Good news for the style and earth conscious shoppers amongst us, a brand new 3,000 square foot retail space dedicated to pre-loved fashion is opening in Dubai this month. Catriona McBride finds out more
After the excess spending at Christmas, January is the month when we vow to tighten our belts, something that can be quite difficult for the shopaholics among us. But maybe we don’t have to stop shopping, we simply need to shop smarter, and one way of doing this is buying pre-loved fashion.
The thought of rifling through racks of stranger’s clothes may be horrifying to some, but we’ve come a long way since the musty charity shops of the ’80s and now it is positively fashionable to be sporting pre-loved goods, particularly in our bid to live more sustainably. It can prove difficult in Dubai though as we have been a little slower to the eco-friendly party than other cities. You may come across some real finds at Dubai Flea Market, but only if you can drag yourself out of bed early enough. It’s also not specifically clothes on offer, so your early start may prove fruitless. If you want to sell your own clothes there, you will have to sell them off at rock bottom prices, which can hurt if they’ve never been worn.
In true Dubai fashion, an entrepreneurial expat has stepped up with a solution. Her own shopping addiction and commitment to more sustainable living led Sian Rowlands to found My Ex Wardrobe (now rebranded as RETOLD) in Dubai almost 7 years ago. Sian realised, like many of us, that although she kept buying beautiful new designer clothes, there were plenty hanging around her closets with the tags still attached.
After discussions with friends (who all had similar stories of barely worn clothes) she filled four packing boxes full of her unworn pieces and looked for somewhere to sell them locally, discovering a huge gap in the market in the process. Thus, Sian and her sisters decided to pioneer My Ex Wardrobe, running monthly pop-up events around Dubai where fashion savvy women could pick up a bargain, and also clear out their closets to make space for the new purchases.
The concept proved popular at once and gained a loyal following across the city, with buyers and sellers returning regularly. As the women of the city grow more conscious about their fashion buying but still yearn quality goods, Sian sensed there was room to expand and retell the story of My Ex Wardrobe. After a life-changing trek to Everest Base Camp brought a new business partner into the fold, the time was right for a new name and new premises on Umm Suqeim Road. With 3,000 sqft of new and pre-loved fashion to browse, RETOLD is bound to be a hit with the seasoned shoppers of Dubai. Rather than spending the weekends trawling the malls for your new dress or shoes, you’ll be able to browse a whole variety of brands (from high street to luxury high end labels) and price ranges all at once, under one roof. It’s like a department store for the more ethical-minded, budget conscious shopper.
Rather than spending the weekends trawling the malls for your new dress or shoes, you’ll be able to browse a whole variety of brands under one roof. It’s like a department store for the more ethical-minded, budget conscious shopper.
If you need to sell off some of your hardly worn clothes, RETOLD also accept all clothes in good condition. The admin fees are low: AED150 for 20 pieces and AED250 for 40 pieces. It’s a great way to get rid of some of those pieces that have sat in your wardrobe for the past year (or two, or five!). Classic pieces are always popular, but the team love to see a statement piece come in as they have members who are always on the look out for something different. There is even a section for wedding dresses. For a small fee, you can have your items picked up, or you can drop them off yourself at one of their locations for free.
Shop RETOLD will also have a selection of sustainable and ethical lifestyle and beauty products on offer, as Sian really wants to educate people about shopping and encourage people to ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Re-own’.
The Grand Opening takes place on Monday 22 January from 5.30 pm so shoppers can discover the new space, along with amazing presentations, activities and of course, all that glorious fashion. You will need an invitation so contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get yours! RETOLD is located at shop 5, 9394 Avenues, Umm Suqeim Road, Al Barsha 3, Dubai.