On a miserable London day that saw Extinction Rebellion self-implode as they attempted to interrupt one of the few environmentally acceptable and long established means of public transport in London, without irony, and the British take another step towards a Brexit resolution – Stay, Leave #Whatevs as long as we see less of wittering white walker Boris Johnson – there was some commercial strip lighting at the end of Harvey Nichols’ 4th floor tunnel with Fuse Communications’ Spring Summer 2020 Press Day.

In stark contrast to Extinction Rebellions’ oxymoronic Avengers Assemble approach to ‘Saving Our Planet’, Fuse Communications’ latest in-house venture, Kidswear Collective, is clear, responsible and 360′ in its directive to combat the phenomenon of disposable fast fashion within childrenswear by employing the help, and past wardrobes, of key mini influencers in order to repurpose beautiful barely worn clothing (more of which later) to new homes.

While it’s all too true that the murky waters of social media influencers run deep – who’s in, who’s out, whose reach is a virtual construct and whose reach is #4real (no relation to YG in this context), there is unlikely to be anyone better placed in the UK childrenswear market right-here-right-now than Fuse to realise who’s hot or not and to enlist their help in saving past clothing loves from the horror of the misty landfill mountains of Mander Square, Wolverhampton.

There has also been no better moment in our environmentally aware times than now to launch Kidswear Collective, so much so that you wonder why on green earth no one got here sooner. The adult repurposed clothing market has been quietly and steadily blossoming for a good 5 years or more, from the highly successful Vestiaire to the small late night danger-zone that is Re-See or the forthcoming Thrift+ x Farfetch collaboration, with the days of slightly damp, pretty musky, heavily worn designer offerings in A.O.V.I.W (Any Old Variant of Itchy Wool) a thing of the past, so it’s surprising that the woke age of childrenswears’ Sophisticated Seconds has taken so long to follow.

The Kidswear Collective pieces showcased at Harvey Nichols were as far from dusty attics and fragrant laundry cupboards as you could imagine – frankly and without exaggeration, they were pretty extraordinary, not least in terms of their designer/ quality /price-point. A stunning Gucci Baby’s 100% Wool Sweater was reduced from £120 to £40, Kardashian Klassic Kasual – Burberry – was rep’d, in the form of an immaculate Baby Reversible Rain Jacket reduced from £350 to £115 while bohemian luxe Chloe Youth High Top Trainers were discounted from £120 to £50,  however beyond the name-checks, the clothes hanging on the rail at Harvey Nichols –  and again without exaggeration, literally UFO glowed with cleanliness. One of their regular collaborators, influencer @marikokuo (77,3k, gorgeous and counting) reinforced Kidwear Collective’s clean and pristine mantra, emphasizing that every item she sends to Kids Collective is scrupulously cleaned by professionals before making its online debut.

kidswear collective pre-loved children's fashion

kidswear collective pre-loved children's fashion - Hannah Strafford-Taylor influencer
Influencer Hannah Strafford-Taylor is part of the Kidswear collective selling her daughters pre-loved items through the platform.
Kidswear collective
Making sure that past season stock from sadly closed down Wild & Gorgeous find owners.

Shosh and Melissa (the faces of Fuse and Kids Collective) are passionate and profound about fashion wastage, whether this relates to the complex issues of unsold past season stock (the unspoken plague of so many brands, both big and small) or to second-time around designer fashion and are taking important Striding Steps in children’s fashion to try and tackle the problem. However providing a luxury shopping experience in today’s environmentally aware eco-system is no simplistic matter, for many designer clothing is synonymous with tissue paper, stiff cardboard, ribbons and next-day shipping and it’s hard to know how to find a middle ground between sustainability and the provision of luxury, particularly at discounted prices. Shosh and Melissa are aware of the dichotomy, so they’ve been careful to source the most ethical and sustainable versions of perennial Classic Luxury Packaging with 100% recycled eco -friendly luxury boxes and recycled tissue papers as standard but they are also going the extra mile and are busy contemplating the implications and possible solutions of the expended air miles and environmental impact of shipping pre-loved clothes to Europe and Beyond as their burgeoning overseas market grows.

kidswear collective packaging

Kidswear Collective makes pitch perfect sense in these ecologically precarious times, not only to the plethora of perfectly presented Influencers I saw at Harvey Nichols who are repurposing, making a small return on their original investment and sharing a percentage of the profit with Fuse, Little Village and NSPCC but equally for those who would love to buy better, less frequently and more affordably. With a high turnaround, extremely low returns rate, extreme feel good factor and two responsible, thoughtful adults at the helm, it can only be a matter of moments before the luxury high street comes a knocking to take the online onstreet.

Kidswear Collective