Aspect Online is the platform aiming to slow down fast fashion with a new approach to shopping luxury archival pieces. By completely removing the traditional wholesale model, customers are able to browse independent labels, presenting trans-seasonal, archival, new season and made-to-order items. Founded by Milun Kumar during lockdown to help luxury brands survive the COVID-19 crisis, the platform highlights the pitfalls in the traditional luxury fashion landscape. Instead, it encourages emerging brands to grow by providing a space to gain exposure alongside well established labels. The site also encourages you to shop last season stock to reduce waste and extend the life cycle of a product. We caught up with Milun about the launch of Aspect Online, his views on fashion’s biggest sustainability issues and how he hopes Aspect will tackle them.
Hey Milun – could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
I am the founder and director of Aspect Online, a circular fashion platform for shopping past, present and future collections – direct from luxury brands around the world.
And for those that don’t follow what you’re doing with Aspect Online – rather than simply asking you what the project is, or how it works, I thought it’d be better to hear it from you: what are the fashion industry’s biggest problems that you’re working to eradicate?
I think most people are now very aware of the negative impact the fashion industry has on our planet. Our ultimate aim is to reduce the underutilisation of garments. We work with designers to sell their Archive collections, alongside new seasons, in order to extend the life cycle of their previous collections beyond the parameters of the traditional fashion calendar.
Fashion moves too fast – by the time the new collections are in store, they are being reduced and returned to warehouses and most people miss out on key pieces or only find out about certain new designers later down the line. This is a massive waste problem. It is tricky for brands to sell Archive and past-season stock in a luxury format – therefore brands are forced to hold onto past season stock, resulting in a massive underutilisation of garments, and this is a problem that needs solving. We have all seen stories of unsold stock being burnt or sent to landfill and there needs to be a solution for this.
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And how exactly does Aspect tackle those issues?
We tackle this by positioning Archive pieces directly next to New Season pieces. These Archive pieces are unworn garments from previous seasons, straight from the brands themselves. This allows customers to engage with pieces across multiple collections, constantly learning more about the brands they love. By positioning the past and present collections next to each other, we can reinstate value to older collections and thus extend the life cycle of these garments. Essentially, we are allowing brands to access the circular economy themselves. As individuals we are used to selling our pre-owned clothes on resell sites but the options are limited for brands to sell their Archive stock. For our customers, this means a growing selection of exclusive Archive items which they can now access all within one destination.
Scrolling through the offering – which is diverse and brilliant, by the way – I see everything from established names like Cottweiler to more niche, undiscovered names like Fiona O’Neill, Eleanor Butler-Jones and Emily Frances Barrett, all in one place. How important is it to you to place these designers all on the same playing field, with heavyweights and starlets standing shoulder to shoulder?
This is vital for us. Customers are so keen to find new designers and products all the time, and we aim for Aspect to be a place of discovery. That goes beyond discovering Archive collections they didn’t know existed to also discovering graduates, new designers and makers. I am so passionate about supporting young talent but also understand the importance of having them stocked alongside the bigger names. That exposure helps them grow and helps us facilitate that growth. Our in-depth designer interviews and Community page help tell these designers’ stories and allow our customers the opportunity to learn more about them and their work.
And in terms of growth plans – are there any brands or names you’re looking to get involved with soon?
We are always looking for new designers across the spectrum. We aim to have a very considered and specific approach to curating the brands we stock. I can’t say much but over the next few months we will be stocking some really strong names and some fantastic exclusive products.
Once again looking forward, we’re all aware of how reactive and flexible we need to be, especially in the past 24 months. While I’m sure you’ll maintain the same ethos you’ve built this project on, as Aspect progresses how do you see the platform evolving from what it is right now into a larger being?
I always want Aspect to be at the forefront of new ideas and experiments – like we did with 3-D artist Tommy Memed, working on a 3-D editorial to launch new designer Oxley in August 2021. We want to continue to support independent brands and creatives, while working with larger brands to present their Archive collections directly to our growing customer base.
The future is definitely digital but we hope to have physical touch points for our customers to engage with soon enough – spaces where they can try garments, interact with our community and so forth. We are also starting work on a new digital category which we are really pumped about. The future is super exciting and we can’t wait to share it with our customers and brands alike.