to add to it. 

how to recycle

AND START COMPOSTING TOO!

If you have a garden or even a balcony, composting food scraps is a super-economical and ecologically friendly way to look after your plants. Invest in an indoor compost bin to dispose of biodegradable food matter, and add to your outdoor compost pile to provide nutrients to your garden. The odor-preventing filter and compostable liner bags make composting super-simple, you’re helping reduce the amount of waste you throw away while saving money and nurturing healthy plants. 

Bokashi Bin, PRP AED 294, available at mygreenchapter.com

shopping locally
Greenheart Organics

SHOP LOCAL…

Stocking up on groceries from your local farmer’s markets or farm shop is a great way to support the local economy as well as reducing your carbon footprint by minimising waste and emissions from long-distance shipping. Dubai has come on leaps and bounds with regards to its organic food offering in recent years, so make the most of this burgeoning industry by buying as much local produce as you can.

Dubai favourite RIPE Market reopens for the winter season on October 1 at Dubai Police Academy Park, boasting a new farmer’s market area which will host up to eight farmers offering delicious, locally-grown produce at affordable prices. 

organic vegetables

Buying organic local produce ensures that you’re getting the most flavoursome, pesticide-free and vitamin-dense foods around, as well as supporting regional industry, so if you’ve never been before, Greenheart Organic’s farm shop in Arjan is a must-try. A haven of organically-grown goodness, vegetables and fruits on offer in this gem of a store are grown 100 percent chemical-free from Greenheart Organic’s own heirloom seeds and harvested daily from their farm in Sharjah.

BRING YOUR OWN CONTAINERS TO THE SUPERMARKET

re-useable containers

Despise the plastic containers that deli food comes in? We hear you. So why not take your own storage items to the supermarket when you shop? Make sure the counter assistant weighs the container before it’s filled so you don’t get charged for its weight as well as whatever you’re buying, and you’re set! 

BRING YOUR OWN BAG

recycled shopping bag

Reusable veggie bags are also brilliant to carry in your recycled shopping tote – not only do they look nice for storing your goods, they help produce to last longer. Combine all three options and you’ll reduce unnecessary plastic and paper bag use every time you shop for your groceries. 

BUY SECOND HAND

second hand clothes

Whether its clothes, furniture, books, cars or electrical goods, buying second hand is the savviest way to shop if you want to become more sustainably-focused. Guaranteed to save you money as well as making zero impact upon the planet, if there’s an opportunity to buy something pre-loved that still makes your heart pound as if it were new, there’s no reason not to buy it. 

second hand furniture

The cyclical economy is central in fighting climate change, and being a part of it is easy – simply choosing not to buy new unless it’s absolutely essential makes you an active member of the initiative for change. Shaking off its negative connotations, buying second hand is one of the simplest steps to minimizing the global waste issue, whilst the market for pre-loved luxury items is the biggest news in the fashion industry right now,  generating millions of dollars each year.

Here in the UAE, the pre-loved market is growing daily. From flea markets and second-hand sales groups on Facebook to sustainable fashion boutiques like RETOLD and online pre-loved sites like The Luxury Closet, finding everything you need for a fraction of the price that makes a minimal impact on the planet is as easy as finding your nearest shopping mall.

SAY SO LONG TO SANITARY TOWELS AND TAMPONS

Did you know that the average woman has around  450 periods in her lifetime, and disposes of around 137kg of sanitary waste? Or that a year’s worth of disposable pads and tampons leaves a carbon footprint of 5.3kgCO2 per person? And that a tampon’s plastic applicator will take more than 500 years to decompose, if ever? All shocking statistics that are nothing but bad news for the environment. Since menstruation is a fact of life, sanitary protection is an essential – but there is an eco-friendly and sustainable alternative to pads and tampons that also won’t harm your body.

eco friendly Menstrual cup
Lunette Menstrual Cup

Menstrual cups have gained huge popularity in recent years, not only because they save the average woman thousands of dirhams on buying standard sanitary goods, but also because they have no negative impact upon the environment. Designed and made in Finland from soft, toxin-free medical-grade silicone, a Lunette menstrual cup can be used for up to 12 hours at a time, lasts at least two years with proper care and can be burned to ash when it’s ready to be replaced.  

A brilliant solution for both the body and the environment, just one menstrual cup eliminates the need for up to six hundred tampons – saving around two years-worth of waste sanitary product from damaging the environment. 

Lunette Menstrual Cup, PRP AED 157.50, available at sprii.ae

sustainable toothpaste and toothbrush

TURN OFF THE TAP WHEN YOU CLEAN YOUR TEETH

If you’re guilty of leaving the tap on when you brush your teeth, stick a post-it note to the mirror to remind yourself how much water (and money) you’re wasting by being forgetful. By simply turning the tap off every time you brush your teeth, you can cut your water bill by an average 13 per cent every year, and save thousands of litres of water while you’re at it.

DONATE YOUR OLD DEVICES 

donating old devices
Student Estella May Francez Manaloto

Help local children in need and save the planet by donating your old smartphones and laptops to charity. From now until the end of September, Stop & Help is asking UAE residents to recycle, reuse and repurpose their unwanted devices and donate them to families unable to afford the IT equipment required to continue their children’s education. Functioning secondhand laptops, smartphones and tablets to give away can be registered here, where they’ll be matched with the children who need them most. Items can be personally dropped off or couriered to a designated family from as little as AED30, allowing givers to play a significant role in supporting their access to education during these extremely challenging times.

