We are proud to be hosting a very special sold-out Q&A event with journalist and author Lauren Bravo on her new book Breaking Up with Fast Fashion this January in our Bristol and Brighton stores!
We spoke to Lauren about her latest book, vintage shopping and how she sees the future of sustainability.
This month, Beyond Retro are excited to share the news of our involvement with Converse Renew.
The Converse Renew initiative will see a line of Chuck 70 denim trainers released by Converse, created from recycled and/or upcycled denim provided by us at Beyond Retro. Our contribution to this programme has seen the potential of an innovative concept to change the way we think about, and use, discarded materials.
The trainer will give a new meaning to the nostalgia that comes with vintage denim. As senior director of materials at Converse, Jessica L’abbe, told Fast Company: 'Every denim Chuck is different because each pair of jeans will be worn differently. Each will feel highly personal even at scale, we feel that's a special moment for this program".
Converse Renew Denim in medium.
This initiative marks a huge step forward in the potential that sustainable fashion can hold, marking a significant change in the preconceived notions we hold for used materials. We’re proud to be able to help brands create accessible and environmentally sound alternative to fast-fashion, providing this to the high street customer at such a large scale.
Each year in the UK alone, we buy 70 million pairs of jeans, which has a largely negative environmental and human cost. At Beyond Retro, we source through over 1 million pairs of jeans a month. With Converse, we were able to provide the resources to source denim to the specifications - weaves, weights and colours - required to create the Converse Renew Denim trainer.
Converse Renew Denim in dark.
Our support of Converse through the creation of the Converse Renew Denim Chuck 70, which is the first upcycled collection of its kind to achieve industrial scale, has unveiled both the innovation and the potential of new manufacturing processes. We hope to inspire more brands to create renewed products so that sustainable options become accessible for all.
The Renew Denim will be available in three washes - light, medium and dark - which have been butterfly cut, so the iconic Converse shoe panels remain.
The Converse Renew Denim in all three washes, light, medium and dark.
We talk about fast-fashion a lot; about why we encourage people to shop vintage, secondhand or sustainable alternatives, about what needs to change in the industry to make a lasting impact on the world around us...
We talk about fast-fashion a lot because it is a conversation worth having.
When the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh, over 1,129 people were killed and the horrific working conditions of fast-fashion sweatshops came out of the dark; people were confronted with the consequences of their choice to shop fast-fashion, which was proven to be undeniably unethical.
We can not ignore fast-fashion. There are an estimated 40 million people who work in sweatshops across the world, and many of them face unsafe and unethical working conditions. These workers, of which 90% are women, face malnutrition due to low wages, unprotected exposure to toxic chemicals, sexual harassment, discrimination and forced overtime.
At Beyond Retro, we believe that there has to be a better way to produce clothes that fashion can be a force for good and a force for change.
As one of the world’s leading vintage retailers, we're proud to use our platform to lift the voices of brands and designers who are utilising fashion for a positive change.
Carry on reading to discover our hand-picked eco-friendly fashion designers and brands to look out for. And, remember, vintage clothing is inherently sustainable and you can shop our range of products online and in store.
Birdsong are a brand very close to our heart. They are friends of ours, and as a brand they promise no sweatshops and no photoshop, two principles we at Beyond Retro agree with. Their vow to not use photoshop points at a second issue in the fashion industry, being the way in which clothes are marketed towards women, promoting an unattainable standard of beauty.
Their brands mission statement reads: “Wearing our collection of original wardrobe staples is a protest in itself– against the fast nature of the fashion industry, against the obsessive pursuit of trends and against the systematic abuse of women in the production line".
Birdsong then, is certainly a brand that wears their morals on their sleeve. Birdsong make clothes for those who want to make a conscious choice to shop sustainable, and who want to rebel with their clothing.
Know The Origin
Know The Origin is an online brand with a commitment to sustainable practices. All their clothes are made in factories of which their design team have personally visited to ensure only excellent working conditions.
