Our consumption of fashion is evolving. The throwaway days of ‘new season, new wardrobe’ seem to be numbered as we seek a more sustainable approach to all aspects of our lives, not just the fashionable ones. This evolution is fuelled for some by pragmatism, for others by altruism, but for the majority by a desire for our purchases to exist beyond a few seasons, or even just a few outings. Maximalist founder of the website, Man Repeller, Leandra Medine, recently told British Vogue that she wished she only owned 15 things.
A more circular approach is taking hold; yes, we buy - both new and pre-loved - but we also repair and rent and sell. We buy less but we buy better and we expect more. Some brands have always understood customer’s demand for products that have longevity and therefore provide aftercare and repair services to that end; heritage names such as Mulberry and Hermes spring to mind. Whilst eco-brand Patagonia has a lifetime guarantee on all its products.
However, it seems that for many luxury brands, everything beyond a legitimate product defect is simply outside their scope … and maybe that’s true but it can still leave the customer in a lurch.
This is what happened to native New Yorker, Vanessa Jacobs when she moved to London in 2006. “A high-street cobbler made an unapologetic mess out of what should have been a simple heel tip replacement,” recalls Jacobs. It was this experience, and nearly 10 years of subsequent ones of a similar nature, that spurred her to launch The Restory, an on-demand shoe and handbag restoration service that brings together quality, service, convenience and craftsmanship.
“It felt like moving heaven and earth to find someone you trust only to realise you could trust them with some things and not others,” continues Jacobs. “I had to make up a web of lies to take a half-a-day off from work to travel to their out-of-the-way shops and then do it all over again to collect my things. Often, they were nice but wouldn’t really go out of their way. I thought someone ought to do something about this and it turns out that someone was me.”
Jacobs spent 2 years assembling an A-team of cobblers, leather restorers, shoe blacks and cordwainers from across Europe; she even relocated several here to London. Coupled with charming service-oriented consultants, the company prides itself on devising solutions to almost any challenge.
“We use the term restoration because it connotes a what-ever-it-takes-to-bring-it-back approach,” says Jacobs.
Boasting a collection of services ranging from bespoke repairs to leather restoration to complete refashioning, The Restory is earning some impressive admirers. British Vogue recently crowned the company its’ go-to specialist and Vanity Fair and Fabric have also praised the company’s work.
“Currently, we are concentrating on providing The Restory’s services in London but we will be expanding across the whole of the UK,” continued Jacobs. “Looking further ahead, the plan is to offer new services and products and then we will look to bring The Restory’s much needed skills to other markets.”
So, how does this service work? Simply book a collection online (and soon via app), and a consultant will collect your items from any home or office in Central or West London. Your items will be taken to their atelier, beautifully restored and returned at a time and place of your choosing. “It’s like buying you favourite pieces all over again.”