“I’d always had the idea of my own store in the back of my mind, but the challenge was always how to bring in other aspects of sustainable fashion,” says Josefin Wanner. “This was a great opportunity to work with other brands and try something new.”
For Josefin and her partner James Fenwick, Tråd Collective offers new ways to shop sustainably in the community. Newly launched in the Headingley Central shopping centre in Leeds, the store brings together upcycled and pre-loved fashion with new pieces by sustainable brands. The focus is on natural fibres and the store is committed to being plastic-free – all part of its ethos supporting ethical, conscious, local shopping.
The idea was born from a New Year’s resolution in which the duo decided only to shop sustainably and quickly realised how difficult it was to identify sustainable brands. Spending long periods researching each brand before making a purchase was taking the fun out of shopping, and second-hand stores were often cramped and damp.
So Josefin and James thought about how to create something different: giving the people of Leeds a variety of curated sustainable fashion choices in a relaxed, Scandinavian-inspired environment influenced by Josefin’s Swedish heritage. ‘Tråd’ is the Swedish word for ‘thread’.
One of the core brands at Tråd Collective is Wanner Label, Josefin’s own upcycled fashion label, in which even the thread and buttons used to re-create each piece are either donated or second-hand. Every garment is unique and distinctive. In recognition of this low-waste approach, Josefin was runner-up in Future Fashion Factory’s 2020 Zero Waste Fashion Competition.
The designer has already set up a small studio inside the store to work on Wanner Label while giving customers an insight into the skills involved in making and re-making clothes. It has also enabled her to offer free alternations on every second-hand clothing purchase, addressing one of the challenges consumers face with pre-loved fashion.
“One reason a lot of people struggle with pre-loved clothing is that it’s hard to find the right size and fit,” Josefin says. “Alterations open more doors for people to buy second-hand and keep clothing out of landfill for longer. It’s been really popular so far.”
Alongside the carefully chosen pre-loved and upcycled garments, Tråd offers a platform to brands making new sustainable pieces. Through contacting wholesalers, dedicated Facebook groups, and even a chance meeting in Kirkgate Market in Leeds, Josefin has sought out new labels to join the collective.
Feminist t-shirt brand Muthaship and vegan jewellery company Olive and Hope are among the first sustainable brands in the store. Both are Yorkshire-based, reflecting a wider commitment to the fashion industry in the region, and in the local community, where Tråd Collective hopes to become a focal point for sustainable shopping.
“Working in my home studio had its advantages, but the change of environment has fuelled my creativity,” Josefin explains. “Having customers come in and ask questions gives me a new perspective, and hopefully we can help to educate customers about sustainable fashion at the same time.”