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Brand that makes jackets out of plastic water bottles to open its first store

Australian luxury faux fur brand Ena Pelly is opening the doors to its first physical store in Geelong this week, in a move to focus more on the direct-to-consumer side of the business. 

“One of the main reasons that we are opening our own store is because we want to have a beautiful space that enables us to present the brand to customers in the way that we wish,” co-founder Dani Pelly told Internet Retailing.

Launched in 2014 at the South Melbourne Markets, Ena Pelly now has its own direct-to-consumer website, 90 stockists across Australia and is available at David Jones and The Iconic. Dani and her husband and co-founder Tim Wilkins are also looking to expand into the US later this year, likely New York and Los Angeles.

However, Pelly believes it’s important for the brand to have a few flagship stores across Australia and is now considering potential locations in Sydney and Melbourne.

“We have a really strong online business which really complements our wholesale business, but the missing piece was our own store to style the way we want so we can choose the fabrication, the racks, the marble and create outfits,” said Pelly.  

“People can come in, touch and feel the product and try it on, especially because our product is so tactile – the leather is textured, the faux fur is so smooth and people like to try on our sweaters and silk slips. People may even go away and buy online later.”

Tapping into the conscious consumer

Customers are now investing in their wardrobes, rather than relying so heavily on fast fashion, Pelly noted, who said that for some, “there is a place” for both animal and vegan products.

“I think people are quite interested in buying well and buying once. Our leather jackets are made of an animal product, but you’ll keep it in your closet for 10 years and get a lot of wear out of it. I think animal-friendly products are important too and the faux fur category has become quite popular in Australia and the veganism trend seems to be growing,” she said.

“Basically, fast fashion is something we’re not participating in.”

Ena Pelly’s faux fur products are sustainably made from re-used plastic bottles which are melted down, made into chips and spun into a soft polyester yarn used in the manufacturing process. 

“With the technology that’s available, [manufacturers] can basically replicate real fur. It’s hard to even tell the difference between our rabbit fur and real fur. If you closed your eyes, you won’t be able to tell the difference,” she said.

“The fact that we’re making jackets out of rubbish means we’re a lot more sustainable than  most fast fashion brands which would use virgin plastics [to make faux fur] and just create extra landfill. But basically, we’re repurposing rubbish that could have ended up in landfill or in the ocean.” 

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