Originally solely an online shop, ReFash opened their Lichtenrader Str. store and showroom as a way of connecting more with their audience. Different from other online shops, ReFash is not only a place to buy vintage and upcycled clothes, but also a platform with fashion blog and mood-board to trigger bursts of inspiration.
With a strong emphasis on merchandising and showing their products in their best lights and outfit combinations, ReFash put in a lot of effort and creativity when photographing their products – meaning that all vintage clothes and upcycled pieces are shown in stylised photos. They try to demonstrate the potential each piece of clothing could have in your wardrobe.
Milena Leszkowicz, founder of ReFash explains:
“The idea is to sell fashion and style, not just a piece of old clothing. Just like how designers and brands create lookbooks, our sellers use the images of their pieces to express their creative vision and to inspire their customers.”
With a background in Fashion Design and Visual Anthropology, Milena is interested not only in fashion itself but also in the phenomenon that it creates.
“What we wear always exists in the tension between following and breaking social and cultural norms and expectations.
“Choosing, buying and mixing clothes into a look is a creative process which I find more intriguing when it expresses a person’s uniqueness.
“My love and passion for vintage and second hand started very early and is a major part of my personal fashion style and philosophy. I think that finding and wearing old pieces is the natural way to go for those who like to stand out and want to use their own creativity when creating their outfits. Not to mention that the overconsumption of cheap fashion creates incredible amounts of textile waste.”
To consume in a sustainable way is never the easiest option, and takes lot more creativity (and sometimes money) from not only the consumer but also from the seller’s part, who often has to upcycle the vintage or second hand pieces to create something wearable and stylish.
Milena told us that this is one of the reasons for creating ReFash. She didn’t feel satisfied with how clothes were displayed in lots of online second hand markets and vintage shops and got frustrated with poor visuals and never finding exactly what she was looking for. With ReFash, she tries to combine cool pieces of clothing with good styling and a chance for all to refresh their wardrobe and, for the sellers, a bigger chance to make extra money.
“I had the idea for ReFash when I noticed that the presentation of second hand clothing online is mostly uninspiring. How can you expect someone to buy something if you don’t show off its potential? Things get wasted because they are not presented right.
“The truth is finding a new home for old clothing requires some work. So I created a platform where selling used clothing goes hand in hand with a creative effort in photography and styling. That’s how you inspire people to make purchases, or rearrange their existing wardrobes to suit another season.”
We know that clothing images are very important to you. Can you tell us about how these images are selected and curated?
“Because we ask for that special effort in the presentation of the clothes on ReFash it creates a natural selection and curation process.
“To me it’s all about recognizing potential and that is also how I understand upcycling. Upcycling to me means to save something from being wasted, to give it a new life and to start a new cycle. You don’t need to necessarily change the garment, it might be just about wearing it in a new way or matching it with that person who will love it and cherish it for years. That’s what ReFash is for, a platform to give clothes a second chance through creativity, a place to inspire and to show others how to see old pieces in a new way.”
And do you have a tip for people that want to buy fashion in Berlin? Or for someone who wants to go second hand?
“I’m at this point where I buy or receive 89% of my fashion second hand. I can’t help but find it just so much more exciting and sustainable. In Berlin I mainly shop in thrift stores, charity shops and at flea markets. That influenced my shopping behaviour over the years as I started to ignore sizing and found more and more creative ways to make something work even if it did not fit me or if I didn’t like one aspect of it but loved everything else.”
There you go. Want to try second hand clothing with a lot of style?
For avid online shoppers, here is their website.
ReFash Vintage & Upcycling Showroom is located in Lichtenrader Str. 49 in Berlin.