Shop sustainably online this Second Hand September

by Rachel Darcy

With Second Hand September well underway, one Irish business has been working to make the sustainable fashion experience accessible for all.

Minti, an online second-hand retailer founded by Dubliner Laura Egan, has gone from strength to strength since opening it’s virtual doors in April of this year.

“It’s been a really busy, but really exciting time. It doesn’t really feel like work – yet,” Laura told Dublin Gazette.

Having worked in the fashion industry in Paris and London since graduating from NCAD, she said that the waste the industry can produce – particularly fast fashion – was a major inspiration behind her starting Minti when she returned to Dublin earlier this year.

She detailed: “For me, it’s one of my hobbies that I can now have as a job. April 22 was my first post on Instagram, and my first sale was around then.

“I moved home from London before Covid, not really knowing what I was going to do next, and then once [Minti] kind of took off, I was like ‘this is it, this is fun’.”

In terms of where Laura sources the second hand and vintage styles on Minti, she has multiple avenues – all as sustainable as possible.

She also is mindful of being size inclusive, stocking anything from a size 4 to size 22 when she finds good quality stock. Minti also stocks smaller Irish retailers, like Bourkily scarves and Think Threads earrings.

“The main place I source clothes is through charity shop shopping – over the years I’ve accumulated a massive wardrobe of pieces I’ve seen in London, Paris and Dublin.

“I have private sellers also, people who have invested a load of money into their wardrobe, and want to see it go to the home of another fashion lover.

“Markets and car boot sales are great places too, and Depop and Ebay.”

As well as selling pre-loved clothes, Laura also runs an alteration service, turning old garments into different pieces to give them a new lease of life, with little waste. She also encourages people to look out for fabrics that they could turn into an outfit, like bedsheets.

“It’s all about a change in mindset. If you see a bedsheet that you like, try to take it to someone to make it into a piece – sustainability is about being open to reusing what we already have in the world. With Minti, I’m focused on the pre-loved side, but I’m still so keen on the design work.”

Some of Laura’s favourite pieces she’s uncovered for Minti so far include Prada heels in perfect nick, Jean Paul Gautier top and a 1950’s vintage suede jacket – and a two piece outfit she made herself, from an old bedsheet.

Working with a small team in their Dundrum office, the future looks bright for Minti, particularly as consumers become socially conscious and more environmentally aware.

“Without saying too much, I’m definitely looking at expanding.

“I don’t think I’ll be going down the physical shop route as the online space has done a lot for what I do, but I really want to normalise the sale of pre-loved.

“I don’t want shopping pre-loved to be a strenuous task for people, to take the stress out of trying to shop in charity shops.I know that there are a lot of people that don’t want to go to shops or go rooting through rails of clothing.

“I want to create a space where people can log on to the website as easily as they would do for any of the fast fashion brands – I want it to be as easy as that to buy pre-loved clothing.”

Check out Minti now on Instagram at instagram.com/minti_dublin, or on their website, Minti.ie.

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