THE HOOK OF LE LOOP
The online store’s concept: curated and discounted designer wear with an option for “re-looping” your buys.
Curated and discounted designer wear for sale, and resale.
There was a time when we could “lease” a new or used book and return it after reading it, for a tiny bit of cash in return. The premise of Le Loop is exactly that – except the product is one-off designer wear sold at a fraction of its original retail price ($120-$1,140); and it can be returned for some cash even after you’ve worn it numerous times, as long as it’s not more than five months after your purchase.
Singaporean Liu Tingzhi, 27, launched the online store (www. le-loop.com) in July to help fill the big waste gap – making, selling and disposing of – that the fashion industry and consumers have created.
She had her first experience of fashion waste after working at Alexander McQueen (as one of the designers in his team) and Erdem (where she was an embroidery and product developer). The three years spent at both labels, coupled with assistantships at Celine, Dior and Lanvin, put her in the thick of the fashion production cycle – which had aspects she disagreed with.
“Fashion moves really, really fast. We spend long hours working on one collection, and once it’s over, it’s time for the next,” says Liu. “Then the designs go mostly to the top 1 per cent of the elite, or remain as leftover stock that is put away or marked down for clearance sales. It’s a huge waste.”
That waste – new designer wear from past collections, not vintage or preloved – is where she capitalises and curates from for Le Loop with the help of two London-based partners, who source from boutiques and private sellers.
She selects a variety of designs from different designers that would go well together in one collection, “which could be a dress from Diane von Furstenberg’s F/W ’17 and a runway piece from Tibi’s S/S ’15”.
“We imagine what the Le Loop woman’s lifestyle would be like. What events would she go to? Does this item work in an office yet look cool enough for a party afterwards? We keep our climate in mind while trying to push the boundaries a little with some experimental and offbeat styles.
“Le Loop also gives you the option of trying new designers, which you may not have considered before because they might have been out of your budget,” says Liu.
Another thing she understands fully: “Sometimes, we may not feel the same way about what we bought six months ago.”
This is where Le Loop becomes even more interesting: It becomes Re-Loop – Le Loop stuff that you no longer like and want to pass on to someone else who might. The returns from Le Loop (even with minor wear and tear such as stitches coming loose, and small removable stains) will be partially refunded – and the earlier you return them, the better your returns. If you give back an item within the first month of purchase, you could get up to 60 per cent of the price you paid. Returns made in the fifth month see refunds of up to 20 per cent.
Re-Loop-ed items then go back up on the site with a tag indicating they have been Re-Loop-ed, and a note about their condition.
“With Le Loop and Re-Loop, we are able to extract the full value of each garment and extend its life by passing it on to the next customer.”
Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress, $380. Alice McCall dress, $280. Rachel Comey pleated blouse, $350.
What did Liu Tingzhi learn when she worked for designer brands for three years? There’s a lot of waste. And Le Loop is helping to mitigate some of it.