June | Take 5
with Clare Richardson
The stylist and founder of luxury resale platform, Reluxe, tells us how she’s transforming attitudes around shopping pre-loved thanks to an expert edit and access to some of the world’s most coveted wardrobesEmma Sells
Clare Richardson is a woman on a mission. Armed with a career’s worth of friendships and connections with some of the world’s most stylish women – not to mention insider access to their much-coveted closets – as well as an impeccable eye, the stylist and founder of Reluxe is making it her business to infiltrate as many wardrobes as she can with carefully chosen preloved clothes. Launched a year ago and already a firm fashion-insider favourite, Reluxe is a resale platform that savvily combines the joy of treasure hunting for the perfect piece with the high-end polish of a Matches or Net-A-Porter-like online boutique. It’s an irresistible gateway into buying second-hand for women who haven’t really considered it before; a way to stealthily change their shopping habits and bolster their wardrobes while minimising their environmental impact. And Richardson is the key that makes it all work.
“I wanted to create a luxury experience for preloved, to put together a curated edit and really try to guide our customer with our expertise,” says Richardson, and it’s that fashion-focussed edit that really sets Reluxe apart from the other resale sites out there. The clothes that it stocks aren’t all perfect – there’s a bit of wear here, the odd stain there – but they’re always unfailingly desirable. Walk into one of the platform’s physical pop-ups and flick through the rails and you’d be hard pressed to differentiate the offering from the box-fresh clothes on other shop floors – crucial when it comes to enticing more circumspect customers into the world of preloved. It’s designed to cover all bases when it comes to getting dressed, too. “I always wanted Reluxe to be luxury but never elitist,” continues Richardson. “So, you have your collectable pieces, but you can also get your Acne white shirt or your Frame denim jeans or those pieces that you might wear every day. I’ve always believed that it’s for how a woman wears her wardrobe.”
Image courtesy of Reluxe
“I always wanted Reluxe to be luxury but never elitist, so you have your collectable pieces but you can also get your Acne white shirt or your Frame denim jeans or those pieces that you might wear every day. I’ve always believed that it’s for how a woman wears her wardrobe.”
Reluxe is divided into two sections: Reloved, which offers up an edit from the archives of carefully selected brands ranging from Tove to Simone Rocha; and Preloved, which is drawn exclusively from an incredible global community of individual sellers (plenty of whose names you’d recognise) that Richardson and her team work with, offering a slick service that makes the process as easy as possible. “I would never want to photograph my pieces, sell them, take them to the post office, ship them,” she says. “So, we’ve made sure that this is really offering a service where you don’t do anything, we do it all for you.’”
Preloved clothes have long formed the basis of Richardson’s own wardrobe – she’s woven second-hand and vintage pieces into her looks ever since she started shopping at Portobello Road market as a student. “The tourists would all go on Saturday, so I always tried to go Friday morning before 12pm to get the best pieces,” she says. “It was about saving money, obviously, but also getting one-of-a-kind pieces and the experience of discovering things was so amazing and key. And then Kate Moss and all those girls were at the forefront of the press and they were all wearing vintage, so it was just a natural thing that I was drawn to.” Richardson’s day-to-day uniform is a classic-meets-boyish mix of oversized blazers, shirts, big trousers and denim with multiple versions of the things she wears on repeat. “I love my favourite clothes to death,” she says. “I have Phoebe Philo for Celine shirts that are hanging by a string. I’m busy, always running around and on my feet so I wear my things really hard. I’ve always been like that.”
Image courtesy of Reluxe
It made sense, then, to help other women build their own wardrobes in the same way, especially as she became more and more determined to help tackle the negative impact of the fashion industry. “At the beginning of my career, I don’t think we really talked about climate change or how bad fashion is for the environment, but it’s been playing on my conscience for years now,” she says. “Seeing the problem and constantly reading about it was really keeping me up at night, and having my kids was even more of a catalyst for wanting to, in my way, be part of a solution.” And if her packed-out address book and genius for spotting an incredible piece can help perfect your wardrobe at the same time? So much the better.