“People are becoming more conscious of what they are buying,” says Neda Hashemi, head of press at Beyond Retro. “Bristol is such a green city, we are really excited to be here”.
With hopes of encouraging more people to shop sustainably, this successful vintage store strives to make sustainable fashion more accessible on the high street.
Opening their first shop on Brick Lane in London in 2002, with an ethos to inspire individuality, the now global brand boasts shops in Soho, Dalston and Brighton, with two shops in Stockholm, Sweden.
With a love of all things vintage and a successful recycling business under his belt, Beyond Retro started when founder Steven Bethnall began to save vintage fashion gems from landfill.
“Bank and Vogue is one of the world’s biggest recycling companies and has been running in Canada for over 20 years,” explains Neda. “They recycle everything from toys to homewares and are really passionate about it. Steve loves vintage, he can spot a pair of vintage denim jeans in a rail of thousands, he has a really good eye.”
“He saw all these amazing clothes coming through from the charity shops in America and Canada and thought ‘what a waste’! People really embraced his idea and after opening in Brick Lane, things progressed from there”.
“We are really lucky to be able to pick the best quality vintage clothing from all over the world, our pickers are trained to get inspiration from the catwalk but a lot is inspired by our customers”.
By encouraging each of their stores to be unique and inspired by their local community, Beyond Retro trust their staff to embrace individuality and listen to what their customers want, giving them a more personal experience. “We try to help explain the positive impact you can make by buying vintage,” adds Neda.
Supplying every era from the 1920s to the 2000s, Beyond Retro carefully handpick every item. The 80s, 90s and 00s being the current big trends in the world of vintage.
Neda says: “We curate good quality ranges that are affordable. Vintage and sustainable clothing can be expensive and people still think that the high street is cheaper. Our items are much better quality, as they’ve already lasted such a long time.”
With nearly all pieces coming in under £30 for items including Carhartt workwear, vintage sportswear and pieces from their reworked in-house collection Label, Beyond Retro serve up high quality fashion pieces that have stood the test of time at reasonable prices.
Label is an upcycled range that sits alongside the vintage pieces in store. By reworking vintage garments that were slightly damaged or stained, this own brand range rescues many vintage pieces, from landfill. “We wanted to offer pieces that were fashion forward and decided to remake these damaged pieces into a fully upcycled range”, explains Neda. “We are really proud of it and design capsule collections that are street style and fashion trend-led, using vintage.”
“Label saves thousands of pieces from landfill every year. We often upcycle fashion labels like Adidas and Levi’s in a really exciting way, from creating simple crop tops out of old t-shirts to complete reworks.”
By collaborating with a community of vintage pickers, designers and manufacturers in India, Beyond Retro work on making their upcycled range as sustainable as possible. From sweet slip dresses created from vintage dresses to bags made from suede jackets, Label have built a simple, yet inspiring and contemporary fashion range using reworked, vintage fabrics.
With many finding stepping into the unknown world of sustainable fashion a bit daunting, it’s reassuring to know that buying just one sustainable, independent or vintage piece over a high street item helps to make a change.
“We are not saying your whole wardrobe needs to be vintage and sustainable,” says Neda. “We just want to encourage people to make a conscious decision.”
“Our vintage sportwear, festival wear and workwear does well in Bristol, everyone here is really unique, independent and embraces their own style. The boilersuits, dungarees and Carhartt pieces are really popular, as they are expensive to buy new and are such good quality.”
Beyond Retro aim to make vintage fashion less intimidating and more fun. “We like people to play with certain elements themselves, feeling comfortable to try out new looks and not take it too seriously. People in Bristol are really confident in playing with looks, we want to embrace that and help them play more!“
Visit Beyond Retro at 20 Broadmead, Bristol BS1 3HA or at www.beyondretro.com
Read our fashion editor Emma’s blog No Debutante
Read more: Generation upcycle