In honour of International Women's Day, we’re celebrating our amazing Global Retail Director: Kate Peters. Leading our brand from our first store in Cheshire Street to now 12 stores in the UK and Sweden... (and counting!), she's been a sustainable trailblazer for Beyond Retro since 2002. We wouldn't be where we are without her, and couldn't ask for a better leader to steer our vintage ship. We sat down for an interview and asked about her journey with us for the last 20 years...
Tell us how you started working for Beyond Retro... what was it like 20 years ago?!
I fell into Beyond Retro by accident, I only intended to stay 5 minutes but fell in love with a small bunch of amazing people who loved vintage and wanted to create fun exciting stores. Today it's a large bunch of people - but the same passion remains. I get to work with fantastic minds who love vintage and see the value of recycling fashion. I'm fortunate that I've always worked with people who wanted to make a difference.
What makes you so passionate about vintage clothing?
I’ve loved it as long as I can remember. As a kid I adored dressing up in my grandmother's old 40s and 50s dresses, as a teenager I wore my mum’s outrageous 60s dresses and my great grandmother’s dresses and petticoats - I've always been into clothing with stories.
What are the biggest challenges you've faced?
We’ve definitely had a lot of different challenges over the years, but getting through Covid was the most testing. We saw a lot of great companies fall, I’m extremely grateful to everyone on our team who got us through this, and our customers who supported us through such a tumultuous time.
How have you seen the fashion retail landscape change?
The conversation around sustainability. Brands are finally starting to realize they need to take responsibility for what they are putting out there to the customer. It used to be all about speed to market with no thought beyond this, no consideration to the longevity of clothing, but at last the conversations are on the table. Change is happening slower than it needs to, but at least it's starting.
What are some of your fondest memories of the Beyond Retro journey so far?
Opening our first store in Sweden was pretty special. Launching a new store is always exciting, it's like racing towards opening night of a show, all these clever people come together to create something really magic. It was a joy to find like minded people in Sweden who wanted to create the same magic, and we’ve loved growing a customer base there over the last few years.
What advice would you give to those hoping to achieve their goals?
If your goals align with something you love and believe in, you're halfway there. The hard effort to achieve your aspirations will be all the more rewarding.
What are your hopes for the future of sustainable fashion?
I hope sustainable fashion becomes accessible to all, obviously this is complex and not just about lowering the prices of sustainable products. We need a societal shift. We need a global shift. I look forward to a time when all fashion is created to be circular, whether by production values that mean those clothes can be recycled and reworn and repaired over and over like the clothes handed down from our grandmothers, or made using circular technology meaning clothing can be regenerated into new clothing or other uses - so nothing goes to waste.