Ronald van der Kemp

It was during a shopping trip in New York that it hit me.

After seeing a sea of luxury designer clothes across the big department stores it struck me that they all didn’t matter. All made to perfection by high tech factories in luxurious fabrics.

Their shapes created on super modern pattern cutting computers. The same edit of identical garments shipped to countless high-end stores around the world. Expertly merchandised to entice customers to buy the ‘perfect’ outfit: “Ready to wear”...

At the end of that same day I walked into Marlene Wetherell’s store, where designer vintage from the estates of couture customers were on display: Valentino, Ungaro, YSL, Geoffrey Beene, Bill Blass. This was the first time that day that my heart started beating.

These vintage designer clothes were real clothes; better than anything I had seen. An amazing colourful jacket caught my attention. There was no doubt this was authentic YSL; the defined tailored shoulders, vibrant colours, rich fabrics and beautiful handwork that stood the test of time. A jacket conceived by a genius designer that created his clothes with the help of passionate and skilled patternmakers, drapers and petites mains.

It brought me back to an era when couture shows where still an intimate affair. When clothes told a story about the time we lived in. When high profile ladies of a certain stature and personality sat alongside fashion editors in the confined space of a salon de couture watching the creations up close. A time when couture set the course of fashion and when clothes were expected to last a lifetime.

This was a time before fashion lost its way, succumbing to the fashion treadmill, a time before retailers sat on mountains of unsold clothes, and the volume of excess fashion production became an unmanageable threat to the environment. A time before Reality TV and Instagram stars became the modern-day muses.

I understood then that it was time to embrace a positive alternative. I knew it was time for “Ready to Care”. I wanted to prove that ethical fashion can be exhilarating, impactful and profitable in the highest echelons of the fashion industry.

I hope you will join me on this revolutionary journey.