Fast fashion is a hot topic at the moment. Australian consumers are among the top countries that heavily contribute to textile landfill. Melbourne mama Natalia, knew that she wanted to be part of the solution, not the problem. Moving to Australia and stumbling upon op shops, inspired Natalia to combine her love of fashion and desire to live and promote a sustainable life. Natalia is the owner of Les gamins chics which sells preloved children's clothes from established French and European brands. The online boutique also stocks new clothes from emerging ethical and eco-friendly French fashion brands. Owner and mama of 3, Natalia shares how she is helping mums to save money and the planet.
HOOD MAMA SPECIAL - 30% off the preloved collection at Les gamins chics. Join the hood at Motherhood Melbourne to grab the code. Valid once per customer and until 21st March 2018.
An interview with owner of Les gamins chics - Natalia Ferreira.
1.Why did you create Les gamins chics?
I wanted to work on a project that combine two of my favourite things: fashion (and more specifically children's fashion) and sustainability. I am passionate about changing the way people look at fashion especially when it comes to children's clothes. Fast fashion has made us buy lots of cheap clothes which as you know is very detrimental to the environment - fabric from cheap clothes cannot be recycled and Australia is the second largest consumers of new textile. Textile waste is a real problem. Recycling clothes is not THE solution but it helps. Recycling together with buying less but better quality and/or organic/ethical clothes is THE solution (we also offer brand new clothes from ethical/eco brands on our website).
By extending the lifespan of clothes from 1 year to 2 years, it reduces CO2 emissions by 24% over the year. And everyone knows that children's clothes (and more specifically babies/toddler's clothes) are most often in very good condition as children outgrow their clothes so quickly. I believe in a more circular industry which starts with buying less but better and giving clothes multiple lives.
2. How did Les gamins chics begin?
I always loved fashion but I have also always been trying to live a more sustainable life. I thought the two were not compatible for a long time until we arrived in Australia and I discovered op shops. I was thrilled to find some treasures… and I was always looking forward to my next trip to the op shops.
However, I quickly realised that it is actually difficult to find great op shops with clothes that are not from the few dominating brands in Australia (I won’t name them here). I thought how good would it be to have access to awesome preloved clothes that you cannot or rarely find in op shops in one place. I also thought that if people knew where to sell their special clothes and get some money back they will be more likely to invest in good quality clothes (and/or eco-friendly/ethical brands) instead of buying lots of cheap clothes and then donating them to op shops after a few wears.
Only 15% of clothes in op shops are sold. The rest will end up in landfill or donated to underdeveloped countries where a great part will also end up in landfill. Basically this means we are sending our waste to these countries. And because most cheap clothes are made from synthetic /plastic fibres (polyester) they will never breakdown (fast-fashion it’s all about producing cheap clothes that are not bio-degradable).
3. How does Les gamins chics make mother’s lives easier, better or brighter?
The most beautiful and in excellent condition preloved clothes in one website. Help mums to change their little ones’ wardrobe without being detrimental to the planet and make real savings compared to buying new. It is also a great and easy way to sell these special clothes you have in your little one wardrobe.
4. How does it make you feel when someone buys your products?
So happy!!!! First order I got, I was dancing and jumping in the living room with my boys. They are so proud of what I am doing and I love watching their enthusiasm. I read somewhere that when you buy from a small business, someone does a happy dance and I can definitely tell you that this statement is true (literally!).
5. What is your most popular product?
The preloved clothes section - gorgeous clothes at a great price.
6. What’s the most common frequently-asked-question about Les gamins chics?
Where do you find the time to run this business with 3 children including a 8 month old baby?… my response: I basically work when the children are in bed which is very early in the morning (before 7am) or late at night.
7. Describe one thing mamas would be surprised about from behind-the-scenes of Les gamins chics.
We are a very small business - I am the sole trader currently and I run the shop from my home (my bedroom actually!).
8. What aspect about Les gamins chics do you love the most?
I enjoy making a great selection of clothes and put together cool outfits for the website lookbook and Instagram/Facebook.
But mostly being able to contribute (even just a little) in making parents live a more sustainable lifestyle. As a parent being sustainable is a real challenge but we can all starts with a few easy steps and buying less (but good quality) and preloved clothes is an easy step.
9. When you're not in biz mode, what do you love doing?
Spending time with my 3 children of course and if I have some spare time on my own (which is quite rare lately as a busy mum of 3!) read a book while enjoying a latte in my favourite cafe.
10. Any exciting plans for 2018?
Include more awesome brands of preloved garments (and hopefully more and more ethical/eco-friendly brands) and have a larger range of sizes.
I would also love to receive preloved clothes from well known/loved and influential mums (for example most loved Insta mums) to help in promoting clothes recycling. I think it will then have a real impact and people will start looking at fashion differently.
ABOUT LES GAMINS CHICS
Online boutique for babies and toddlers. Preloved from established French and European brands and new clothes from emerging ethical and eco-friendly French fashion brands.
Business owner: Natalia Ferreira
Fav café: Padre Coffee at South Melbourne Market
Coffee order: Latte
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