Slowing fashion down with Kleiderrebell

An interview with Kleiderrebell

If only you could borrow clothes instead of buying new every time…that’s what Laura thought one day, desperate about her full closet and not enough clothes she actually liked. Half a year later, Kleiderrebell was born, an online store where you can borrow clothes as long as you like them. As soon as you’re fed up with wearing them, you give them back :)

I’ve talked to Laura about the story of Kleiderrebell – and how we can all make a change by consuming slower (ps: I borrowed some clothes from Kleiderrebell too – you can see the post here!)

Where do you put the line between slow and fast fashion?

Slow and fast fashion are different in a number of ways. Firstly there’s the working conditions of the garment workers. Are they getting paid fairly? Is their workload doable? Are the factory owners observing the laws? That’s the side of the producers. On the other side there’s us, the consumers. We are responsible to consider the difference between slow and fast fashion. Where do I buy my clothes? Am I willing to pay more than 20 Euro for a t-shirt? Do I really have to buy a new garment every week? Is secondhand a possibility for me as well? If I ask myself these questions, I’ll get a lot closer to a slower way of life.

When did you become interested in sustainable fashion?

I think I first thought about it about 8 years ago. As a part of my fashion degree I was able to go to Dhaka in Bangladesh and glimpse behind the scenes of the fashion industry. It was such a different experience to be in a country, that produced most of our clothes – especially back in 2009 when hardly anyone was talking about fair fashion. We only went to ‚good‘ factories without child labour or 16-hour days. Still, you could see the stark poverty out in the trees. And of course we saw the kind of factories that you might know from TV – the ones where you just know, somethings not right.

Kleiderrebell in BerlinCan you remember a key event that changed your shopping habits?

Yes, actually! I was in Stuttgart with my dad and just about to head into a complete shopping frenzy. You have to know, a few years ago I was a real fashionista who always had to own the newest items without paying attention to the working conditions. Well, on this shopping spree in Stuttgart I suddenly realized: Always shopping is just nuts! Always buying just to get happy. At worst, you won’t like the items you bought only a few days after purchasing them. Then you’ll have to go out and buy new garments, again and again. The moment of happiness after shopping is incredibly short. If you don’t stop, the vicious cycle will go on and on. That day I first thought that it should be possible to borrow clothing you like.

That’s the first time you thought about Kleiderrebell?

Exactly! I thought, if you could borrow clothes, you can wear them as long as you need and love them. As soon as you stop liking them, you can give them back and somebody else can start wearing them. I probably thought about the idea for more than half a year before actually taking the plunge. I was exempt from work for half a year with full pay so I thought: It’s now or never. There would never be another time when I would be so free with my time and resources. That’s when I really started thinking about the idea.

Where do you get the pieces you are lending on Kleiderrebell?

At first, I actually started with my own closet. I downsized a lot and gave everything to Kleiderrebell. Today, there’s a lot of clothing donations as well – I actually haven’t bought anything for Kleiderrebell yet. There’s still a lot of items I haven’t even photographed and put online yet.

Kleiderrebell in BerlinDo you still just go shopping?

Not really actually. Recently, I’ve spoken to a friend who still knew me in my shopaholic phase. Last weekend, we stood in front of my wardrobe. She wa almost shocked because it was so empty! If you would have told me three years ago, that I would be so much happier with less, I wouldn’t have believed you. Now I consume in a very different way and actually only own the pieces that I really like. Everything I don’t wear goes to Kleiderkreisel.

If I want to change the way I consume, where do I start?

The first step would be to take a thorough look at your wardrobe. With every item, ask yourself: Do I really like wearing this? I can only repeat myself: A closet with 30 pieces you honestly love makes you so much happier than a closet that’s three times as big, filled with outfits you don’t wear. It’s also really helpful to get inspiration for the pieces you don’t wear. I love using Pinterest to get inspired for new outfits. I discover completely new ways to wear some of the pieces, which means I can wear them way more often. Those are two strategies I’d recommend starting with. They help you to get more out of your wardrobe without actually spending any money.

If you do go shopping, do you have any strategies or tips how to buy slow fashion?

To be honest, I think the last time I went to a ‚normal store‘ was before Kleiderrebell, more than two years ago. Still, if I would buy now, I’d buy from a label that with good working conditions. I would also stay away from impulse buys by waiting a few days, better weeks before I buy something. I think it’s important to consider: Is this really my style? Or do I just like it because it’s a trend? Furthermore, it should fit in with most of my clothes, not just one or two pieces.

If you want to buy more secondhand: Go to many flea markets! You need some luck and a lot of patience if you want to find great secondhand pieces. Another alternative would be to go to Kleiderkreisel because it’s easier to look for something specific.

What are your future dreams for Kleiderrebell?

First I want to tell more people about the concept of borrowing instead of buying. Almost everyone who has heard about it, loves it – there’s just not enough people who know about it! Once they do, we can start a small borrowing revolution.


  • Hanna
    June 24, 2017


    Hello! I would say that I really like your blog. It´s such a great inspiration and especially this post helps me to think even more about consum and second-hand. I love this topic and was happy to see this topic in a post on your blog.
    I also was consuming clothes, but since two month (I know, not a really long time) I just bought nothing. Now my plan for the future is to buy just when I need something and then only from second-hand oder fair trade shops. So thank you for this blog post.
    By the way I would be happy if you look on my blog It´s in german and really young.
    Thank you,
    Hanna (ya, my name is hanna too :D)

    • Hanna
      June 28, 2017


      Hey Hanna,

      I’m so happy you like my blog! Thank you for your lovely comment, I hope you find some more inspiration to shop more sustainably over here :)
      Best wishes,

Meet Hanna
Hanna's Places - a green lifestyle blog

Hanna’s Places is a green lifestyle magazine written by Hanna Ulatowski. It’s all about slowing down in a fast-paced society and finding ways to live a more sustainable, simple lifestyle.

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