Two weeks ago Lucy, Annique and Freya of Nu. hopped over to Amsterdam for the incredibly encouraging and exciting BEYOND GREEN...A conference organised by our friend Gwen Cunningham at the amazing Circle Economy (more to come on this but, for now, check out the recap here).
The main goal of our trip was to soak up knowledge on the circular production of textiles and the possibilities of the fashion system producing NO MORE WASTE (!). However, we secretly had another motive: to visit the sustainable clothing-lover’s Mecca that is The Lena Library.
Imagine a beautifully considered, spacious boutique with cosy sofas, magazines and rails and rails of amazingly delicious clothing. Most of us would either avoid this glorious place like the plague for fear of spending all the rent money, or spend forty minutes individually examining each of the silk shirts and slouchy cashmere jumpers and surreptitiously checking every price tag. Thus begins the quiet mourning of our own worn-out wardrobes until the assistant asks us to leave because they’re closing and a low-earning, rain-sodden student on a Tuesday evening is a waste of high-fashion's time.
Introducing the answer to your (sorry, our) wildest dreams: a PUBLIC WARDROBE! The Lena Fashion Library in Amsterdam operates just like a lending library... but for clothes. Join Lena from as little as 19,95 a month and you can borrow several garments at a time (valued according to a point system) for as long as you want, so long as you keep paying your membership.
As soon as you get sick of something, bring it back and browse their extensive collection of over a thousand garments, from selected vintage to young, ethically produced Dutch brands and more high-end names, for something else to wear. Lena also have a policy of never buying or stocking high-street on principle; a rock solid tactic to guarantee quality and authenticity in every piece. Buying a dress you know you’ll only wear once? Forget it. Borrow something amazing from Lena instead and drop it back the next day in exchange for a cosy jumper to see the hangover through. Want a new winter jacket but promised yourself you'd keep wearing last year’s one? With Lena you can wear a different jacket every week until spring.
The Lena Library was launched in December 2014 by Angela, Diana, Elisa and Suzanne - three sisters and one friend. Having previously run a successful vintage shop in Eindhoven, they wanted to launch something a little more sustainable and ‘circular’! Their subscribers range from aged 15 to 60 + and vary from eco-fashion warriors, businesswomen and those on a tight budget to those who simply want to try before they buy (there is also an option to buy anything in the Lena Library).
If you live in Amsterdam (you lucky duck) or want to find out more about how they work, check them out here.
LET US KNOW - would you join a lending library if there was one in Dublin? What would you pay to have unlimited access to a diverse collection of contemporary, curated and ethically made clothing in your city? Tell us in the comments, fill in our very very fast (fashion) survey or drop us a mail . . . we're dying to hear from ye.