fashion library
EVENTS FASHION

VIENNA’S FASHION LIBRARY

This post is part of a sustainability advent calendar. Please don’t miss posts from the others and scroll down, to get more green inputs and ideas on how to make your Christmas more environmentally friendly and satisfactory to your conscience!

Some time ago I stumbled upon the concept of a Fashion Library. Since sustainability is a growing topic in my mindest, especially in terms of clothing, I was intrigued. There are various projects popping up from the US or Germany, but only one in Vienna, Austria – Endlos Fesch. I went to their event in November and didn’t expect much. Old clothes hanging around really. But I was positively surprised! Not only did they offer pieces by ESCADA, and other branded (vintage) garments, but they also source their clothes from independent, local fashion designers.

I once asked a stylist for help with my wardrobe. The first thing she mentioned was: “where are your basics?” and this was and is exactly the problem I tend to have. I have way too many crazy pieces that I can only wear once or twice and after that they are “old dust-collectors”. Thus, I believe that Endlos Fesch, with it’s regular pop up events, may have filled that “hole”. I can now borrow things, wear it for a month and return it to get new ones. No space taken in my wardrobe and no dust-setting on my clothes.

Since I was immediately into that project, I decided to interview Karin and Jessica – to get their view on things! 

fashion library

© Endlos Fesch


INTERVIEW WITH ENDLOS FESCH – JESSICA & KARIN

Corinna: Before there was Endlos Fesch, you founded a second hand photo project and you were members of the Zero Waste Austria initiative – can you explain how that came about? And why did you decide to start a fashion library?

Endlos Fesch: We have been active in the Zero Waste Austria community and were shocked about the high number of clothes that are not being worn and just thrown away (about 80.000 tones per year in Austria alone). With one of the poorest recycling rates, clothes can contain hazardous toxic chemicals, which release greenhouse gases when decomposing at landfills. The chemicals and dyes used leach into the soil, contaminate the land, air and the groundwater.

EF: We wanted to find innovative solutions to this problem. At first we started organizing clothes swaps and ran a second hand fashion photo project to promote awareness about the slow fashion movement (Fesch in Second Hand). As a solution to scale up the idea of sharing clothes and extending the life cycle of existing resources, the idea for Endlos Fesch was born, based on the concept of already existing fashion libraries in Germany and in Scandinavian countries. We believe in applying existing sustainable and green solutions and building a social enterprise that focuses on using zero waste technologies.

fashion library

© LuxundLumen

C: How did your wardrobes change throughout your projects? How many garments do you have now and how often do you shop for new things?

EF: We currently offer about 300 trendy pieces for women, which are a good mix of fair and sustainably produced fashion items from local designers (for example MaMaMu, Tutu Vienna, die Rote Zora), ex-favorite pieces, vintage dresses and mispurchases from the community. Especially in the pre-Christmas time, you can rent trendy party outfits and great dresses. We also offer seasonal outfits for every occasion, and as a special service to our customers, we even take care of the dry-cleaning.

EF: We constantly work on exclusive cooperations with local designers so that we can offer new pieces of IT-clothing at every pop up. This way, we can offer about 50 new pieces on average in all sizes and colours for each pop up event. Our wardrobe keeps growing every day and we are especially thankful to the designers and our community, who are very supportive of the project and believe in the impact of Endlos Fesch.

C: Which piece of clothing is your personal must-have? Is there a story behind that certain garment?

EF: Personally speaking, there is a story behind every single piece at Endlos Fesch, especially the vintage dresses that tell a story of a long gone past but that are still so fashionable today that they become the new must-haves! Our favourites are dresses, for example the scarlet red Escada dress that you can currently find all over the magazines. Red is the colour of this autumn/winter season and adds a spot of life into our winter wardrobe.

EF: The story behind the Escada dress is one that represents our values: it was only worn once for a photo shoot for a magazine this spring by a model. The dress was just lazing around at the stylists’ place and now that we added it to the fashion library, the trendy high quality piece can be worn again by more people. It is a special occasion dress and every costumer loves the nice feel of the silky fabric on their skin. Zero waste – great pleasure!