Diversity is also at the forefront of what Know The Orign does, and a scroll through their online store makes this clear. Their clothes are listed on the website featuring a diverse range of models, of all sizes and backgrounds, an unfortunate rarity in fashion.
Project Pico is an underwear brand with a purpose. Underwear is one of the most thrown-away items of clothing, contributing to the never-ending problem of stuff.
It can seem easy to head into a shop on the high street when you need a fresh pair of undies, but knowing that these items are made under less-than-ethical circumstances is hopefully enough to turn you off.
Instead of Primark, opt for Project Pico, who share the story of how their underwear is made, from sewing the cotton seeds to how the finished products make their way to the UK.
They offer an array of styles, from high waist knickers, to the full brief as well as trunks for men.
Matt and Nat
All the bags and accessories from this brand are made from vegan leather, a particular type called PU is used where possible as this is less harmful to the environment than the typical PVC. The linings of their products are made out of 100% recycled plastic bottles!
The brand has a close working relationship with the factories where their products are made, ensuring they qualify for the SA8000 standard certification which requires the fair treatment of garment workers.
ArmedAngels produce sustainable denim. All their jeans are made from sustainable materials, including organic wool, cotton and linen.
Important to note, their packaging is also all sustainable and completely recyclable!
Beaumont Organic is based in Manchester's Northern Quarter, producing self-described ‘contemporary conscious clothing’. They want to create clothing people are proud to be wearing and proud to feel associated with, they want to inspire change and pave the way for fashion to have a more sustainable future.
This brands message is much like our own, which is part of the reason we love them so much.
At the heart of Vildnis’ brand is the ethos to “change the fashion industry without changing your style”, and it follows through with its contemporary, Scandinavian-inspired design. Freedom, fairness, honesty, responsibility and protection of the environment are all part of the brands DNA.
We have been screaming from the roof-top about how the simple actions and the choices we make, such as, making the conscious decision to shop vintage and to shop sustainably can have a huge impact on the future.
Konodo is a brand that firmly believes in this, also. Based in North London, the brand trade fairly with factories in Nepal, China, Indonesia and Turkey which our frequently visited by designers and such. The brand works closely with the team of talented people who bring their ideas to life.
Mayamiko hand pick their textiles from local fabric markets in Malawi. They work with a cooperative of women traders to source the finest prints and they only source enough to produce a very limited number of pieces to ensure minimum waste.
Here Today Here Tomorrow
Here Today Here Tomorrow is a fair trade fashion label that has been committed to social and environmental values from the very start. At the heart of our collections is the consideration of ethical production, beautiful materials and contemporary design.
Words Chardonnay West
We’re already looking forward to long days in the park, the sweet smell of sunscreen and all the over-the-top wide-brim hats but thinking about all of those plastic pint-cups, the single-use food packaging from picnics and all the temptingly-cheap fast fashion makes us break into a sweat. As it starts to heat up and we start planning for summer fun it’s easy to let our habits slip and forget the impact our everyday lifestyle choices can have. We know we can’t solve every issue but we can all do our own small bit every day in the choices we make. So to get the summer vibes flowing and help you plan for the most fun-filled season of the year we’ve compiled a list of switches, steps and shopping choices you can make to make 2019 your most sustainable summer yet.
Practical Picnic Tips
Step away from the cling film and tin foil! Whilst a sandwich bag or two might not seem like the worst thing you could do, they are the type of single-use plastic that will take years and years to decompose and poison the environment. But don’t stress! You can still keep your sarnies safe without plastic. Try making a DIY beeswax food-wrap. They are reusable so you can use them throughout the summer but means you can ditch unnecessary packaging.
Bamboo cutlery sets
There’s nothing like a stroll around a food market or lunch in the park but disposable cutlery is a huuuuuge waste of resources. Invest in a chic set of reusable bamboo cutlery which you can keep in your bag and refuse the nasty plastic you’re offered. The more people who stop using it, the less profitable it is for the companies and they will stop buying them.
