Note from our Founder

written by Robin Balser
photography Alina Betge

Dear Friends & Family,

When the pandemic struck in March we cancelled more than 100 Events which accounted for 92% loss of our income between March – June.

It was a completely new situation for me as a founder. A situation where I feared for the future of the people around me as much as I did for my own. It was a time where everyone I went to had questions and nobody had answers. Nobody had ever faced such a situation before, so nobody had any kind of advice, knew how to react, or could tell me what would come next.

After some weeks of fear towards closing down Vinokilo things started to change. It was during a conversation with my dear mother Sunita that she mentioned to me the translation of the mandarin word for ‘Crisis’. (危機) Crisis in mandarin is made up of two words. ‘A time of danger’ and ‘A change point’ are also considered a time of opportunity. I made the switch and focused on the ‘opportunity’ side of the crisis!

The following weeks were spent looking around at the effects Corona would have on us humans.

Next to seeing hectic people around us coming to rest and seeing, especially YOUNG, people going for walks in nature (an activity formerly unknown to them) and reading books. 

It was a crazy time in the fashion industry with the wildest rumours flying around. Will fashion shows stop? Is this the end of fashion seasons all together? etc.

It didn’t take us much time to realise that Corona is an opportunity in disguise for Vinokilo.

A real accelerator of evolution. An evolution of the fashion industry!

However hard it is to predict the future, the news that fashion companies are sitting on huge amounts of stock that they had to dispose of in insane amounts is symbolic of the unsustainable work of the fashion industry. People have had enough. This consciousness will have a huge impact on the way we will consume clothes in the future.

We made a bet then that Corona will have the biggest impact on the fashion industry and it was a shift towards our way. Vinokilo’s way. Consumers for years to come will think twice about what, when and how they purchase garments.
Upcycling, sustainable garments, secondhand, thrifting will no longer be regarded as trends but the norm for the so-called NEW NEW.

Every deep crisis leaves a story that is two sides of a coin.  At Vinokilo we believe that the corona crisis, alongside the sadness of loss and the rise of societal fear, will create a story of more consciousness for the world. A consciousness buying less but better. A consciousness in which we go to extra lengths to be unique- to get one of a kind items and to be more creative about ourselves. A consciousness that leads to second being a real alternative to first hand fashion. Vinokilo is taking this chance to bet big on ourselves in this time of adversity because we will be a major player in this NEW NEW world. 

The New New- it’s a declaration that we are not willing to go back to business as usual. The pandemic has brought the global climate crisis into a more urgent frame. The fashion industry makes 10% of annual global carbon emissions and 85% of all textiles are disposed of. Vintage provides a second life for an item of clothing, after being hand sourced and cleaned that is, and allows them to become someone’s “new new” and continue it’s story. We are of the opinion that Second hand is the answer and there are endless possibilities of what can be done with it. You can be stylish and sustainable.

It happens that I am asked when Corona “will be over” for Vinokilo and when everything will return to normal. My answer is: never.


Welcome to #THENEWNEW




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