TALKING PRE-LOVED WITH THE FULL ENSEMBLE

I’m so exited to launch my Q&A Series. In this series I will talk to people throughout the fashion industry on topics such as landing their dream roles and starting up their businesses.

To launch this series, I’m talking to Sophie, the founder of The Full Ensemble (TFE) about how she started her business selling vintage, pre-loved and designer clothing. You can check out her Instagram @thefullensemble or her website- www.thefullensemble.co.uk/

TFE was founded in Bristol, UK with the aim “to reduce the desire to shop new by showing you the power of second-hand, both for our planet and for your bank account”. With everything that’s gone on this year, I’ve actively been trying to shop more sustainably so it was great getting to talk to Sophie about her business and find out more about how important it is to shop pre-loved. Check out what she had to say below! –

How did it start?

I officially founded TFE (The Full Ensemble) in September 2020 but I have dealt in pre-loved for years. It actually started by accident whilst I was at uni, I used to source the items that I wanted to wear then people started asking me to source items for them and it all grew very naturally. There is such a thrill in finding a bargain, not only for yourself but for other people as well!

What encouraged you to start?

I always knew I wanted to start something like this but 2020 really gave me the wake up call I needed to just get on with it & that it didn’t have to be ‘perfect’ from the word go. I love people with a side hustle & I’m so proud to be one of them!

Why is it important to shop pre-loved?

Shopping pre-loved is obviously a great way for people to be conscious about their own impacts on the planet but aside from that, I think its a great way to encourage individuality and creativity. What we wear is such an extension of ourselves and by shopping pre-loved, you don’t end up with the same clothes as everybody else. I also think memories are so closely linked with sourcing more unique items, I look through my own wardrobe and I’m transported to all different times and places. Finally, in a world so heavily dominated by fast fashion, shopping pre-loved allows people to own clothes that are actually good quality and built to last.

What advice can you give to consumers who are hesitant to buy vintage clothing?

I personally started shopping pre-loved at a very early age, mainly because I couldn’t find the type of clothes I wanted in high-street shops. People at school would always comment on my clothes as they were still in the Superdry 3 million zips jackets faze. But, I was never embarrassed about the fact I bought something vintage but I feel that this is where people are hesitant. Personally, I’m much more impressed by people who got a gem for £5 than the people who can walk into Selfridges and spend £600+ on an item. So I guess my advice to people is just to be confident in what you like, don’t buy/shop with other people’s opinions in your mind. If people are negative about the fact you’re wearing something you love, getting a bargain & helping the planet then who’s the real fool?

Favourite pieces on TFE right now?

My favourite piece right now is the Fendi Pop Tartan Trousers or the Escada silk blouse – I mean who doesn’t want a top with a huge tiger on the back?!

Future goals for TFE?

I have so many long term goals for both myself and TFE – right now, I’m so excited to be building up a great network of customers who loved pre-loved just as much as me. I love meeting people so I definitely want to try and hold some pop-up events, I think a ‘posh’ car boot event would be amazing! Its such an exciting time to run a pre-loved shop as attitudes are changing and I hope to welcome so many new people into the world of second-hand.

I hope you enjoyed this Q&A Series launch post, and a big thank you to Sophie for taking the time to talk with me.

*The photos in this blog post were all provided by Sophie from The Full Ensemble which I have been given permission to use.