Remaking things at scale — fashion in this case — takes many skilled hands.
If you’ve seen extensive upcycled collections at Urban Outfitters, Topshop or Converse, then they were likely made by Bank and Vogue, or BVH, a veteran clothing upcycler that’s been in the reuse space for 20 years. BVH also counts Beyond Retro (a London-based vintage clothing retailer) in its portfolio.
Sorting, grading and re-commodifying goods is a big business — big volume that is, as every second, a garbage truck-sized load of clothes is tossed, per the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. BVH’s founder Steven Bethell knew this was an issue, and his company’s efforts have led to the scaled upcycling of millions of garments to date.
But at some point, Bethell knew he wanted to go beyond remaking and beyond Beyond Retro. Enter: “Beyond Remade.”
“Beyond Remade is a genuine celebration of that walk that we’ve done for 20 years,” Bethell told WWD. “I was always amused by Yves Saint Laurent walking through the vintage markets in Paris to see what he would make…Whether it be small features like how a snap button works or how a denim dungaree is put together.”
Beyond Remade is a redesign atelier (with production in its owned factory in India) and direct-to-consumer e-tailer that dropped its first collection Oct. 5. The capsule collection comprises 10 pieces, including workwear dungarees, patchwork utility jackets, pants, stitched converse and a heavy-looking carrier pack to throw it all in. It’s priced between 100 to 800 pounds, and the campaign imagery for the collection bleeds nostalgia (perhaps the model’s fan of curls and the size of the bookbag which resemble an outtake from the Keri Russell-fronted ’90s show “Felicity”).
BVH has demonstrated the scaled sorting and grading of clothes at scale, but the latest is the founder’s first design effort.
The designs have an “agrarian element to it,” Bethell said, after getting into gardening amid the pandemic. “I grew marigolds around my tomatoes, and I really love the concept of compatible planting. When you see the collection, part of it was thinking of compatible planting and what one thing would support the other.”
An example of this is a pouch that snaps onto the front of the dungarees and can fit into the carrier bag.
Not pinpointing too many details on the demographics, Bethell believes: “The customer that will come will appreciate the craftsmanship,” and will be different from the Beyond Retro or Bank and Vogue customer simply by the price range and designs.
“You are always trying to solve a problem within a price point of $45. We wanted to create a longer runway to put good work and energy. These are much more considered and constructed and inspired,” he said.
Though he admits this one collection won’t change the industry, Bethell said it showcases a model of “low-carbon apparel.”