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The art of gifting a second-life: meeting Anastasia and Swetlana, Re-Nou’s creators

The art of gifting a second-life: meeting Anastasia and Swetlana, Re-Nou’s creators
By Renoon

We had a talk with Anastasia and Swetlana, the minds behind the concept of Re-Nou, and they told us how they founded their brand, what sustainable fashion means for them and what they think the future of this sector will look like

Vienna 2014: Anastasia and Swetlana met when they both moved to the city to work in the fashion industry, as a photographer and stylist.

Anastasia is a self-taught photographer – she started doing portraits and she caught interest in fashion photography because of the combination of having a set while playing around with natural lights and the atmosphere. Instead, Swetlana studied fashion and film at the LCF in the UK and got into fashion styling through assisting different stylists in London

“We immediately became friends and a fashion production duo. After 6 years producing fashion content we wanted to be able to make a change in this tough industry and so the idea for Re-Nou was born” they say

Renou second-hand vintage shopping Sustainable Alternatives
Images by Re-Nou

Re-Nou is a community of like minded people who care about fair fashion, sustainability, and about re-learning to value clothes 

“When we started thinking about Re-Nou, we wanted to create a sustainable fashion brand that was beautiful, modern and affordable. We felt at that time sustainable fashion often looked very simple. That was one of our first reasons to create our own brand.

But let’s face the truth: producing new items is not really sustainable. We understand that looking at what is happening in the fashion industry at the moment, brands that produce new items in a slow, fair and considerate way are a huge improvement compared to fast fashion. However, a truly sustainable option would be circular production, which reuses/repurposes the products that already exist” they say

The origin of the name is pretty peculiar…

“At the time of creating Re-Nou Anastasia lived in Barcelona. We played with the idea of re-newing something, and a friend, who speaks catalan explained that ‘nou’ is new in catalan, and we liked the sounds of it. Re-Nou was born

“In the future we’d like to slowly start collaborations with small brands from different fields and unite and help each other” they explain

But it’s not without challenges…

Renou second-hand vintage shopping Sustainable Alternatives
Images by Re-Nou

“For us many of the usual business sides work differently. We only have unique items, and so scaling up – as is usually taught in economics – doesn’t work for us. We can’t and don’t actually want to expand through “more”. To only have every item once changes so many aspects of the business.

For example: we photograph a piece and if it is sold out very quickly, the possibilities to use the images are very limited. So we are trying to improve this side of the business, to be smarter and more sustainable in image-using as well” they explain.

We want people to not take fashion for granted

“Every side of fashion. Not only the production of the garments, but also the distribution, the marketing, and its image…

It is hard to say whether the pandemic has actually changed something long term, but we do feel like online retail has become more important, which is a first step”

Renou second-hand vintage shopping Sustainable Alternatives
Images by Re-Nou

For us a sustainability in fashion is about slow production, using recycled materials, transparency about the production chain, fairness amongst producers, and quality above quantity

“We indeed wish more people knew about all the work that goes into production of fashion. We have so much clothes available for such low prices, that it is hard to understand what clothes are worth

The future challenge for sustainable fashion will be to reverse the fact that fashion can only cost a few euros. After decades of the Western World enjoying cheap clothes, making people understand that it is direct exploitation of humans and the earth, seems a difficult task…” they continue

Re-Nou wants to achieve the shift in people’s mind in regards to the image and acceptance for second-hand and vintage clothes

“We want to make it the new normal. While the word vintage seems hip, second-hand often sounds like another word for used. We want to neutralize that and be as good as new. Indeed, we noticed that attitude doesn’t change that easily even if it is in favor of something good…

The special thing about us is that we build a relationship with every item that we sell as it goes through a lot of steps in which we handle it and care for it – it is very personal. When a customer buys it, they receive a little piece of us” they explain.

Renou second-hand vintage shopping Sustainable Alternatives
Images by Re-Nou

Personally we try to buy less and buy second hand or reused a lot

“Not just fashion, but also household stuff. We try to reduce our own waste. Always to educate ourselves on new topics of sustainability. We use sharing services, like car sharing, and we used to love AirBnb as it was all about switching flats, which we did a lot!

Personally, we see the switch into sustainability as a gradual process, when more and more people start to raise awareness about this topic. When Covid hit, we knew we wanted to do something where we can make a difference!”

To someone just approaching the world of sustainability, we’d say that they don’t have to do everything right from the start…

“Becoming more aware of different issues of sustainability is important, and learning and changing bit by bit is how we can proceed. Otherwise it would be too overwhelming ” they admit

Renou second-hand vintage shopping Sustainable Alternatives
Images by Re-Nou

Pick & Choose – Re-Nou edition

“If we could pick only three clothing items it would be: cardi, trousers with an elastic band as belt and warm shoes… While our three brands of choice would be Pangaia, Armed Angels and Aiayu”

“One item that should be in everyone’s closet is comfy loafers, and we wish hats and brooches would come back into fashion! On the other side… we really hope not to see low rise jeans ever again” they joke

“It’s difficult to say who out biggest fashion inspiration is, as there are many… but Grace Jones is really amazing, daring, sexy, androgynous. And, if we could have dinner with anyone in the world, it would definitely be Karl Lagerfeld – to ask whether all the extravagant things he said were just show or truth.

Renou second-hand vintage shopping Sustainable Alternatives
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