• Pre-ordering clothing allows brands to sell pieces before they've even made them.

  • For several years, it has been attracting consumers looking for eco-responsible shopping and who like to get involved.

  • From there to democratize the concept, it is probably still a little early.

Talking about “clothing waste” means talking about two things.

On the one hand the unsold brands, on the other the clothes that sleep in the cupboards.

You know, the ones we fell in love with online or in stores, but that we don't wear once purchased.

This concerns one in three garments.

That's about 7.7 kilos of clothes per person thrown in the trash in 2019, according to the association Zero Waste France.

Faced with this phenomenon, and contrary to fast fashion, brands have launched the sale of pre-order clothing.

The idea?

Only produce the part once it has been purchased.

20 Minutes

tried to understand the reasons for their budding success.

"In fashion, waste is calculated"

“How can we try to solve this impossible equation: safeguard the desire for fashion, creation and the pleasure of dressing while reducing the number of clothes?

This is the question that the teams of Patine ask themselves every day, a brand of women's and men's clothing created in 2017 by Charlotte Dereux.

One of the answers – and this is the basis of the model – is to have no stocks.

“We're always going to have to dress up, and from a cultural point of view and personal development, clothing is an important element.

So we shouldn't suppress it, but produce it better, she introduces.

Brands must assume to grow at a reasonable pace.

If clothes are sleeping in closets, it's the brands' fault, not the people's”.

No stocks, therefore, to sell just in time and avoid waste.

The waste, precisely “in fashion, it is calculated, it is a business model, criticizes Charlotte Dereux.

We calculate knowing that we are going to sell everything”.

Absolutely everything ?

The surplus, even in pre-order, is 5 to 10%.

“We are offering this surplus in an upcoming collection, more expensive than pre-ordering,” explains Vincent Coltesse, founder of Coltesse, a men's brand created in 2012, which launched into this new niche three years ago.

"The production of this surplus is necessary for exchanges of size or color", adds Adrien Garcia, the creator of Réuni, women's clothing available since 2019.

Buy less, but better

No stocks, it is also a way of responding to the sobriety desired by customers.

"They want to buy less, but better," notes Charlotte Dereux.

"Little by little, we realize that with all the stock of brands, we could dress four generations", abounds Vincent Grégoire, hunter of trends within the NellyRodi agency.

But buying better requires patience: the delivery time between payment for the garment and its arrival at home is around four weeks.

Too long ?

Customers are not cooled, according to the brands questioned.

"When they know the story behind it, it removes time barriers," says Anaïs Goussy, founder of the women's and men's brand Janecio, created in early 2021. "The customers of these brands are committed and uses their bank card or checkbook as a political act,” confirms Pierre-François Le Louët, president of the French Federation of Women’s Ready-to-Wear.

Vincent Grégoire nevertheless qualifies this ecological awareness of consumers.

“Some positions are opportunistic because it's trending, while others buy out of conviction”.

A link with the community

Another pillar of the concept, the privileged relationship that the brand wishes to maintain with its customers.

"We have set up a questionnaire on our site and receive our customers in our workshop, by appointment, so that they can give their opinion on the fabrics, the colors", explains Adrien Garcia, from Réuni.

Anaïs Goussy supports the useful aspect of this co-creation.

“Above all, we want to know how our customers want to use the parts and what their daily needs are”.

The challenge is almost educational, according to Vincent Grégoire.

" Everyone wins.

Customers get involved, brands target their customers' expectations.

We buy meaning, intelligence, pedagogy, ”he explains.

And to encourage creators to ride the wave: “The consumer wants to be a creator himself, and the brands must not be too much in control”.

Green on all floors?

This “slowfashion” is therefore intended to be virtuous and more respectful of the environment.

And the hunt for the carbon footprint is not just about the amount of fabric.

While Coltesse manufactures its pieces in Paris and has the parcels delivered to its 40% of Parisian customers by bicycle, Patine uses recyclable and recycled plastic in-house.

The four brands questioned also claim to offer "click and collect" directly at the workshop or showroom, to avoid deliveries.

Even if, according to Charlotte Dereux, “95 to 97% of carbon emissions come from production, and not from delivery”.

But all of this comes at a cost.

These creators buy certified raw materials in Europe.

And pay a high price for them “Due to the over-demand for certification and the generalized post-Covid price increase, production costs are increasing,” explains Adrien Garcia.

But “if we were to increase prices, our customers would understand because we would be transparent with them about the reasons,” says Charlotte Dereux.

Anaïs Goussy has her pieces made in France.

“Before the pandemic, Made in France was boho, whereas it is almost a prerequisite today, she notes.

We pay for a t-shirt at the right price, and not at 2 euros like what fast-fashion offers”.

Will the argument convince consumers en masse?

For now, recalls Vincent Grégoire, pre-ordering remains a “very niche” market – the French Federation of women's ready-to-wear has no figures.

But he is, according to him, “surely destined to democratize”.

And it's a trendsetter who says it.


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  • Clothing

  • ecology

  • Internet

  • Planet

  • Ready to wear

  • Economy

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