Great things come to those who wait is the philosophy behind  sustainable clothing brand This is Unfolded, writes Kim McAllister.

One Scottish company is aiming to turn the fashion industry on its head to cut waste and change consumer behaviour.

This is Unfolded, from the team that created Mallzee and Lost Stock, offers capsule collections which are only made after they are ordered.

The brand hosted its first pop-up store in Edinburgh in early March in Sook at St James Centre, to show off Collection 04. The selection of womenswear was designed in collaboration with over 1,500 women over the last two months to ensure no waste was created in the process.

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The pop-up aimed to allow shoppers to view, try on and buy from the limited edition collection as well as learning about the industry changes shopping with This is Unfolded is driving.

There was no checkout because customers have to wait four to six weeks for their garment to be made, however, each purchase also supports a child in education. The company runs an Unfolded impact program to support children in India.

Cally Russell, co-founder and CEO of This is Unfolded said the company aims to show there is a different way for the industry to operate.

“The fashion industry is notoriously bad for the environment with 30% of new clothes made never being sold,” he explained. The aim behind This is Unfolded is to make sustainable clothing collections at an affordable price point.

HeraldScotland: CEO Cally RussellCEO Cally Russell

“We know from our own research that more and more people want to buy sustainably but that often the cost can be prohibitive. With This is Unfolded we are building a completely new retail model, one that delivers sustainable and affordable clothes and avoids waste and overproduction. We then use the savings that this approach allows, to pay garment workers better wages and to create long term impact in manufacturing communities through funding children’s education.”

Nothing in the collection costs more than £45 and yet the garment workers are paid a living wage.

“This is Unfolded removes this waste from the production and sales process to deliver truly sustainable clothing collections. The savings made are then used to improve lives – by paying workers better and creating long term change by supporting children in India in education,” Russell added.

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In 2021 the company launched three collections and grew to thousands of customers across the UK – supporting over 1,600 children in education for 12 months through their innovative approach.

The team behind This is Unfolded has a history of creating impact in the fashion industry, having established clothing initiative Lost Stock during the pandemic.

It was set up to support garment workers as fashion retailers cancelled billions of pounds worth of stock orders due to the lockdown forcing the closure of stores. It left factories in countries like Bangladesh with unwanted new clothes and no way to pay their workers.

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Lost Stock sold this stock to consumers as ‘mystery clothing boxes’ to fund support for over 113,000 workers and their families for a month each.

The success of the initiative made the team want to create something more permanent.

“This is Unfolded offers capsule collections of affordable, sustainably-made clothes,” Russell said. “This new way to produce and sell clothes is powered by data, community and a factory to consumer model. Clothes are only produced once orders are placed, removing overstock and ensuring demand is matched to production.

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“We have just launched our fourth collection designed in collaboration with our co-creator community of over 1500 customers who have provided feedback on styles, prints, fit and much more throughout the design process. Clothes are then only produced when orders are placed so as to avoid any overproduction.”

As well as creating a new production and consumer model, the company also supports children’s education in India, through its charity partner Pratham.

“We are currently funding the education of 1600 children in India for the next year and with collection four we hope to add another 1000 children to this,” Russell said.

“So we offer clothes that not only look great but that are better for the environment, the workers and society – in order to do this all we ask of our customers is that they wait four to six weeks for delivery.”

www.thisisunfolded.com