Metal straw set
An essential for sustainable living the whole year round; a metal straw will mean whether you’re in the pub, at the beach or at a festival you can feel good about your choices.
Sustainable Summer Skincare
Biodegradable Face Glitter
Of course a glamorous, glittery look is essential for festival season but most are made of plastic which, when washed off, adds to the micro-plastic pollution in our oceans. Opt for a more sustainable option and feel like a guilt-free, glittering goddess.
Face wipes are not only damaging to the planet when disposed but they’re bad for your skin too! Choose a more skin-loving and planet-loving option and go for a good face wash or reusable cotton rounds.
Being a sweaty-mess is not a strong look for summer but neither is the effect that aerosol cans have on the environment. Try out a natural, solid deodorant that is just as effective but kinder on your arms and kinder to the environment.
Upcycle Your Wardrobe
Everyone has that old pair of jeans that don’t quite fit right anymore or aren’t your style but linger in the back of your wardrobe. Summer is the perfect time to get creative and experiment with some DIY style. Take that old pair of jeans, that old maxi dress or an old tee-shirt and grab your scissors. By simply cutting off the hems you can revive your wardrobe in an instant and have a new summery wardrobe without spending anything. If you want some more upcycling inspo then check out our customization how-to’s!
No Waste No Regret
If you do decide to crop your jeans, jackets, dresses and tees then take the excess fabrics and turn them into a coordinating item for your outfit. For example, with a few simple stitches the denim from your jeans can be used to make a matching tote bag to go with your new denim shorts. There’s a world of possibilities to refresh your look!
Avoid Fast Fashion
When it comes to planning holidays or even what you’re going to wear to the park with friends it can be tempting to go for the super-cheap, low-quality fast fashion the high-street has to offer. Of course it can be difficult to avoid the convenience all together but by checking out your local charity shops and vintage stores you’ll be bound to find yourself something totally unique. To make life even easier we even offer next-day shipping on our website, so when you fall in love with a vintage gem and just can’t wait to wear it you don’t have to.
Work With What You’ve Got
When looking for new summer pieces, choose things that already work with what’s in your wardrobe. By buying less you save money and save the planet! It’s simple but a super effective way to help lessen your contribution to climate change.
Stay Cool In Vintage
Look for vintage hats and fans to keep your cool as it heats up. A good wide-brimmed boater, some cat-eye sunglasses and a vintage handheld fan will not only means you’ll be staying chilled but you’ll look chic AF whilst doing it.
Out & About
Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!
One of the joys of summer is being able to be out in the sunshine all day, strolling through the streets, picnicing in the park and avoiding public transport at all costs. Whilst walking places is a more environmentally friendly way to get around you’ll need to stay hydrated- don’t forget a reusable bottle to keep filled up with water!
Refusing plastic bags when you go shopping is a simple witch which many of us have already begun to do naturally, but when the sun comes out you might not be carrying around the same big backpacks you were in the winter! Get yourself a cotton or net tote bag which you can fit neatly into your wicker summer bags and you’ll never be caught having to use plastic. Also a tote bag will double up nicely as a mini picnic blanket to sit on so you don’t get your white summer clothes dirty on those long picnic-in-the-park afternoons!
Every small step helps and the most seemingly-insignificant change can make a big impact when we all do it. If you’re after some summer wardrobe refreshment then shop our women’s summer shop or men’s summer shop online. Or if you want some more info on sustainability in fashion read about it here.
As it gets warmer, and we all start to panic about whether it’s too cold to go bare-legged, or too warm to wear your favourite vintage jumper that you’ve been wrapped up in all winter, there’s one piece that will always be our go to; a vintage Levi denim jacket.
The perfect throw-on piece that really does go with everything, it’s one of our summer wardrobe heroes. We’d never want you looking anything but you’re best and feeling like so here is our pick of the best Levi denim jackets and how to wear them.
