Today we have another edition of our Real Talk Q&A series, which highlights other designers that share our same values. Let me introduce you to Melanie, who is here with us today, sharing her story and answering some questions about her beautiful clothing brand, Curate & Rotate, based in the UK and focus on vintage and small independent brand.
curate & rotate
Can you tell me a little bit about your fashion journey and how you got to starting Curate & Rotate?
Sure. I have no background in fashion, I just have a huge passion for beautiful clothes. I have been shopping second hand for years and dreamt of starting up a business but lack of confidence and knowledge stopped me. Last year I thought to myself 'what are you waiting for Mel just get on with it' - So I started an Instagram account selling a few bits from my wardrobe and here we now are. It's grown so much since i started it up - I now source clothes and take in consignment pieces from women who have overflowing wardrobes.
I have gone from a total fast fashion lover never stopping to think about where my clothes were made and who made them to someone who now wants to understand the background of clothes and shop in a sustainable way. I now shop predominately second hand or buy from slow fashion brands.
What was the idea behind the name ‘Curate & Rotate’?
I have always loved the name Curate but I didn’t feel like it said enough about my brand so I spent weeks figuring out what I could tag on the end and finally BING (light bulb moment) - rotate came! I really love it.
I curate clothes and then put them back into rotation for people to purchase. Shopping second hand can be time consuming - believe me I know. So, I love my job as the curator of all the pieces that catch my eye. My page keeps everything in one place making secondhand shopping easier to shop to my customers.
How do you go about selecting your pieces?
I only select pieces I would wear myself. If I can’t imagine wearing it then I won’t sell it. I have to be passionate about what I sell otherwise I just won’t enjoy styling it and wouldn’t feel comfortable in it. Every piece I sell, I adore and would keep for myself if I didn't already have a beautiful clothing collection.
How would you describe your personal style?
Simple, oversized, early palettes. I don’t love colour or patterns on me, I find them hard to work with so I stick to what I feel comfy in and that is neutral tones.
I love vintage and preloved clothing but also mix this in with my favorite brands such as Raey and Baserange. I also like clothes with minimal or very subtle branding.
November looks different this year. How has the pandemic impacted your business?
It sure does. What a crazy world we are living in. I would say that it’s got busier. I think it has made people sit back and want to better the world. I have worn second hand for years now but there was always a stigma attached to it but that seems to be dropping. It’s very popular now as I think people are so aware of how damaging the fashion industry is to the world.
People are also more conscious of the money they spend on clothes and are seeking alternatives to new clothing. I started buying preloved as I didn’t have much money and was trying to save for a house and the money that can be saved is such a positive. People are becoming more frugal due to covid19 and really think about how and where they spend their money.
What’s next for Curate & Rotate?
I am so so proud of where it has got to. I never ever expected it to grow like it has. I just want to keep growing the business and sharing my passion for fashion and love for second hand clothing and helping to make it more accessible in one curated space. I aim to hold pop ups soon and meet some of my beautiful customers. I am taking each day as it comes and still feel overwhelmed that people purchase my pieces , even during a pandemic - it blows my mind.
I feel excited for the future and the rise of sustainable fashion and being embedded in the movement. I have such passion and I hope it shows through my page. I want to make sustainable fashion the norm.
What’s your advice for women wanting to start their own businesses?
I’ve been asked this before my answer is BE YOU and have passion. If you don’t have passion then it won’t succeed as it’s really hard work. I work my full-time job in the day and then Curate in the evenings and sometimes I just wanna sit on the sofa and watch tele but the passion to show ladies how incredible second-hand fashion can be drives me. I absolutely love it.
Work hard and go for it and be prepared for a journey of learning. There will be amazing days but also hard days. Just keep pushing x
Be sure to check out all the charming products offered at @curateandrotate !!