C: What is the biggest challenge when offering clothes for rent?

EF: The biggest challenge is finding the right clothes that our community wants. The trends are changing constantly and customers of the Endlos Fesch fashion library look for the special must-have piece – or for a classical statement piece for an occasion or work event. We therefore look for the support of our community to share their favourite pieces with the library, so that we can grow fast.

fashion library

© LuxundLumen

C: Kleiderei is the German counterpart to your concept – would you say you admire them, are inspired by them or compete with each other?

EF: We believe in the circular and sharing economy, and at the same time our fashion library is a social enterprise since it impacts the environment and saves resources from being wasted. This is why, we are happy to be part of a community of other fashion libraries in Europe with which we can cooperate, for example Lena’s library in Amsterdam. We visited the founders, exchanged ideas and received lessons learned from their business.

EF: We really appreciate this about the start up and social entrepreneur scene in Europe. Since we are also part of the Impact Hub Vienna and received lots of support to increase our impact, we value the other libraries and get inspiration from them. The Kleiderei is a good example of how two different ways of a fashion library are successfully run – one permanent library in a shop in Cologne and the online platform in the greater Hamburg area.

C: What presents will you buy for Christmas this year? Will you buy something new or source it differently? Is giving second hand presents okay or still unacceptable in our “consumption-based” society?

EF: Christmas is normally a time to reflect on our values, spend it with family and friends, and relax. As part of our values, we take care what kind of presents we give to our family and friends. We like to get new and second hand presents from local stores, friends who have their own small businesses in Vienna/Austria and from shops that produce ethically. Ethical consumption is the key – as customers we can dictate the future, since where we spend our money has an instant impact. We prefer zero waste gifts and second hand clothes, books, games etc. that come with some history and are therefore special.

C: And finally, how will the future of Endlos Fesch look like? What are your next steps?

EF: We believe that our concept can really make an impact, since we will be able to influence today’s and tomorrow’s customers, mainly by changing the current mindsets and informing our members about how much we actually consume and how the clothing industry works –  this will promote sustainable consumption patterns and our community can take part in the sharing economy.

EF: Our next steps are therefore to expand our existing cooperations with local designers and of course to go online. We will create an online platform for our fashion library next year and hope that this will tremendously increase our impact in Austria.

UPCOMING POP UP EVENTS:

  • Impact Hub X-mas Party, on 7 December at Impact Hub Vienna (5:30 – 9:00pm)
  • Endlos Fesch Christmas Party, on 17 December at dasPackhaus (2:30 – 6:00pm)

SUSTAINABILITY ADVENT CALENDER (FIRST PART)

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Sabine
    December 5, 2017 at 10:28 PM

    Ein wirklich toller Beitrag, ich finde das Interview sehr interessant! Ich wusste ehrlich gesagt noch gar nicht, dass es in Wien so ein Konzept bereits umgesetzt wird. Ich bin aus dem Bezirk Wr. Neustadt, also nicht so weit entfernt und werde mir die Pop Up Events gleich einmal in den Kalender eintragen. Vielen Dank für den informativen Beitrag!!
    Liebe Grüße Sabine von http://www.thefashiontaste.com/

    • Reply
      wingsaregolden
      December 7, 2017 at 2:39 PM

      Danke Sabine, das freut mich sehr! Heute findet ja bereits das erste, der beiden Events im Dezember statt. Vielleicht schaffst du es vorbei zu schauen und dir selbst ein Bild zu machen! 🙂

  • Reply
    Zana
    December 6, 2017 at 2:10 PM

    This was such a lovely interview to read! 🙂

    • Reply
      wingsaregolden
      December 7, 2017 at 2:34 PM

      I am glad to hear that, thank you Zana.

  • Reply
    Sabine
    December 6, 2017 at 8:28 PM

    I like the part about the values with christmas. It’s the perfect season to overthink your values and do something good!

