About Beyond Retro Label
The Beyond Retro Label is a reflection of the same values that drive our vintage business: a fresh, absolutely unique alternative to standard issue fashion. Crafted from reclaimed materials, this growing line of apparel and accessories takes our mission of recycling clothing one step further: we’re hoarders at heart and we like to dig deep. Label allows us to reuse a larger portion of the world’s secondhand clothing. We work backwards to move forward, constructing fashion-led pieces that will define a more sustainable tomorrow. And we do it on a large scale: 100,000 units are forecast for production in 2015.
The faces behind Label fall under two core teams. Creative direction happens at our London headquarters, where design and production devise new designs that carefully balance need and trend against available raw material. All patternmaking, construction, and QC happens at our factory in India, where our team of 85 full time employees deliver a new cycle every 4 weeks. Both teams collaborate daily on skype, and come together in person several times per year to craft our collections for Men and Women.
We set aside 120,000 secondhand garments per year to construct 100,000 new items for our stores (20% require two pieces for production). This raw material reserve is not static: it ebbs and flows throughout the year as we compare what we need with what we can find. Designs evolve organically as a reaction to this resource, with around 20-30 prototypes in development at any given time. Secondhand trims and hardware are used when possible, and we source new zippers, elastic rib, and more to bridge the gap. This ethos of reuse extends to our branding: anchor logo buttons from damaged peacoats serve as branding on certain bags, and we stamp spare pennies found in pockets with our Beyond Retro logo for future swingtag trinkets.
Unlike traditional contract-based manufacturing, we fully operate our factory, straight at the source of our raw material: India. Why India? A large volume of the world’s used clothing is sorted there. We were already in town for our vintage business, so in 2012 we decided to put down deeper roots with a more meaningful investment in the local community. Full operation implies full responsibility: our team is our family. Led by Raw Material Manager Padmini and Master Tailor Laxman, our 85 full time employees are paid fair market wages for sane working hours, in a comfortable facility that is maintained with care. We visit ourselves throughout the year to say hello, collaborate on some clothes, and ensure both the people and the premises are in healthy working order.