Rokit: Camden’s Legendary Vintage Store Chats Fashion Recycling & Sustainability

On Camden High Street, the renown vintage and second hand spot in London, you’ll find Rokit – a 30 year old business that has spawned two outlets on Brick Lane and a fourth in Covent Garden. Much like the ubiquitous stores that spread throughout Camden Lock, Rokit sells vintage, second hand and thrifted items. Yet, it has a unique ethos that incorporates fashion and sustainability, and has been doing so since its founding in 1986.

The company’s premature acknowledgement of fast fashions consequential affects before the conversation became mainstream shows how much the company believe in a more ethical approach to clothing. In stores and online there are separate ‘recycled’ items consisting mainly of the irretrievable garments that are remade into new items, solely from recycled material.

Rokit claims to have recycled a gargantuan million tonnes of clothing in the last three decades. FMS caught up with Megan Hunter who gave us the lowdown on the brand and shared their thoughts on the future of sustainability in fashion.

When did Rokit start making recycled products?

“Rokit have been recycling products since we first opened our stall at Camden Market in 1986. We would make alterations to a few of the garments to ensure waste was kept to a minimum, as this is the main ethos behind our brand. We have evolved and enhanced our recycling since this and we now have a full Rokit Recycled range.”

Why did Rokit decide to make recycled products out of vintage items?

“We get so many pieces into our warehouse and often things are not in immaculate condition. Sometimes the item requires a little bit of attention and other times it’s beyond repair, but the fabric or pattern was really special and that’s when Rokit Recycled can step in. It’s so important to us to find ways of reusing and restoring these garments so that less ends up on landfills. We are constantly researching ways in which we can use materials, as sustainability is at the core of everything we do.”

Was there a lot of ethical/sustainability reasoning behind this line of clothing?

“Our Rokit Recycled range is a defiant stance against ‘fast fashion’ and we hope it opens up some discussions about the disposable nature of fashion and how we can take a stance against it in this industry. We aim to continue reducing the impact we are having upon the planet and believe it’s important for others to consider this.”

Do you feel like vintage/recycled vintage is important to have in a world of fast fashion and why?

“Vintage will always be important as a reference to the original way the garment was made. Trends in fashion are always coming back around and you can bet the vintage garment is better quality than the fast-fashion that is available on the high street. Vintage has moved past the stigma of wearing clothes that someone has already worn and is now a celebration of the workmanship and history of the garment.”

Do you see a change in the way people shop as the next generations become aware of the damage the clothing industry has on the environment, and how?

“I think people are a lot more aware of the damaging impact we have had on the environment and it is filtering into how they dress. The consequences of ‘fast fashion’ and our overuse of resources is something that is resonating with young people and this shows in our buyer demographic, with over 75% in the 18-24 bracket. The younger generation is responding to the environmental crisis by choosing to shop at ethical retailers and we anticipate that this will continue to rise.”

Words: Mayzie Hopkins
Photos: Rokit Recycled by Rokit

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