Refash giving new life to used fashion

Used clothing is being promoted by Singapore fashion start-up Refash as the city’s women warm to the idea of bargain clothes, even if pre-owned.

It is the brainchild of four men in their late 20s from the fashion industry who have also had experience in organising flea markets – CEO Aloysius Sng, CMO Stephen Chong, COO Shawn Cheo and business development director Bryant Poh.

“We want to think it’s possible to inspire a new generation of consumers to always think second-hand first,” says Sng, admitting that buying second-hand fashion in Singapore is a “terrible experience”.

“The better way is to take the hassle out of selling and help people to sell without lifting a finger,” he says. In its first six months, Refash has earned about $250,000 in revenue and paid at least $150,000 to sellers.

Instead of going directly to retail stores, shoppers can check Refash to see if it has what they need, says Sng. “This is called ‘refashioning’. It’s a new type of fashion trend where you can sport a different outfit everyday without burning a hole in your pocket.

“If we can connect you to other like-minded women who share the same fashion sense, it’s like shopping from everyone else’s closets.”

Sellers just pack up their unwanted clothes to be picked up by a courier arranged by Refash. By setting up an account on Refash’s website, sellers can check which items are ready to be sold, when each item is sold and the price it fetched.

Sellers can also check how much they’ve made by checking the balance in their Refash wallet.

Originally carrying no-name brands, Refash now accepts fast-fashion brands like H&M and Zara, as well as homegrown labels like Bonito, Love and MDS.

“At the start, we didn’t have preferred brands. We observed which brands were in high demand, and on these statistics listed about 40 to 60 brands we wanted.”

Lesser-known labels are sold at Refash’s physical stores (in City Plaza, PoMo and The Cathay) instead of the online store.

Refash has more than 500 active sellers on its platform now, with a waiting list of at least 600 people. The founders are using their physical stores to accommodate more sellers.

Each seller has at least three months to sell their stuff. At the end of 90 days, they can take back their clothes or Refash will donate them to non-profit organisations like Minds or Radion International.

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