Does on-demand clothing imply the death sentence for fast fashion? The future might tell. We spoke to Stephanie Paulis from S.o.P. Amsterdam to get the answers to all of our burning questions.
Cover photo: © S.o.P. Amsterdam
Sometimes you stumble upon a brand you instantly love – as was the case with S.o.P. Amsterdam. Owner and founder Stephanie Paulis never understood the idea behind fashion fashion and an inexhaustible striving for the latest trends. In a world that needs to be faster – while at the same time stands still due to the pandemic – an on-demand clothing brand seems conflicting with people’s needs. This didn’t stop Paulis from pursuing her dream to change the fashion industry, though. We talked to the founder and talented brain behind S.o.P. Amsterdam about the necessity of change within the fashion industry. “Only when you slow down regularly, you can perceive the beauty in details and feel the power of timelessness.“
Sustainability has been a hot topic for years. High street labels such as Weekday, H&M and Zara have developed sustainability strategies at a rapid pace. But is it enough? A big part of the problem lies in the overproduction of collections, not only by using hightech sustainable materials. In line with this, fashion entrepreneur Stephanie Paulis developed S.o.P. Amsterdam – a brand entirely dedicated to on-demand clothing.
How did you come up with this on-demand initiative?
Stephanie Paulis: “I never really understood the idea behind fast fashion in terms of chasing trend after trend and launching eight collections a year. Pre-selling and pre-producing go along with the traditional system. Keeping in mind the fact that on average 25% of what’s in your closet of fast fashion is being really worn and loved. A large part of tons of generated textiles that become ‘leftovers’ in the world, comes from the traditional routine of producing clothes before orders are placed. On demand conflicts with the idea that everything needs to be faster, cheaper and more. The quality that often goes along with the more traditional system, often results in buying more and more but wearing our items less and less.“
“On average 25% of what’s in your closet of fast fashion is being really worn and loved.“Stephanie Paulis
She continues: “We choose for on demand to produce in a more sustainable way and to have more close contact with our clients. There is an eye for the craftsmanship behind the product, from fabric development to the final stitching and finishing part of a design. Making sure a garment is put well together, takes time. And this part is often underexposed. All pieces are handmade with dedication for the product and the end consumer. This on demand production makes sure there are fair prices, it makes sure you can wear your items more than one season, you invest in more longevity. We are able to work with small stocks, have less surpluses and do less harm to the eco system, also in terms of logistics. We work closely with our atelier in Amsterdam and our atelier in Le Marche Italy, so lines are short. We hope to inspire people to do fewer impulse buys and give them a bit more insight in the process behind and that it can be worth waiting for an item made with dedication. Waiting a few days longer for an item that is precisely crafted for them is worth the wait.“
“Making sure a garment is put well together, takes time. And this part is often underexposed.“Stephanie Paulis
Beauty of timelessness
What is the biggest inspiration for your brand?
SP: “We are driven by the beauty of timelessness. We believe a good timeless piece always holds its charm. In clothing we find this element but for sure this also applies for details in architecture, interior design, nature or listening to a good song that inspires us. Our inspiration comes from all these elements.“
She continues: “Next to that, we always work from fabric to design not the other way around. The fabric is our inspiration. We get inspired by appealing fabrics and then we convert this into a design that fits the fabric and we translate this into an item for your capsule wardrobe. This can be a minimal design or a more outspoken design that still holds its charm over the years.“
“We are driven by the beauty of timelessness.“Stephanie Paulis
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And what message would you like to spread with S.o.P. Amsterdam?
SP: “Only when you slow down regularly, you can perceive the beauty in details and feel the power of timelessness. We believe everything comes down to how clothing feels and how it makes you feel. We hope to make consumers more aware of the fact that we need to leave overconsumption behind us and try to stand still for a moment.“
Slowing down is key; both for brands and consumers. How do you slow down your fashion consumption yourself?
SP: “I invest in a good basic wardrobe. The right pair of jeans, the right crisp white blouse, the perfect blazer, outdoor coat, shirts, knits and singlets. Basically invest in high quality modern classics, made with the right perfection that can stay in your wardrobe and make it easy for you to get dressed in the morning without any hassle. The pieces complement each other, and it is super easy to mix and match. Next to that I invested in some good vintage pieces from high end designers that I already wear for years. I definitely also have more outspoken, rock and roll items in my wardrobe and all together it makes my wardrobe matching my personality. Items I love and know I will wear again the coming years or even will pass onto my daughter.“
Do you think on-demand clothing will be the future of fashion?
SP: “On demand means we start making a garment when an order has been placed. Made-to-order and made-to-measure share those same principles. Fast fashion is based on convenience on many levels; consume all trends at once, consume cheaply, ordering and arriving on the next day. But seeing fashion as a way of art has lost his meaning more and more over the years. Nowadays more and more consumers start to look at this concept in another way. People feel the market is so full and feel all the disadvantages that also come along with it. They are more aware of the huge environmental impact of overproduction and they are at the same time looking for a way to not look like one of a million but one in a million and looking for the style that fits the person that they are in their core.“
And what will the future of S.o.P. Amsterdam look like?
SP: “We hope to expand our brand in The Benelux. We are slowly expanding in Belgium at the moment. The most important value is that we want to expand in a solid way; step by step. Good things take time and we try to choose wisely instead of quickly. We hope we will inspire more women with our concept of timeless beauty and the power of simplicity. We keep developing clothing that makes you feel strong yet soft, clothing that makes you embrace yourself even more and gives you a ‘she carries herself’ feeling. The clothing needs to empower, not overpower. Our ultimate dream is to give this feeling to and increasing amount of women, so they feel comfortable and confident after choosing from their ‘easy’ wardrobe.”