A new way to shop

Gifted service/products are included within this post.

With age comes experience, and with experience comes a better understanding of who we are. For many, encompassed within our identity is our personal style. I know I’ve certainly learned a thing or two over the years about the sorts of pieces I love, the type of clothes that make me feel good as well as look good, and how I like to shop. In a nutshell, I’m a knitwear-and-jeans in the winter / pretty dresses in the summer kind of gal who looks for (mostly) natural fabrics with a cut or design that flatters my figure. Which generally means I’m a higher-end high-street shoppers with a few more expensive pieces thrown in when they’re discounted or on sale. I use Instagram a lot to source items or inspiration through the accounts of my favourite brands and influencers.

A new brand I recently discovered, This Is Unfolded, has come up with a novel approach to shopping. The idea is really to reduce waste in the fashion industry and support the communities who help to make the sustainable and ethical clothing. For example, Collection 1 customers paid a £65 flat rate for three items of clothing, and only after the order was placed was their ‘edit’ created. For Collection 2, things have changed slightly – there’s more flexibility in selecting the clothes and the sizes, and instead of a flat rate it’s a minimum spend of £48. Possibly the best bit, every piece of clothing purchased supports a child in education in India.

I was gifted my own Collection 1 edit (I chose this khaki sweater, a plain white t-shirt, and a printed summer dress) and after I placed the order I received regular email updates at each stage of the process letting me know exactly what was happening and when. I felt so much more invested in this order than I have in most other online shops I’ve done – usually I get annoyed when they don’t arrive next day, but This Is Unfolded’s approach made me really feel connected to my new clothing and who was making them, and in turn more patient in the wait for their arrival, which took around 6-8 weeks. When the parcel arrived, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of the clothes. In particular, I couldn’t believe how soft the t-shirt was and what a great fabric it was – it’s actually in my top two favourite t-shirts for its fabric and fit. The sweater has been a great addition to my lounge/active wear – it’s soft, comfortable and really nicely finished. Finally, although it is too big, the dress is also really well made, the fabric is good, and although the design is fairly ‘safe’ it’s actually really cute too. Perfect for summer picnics or G&Ts after work.

I really enjoyed the process of choosing, ordering and waiting (not so patiently) for my edit. Would I use the service again? The way Collection 1 worked, probably not, due to the inflexibility in sizing and selection. However, the way Collection 2 has been formatted is much more customer-focused so yes, I’d consider shopping with them for my staple pieces such as t-shirts and tops (I would happily buy all my t-shirts from them). I’m not sure about the dresses – the designs aren’t quite right, despite being created through community feedback and input. That said, the current Bex jumpsuit would definitely be on my wishlist and with just one t-shirt I’d reach the minimum spend of £48. I can assure you that £48 on a jumpsuit and a t-shirt from This Is Unfolded is entirely reasonable in terms of quality, fit, cut, fabric – adding in the ethics, sustainability, and charitable element this is money truly well spent.

Let me know if you decide to try it out for yourself – be quick though, each collection is limited edition.

There’s loads of information about This is Unfolded on their website – I really do encourage you to take a look around the site, read their story, check out their blog (which includes a transparent progress report on Collection 1), find out more about how they’re giving back, take a look at the collection… see what you think. I reckon you’ll like it, and I guarantee that if you choose to shop with This Is Unfolded your conscience will feel as good as you’ll look.

Finally, at the bottom of this post I’ve pasted a response to the questions I raised with This Is Unfolded, some of which came via my Instagram followers – including the criticism they received around Lock Stock, the lockdown initiative from which This Is Unfolded was born.

The response to my questions put to This Is Unfolded after I ordered my gifted edit from Collection 1.

1. Is there a reason you can’t adjust the sizing? I had to order a 14 to be safe but would normally order 12 or 14. 
The impact of returns linked to wrong sizing is one of the biggest areas of waste in retail. Our approach is to make sure you have the right size from the very start with our size chart. Our team is also on hand to advise if you have any questions regarding sizing of a specific product.
However, we listen to our feedback and we have had a lot of requests for us alter this and allow the customer to select a different size per item. We are working on changing this now. 
2. Where are the clothes designed and made and would you consider a more ‘capsule’ approach?
All pieces in our collections are designed in-house alongside our community of Unfolded Creators. Collection 01 has been shaped and curated by our community – from initial designs to rounds and rounds of feedback to get each piece just how our customer wants it.

Our clothing is currently made with one factory based near Noida in Delhi. As our work develops we will look to expand this and have 3 other factories lined up to work with us using the same demand led model. Our factory is also a member of Sedex. Sedex is short for Supplier Ethical Data Exchange. The Sedex database is a widely recognised online platform where registered companies openly share information about their social and ethical performance. The factories we work with all pay minimum wage and most workers are paid significantly more.

Whilst we work with factories that pay good wages to their staff compared to some organisations, our size and the fact that the factory we work with, also produces clothes for other brands means that we can’t increase wages directly.

Instead, through the Unfolded Worker Fund, we pay a bonus to all staff at our partner factory after each collection has been delivered. For Collection 1 this will see workers receive circa 1,000 rupees in extra pay.

Further information on our factory can be found here
3. A few of my followers have expressed concern following the negative reviews of Lost Stock. Can you offer information on this and on how the initiative performed?
Lost Stock was a short term response to the awful situation created by COVID-19 for garment workers. Last week we released our impact report in conjunction with SAJIDA Foundation and RSM showing that we delivered 11x the impact we set out to achieve and that we supported over 113,000 individuals for just over a month each!
We know we didn’t get everything right with Lost Stock but we learnt a huge amount from the experience, from supply chains to factory relationships and everything in between.  Our biggest learning though was that there needs to be long term change in this industry…
Happy to answer any specific questions that have been raised.
4. How is This Is Unfolded different to Lost Stock?
As I said in question 3, Lost Stock was only a short term response to help save hundreds of thousands of items ending up in landfill. With Lost Stock, the clothes weren’t our own and we had no input in design and quality, we just knew we needed to help save as much as possible. We learnt that there needs to be long term change in the industry and that’s why we have created This is Unfolded.
This is Unfolded is a new way to shop that reduces waste and improves lives. With the help of real shoppers and leading trend data, we create curated collections of clothes. These are then released for a limited edition and you pick three items from this collection to create an Edit. East Edit costs £65 including delivery.

The clothes only get made once you place an order. This means that there is no waste generated from clothes that aren’t wanted and end up in landfill – this happens to around 30% of current high street products.

This saves money, and we use it to change lives. We do this by partnering with amazing organisations and making a positive impact. With Collection 01, we’ve partnered with Pratham and every purchase supports a child in education for 4 months. Workers are paid better because we work with top rated factories and also provide additional payments to workers through the Unfolded Worker Fund.


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