Source : Reiner upcycling

This week marks the beginning of a new period of curfew, in a complex context filled with uncertainties, during which feelings of stagnation, difficulties in projecting ourselves into the future can be felt.

In this period when fears seem to supplant hopes for change, why not give the floor to young entrepreneurs who actively participate through their project, in the creation of a different world?

We had the opportunity to talk to the two founders of the Reiner Upcyling project, the first upcycling fashion marketplace. Launched a few months ago, this brand new player in the eco-responsible fashion market offers a weekly selection of high-end pieces that revolutionize codes, driven by the desire to radically transform the fashion industry.

Hello Ben & Justin! To begin with, can you define your project for us: what is Reiner, and how did the idea for its creation come about?

Reiner is the leading upcycling fashion marketplace. It is a platform for connecting upcycling fashion designers and enthusiasts wishing to consume a different, more transparent and creative fashion. The current environmental issues, the burn-out of fast-fashion and the search for meaning in our way of consuming gave birth to Reiner.

Source : Reiner upcycling

It is the result of a collaboration between two artists, passionate about fashion and what it infuses into everyday life. As friends and defenders of designers and made in France, the idea was to bring together a selection of upcycling designers in order to offer exclusive, strong and inspiring pieces, while respecting the environment. Gone are the standards that made fashion rhyme with accumulation. Reiner rethinks fashion, democratizes it, rekindles its desire and above all, makes it accessible.

Can you introduce yourself and tell us more about the distribution of roles, the contribution of each of you to the project?

Justin has a university degree and worked for almost 2 years in a London data company. Passionate about photography, he armed himself with his camera and decided last year to go conquer the fashion and music worlds.  Benjamin graduated from business school ESC Montpellier, he has worked for more than 3 years as a project manager in consulting, inside the luxury sector.

Ben & Justin – Source : Reiner upcycling

Both passionate about fashion, painting and music, we have complementary skills, characters and visions and this is what makes our duo so strong. Justin focuses on artistic direction and communication while Benjamin works on digital and retail issues. The development of the business is done in pairs, like meeting the designers, which is the very essence of our project.

In the world of eco-responsible fashion, what does “upcycling” mean to you?

Source : Reiner upcycling

Upcycling is the niche part of eco-responsible fashion, the one that for us has the greatest potential for transforming the fashion industry. Starting from a pre-existing material to create is not trivial. By limiting waste and treating workers better, upcycling thus puts know-how and collective consciousness back at the heart of production.

Upcycling is one of the only solutions to enable large companies to transform quickly and make this industry more circular.

We are convinced of this at Reiner and convincing the greatest is our goal! We also see upcycling as the luxury of tomorrow, while second hand represents the future of fast-fashion. If these two models hold true, then the industry has good years ahead.

Source : Reiner upcycling

“The products sold on our website comply with a precise ethical charter. Can you tell us more about this charter and what each designer who collaborates with you must respect in practice?

The Reiner Code of Ethics represents a framework within which brands can express their creativity while ensuring a limited environmental impact, to allow our buyers to consume with trust. So we based this charter on the process of making a garment. From sourcing and suppliers to the choice of raw materials, from creation to manufacturing and upcycling… You can find it in detail right here.

This charter is obviously going to evolve, both in terms of its criteria and the way it is applied. Today, we are doing real work with brands to ensure that their approach is responsible, tomorrow it will be about making data available to have full transparency in real time.

“The marketplace makes it possible to support, develop and encourage the designers of tomorrow”: how many brands are you currently working with? How do you select them and in what ways do you support them in their development?

Source : Reiner upcycling

Today we work with more than fifty brands. The selection is already made by a simple criterion: we choose upcycling fashion designers. We then select the brands featured and the pieces for sale with the aim of providing the best experience for our community. We then interact with the brands to understand their project and ensure that we are able to offer them solutions in accordance with their objectives. We offer a catalog of services and brand support is provided on a case-by-case basis, particularly on distribution and communication issues. Our goal is to continue to develop our ecosystem to become a true interface between the raw material, the designer and the buyer. We remain and will always remain on the “distribution” part to allow the designer to concentrate on the production.

What’s your favorite piece in the Reiner wardrobe at the moment?

Each designer has a unique identity for results that are always as qualitative as they are committed and we love all the pieces we sell on Reiner.

But if we had to mention just one, a piece that marked us and that we like to highlight… It would be the “Bomber Mermaid” from the brand Femme d’Intérieur, made from a bedspread and a pillowcase from the 60s. A unique powder pink piece, with sublime finishes! A must in the Reiner wardrobe.

Source : Reiner upcycling

Designers with whom you would dream of working?

Most recently, we started to collaborate with the Andrea Crews brand. It is an iconic brand in the industry and it is an opportunity for us to confirm our leadership position in upcycling distribution. The capsule collection will go online at the end of the week, with a surprise in February for the brand’s 18th birthday.

Marine Serre and Koché are among the designers of the moment who make us dream the most, through their commitment and creativity. As well as Charles de Vilmorin, a young and very promising designer!

If you had to choose just one, what advice would you give to young entrepreneurs just like you?

Three words: action, benevolence and humility. Get to know your ecosystem, take the time to listen and understand people, give the best of yourself. Even though this is not an easy time, you have to keep believing in your dreams and stay the course.

How, as a very young company, have you managed these periods of uncertainty and quarantine?

Source : Reiner upcycling

These periods of uncertainty had very little impact on our project. Reiner was born in the midst of the Covid-19 crisis. While the constraints were undeniable and forced us to focus on the essential, this crisis also gave us a true opportunity to develop, for several reasons. First of all, it gave us a huge amount in freetime in our daily lives. We did in 6 months what we would have done otherwise in 5 years.

Then, because our model has never made so much sense as to respond to the issues of this crisis: digitalization, development of a more responsible fashion, proximity to our designers and our clients. This crisis has strengthened our motivation and determination.

If this dramatic period for humanity can give us any hint of hope for the evolution of our society and its organization, then let’s seize it!

What are your development projects and goals for 2021?

One goal: to become known, to expand Reiner! The roadmap is as long as my arm: continue to grow our community, increase the number of brands, improve the platform and establish partnerships. And who knows, maybe a fundraiser at the end of the year? We’re counting on you!

Source : Reiner upcycling

Thank you very much Ben & Justin, for your inspiring answers and sharings.

Find more information and follow the great Reiner upclycing adventure on their website or on their Instagram account right here.

ALEXANDRA HOSTIER
ASSISTANT EDITOR

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