Vintage Levi Denim Jackets Looks For Her
How to wear denim jackets to work
What to wear to work in the summer is always stressful, but take it easy and create a foolproof look that you can wear any day of the week. A floral midi + a tee + a denim jacket = your new go-to office outfit. Keep it casual with some Vintage Converse or take the look up a notch with some pumps, either way, it’s an easy look that requires little effort for big impact.
How to wear a denim jacket to a festival
Stay cool in the sunshine by throwing a sleeveless denim jacket over your fave Vintage Band T-Shirts and a pair of raw-hem shorts or your favourite mini skirt. This look works whether you pair it with your favourite vintage Vintage Doc Martens or if you go all out with a pair of wellies.
Dance all day and night in the ultimate festival look. Bonus points if you customise your jacket with patches and badges. Don’t forget some big earrings and a pair of statement sunglasses for a killer sunset look.
How to wear a denim jacket on a date
There’s nothing like a summer romance; fall head over heels for your vintage Levi’s denim jacket and create the perfect date look. Simple, elegant and SO cute this look never fails. Check out our selection of slip dresses and add your favourite oversized denim jacket, voila you’re ready to bag yourself a boyfriend…. Or girlfriend… Or FWB… or whatever it is you’re after.
Vintage Levi Denim Jackets Looks For Him
How to wear a denim jacket with denim jeans
A legend, an icon, of course, we’re talking about double denim. The summer is the perfect time to play around with new looks and go all out with your outfits, so embrace the double denim revolution by matching the washes of your jeans to your jacket and styling it out with a pair of trainers and your favourite graphic tee.
How to wear a denim jacket for BBQ
There's nothing like having a few beers, soaking up the sun and eating totally burnt food from the bbq. Whilst the food might not be on point your outfit can still be. Pair some casual chinos with a vintage denim jacket in a muted tone with chunky trainers to channel your inner Yeezy and rock the dadcore trend. Bonus points by adding the ultimate normcore accessory- some Kappa tube socks.
How to wear a denim jacket to the pub garden
Don’t throw out your skinny jeans just yet, keep it casual in black denim for a lazy summer Sunday outfit. Converse or Vans are a must for this look as are some wayfarer-style sunnies. Cut up your favourite band tee and turn it into a tank for a grungy laid-back look.
Shop our selection of vintage Levi's denim jackets here and if you're after some more style inspo for summer check out our guide to Hawaiian shirts.
Words by Eloise Gendry
The 1970s and denim go hand in hand together like Jimmy Hendrix and a guitar, or Bianca Jagger and a white horse at Studio 54. From flares and double denim to skirts long and short the decade shifted denim from a Counterculture statement to a fast fashion must have. We take a look at some of our favourite 1970s denim fashion moments to help you get the perfect look online and in store.
Flares in any shape and form are synonymous with the 70s, starting life off as Naval bell-bottoms bought by the youth as a distinctive sign of a Counterculture lifestyle. The demand for these recycled Navy uniform trousers outweighed supply and those who wanted the look started to get creative by cutting open the side seams of straight legged jeans and adding extra panels of contrasting fabric.
Manufactures and stores quickly caught on to the DIY flared jeans, and it wasn’t long before a flared jean could be seen in every High Street window. From Farrah Fawcett to the teenagers on the street, flared jeans were the staple of 1970s denim fashion.
The Wrangler Jacket
Denim jackets can be attached to many eras but for the 70s must have it was the Wrangler Blue Bell 11MJ. Made famous by John Lennon it is near impossible to find a photo of Lennon in the 70s without his favourite piece of Wrangler denim.
The Denim Skirt
The denim skirt was born in the 70s as a way to recycle damaged denim in the awakening of the environmentally conscious consumer. They came in all lengths from a take on the 60s mini to the longer bohemian cut with raw hems, centre front o-ring zips and the humble patchwork.
