HOW DOES IT WORK?
A NEW WAY OF MAKING APPAREL
The traditional way of making and selling apparel is broken. Brands continually make more items than they can sell, meaning huge (HUGE) amounts of waste.
What this means for you is substandard products, because that waste has to be factored in to the manufacturing cost and retail price of each item. Every cent wasted is a cent that could have been used on better fabrics, better manufacturing, more innovation, increased sustainability, or just more affordable prices.
Kostüme solves this issue through a pre-order batch model, meaning that only items already sold ever get made. This simple change stops waste before it starts, and means we can spend much (MUCH) more on product development, whilst keeping retail prices as accessible as possible.
The Kostüme way means:
1. No guesswork. No waste.
Traditionally, brands make educated guesses well in advance of actually knowing what (and how much) customers are really going to buy. The harsh reality of this approach is that an appalling amount of clothing and accessories gets destroyed each year without finding a buyer. When you see what goes into making just one single item, the thought of all that waste is mindblowing. And what's more, our planet simply cannot sustain it indefinitely.
Every brand factors this (and the margin-damaging discounting that goes with it) into their financial plans. And all that waste has to be accounted for.
2. Better products.
The way this is mainly accounted for is in the specification (read: quality) of the products being sold. From the technical features and functionality, to the fabrics and trims, to the time spent testing something to ensure it is fit for purpose, all of these elements incur a cost. And, of course, how, where and who makes your products, fabrics and trims also has a massive impact.
What this means is that you are never buying the 'best' version of a product that it could be, because compromises are being made along the way. This might mean less ethical or technically able factories. Cheaper, more polluting fabrics. Copycat products with no investment in innovation. Product flaws and failures. Endless discounting and sale events teaching consumers that this is all completely normal and ok.
Our pre-order model means better products. Clear and simple.
Is it just coincidence that a totally new 100% independent brand can come into a highly technical and competitive sector and immediately create a 10/10-reviewed cycling bib short that Road.cc described as being 'like nothing else I've put on'? For avoidance of doubt, this is a rhetorical question.
Our approach means that we don't have to guess in advance how many products to make, and in which size/sex. We don't have to factor in elements such as storage, sales or unsold stock. And as such, we can take more risks with product innovation, we can take more time testing and refining before launch, we can spend more money on incredible fabrics and trims, and we can use the very best manufacturing partners (who in turn invest more in their staff and their own sustainability). We think the benefits are pretty clear.
3. Cheaper prices.
And best of all, we can do this without charging more for our products.
Price is always a challenging conversation, because what is expensive for one person is cheap for another. Kostüme is about making the best version of a product that it can possibly be, not simply the cheapest product. Could we have made our award-winning cycling shorts 20% less expensive? Of course we could. But such is the efficiency of our model that they would probably be 20% less good. 8/10 instead of 10/10. And if we are going to do that, then as a brand we are utterly pointless. Just another cycling apparel brand - something the world does not really need.
In fact, if you look at our prices versus traditional brands in the same category, we are broadly in line (and in many cases, fairly substantially less expensive) despite offering what we believe is class-leading features, fabrics and sustainability. Ultimately, our customers will decide if that is true. But either way, ask yourself this: Isn't it better to know that the money behind a product is being utilised efficiently to make the product better, rather than a substantial percentage simply ring-fenced as 'waste'?
4. More sustainable.
Note the word 'more'. If you see an apparel brand calling themselves simpy 'sustainable' then call them out and ask them to prove it. They can't. Truly sustainable apparel doesn't really exist yet, let alone entirely circular sustainable brands. However, we can measurably show that our model and products are more sustainable thanks to our holistic approach. You can read more about this here.
Stay informed about releases
The launch of a new Edit will always be announced on the first day of the month of release, and will always go on sale at midday (UK time) on the final Friday of the month of release. Pre-orders close after 10 days or when they sell out, whichever comes soonest.
Each Kostüme Edit is available in strictly limited volumes of 350. When it's gone, it's gone.
launching new edits
Kostüme Edits will always go live for sale at midday (UK time) on the last Friday of the month of release. Products will then be live for pre-order for ten days (til midday on the Monday) or until an item sells out, whichever comes soonest.
When a product sells out there will be an option to join a wait list for returns, but we cannot guarantee availability after this point.
All payments are processed securely via our third-party payment provider, Stripe.
As a brand that prioritises environmental responsibility, we donate 1% of every transaction directly to Stripe Climate, which invests directly into cutting edge solutions for removing excess carbon from our atmospheres. To find out more, please click here. (Note this link opens in a new browser window and will bring you to a third party website, owned and operated by an independent party.)
Manufacturing YOUR PRODUCTS
Manufacturing typically takes between 6-8 weeks, starting from the moment the Edit closes.
With the intricacies of supply chain and manufacturing, there is always an unforeseeable risk that it may take a little longer. But, it may also be shorter, and this is something we are working towards achieving with our partners. To date we have had no major hiccups!
Whilst we prioritise eco-friendly logistics partners, shipping and returns still have a big environmental impact, so we ask customers just to be mindful of this when ordering. Check the product information carefully in advance, especially sizing. Check your address details are complete and accurate. Please don't order products you might not really want or need.
For apparel and accessories, we offer two basic shipping and returns policies for UK and Rest of World:
Free Royal Mail Special Delivery next day before 1pm on orders over £200
Free Royal Mail Tracked 24 on orders over £75
£5 delivery fee on orders under £75 (Royal Mail Tracked 24)
Rest of World:
Free Worldwide shipping on orders over £125
£12.50 delivery fee on orders under £125
For art prints, we have to charge a bit more for shipping due to the size and nature of the protective packaging, plus insurance costs. Art prints are shipped using tracked and signed for services:
£10 delivery fee
Rest of World:
£25 delivery fee
For customers outside of the UK, you will likely be charged some form of import duty on any items purchased, although this can depend on things like the overall value of your order. Some customers can also experience a small delay in recieving their goods whilst this is processed.
Unfortunately this is not within our control, and is handled entirely by your local customs officials.
At Kostüme we endeavour to use the correct tariff codes based on your delivery location, to ensure timely delivery and accurate charges. Unfortunately we cannot be held responsible for or refund these charges, even in the event of products needing to be returned.
If in doubt, we recommend researching with your local customs agent whether a fee might be chargeable and, if so, what it might be before placing a new order.
Our pre-order model is designed to ensure every item finds a home, thereby minimising the huge amount of waste inherent in the traditional clothing retail and manufacturing model.
This only works efficiently if every product really does find a home, meaning we need to implement a strict 14-day returns period should you be unhappy with the product for any reason (except in the rare case of faulty goods.) This gives us time to process the return and match up the product with someone on the wait list. Please note this does not affect your statutory rights.
In the event that you need to return a product, in the first instance please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your details and reason for return. Items that are for exchange or refund must be in their original packaging, unused and unwashed. Kostüme is not liable for any returns costs.
For more information on your rights regarding returns and faulty goods please see our full Terms and Conditions.
Please note, we are a small but highly focused team. We do our best to reply to every message as quickly as we can. If possible, please wait at least 3 working days before following up.
Ride safe. Have fun!