Sustainability at ReNew Fashion

By Kendrea Rhodes

With a view to slow down the fast fashion movement and reduce the mounds of annual textile and resource wastage, Lobethal local, Kristina Vonow, has opened a business with a subtle difference. ReNew Fashion employs the rent-a-rack concept that enables local people to become sellers and buyers, while addressing the environmental issue of fashion waste. Its operation model is not that of an op-shop, monthly market, digital platform, or retail brand outlet.

Rent-a-rack is a successful pre-loved clothing sales concept from Finland that started in the 1980s. The concept enables everyday people to manage their own rack of clothes for sale in a retail setting, controlling their own prices and topping up when sales create space. This provides all the benefits of a retail setting with an experienced manager (such as Kristina at ReNew) without the need for the seller to be present.

Kristina started ReNew Fashion after a diagnosis of cancer and subsequent chemotherapy made it clear that her first love of teaching was no longer a viable option. So, at the beginning of this year, Kristina and her daughter Jasmine opened ReNew Fashion in Mount Barker. Jasmine studies entrepreneurship and innovation at Adelaide Uni and finds her experience with the business complements her studies.

Kristina and Jasmine Vonow at ReNew Fashion, a rent-a-rack preloved clothing store supporting local empowerment and sustainability.

At ReNew Fashion, sellers can rent a rack with space for fifty garments for two-weeks at $149 (less for one week). This includes four items of shoes and/or bags. The seller prices their own garments, keeping 100% of the proceeds, and can top up their rack during the rental period when space permits. It’s a great way to move that good quality clothing you no longer wear and get something for it at the same time, rather than giving it away or sending it to landfill.

Rent-a-rack is a new concept for the Adelaide Hills, with three shops now (Mount Barker, Stirling, Littlehampton) and several stores in Adelaide. It’s a bit like a personal online store (like Depop, Gumtree, Ebay) but without all the online hassles of postage, waiting time and returns. Customers can try on the garments before they buy, thus removing many of the online barriers for both sellers and buyers. The clothing at ReNew is upmarket, high-end, generally designer label and always in excellent condition. For customers, this is a great way to shop sustainably and find unique fashion items at affordable prices in a professional retail environment.

At ReNew each rack is rented by a different seller, therefore each rack represents one person’s style and general size. Kristina labels the racks by size and rack number, making it easier for sellers to track the sales from their racks and for buyers to go directly to their own size. Think of it this way: customers have the privilege (and permission) to look through the best pieces from somebody else’s wardrobe. ReNew Fashion promotes the store and the clothing, and they also encourage sellers to promote their own racks too. This provides greater marketing coverage, alerting more customers of current high-quality affordable items.

ReNew Fashion is open five days per week (closed Tuesday and Sunday) from 10am until 4pm, with late shopping on Thursdays to 7pm. They are at Shop 1, 46-48 Victoria Road, Mount Barker. So, on your next trip to Mount Barker, be sure to drop in. You might find that unique item of clothing you’ve been looking for or you could manage your own enterprise when you rent a rack. For terms and conditions, as well as answers to frequently asked questions, please contact Kristina and Jasmine at ReNew on 0405 907 815 or download the T&Cs from their website: ReNew Fashion are also on Facebook and Instagram.