Originally the staple of Cowboys and Miners of Gold Rush California, double denim much like the flare became a popular 70s trend. One of the many advocates of the double denim look was Sonny and Cher. Sonny, in fact, was the first man on television to ever wear denim. Denim came to symbolise a fresh all – American sexuality so the more denim, the better!
With so many 70s pieces in store and online, it is so easy to recreate your own 1970s denim fashion moment or mix and match with your own style. Perhaps try your own bit of DIY on the unloved denim in the back of your wardrobe to create that patchwork look. If we can recommend one thing though is to try double denim, it may change your life!
Words Hugo Harris
Everyone has a favourite pair of jeans, and the right ones will last you a lifetime. But sometimes you just want a change. We've got some simple DIY hacks to refresh your fave denim staples to give them an even longer life in your wardrobe.
How To Make A Raw Hem
Here’s a great trick for when your latest vintage jeans purchase is slightly too long or if you just want to show off your ankles this Summer, fixing your own hem is actually super simple!
First off, you’ll need:
- Your jeans
- Fabric scissors
- A tape measure
Before this, try on your jeans in the mirror and work out exactly how high you’re going to crop them. Measure the ideal length on one leg, making sure to make note of the number for the other side.
Using your trusty pins, attach both sides of the trouser together so that’s easier to trim. Be sure to make this a straight of a line as possible!
Snip, snip! See ya later excess material. A straight line across should be simple enough. The sharper the scissors, the better. After snipping away the ends of your jeans, you can design your own worn effect using sandpaper. This will give you that very trendy raw hem result.
Frayed Hem Jeans
Instead of cutting horizontally across the pinned line, try snipping vertically upwards to create a fringing effect. Wash on a short cycle on the lowest temperature and they’ll naturally create a super cute fray.
And here’s us thinking women's clothes didn’t have enough pockets. Often the colour underneath will be different from the rest of the jean, giving you a cute little statement zone.
A punk and grunge classic. We take no responsibility for any elders making stupid comments like ‘where are half your jeans gone?’ at family events though. It’s called fashion, look it up.
Find out more on making your denim your own with our guide on how to customize your denim!
Denim has been a staple in everyone’s wardrobes since the 60s! This classic workwear textile has been there with us throughout the fashion decades, resulting in the existence of a favourite pair of jeans, statement denim jacket or accessories such as hats or scrunchies (or if you’re brave - all of the above).
As seemingly everyone in the world is a lover of this comfortably cool material, the tried and tested best way to stand out from the crowd is through customisation. Here at Beyond Retro we love to show off a little creativity and rework a look, so here are a few helpful tips on how to transform your old denim from drab to fab.
Before playing around with your vintage denim, find out about it's story with our ultimate denim guide.
Customise Denim With Patches
Whether you’re into bands, cartoons or merely feel the need to make a statement; patches are one of the easiest ways to get custom images onto your clothes. They’re simple to apply, you just have to iron them on!
How to Acid Wash
To achieve this ultimate 90s effect, you’ll need to dilute some bleach in a spray bottle, squirting the areas you’d like to lighten. You’ll see the results almost immediately but remember to wash the jeans before you wear them!
How to do Embroidery
Maybe try practising on some scrap material first, or better yet, find somebody else to do it. All you need is a needle and embroidery thread and a cute design in mind and you're set to get to work customising your denim!
Inspired but have nothing to DIY yet? Discover some true vintage denim treasures online at Beyond Retro.
Words Hatti Rex
Padmini Venugopal - Raw Material Manager
Deepali Gajra - Fashion Designer
Nithya Mukandan - E-commerce Manager
Why did Bank & Vogue decide to get involved in this year's Innovation forum?
To find out more about the innovation forum, listen to podcasts with people in the industry and to find out more about the Sustainable Apparel Conference, head over to their website: innovation-forum.co.uk