Fashion Revolution Week: Orenda Chats With Tumnus

In case you missed it, it's currently Fashion Revolution Week. On the 5th anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, which killed 1,138 people and injured many more in 2013. Fashion Revolution Week encourages millions of people to ask brands #whomademyclothes and demand greater transparency in the fashion supply chain.

One revolutionary startup leading the fashion revolution is Tumnus — an Aussie peer-to-peer digital platform that allows you to share quality clothi ng with style-minded people in your area. Caitlin Lawler of Orenda Magazine chats to Shanya, the kick-ass founder of Tumnus.

Was there a particular catalyst that led you to the idea of Tumnus? 

In 2015, my attitude towards fashion consumption changed after watching the acclaimed documentary The True Cost. It really opened up my eyes to the destructive impact the fashion industry — in particular fast fashion — has, and continues to have, on our world. As a result, I became more conscious about what I buy and how I consume fashion. I'm a stylist, and I borrow and share outfits with my other stylist friends. It can get expensive to keep buying sustainable pieces knowing that you will only use it a handful of times. So I thought to myself, would people outside my regular circle of friends let me borrow their clothes? From here the Tumnus concept was born.

So I thought to myself, would people outside my regular circle of friends let me borrow their clothes?

One night at a sustainable talk with Clare Press, I spotted a girl with a beautiful pleated white skirt and remember thinking how perfect it was for an upcoming white-themed party I was going to. I was about to ask where she had found the skirt with the intention to go and buy it, but suddenly reminded of my idea, I asked instead if I could borrow it. Without hesitation, she said yes. We exchanged numbers and after sending a courier to pick up the dress, I borrowed it for 3 weeks. I took her out for coffee to thank her after, and we've since become friends. As a busy adult, it can be difficult to meet and befriend people outside your work and immediate circle of friends. I loved how easy it was for me to connect with someone over a shared passion for fashion, but had I not asked to borrow her dress, we never would have met. This inspired me to facilitate the same experience for other people so they too could see how easy and fun it was to share. All I had to do was work out the details.

 

A post shared by Tumnus (@tumnus_melbourne) on

 

What are your top tips for slowing down an individual’s fashion consumption?

Slowing down is hard. We are relentlessly tempted by social media, the news, TV, magazines, advertising, the list goes on. Worse still, it's near impossible to escape it, because it's right in front of you on your phone. Buying has never been more convenient, but its cheapness comes at a great cost.

We don't want to limit people from expanding their wardrobe but rather be creative with it. Being part of a community where you can express your love for fashion and share quality items makes offers a realistic alternative to buying, and provides an experience just as enjoyable and much more fulfilling.

So I thought to myself, would people outside my regular circle of friends let me borrow their clothes?

My advice is to always be curious and ask questions about what you plan to buy. Learn how to properly look after your clothes — they'll last longer. And purchase quality over quantity. Well-constructed garments are not only durable, you'll want to keep them for longer as they're guaranteed to work perfectly for your body type.

Do you have a favourite piece that you associate with this initiative that incites more motivation for the cause?

My whole wardrobe is up for sharing, but there are 2 pieces in particular that I absolutely love. They are my Zimmermann Mantel Maples Riot Jacket and a long black Ellery dress with a front split. It was a sample so there are only two of them in the world, and I have one!
 

 

A post shared by Tumnus (@tumnus_melbourne) on

 

Do you attempt to combine eco-friendly fashion with ethical practices? Is there a brand you are willing to comment that achieves this beneficial marriage of sustainable practices?

I think it's difficult for anyone to be 100% sustainable. Making something requires resources, so the best thing you can do is to minimise the damage as best you can and constantly try your best to challenge the way things are conventionally done. We can all make a change if we set our minds to it.

The best thing you can do is to minimise the damage as best you can and constantly try your best to challenge the way things are conventionally done

I'm inspired by the ethical practices of Everlane and Reformation. Both brands are very transparent and openly share where they source their material and make their garments with the consumer. They're proud to be different and in turn, are making it easier for people to buy sustainable brands. I love FME Apparel in Melbourne, their pieces are absolutely beautiful and locally made with organic fabric. More importantly, they don't overproduce. Their pieces are made at the back of the shop by the designer's mother!

 

What is the next step for Tumnus?

Tumnus launched a beta platform in Feb this year, and we are now focusing on growing our community of users. We're aiming to launch in Sydney by the end of the year. We're also learning more about our user's wants and needs through a pop-up shop, where girls can try our borrowing system in action. We're hoping our next release platform will be heavily influenced by the research data we collect from these events.

We're also currently negotiating with other peer-to-peer business like GoFetch and Dryz to provide an efficient dry-cleaning and delivery service that we hope to implement in our platform in the near future.  

Where can our readers find out more? How do they participate?

Tumnus is available online at tumnus.com.au. You can join in anytime from anywhere.

We are also hosting a pop-up store in conjunction with Fashion Revolution Week from 27th – 29th April at LVDI studios, 180 Johnston St, Collingwood, Melbourne. The users can meet and share their quality items with style-minded people near them for 5 weeks. No hiring fee, it's just like borrowing from your besties!

tumnus.com.au

 

Caitlin Lawler

Sydney, NSW, 2000

Caitlin is an undergraduate Ancient History student and recent coffee person. When free time is available, she usually stresses about being spontaneous, tries to buy up all the versions of A Little Prince and engages in deep laughter. She fancies herself as an archaeologist-in-training and can't wait to travel the globe.