WEAR first opened its doors in April 2021 as a pop-up store at the Van Oldenbarneveltstraat in Rotterdam, focusing on sneaker cleaning services. The goal was to test a concept and eventually build a healthy business in a location with more traffic. With their new store in the Koopgoot, they succeeded.
Co-owner Lorenzo van Galen: ‘’With our concept we want to show that the future of retail is sustainable, circular, and inclusive. Every year more than 300 million kilograms of textiles are being thrown away and incinerated. That’s more than 12.500 trucks filled with clothes. The fashion industry is very polluting, it accounts for more than 8% of global greenhouse gasses. We want to show that change is needed and very much possible. We’re very happy we can develop our concept in the commercial city center of Rotterdam.”
CBRE Investment Management is the owner of the Koopgoot-shopping area. Sarah Vehmeijer, senior asset manager of CBRE Investment Management: ‘’We are very proud with WEAR as a new addition to this shopping area. It’s a perfect example of what the future of retail will look like: sustainable and inclusive. It’s also an example of how we perceive shopping areas in the future. We believe in a pleasurable and good mix of concepts – from traditional retail to services and facilities and also culture – with international, national, and local players.”
A purpose-driven retail concept
WEAR can further develop its mission as a purpose-driven retail concept. The owners of WEAR, Pim Roggeveen and Lorenzo van Galen, want to change the single-use culture in the fashion industry and create jobs for people with untapped labor potential. like youngsters who have difficulty finding a job due to various reasons. They might lack the educational background, but it also includes people who have made the wrong choices at a young age.
A more sustainable consumer society is necessary according to the founders. WEAR works together with various sorting companies like Leger des Heils Reshare and Sympany. These companies collect millions of kilograms of textiles every year in the Netherlands. WEAR buys the collected sneakers and clean them thoroughly. They insert a new Ortholite insole and sell them as new, ready to be loved again. All the sneakers are priced between 30 and 60 euros, making them available for everyone. Besides its sustainable mission, WEAR strives to make the labor market more inclusive.
The store is by the design of the professionals of Image Builders. ‘’We normally work for brands such as Scotch & Soda, G-Star and Levi’s, but we really wanted to contribute to the unique concept of WEAR. It’s very much in line with the DNA of Image Builders.’’ Says Jasper Wolff, New Business Manager of Imagebuilders.