In Discussion with Rites
Rites launched in December 2019, improving our wardrobes forever by offering a community platform where members can donate, choose their charity of choice and sell luxury pre-owned designer pieces. But this is not just an average online platform, Rites works alongside a variety of charities including Walk about, Lady Garden and Ocean Generation - donating up to 80% of each sale to the chosen charity. We caught up with co-founders Drew and Meg to discuss the expansion of the brand and their love of vintage.
When did your love affair with vintage clothing begin?
We've both always been a fan of resale. We feel you find the best pre-loved and the hunt is half the fun. It's so special to go into a vintage or resale store and find something absolutely perfect for you, it's more rewarding than shopping retail and you end up having unique pieces that other people don't.
How did Rites become a business and not just an idea?
We both had ideas around starting a marketplace, making it sustainable, charitable and for the greater good Tapping into the resale market was a no brainer since the industry is growing like crazy. The amount of waste in the fashion industry weighed on our conscious and we wanted to be part of the solution. We started meeting evenings and weekends and fleshing out the idea and little by little Rites was born.
What have been the biggest challenges you've faced with Rites?
I think the biggest challenge in general has been this year- 2020. Founding a company is not something you do if you want stability and predictability in your life. This year has been a true test of agility and resilience. It's an interesting challenge to dig deep and use your intuition and creativity and figure out a way to grow in a time like this. What we've learned is we can plan everything out to a T but things can change overnight so it's just about pivoting and adapting to the climate and being agile and resilient. The most important thing is to just keep going and always be moving forward.
You mentioned on the phone that you curate the items for your website, how do you choose and is it based on your personal style?
We have a really fabulous network of donors. We've been really lucky to tap into the wardrobes of some of the most stylish women in London. They have such incredible pieces so we choose what we think we can sell. We both have very different styles as well which end up complimenting each other. We would say Drew is more girly and Meg is more minimalist. It's a nice balance because we end up choosing pieces that cater to a wide audience.
How have you adapted to life in lockdown?
Lots of zoom calls! We talk on the phone almost daily and it make you question all the time you spend commuting all over the city. We're a small team and have the benefit of being flexible, so in a lot of ways it's been easy to adapt. We've been picking up collections ourselves (obviously at a safe distance!) but this also means we get to know our Rites donors more personally which has been really nice for us.
Which designers are exciting you most now?
A there's so many, I love Cushnie, I've actually loved it since it was Cushnie and Och. It's so chic and sophisticated. The pieces are interesting enough to make you look super elevated but aren't overpowering, which allows you to really shine in the clothes. I also have an eye on a brand called Tove and another brand called Fe Noel. My close friends have an incredible line called Beaufille, "Beaufille" directly translates into "handsome girl". It's the perfect juxtaposition between masculine and feminine and their pieces are all sustainably made in Canada and so gorgeous.
What are you must have items for SS20?
We actually want to move away from seasonal items and are trying to adopt more sustainable ways of dressing. For us, that means season-less, well made, beautiful items that will be treasured for a longer period of time. The 'must-have' for us is something preferable resale that's loved, feels special, and worn over and over again!
Interviewed by our Editor Harriet Russell