Sustainable fashion store ‘Tråd Collective’ opens in Headingley
September 2021 marked the opening of Tråd Collective, a fashion and lifestyle boutique in the heart of Headingley. Whilst Headingley’s many charity shops have established it as a second-hand shopping hotspot within Leeds, the opening of Tråd has pioneered the creation of a completely sustainable concept within the student-suburbs. The name “Tråd” – meaning ‘thread’ in Swedish – was born out of a brainstorm by owners Josefin and James and the brand’s beginnings were woven by a series of Josefin’s experiences in fashion across Europe. Josefin’s interest in sustainable fashion was sparked whilst studying Fashion Design in Milan. A contrast between the over-consumption she witnessed at fashion school and her sister’s vegan and sustainable style made it apparent to Josefin that she wanted to create a brand which embodied environmentalist values. James’ interest in sustainable fashion was found through Josefin, and their New Year’s resolution to only buy sustainable clothes made it apparent that there was a huge gap in the market.
Tråd Collective was born this summer and made its debut at markets around Leeds, but it soon became clear that giving the store a permanent home was the way forward. Their Headingley base was initially “coincidence” but became the perfect location for a small, start-up business. The area unites the younger student community with the older target audience Josefin and James initially had in mind. Headingley acts as a hub for those with a similar mindset regarding the importance of sustainability and the store is an eye-catching addition to Otley Road’s familiar landscape. Tråd has formed strong links with the community surrounding it, ranging from a set of regular customers – who attended the store’s launch party- to its stocking of local businesses which Josefin described as a “main priority”.
Alongside these local businesses, Tråd stocks hand selected second-hand pieces and ethically made clothes from a range of sustainable designers. Amongst these is the store’s in-house brand ‘Wanner Label’ which was founded by owner Josefin. The label uses up-cycling to turn second-hand materials into new, timeless garments. Josefin cites Stella McCartney as a role-model for high-end sustainability, but takes her biggest inspiration from the clothes themselves. She believes that the beauty of this zero waste, up-cycling approach is “going with the flow”. Rather than finding specific materials to fulfil a vision of design, Josefin lets the fabrics inspire the design, and so the creative process is reversed. My favourite of Josefin’s designs are the colourful silk tops which she modelled off of a top she owned when she was a student. They’re designed to be unique and versatile and the adjustable straps make them a piece you can keep over time. There are also some gems amongst Tråd’s second-hand selection. Our online editor Hemma picked up a vintage Dickies shirt for just £19. Right now the store’s vintage clothing follows an Autumnal colour palette and although the stock is alternated by season, Tråd’s whole vibe aligns with Josefin’s excellent sense of style. It is neutral, down-to-earth, minimal, classic and calming. Josefin and James wanted to create an environment their customers would crave and return to and they frequently alter displays and aesthetics to keep the experience fresh and interesting. This, paired with the excitement of purchasing something which is ethical, traceable and sustainable creates a unique shopping experience. When I recalled mine and Hemma’s excitement at finding the vintage shirt in Tråd, Josefin agrees that there’s a thrill in second hand shopping – she once found a cashmere jumper for just £5 in a vintage shop.
When I asked Josefin what her advice would be to students that are wanting to shop more sustainably she acknowledged that ethical shopping can be hard on a budget. Of course, buying second hand where you can is important. Another thing which sets Tråd apart from other shops stocking vintage pieces is their free alterations service for clothes purchased there. You can also pay to have clothes from elsewhere altered, or consider sewing your own garments which widens your possibilities when it comes to vintage shopping and giving clothes longevity. Josefin also recommends learning about different materials and what they mean. For example, she would never buy polyester as it’s bad for the planet and poor quality – not something which will last you. When it comes to sustainable fashion, it’s important to remember that any small changes can contribute to a wider difference. But whatever you do, I’m confident that a visit to Tråd Collective is the right way to start learning.