Today, on the 2nd November 2020, second-hand fashion brand, Vinokilo, will relaunch. The move comes after the pandemic created a bigger investment in its e-commerce department for the company that is known for being the biggest vintage kilo sale in Europe.
Vinokilo is known for running events across Europe where second-hand clothes are sold by the kilo. In March, as Covid-19 forced Governments to shut down cities and limit social gatherings, Vinokilo was forced to cancel 100% of their events which accounted for 92% of their income. They put large investments into e-commerce, resulting in a 158% increase to date compared to last year.
With this positive result, the company invested further, including hiring Anisah Osman Britton in June to lead the charge to begin to explore how to represent the brand globally.
The New New
Vinokilo’s rebrand is all about The New New- it’s a declaration that they are not willing to go back to business as usual. The pandemic has brought the global climate crisis into a more urgent frame. The fashion industry makes 10% of annual global carbon emissions and 85% of all textiles are disposed of. Vintage provides a second life for an item of clothing, after being hand sourced and cleaned that is, and allows them to become someone’s “new new” and continue it’s story. Robin Balser, founder and CEO of Vinokilo says, “In a time where fast fashion companies are greenwashing their actions that are destroying our environment, we have a solution at our fingertips that requires us to look back to go forward. Second hand is the answer. There are endless possibilities of what can be done with it and it is possible to make it affordable and, therefore, accessible to all. You can be stylish and sustainable”.
The New New also encompasses the way the company talks about influencers and who gets featured. Perri Ho, ecommerce marketing manager says “Vinokilo has 100k followers on Instagram now. Many sit in the 16–35 year old bracket and we have a responsibility for what we show them. We have influence whether we like it or not and we just have to do better.”. For the relaunch, the company has selected 15 people to be the face of the launch who are moving the needle in their respective field
Inclusion is a key feature of the rebrand. A central value of the company is to make second hand fashion accessible to all- this primarily has always meant having affordable clothing for every financial bracket. Now, the company has looked at everything:
Colours were chosen to ensure contrasts are high enough for people with colour blindness or other visual impairments, event venues are being checked for wheelchair accessibility and safety, alternative tags are available on all images on the website for those using screen readers, and other best practices are in use on the site for a rich experience for users using assistive technologies. “If we are going to stand a chance at making second a real alternative option, we need to make sure we cater for everyone.
And when we say cater, the experience has to be just as easy, as beautiful, as descriptive as if an abled bodied person was to shop with us. This is a journey and we want to do better so we are super open to suggestions.”, says Anisah Osman Britton.
Vinokilo wanted to ensure that the impact they make was not the collateral of the crisis.
Instead, they’ve invested in it further with the belief that the future of the world and the people of the company will be its strength.
They see an impact on two fronts. Environmental and individual.
Environmentally, second hand clothes do not have to go through a creation process as the clothes already exist. This saves water (over 5 million bathtubs of water so far), CO2, and energy. Items that are rescued from landfill are never disposed of at Vinokilo. They are sold on their ecommerce website, by the kilo at events, or are upcycled if they do not meet the quality control standards of the company.
This care for the environment filters through the company. Tomislav Petrov, head of events, said “we have a filter on the vans that transport clothes to events called AD Blue that reduces emissions. We have a shared wardrobe for the staff to swap, we subsidize train travel, buy oat milk not dairy for the company, and fund healthy lunches from local companies. Sustainability is a way of life, not just a greenwashing campaign.”
This leads to their personal impact. At Vinokilo, 14 members of the team come from countries affected by the war that arrived in Germany as refugees. One of Vinokilo’s values is safety and a large component of this is ensuring people feel that Vinokilo is a safe space to work and to know they’re being looked out for. Working with refugees and others from disadvantaged backgrounds has led the company to implement a tiered helping system including legal work, German/English language courses, and help with housing. They believe that their diversity is a key reason for their success and want to ensure they continue to foster it into the future.