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Online retail and the sharing economy

“Changes call for innovation, and innovation leads to progress.” – Li Keqiang

In the recent release of Retail Innovations 11, an annual publication by Ebeltoft Group, three trends were highlighted as the overarching themes of ground-breaking innovative retail in 2015. After the 11 years that Ebeltoft members have been chasing and cataloguing innovative retail concepts across the globe, it is clear to see that these trends also reflect the ever-evolving consumer behaviours and preferences.

Danish online retailer Vigga sits directly above one of the hottest key trends of the year, ‘second-hand/no waste’. Vigga is a subscription service that offers parents the opportunity to dress their children in high quality, recycled designer clothing, made from sustainable materials, at the cost of only DKK 359 per month (US$52).

Clothes, when used only a few times, represent the waste of a lot of money and resources. Utilising the sharing economy – a socio-economic ecosystem built around the sharing of human and physical resources – the online start-up founded by Vigga Svensson has created an innovative concept for kids’ wear based on the belief that we can take better care of our planet if we share with each other and recycle as much as possible. The subscription model ensures that outgrown clothes are reused in an eco-friendly manner.

Covering eight sizes for children aged 0-2, the garments are produced in exceptionally high quality cotton, in close collaboration with GOTS (the Global Organic Textile Standard) and are original. With the aim of ‘closing the loop’, the brand keeps to a zero waste policy, with the idea that the clothes recirculate while remaining attractive and in good condition, thus the focus on high-quality cotton. Garments are always checked for faults and washed at eco-certified laundries when changing owners. Users are advised to handle the clothes in an eco-friendly fashion as well. Finally, when items are worn out, they are sent to recycling.

The clothes cycle is customised for individual subscribers, accommodating children’s different rates of growth. And the fit is carefully considered, since no two children grow alike. Vigga’s collections are, therefore, adapted to suit children wherever they are on the growth curve. Trouser legs and sleeves can be rolled up or down; necklines can accommodate various head sizes.

This clever concept offers parents a whole new way to consume. However, a challenge for Vigga will be the awareness and practice of using sustainable clothing, which research demonstrates is currently low among consumers. There is a common belief that sustainable clothing is both expensive and dull. However, Vigga challenges that perception by hosting events in the company’s “living room” and visiting mothers’ groups.

Vigga offers a high-end experience and we see exciting potential in this earth-friendly concept that brings the sustainable circular economy to the next level.

Brian Walker is founder and CEO of Retail Doctor Group, an Ebeltoft member, and can be contacted on (02) 9460 2882 or

Vikki Weston is part of Retail Doctor Group’s Retail Insights team.  To find out more about Retail Doctor Group’s global partners, please contact

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