A recent Huffington Post article suggests that We Buy an Obscene Amount of Clothes and that this is having serious implications on the world we live in. That clothing, like electronics, appliances, and everything else, has become disposable.
In Prague, if you’ve ever bought an H&M or C&A top that you’ve worn just once before burying in your wardrobe, you have probably participated in the growing throw-away fashion epidemic.
A handful of new stores are making it their mission to bring you repurposed, well-made, and original clothing. Affordable, too. And you will get the warm and fuzzies from being a part of the small-label fashion movement.
It’s like buying kale at Náplavka, if kale were a pair of leather ankle boots.
The love-child of a Czech-Slovak couple, this vintage clothing store opened on Veverkova, possibly Prague’s coolest street at the moment, earlier this month. It specializes in carefully curated vintage pieces that are chosen for color, pattern, and quality. And they are insanely affordable.
Owners Martina and Edie tell us: “People are tired of simply following trends. At the same time people become aware of how the clothes they buy affect the environment and working conditions in the areas where they are produced.”
Tops, tunics, and skirts in funky patterns that began life as Eastern Bloc castaways, become fashion statements hanging from tree-branch merch racks lit by naked bulbs. Retro beaded wallets and Stevie Nicks-style shawls are just some of the finds starting at only 150 CZK.
Recycle with Love plans to stock a revolving inventory of local designers. White cotton t-shirts and t-shirt dresses by label NABÍLO with forest-motif designs from Czech illustrator Lena Brauner, and unique mixed materials tote bags, so much better then your hemp shopper, from the young designer Alžbeta Kováčiková were among the most recent picks.
“We believe the clothes are an integral part of our personality, so we focus on individualism and uniqueness of our products. You can save a lot of money, while still looking great,” the owners add. www.recyclewithlove.cz
Debuting this past holiday season on Klimentská Street, Showroom, says one of the project’s founders, Aneta Vojtová, brings “five designers from different fashion fields (jewelry, clothes, shoes, and other accessories)” together under one roof. “We will present on guest designer every four months,” she adds.
The latest collection features beautifully crafted hand bags by Project Bag Girls, whose roomy shopper bags, envelope wallets, laptop cases in elegant shades of beige, ice blue, and black are made of durable PVC and other sustainable materials.
Also notable: shoes by the Hungarian designer DYAN, who interned at a children’s shoe factory in Budapest and makes old-world-looking ankle boots and slips ons with modern flourishes; chunky stainless steel and titanium rings and earrings by jewelery maker Klára Šípková.
The Showroom concept blurs the line between art and fashion. Says Ms. Vojtová, “Our customers will experience another atmosphere during their shopping. They can meet and talk to designers. They can also see the working process, because some designers have their workshops there.”
No Rush boutique opened in Karlín in late 2014. It is owned by Polish expat Eliza Kowalska who says, “Praha is amazing! But all I missed here was a place where I could buy a high quality hand-made wardrobe, which is not necessarily ruining my wallet. Not the factory made, repeatable outfits created somewhere between cost-cut department and assembly line.”
Men, women, and children alike will find their fashion statement here: Comfy quilted tops and bottoms for kids in silly patterns and prints, as well as oversized sweaters, fun reading glass frames, A-line skirts in a variety of wacky motifs (Frog Prince) and colors, and melting-popsicle pendants for grownups.
Kowalska insists that “Supporting sweat shops in Asia is no longer cool nor trendy. That is why most of my fashion designers come from Poland.”
Perhaps the oldest of the bunch, having opened in summer 2014, Unikat is tucked into Pasáž Platýz. It is a shop for women that stocks indie-label interantional brands which have previously been hard to come by in Prague.
Browse the basic colors and stripes and classic silhouettes of the Danish label Six Ames, or go “Iceland gypsy” with a fake fur patchwork jacket or sweater dress from Evaw Wave. There’s also organic tees and stretchy dresses from German brand Armedangels and shoes by Dutch brand Via Vai.
Unikat’s coolest offering is its washable paper line from Australian designers Uashmama, which includes oversized messenger bags and home accessories.
Owners Lucie and Tereza firmly reject the idea of throw-away fashions: “We believe that fashion is not about mindless shopping. Pieces from us become long-term residents of your closet.”
Who gets your vote for best new boutique in Prague?