Coronavirus has impacted every aspect of our lives, including the way we buy our clothes. The fast fashion industry has been turned upside-down by shop closures and changes in levels of demand, and this in turn has a massive knock-on effect on the supply chain. The result? More than two billion US dollars worth of clothing orders have been called off in developing countries during the pandemic, with no payment being made to manufacturers.
This is leaving workers without income – over a million workers are already estimated to have lost their jobs due to these unprecedented cancellations – and factories with thousands of items that are now unsellable, and ultimately destined for landfill. But now a clever initiative from retail app Mallzee and the SAJIDA Foundation is attempting to rescue both these garments and the workers who made them: introducing Lost Stock.
What is Lost Stock?
The concept of Lost Stock is simple, but utterly brilliant – spend £35 and you’ll receive a parcel of at least three items of clothing from high street retailers, chosen specifically for you, for at least 50 per cent less than the original RRP.
Not only do you get a welcome wardrobe update tailored to your personal style, each package supports a worker and their family for a week – almost 100,000 sets have been sold so far, but there still plenty more surplus stock to use, so the momentum needs to be maintained.
You can order womenswear, menswear or kids wear (for ages 4-14) and shipping is available to the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand so far.
What do you get inside a Lost Stock box?
You won’t know which stores your clothes were originally destined for, but the products are the exact ones that were due to be sold on the rails, so you can rest assured they’ll be the same quality you’d expect from any high street item. And you do have some control over what you receive: when you place your order, as well as your sizes you can specify your preferred colour palette (neutrals, brights or darks), silhouette (tight, regular or oversized) and even prints (slogans, stripes and dots or florals, or no pattern at all, if you like to keep things simple). The selection is mostly tops, with some dresses included, as it’s easier to get the fit right for these than with items like trousers.
The first boxes are still being prepared, but Lost Stock has shared some sneak peeks of the garments inside:
Ultimately, Lost Stock aims to provide clothes that will slot into your life seamlessly and that you’ll love for years to come. But if your box arrives and there are some items you’re not so keen on?
Can you return a Lost Stock order?
You can return it if you pay for shipping, but you’re encouraged to swap and share the pieces with friends and family, get crafty and turn them into face masks, or give them to charity shops once they’re open again. Think of your purchase as a charitable donation with a potential sartorial bonus, and aim to find another home for any attire that’s not quite right.
With suppliers reportedly including Topshop and Gap, we’ve got high hopes for our box – and love that our next fashion fix has helped to fairly pay those who need it most. If you want to get involved too, head to loststock.co to order yours.