When the Covid-19 pandemic hit all clothing stores were forced to close their doors. This resulted in many of our shops such as Topshop, Matalan and Primark cancelling or suspending their orders and more than a million Bangladeshi garment workers being sent home without pay, or even losing their jobs. Factories have been left with a huge amount of stock that could just end up in landfill. This is where Lost Stock come in.
What is Lost Stock?
Lost Stock has been developed by the people behind Mallzee which is a multi-retailer shopping app. The team learnt what was happening in Bangladesh and the catastrophic effect it is having for workers. Because of Coronavirus $2 billion worth of clothing has been produced and the orders then cancelled.
The idea is that Lost Stock matches up the clothes that retailers no longer want, with consumers who are looking for a bargain and of course wish to help the workers and prevent the clothing ending up in landfill. Consumers purchase a collection of a minimum of three items which are selected for you based on your preferences (more on this later).
Lost Stock supports these garment workers through collaborating with SAJIDA Foundation. With each Lost Box that is sold, a garment worker and their family will be supported for a week. They hoped to sell 50,000 boxes by the end of 2020 and in turn helping 50,000 garment workers and their families. In their first month they have actually sold nearly 100,000 boxes which is incredible.
The SAJIDA Foundation
In Bangladesh, the garment industry accounts for 84% of the country’s exports, with 2.28 million workers affected.
Lost Stock has partnered with SAJIDA Foundation which is where they are donating a significant portion of each box. I was keen to find out where the cost of each box goes and how much the SAJIDA Foundation actually receives. Helpfully they do actually provide this information on their website for transparency.
The SAJIDA Foundation works across 26 districts of Bangladesh. During the pandemic “their team of over 3,700 people has aided over 50,000 households with food and hygiene packages, distributed over 18,000 sets of PPE and installed 475 portable hand washing devices throughout the country, and that’s not all. Each Lost Stock box sold will support a worker and their family for one week.”
How Does It Work
All you need to do is answer a few easy questions on you clothing preferences. These include whether you prefer neutrals or brights, plain or patterned etc. Lost Stock then select a minimum of three items for you based on your taste. The items should arrive with you in 6-8 weeks. The boxes cost £35 and contain clothing worth £70. In most cases you will receive tops and t-shirts. This is because it is easier to get the right fit with these than trousers.
When the clothes arrive you will notice that they don’t have tags to show the brand. Lost Stock are unable to share which brands the clothes have come from but they will have been destined for well-known brands.
They have now also just launched a kids wear box for ages 4-14 years. In this box you will receive at least five items for £35.
I can’t actually comment on personal experience as I don’t really need any new items of clothing at the moment and I don’t think we should be buying things for the sake of it.
There are a few things that have crossed my mind since writing this post. Is Lost Stock more of a short term solution to the current problem? Surely this just highlights the problems within the fashion industry and the amount that we consume. I hope to see Lost Stock also use their platform to educate their followers on fast fashion and sustainability. Having said that they encourage you not to return unsuitable items but to share, swap and donate.
It is great to see a company that has tried to find a solution to the problem when no one else has. Now as consumers, rather than just focussing on what a great bargain we are getting, we should be educating ourselves on why this has happened.