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In Stockholm, Houdini opens the world's first circular outdoor apparel store

Outdoor sportswear brand Houdini just opened a new store in Stockholm. In a pivot from linear to circular retail and consumption models, all items found at Houdini Circle can be purchased, rented or subscribed to. The store stocks new and used garments as well as repaired and reworked items.

Houdini Circle combines the Swedish label's existing repair, rental and remake services into a unified hub where customers can pick any piece of clothing and decide what kind of relationship they'd like to have with it. If it's a hoody they'll wear daily, it makes sense to purchase. But a ski jacket for a two-week trip — why not rent? On the fence about Houdini's unisex insulation skirt? Rent or subscribe. For SEK 600 (USD 55/EUR 55) a month, customers can use three garments: a lower-body piece, a mid-layer top and a shell layer. For an extra SEK 100, they can exchange the items as often as they like.

Following a trial in Stockholm, Houdini hopes to expand to other markets.

Trend Bite

While many fashion retailers are starting to offer pre-owned items or rentals, those tend to be kept separate from new collections and only feature a selected number of pieces, restricting a consumer's choices. Houdini Circle erases those limits by setting the same options for every garment: buy, rent or subscribe.

The brand has been a frontrunner when it comes to access over ownership: it started selling second-hand in 2011 and launched rental services a year later. Of course, producing quality clothing is crucial to making the model work. Houdini boasts that customers wear its Power Houdi on average 1,287 times over 10.2 years (by contrast, nearly three-fifths of all clothing globally ends up in incinerators or landfills within a year of being produced).

The company's designers ask themselves the following set of questions before any garment goes into production:

  • Does this product deserve existence?
  • Will it last long enough?
  • Is it versatile enough?
  • Will it age with beauty?
  • Nothing added that isn't needed, right?
  • Will it be easy to repair?
  • Is it durable enough for our rental program?
  • Do we have an "end-of-life" solution?

So, if your company is looking to go circular, you might want to start using that checklist first ;-)

Innovation of the day

Spotted by: ⁠Caitlin Hughan