A £35 Lost Stock box sends you brand new clothes that have been 'cancelled' during the pandemic

Lisa Walden
Photo credit: Somrudee Doikaewkhao / EyeEm - Getty Images

From Good Housekeeping

Fast fashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world, taking its toll on the planet as well as factory workers. In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, around £2.4bn worth of clothing orders from Western brands have been cancelled, leaving more than a million Bangladeshi workers without a job. But, there is one company seeking to make a difference...

Lost Stock is a £35 fashion box service that aims to unite the cancelled garments (that are headed for landfill) with new owners in the UK. The 'mystery' boxes are filled with a selection of three items from high street brands, including Zara, GAP and Topshop, and will be shipped directly from manufactures in Bangladesh to consumers in the UK. The retail value of the items would have been around £70.

The money made from selling the boxes will pay a fair price to the factories for the garments, and will also provide a donation for a week's food aid for a family in Bangladesh.

"These are all products that have been cancelled by leading brands and retailers. We save these products from potentially ending up in landfill," Cally Russell, Edinburgh-based entrepreneur, who pioneered the scheme, tells Country Living.

"For you as a consumer, you get a great deal. Someone told me it's like buying a present for your future self. You also get to do good in the world because you're feeding a family for a week."

How does a Lost Stock box work?

The box works in three simple steps:

1. Select women's or menswear, along with your size, then answer a couple of short questions during the checkout process about your style. Choose from vibrant colours or plain hues.

2. The team at Lost Stock will then select tops, t-shirts and shirts for you that would have been stocked by top high street brands, and will otherwise be headed for landfill.

3. In six to eight weeks, a tailored box of clothes will arrive in the post filled with your new tops. As well as saving these from going to the landfill, they will feed a family in Bangladesh for a week.

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What will be in the box when it arrives?

Each box will be filled with a selection of non-labelled t-shirts, shirts and jumpers. "To start off with, we're only doing tops," Cally tells us. "This is down to the shipping weight and fit, too. If we had done denim jeans, for example, it's quite hard to fit that as a product as people want to try trousers on."

The tops have all had their labels removed, however some of the brands include popular British retailers, such as Topshop and Zara. This is because the items have been "cancelled" by the stores, so they can no longer be identified by their former brands.

Photo credit: Merethe Svarstad Eeg / EyeEm - Getty Images

How did Lost Stock begin?

Lost Stock is a clever initiative that was conceived by the team at Mallzee — a UK-based fashion and clothing app that's "like Tinder, but for clothes".

Speaking about how the idea was first birthed, Cally explains that recent stark statistics made him and the team sit up and think. "We started to see lots of news reports about what is happening to the supply chain and how lots of retailers were having to cancel stock.

"We realised that we were really uniquely positioned to try and help this impact. I read a really hard-hitting quote from a recent BBC news report, which was from a factory owner. It said: 'If coronavirus doesn't kill my workers, then starvation will.' That's how we came up with the concept. It really is designed to be incredibly simple."

By using the contacts they already had through their app, the team came up with idea — and, brilliantly, over 85,000 people have already signed up to receive their boxes.

Can you return the boxes?

Due to the legal side of things, the boxes can be returned, should the clothes not fit. While you can return them, you won't get a full refund (a percentage of the money would have already been donated to the families) and you will have to pay for the shipping back.

Instead of returning items, Lost Stock want to encourage people to gift the clothes to friends, swap them with others or donate them to local charity stores. After all, this project is all about doing good in the ongoing crisis.



"I think [the virus] has made people understand the supply chain — both on a national and an international level," Cally says.

"For projects like Lost Stock, I think there's a really powerful way for people to connect the shopper all the way through the supply chain. You can understand exactly where your garments come from and the impact you can have on places like that through your shopping choices. I think through all the challenges we are currently facing, it's that people are thinking more about their choices and want to do good."

Lost Stock boxes will be ready to arrive in the UK in around six to eight weeks. You can order yours here.

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