    • Reply
      wingsaregolden
      December 7, 2017 at 2:34 PM

      True that, but it’s also not wrong to keep on doing it every month. I also tend to do it in December though but am looking into a plan to regularly re-think and declutter my home. I hope that will make me more efficient. We will see!

  • Reply
    Kintan
    December 6, 2017 at 9:42 PM

    What an amazing interview. Very interesting and great topic. xo

  • Reply
    Jasmin N
    December 6, 2017 at 10:31 PM

    What a lovely interview! I agree with Sabine, this is the perfect season for overthinking values haha 🙂

  • Reply
    Nora
    December 6, 2017 at 11:17 PM

    What an interesting interview! I didn’t know that really that many clothes are thrown away! That sure has a huge impact on the environment. Hopefully this post will make some people think more their consuming habits. Personally, I always give my old clothes to charity except if they’re broken.

  • Reply
    Beth
    December 7, 2017 at 1:46 AM

    Great interview! As consumers, it’s so important to stay educated about these issues.

  • Reply
    Justine Spencer
    December 7, 2017 at 4:23 AM

    I have to confess, I’m very wasteful with my clothes! Unfortunately with my endocrine disorders my body weight and shape can fluctuate frequently and it’s so hard to find clothes that adjust with my body, so I’m always throwing out and buying more Sustainable fashion is definitely something I should look into

  • Reply
    Helene
    December 7, 2017 at 10:13 AM

    That’s a great idea and congratulations to the founder! Wonderful interview! When i was younger i used to buy many clothes, but as i get older i think a few basic but yet stylish pieces is the best solution to keep my wardrobe in place.

    • Reply
      wingsaregolden
      December 7, 2017 at 2:30 PM

      I agree with you, it’s always nice to rotate some pieces though – which you can through Endlos Fesch. It gives you a beautiful option to “add” to your wardrobe for a certain time. I like that about it, no clutter at home that way :).

  • Reply
    Bry Jaimea
    December 7, 2017 at 12:07 PM

    Such a great interview! It’s always interesting to read a brands story and purpose xx

    • Reply
      wingsaregolden
      December 7, 2017 at 2:31 PM

      Yeah it is, we all have our stories to tell and I always try to share at least some of them :). Glad you enjoy it!

  • Reply
    Hanna
    December 7, 2017 at 8:42 PM

    uiii… endlos fesch muss ich mir auch mal anschauen..
    2018 will ich mich auf jeden Fall mit meiner Mode mehr beschäftigen – nachdem ich heuer so extrem ausgemistet hab, hat mein Kleiderschrank nicht mehr so viel herzugeben. Was cool is, weil ich nicht lang brauch – aber ich denk ich hab da einfach auch noch keine richtige Linie für mich gefunden, die mich immer gut angezogen sein lässt…

    Danke für das schöne Interview 🙂
    Lieben Gruß
    Hanna

    • Reply
      wingsaregolden
      December 10, 2017 at 2:41 PM

      Hallo Hanna, vielen Dank für deine ehrliche Meinung. Ich bin ganz bei dir, das ist auch oft mein Problem. Ich habe noch keinen persönlichen “Stil” gefunden, den ich beibehalten will, deshalb kann ich noch nicht so extrem ausmisten, wie ich gerne würde. Aber ich denke das kommt mir der Zeit. Deshalb ist auch Endlos Fesch so ein nettes Projekt, du kannst dich quasi ausprobieren oder Teile borgen, die du nicht kaufen willst.

  • Reply
    Phaytea's Pulse
    December 7, 2017 at 11:35 PM

    Enlightening read..I enjoy reading
    Start up interviews…. Truly inspirational

  • Reply
    Dealman
    December 10, 2017 at 7:46 PM

    Amazing Library and Interview. It’s the perfect season to overthink your values and do something good!

    • Reply
      wingsaregolden
      December 12, 2017 at 1:20 AM

      Thank you and yes, the library is growing each day – totally worth a visit when in Vienna!

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