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Many brands only pay lip service to sustainability, but newcomer Onsloe has been built around the concept. The brand, which launched in May 2020, sources short runs of British, Italian and Japanese fabrics to produce bespoke menswear basics ranging from selvedge jeans to cashmere blazers. Nothing goes into production until a customer places an order, and finished garments can be received in as little as 10 days.
“The whole idea of Onsloe is to avoid the traditional model that has always existed in fashion, which is to buy a lot of inventory and then sell from your inventory,” says Bjorn Bengtsson, a 35-year-old veteran. from the fashion industry who assists Onsloe in an advisory role.
Onsloe’s make-to-order model reduces waste, but it also allows each Onsloe garment to be personalized. In the case of a overshirt, you can select your preferred body length, collar style and presence or absence of a pocket; a sports coat may require choosing between flap or patch pockets and center or side vents. And almost everything is monogram-able, in multiple places.
While current sizing options allow customers to specify inseam lengths or choose between regular or fitted shirts, the brand is beta testing an app that will allow customers to upload their measurements by scanning themselves. According to Bengtsson, the measurements obtained have an accuracy rate of 95%, “which means we don’t even have to ask you what your height is. We will do this automatically. (The digital tool should be launched at the end of February).
As part of its commitment to purchasing limited quantities of fabric, Onsloe sources from high-end factories with smaller minimums. This has allowed the brand to offer Crombie coats in Shetland wool supplied by the famous Scottish spinning mill Lovat, and jackets in thick Japanese denim woven on vintage looms.
About half of Onsloe’s assortment will change from season to season, and existing rolls of fabric can be used in new styles. In the event that Onsloe ends up with a bit of extra fabric on his hands, the brand will try to use it in any way possible. As an example, Bengtsson describes the use of excess shirt fabric to produce pajamas.
“Instead of taking a markdown and getting rid of it, we still use it to make affordable pajamas,” he says. “We’re not going to make a lot of money on it, but we’re still going to use it for something.”
Additionally, Onsloe hopes her customers won’t throw away their clothes. To help avoid this, the brand has implemented a three-year ‘no tear’ guarantee, which allows customers to return garments that have suffered typical signs of wear and tear, such as stains or broken seams, for free repair. to the customer, other than the cost of the initial shipment.
But in the event that any of his clothes would face the dump, Onsloe would rather be his final destination instead. Through its “take-back” program, customers can contact customer service to receive a shipping label to return the garment to its manufacturer. Bengtsson, a longtime lover of vintage, hopes the retired clothes can be repurposed to produce one-of-a-kind pieces.
“Instead of throwing this away, I make a new jacket, or I make a new shirt, or a laptop sleeve,” he says. “No matter what, he deserves to live another life.”
As the brand is still in its infancy, it may take a few years for the takeover program to bear fruit. But for now, that may mean one less shirt or sweater sees the dump, and for Onsloe, that seems like reason enough.