campaign photos COURTESY OF INRO
At the risk of stating the obvious, the clothes we wear matter. And not just in the sense of sartorial splendour and self-expression, but for those across the supply chain and beyond working towards a more sustainable fashion future. To celebrate these creatives putting people and planet first, we’ve introduced a digital series called Nice Rack! (…get it) so we can go behind the seams with some of our favourite sustainable brands, together.
In this edition, we’re changing it up a little and putting ourselves in the shoes (and the outfits) of the consumer with a road test thanks to Inro! Short for ‘in rotation’, this purpose-led social enterprise is based in Melbourne and offers a secondhand clothing subscription service. Founded to challenge and shift the ways in which we consume and value fashion, the platform offers a curated selection of secondhand goodies delivered straight to your door each month.
Fashion fantastics Lauren (editor) and Caitlin (community and partnerships manager) took on the challenge and documented their thoughts, feelings and outfits for us!
left SKIRT BY INRO, SHIRT, SUNGLASSES AND BOOTS LAUREN’S OWN right PANTS BY INRO, SHIRT, SUNGLASSES AND SHOES LAUREN’S OWN
LAUREN | EDITOR
What are you wearing today? Did you consciously curate an outfit or just slap on the first thing you found on your floordrobe? What’s your relationship with clothes? Do you have a passion for fashion that shouts to the world, “This is me – take it or leave it”? Or is there, perhaps, a long, convoluted history defined by ill-fitting garments and harsh changeroom lighting? Do you actually enjoy shopping or just the fleeting dopamine hit it gives you? What does sustainable fashion even mean in 2023 and how can one communicate, or even sell, the nuance of imperfection that comes with it?
Indeed in the world of sustainable fashion, we can be lulled into a false sense of duality.
All of these questions and more have been racing through my mind as we road-tested Inro’s secondhand clothing subscription this month. And from the moment I completed the style questionnaire to then taking the time to pair the garments sent with my tried-and-tested wardrobe staples, it’s been an important reminder about how I value the clothes on my back.
Indeed in the world of sustainable fashion, we can be lulled into a false sense of duality – of right and wrong, of fast and slow, of privilege and necessity. But we must remember that the fashion industry isn’t going anywhere and how we choose to engage with it will dictate what it will look like in the future.
left SHIRT BY INRO, HAT, SHORTS, SHOES LAUREN’S OWN right DRESS BY INRO, SHOES AND SUNGLASSES LAUREN’S OWN
Inro’s model is an interesting one – after completing that aforementioned questionnaire, or leaving it blank for the style wizards at Inro to curate a selection, six secondhand garments are packaged and sent in a reusable bag for you to enjoy all month long. If you dig the clothes picked out, you have the option to purchase at the end of your month, otherwise, you send them back (shipping label included) for them to return to the Inro rotation.
Leaving my style questionnaire blank, I was intrigued as to how I would make the selections work in my wardrobe. At first glance, they didn’t exactly scream “Lauren” – they were perhaps things I would abandon in my cart, unsure of their longevity in my wardrobe. Now, they were hanging in front of me and I had no choice but to think creatively and have fun with the process.
And perhaps that’s the point of the exercise. We all have items in our wardrobe from yesteryear, hanging idly, longing for their return to the spotlight. By shopping our wardrobes, by leaning into the circular economy, by getting out of our comfort zone, we can collectively reimagine our relationship to clothes – so that they become not something we ‘own’, but tiny moments of joy we hold close before passing them on to the next wearer.
above TOP BY INRO, PANTS AND SHOES CAITLIN’S OWN
CAITLIN | COMMUNITY AND PARTNERSHIPS MANAGER
When I really think about it, I haven’t had a lot of fun with fashion these past couple of years. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve enjoyed looking at pretty outfits, I’ve definitely bought things and I’ve absolutely gotten dressed (not always a guarantee in this era of WFH). But playing dress up? Putting together a cute outfit pretending I am Cher in Clueless? It hasn’t been happening.
That’s why I jumped at the chance to road test a secondhand fashion subscription from the good folks at Inro, The first step was filling out their fit and style preference questionnaire. For this, you can get as deep or as surface as you want – I chose to upload a couple of photos of myself in some favourite outfits and give some details about preferred colours but the form offers you options to add a mood board, link to your social media or get really specific about what you are looking for.
Not to be too existential about it, but there is something so interesting about seeing how someone else perceives you.
Then, arguably the best bit: the clothes arrived! Inro has recently upgraded their delivery system so that all subscriptions arrive in these very chic navy bags – making for easy, waste-free unboxings and an even easier return (they even include the label with your order).
left TOP BY INRO, PANTS AND SHOES CAITLIN’S OWN right SKIRT BY INRO, TOP AND SHOES CAITLIN’S OWN
I can absolutely say that unpacking the clothes was a delight. Not to be too existential about it, but there is something so interesting about seeing how someone else perceives you and that is a big part of the beauty of this service: I showed the Inro team a little bit about myself and they gave me a mirror in the form of cute clothes! Who needs therapy?
So, how did they see me? Did they get it right? Well, first off I’d argue that there isn’t really a right or wrong here. Working with what I had given them, the team picked from their extensive secondhand collection pieces that would fit my size 22, six-foot body, which – even in this age of body neutrality and inclusive sizing – is no easy feat. They picked up on my love of graphic patterns with a cute monochrome Calvin Klein top and a modernist pair of navy and white pants (these unfortunately did not fit but the fault lies with me giving general rather than specific measurements and not with the very detail-oriented stylists at Inro).
A white linen top with pronounced shoulder pads from Witchery catered to my love of basics with an edge. A blue tie-dyed dress spoke to how much I want my day clothes to be as comfortable as pyjamas. And a textured olive blouse, a silver twirl skirt and a one-shoulder crop top all shouted, “I can dress my body in any way I choose, and I choose fabulous.”
left TOP BY INRO, PANTS CAITLIN’S OWN right TOP BY INRO, PANTS AND SHOES CAITLIN’S OWN
With one month to test out the pieces, I felt excited to get dressed up, to put an outfit together with purpose rather than just grabbing the first thing in the clean washing basket. It certainly helped me get some more wear out of jewellery, shoes and sunglasses that had not seen the light of day in a long time. Trying out the subscription also pulled me out of my comfort zone, which I think can only be a good thing when it comes to fashion.
During this month-long rotation, I realised what an amazing service this would have been when I first became a mum. Saddled with a newborn, trying to navigate a new life and a new body, I think it would have been lovely (and helpful) if someone else curated a wardrobe for me. It would have felt luxurious to have someone else take care of it and lovely that I could still have some style.
But even now, with older kids and a very strong sense of my own style and tastes, trying Inro out was so much fun – a chance to think more consciously about the way I dress, a chance to try on things I would never have picked for myself and, most importantly, a chance to play!