Buy Less and Care More! Fashion is a reflection of who we are and what we represent. It leaves the first impression and defines us thereafter. It makes us look and feel good. But nowadays it’s all about appearance.

Showing off through our fashionable outfits, has become so normal that we don’t even know what the point is anyway.  The sad thing is, in the pursuit of outdoing each-other in the style department, it seems we are crossing the limits of what, how much, and to what purpose we buy. Owning the latest fashion items is a must; different outfits every day is a must. This is how we justify our shopping habits.   

At some point, sooner than later, trashing our used garments is inevitable, sometimes without even thinking twice before doing so, and no efforts to make them last longer whatsoever. On the other side, something as simple as throwing away something we don’t need or use, has direct, negative impact on the environment. Call it lack of awareness, or a simple couldn’t-care-less attitude, another thing we never ask ourselves about is the impact the textile waste has on the environment. Having on mind that fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world, it’s a world-scale problem and the future doesn’t look bright for the environment if this issue is not tackled.  

That is not to say that there are no attempts at changing the way we think about more sustainable products and protecting our environment. Case in point, in a small country like Macedonia, an excellent idea revolving around up-cycled clothes is on its way to becoming a business, with multi-dimensional social impact. COTERIE – is a group of associates that work together, and their business model revolves around the production of original, and one-of-a-kind garments from upcycled second-hand clothes and textile waste.  

“Fashion waste is a global issue and we know that we can’t fight it, but we can make you think twice before you trash your garments. We will repair or redesign each piece you bought and own, in order to make you buy less and care more.”

Their idea is taking used clothes and give them a second life. How? They go throughout second-hands clothes, sort them out, get inspired, make designs, then they stitch, weave, or knit them in order to create one of a kind piece of fabric. These products are to be produced with the help of unemployed women, and later vocational schools students, who have the suitable knowledge and skills to create the desired product, by incorporating redesigned and modernized traditional Macedonian ornaments. Moreover, upon buying from this brand, for each bought piece of cloth, the customer will have the opportunity to choose whether COTERIE will donate one garment to a socially disadvantaged person, or plant a tree. In a way, they will decide themselves on the kind of impact they would want to make.