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A woman holding handbag

Buy Pre-Loved, Save The Planet.

Why repurposing luxury fashion is the next big thing.

The market for second-hand luxury goods is estimated to be worth some $24 billion and is growing at four times the rate of the primary luxury market. Where once upon a time second-hand goods may have been considered substandard or even frowned upon, today they are not only seen as acceptable but mainstream. With second-hand goods often referred to as ‘vintage’ or ‘pre-loved’ their appeal has grown exponentially in the last two decades as consumers seek items that are not only better value, but unique and highly sought-after.

Indeed, it’s not uncommon for entire business models to be based upon selling pre-owned luxury goods. In the UAE, several such business models exist. And since the UAE is one of the foremost consumers of luxury goods globally, there’s no shortage of supply in designer pieces looking for new homes. Many of those trading in pre-owned goods, however, have a global customer base, a trend not ignored by larger, global fashion retailers, such as Nordstrom and Macy’s, who have also entered the luxury resale market.

Used-luxury goods, which come at a fraction of their original price, make luxury instantly more accessible. A recent report published by online luxury retailer Farfetch, which surveyed 3,000 consumers across the US, UK, and China, demonstrated that cost-savings are the number one reason for purchasing pre-owned goods. But it’s not pricing alone that’s driving the market. Sustainability concerns are increasingly driving consumer purchases.

pre owned luxury clothing
H&M recently collaborated with luxury Italian label Giuliva Heritage on a sustainably-focused collection

The Fashion Industry’s Environmental Footprint

With the fashion industry accounting for 10% of global carbon emissions, there is considerable concern over the sector’s highly damaging environmental impact. Water consumption is a significant issue, with a year’s worth of drinking water required to produce one kilogram of cotton (the amount needed to make a single pair of jeans). Fast fashion brands are the primary culprit, producing multiple lines per season, with new collections appearing as often as every week. 

Waste is also a considerable concern, with 85% of our old clothes ending up in landfills. As consumers become more environmentally conscious, they are driving the industry to do the same. It has become increasingly common for major retailers to have specific lines that adopt more sustainable practices. H&M’s sustainable and organic range Conscious, Levis Water<Less jeans and Topshop’s Considered line are just a few examples.

In support of its pre-owned luxury goods section, Farfetch recently launched a sustainability calculator. The tool enables consumers to check how their second-hand purchases have reduced their environmental impact in comparison to buying new goods. But luxury goods have always stood out in this regard. Made to stand the test of time, a single purchase will last a lifetime, even generations, in terms of both quality and style.

With Generation Z growing ever-more environmentally conscious,  62% preferring to shop from sustainable brands, we can only expect the trend towards pre-owned luxury to snowball. With increasing smartphone and internet penetration rates, we can also expect more consumers to sell their pre-owned goods on various social media platforms, including Facebook’s Marketplace.

While brands may have previously resisted the trend, believing it to be damaging to their sales, many are now embracing it as they become increasingly responsive to environmental concerns. Many now offer to exchange pre-owned goods for store vouchers. Examples include Stella McCartney’s partnership with TheRealReal, and Retold, which provides a similar service in Dubai. By supporting the circular economy, fashion brands further reduce industry waste.

Changing Luxury Trends

With the pre-owned luxury sector growing rapidly over the last decade, it’s constantly evolving to engage consumers in new ways. The luxury market is now as much about the experience as it is the product. And increasingly, even in the mainstream market, consumers are in search of tailored products and experiences.

In line with these trends, team Gaggler has teamed up with Retold, the Dubai-based boutique that repurposes second-hand clothing, “giving clothes a second chance of happiness”. 

used clothes for sale in Dubai
RETOLD’s entire business models revolves around pre-loved fashion

The GAGGLER x RETOLD Style Experience pairs customers with qualified personal stylists for a bespoke selection of pre-owned clothing that is nearly-new or new with original tags still in place. Customers choose either a High Street or Premium experience before completing a short Style Questionnaire online. Once submitted, a RETOLD stylist carefully handpicks fashion items with the customer’s preferences in mind, then arranges for their package to be quickly delivered to their doorstep. Customers are then invited to visit the Retold store in Barsha to complete their outfit during their personal styling session, using their bonus Retold discount voucher towards any in-store purchase, or exchange their original items should an alternative be preferred. This all comes at a fraction of the items’ original retail price, packaged in a reusable tote bag to help reduce the use of plastic.

GAGGLER x RETOLD High Street Style Experience, PRP AED 250

GAGGLER x RETOLD Premium Experience, PRP AED 400

Embracing the Circular Economy

As the industry becomes smarter on all fronts, we can expect greater efficiency and less waste across all sectors. Technology has enabled many of these changes, combined with growing environmental awareness, and as governments around the world work to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation, the fashion industry’s embrace of the circular economy is a step in the right direction. 

The market in pre-owned and repurposed luxury goods offers one such avenue that we hope to see more of in the future.

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