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Wednesday, January 23, 2019

north and willow's clothing conscience

An online curated thrift shop focuses on sustainability and accessibility

Posted By on Wed, Jan 23, 2019 at 3:10 PM

click to enlarge JULIA CHAPMAN
  • Julia Chapman
Kari Beiswanger and Alex Stewart’s friendship has lasted longer than any piece of clothing in your closet, no doubt. The pair of pre-school pals and longtime thrifters are behind north and willow, an online second-hand shop and sustainable fashion initiative that launched its web store this week.

The idea started simply after a conversation at a party, Beiswanger says: “We wanted to start some sort of clothing exchange where we could get involved in the community.” It’s part of north and willow’s current program—if you’ve got stuff you don’t want or wear anymore, they’ll take it, evaluate it and trade you some store credit for it.

“We just want people to know we’re a different option for buying second-hand and consuming in a sustainable way. There’s curated thrift in the city, but we’re really focused on the sustainability and the way our impact can make a difference,” adds Beiswanger. “We also really want to be accessible. The draw to fast-fashion is that it’s accessible to most budgets. But we’ve found a lot of the curated thrift is a little bit on the pricier side. We can hopefully disrupt the way the fashion industry works.”

Earlier this week, to celebrate its shiny new online boutique, north and willow hosted the first of “periodic pop-ups” at flo meditation, selling off its latest thrifted finds and exchanged items, and plans are already in the works for a February edition.

With an aim to offer folks of all sizes (waist and wallet) ways to keep their clothing out of landfills, Beiswanger and Stewart also hope to host community workshops—on stuff like repairing and altering clothes—and connect more with their shoppers about fashion’s affinity for wasteful abundance.

“We want to see a shift in the mentality,” says Beiswanger, “and it can be hard to do that without context.”

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