Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Click for an Appy Mending

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Click for an Appy Mending

Article excerpt

LULU O'Connor recently heard a sound dreaded by all fashion-lovers. "It was that heartbreaking rip which means you've just torn your favourite pair of jeans," she says. But O'Connor didn't read her denim the last rites in fact, when we meet, she's wearing the same pair with an invisible patch over the tear.

The 31-year-old has just founded The Clothes Doctor, a start-up based in Earls Court offering an online alterations, customisation and repairs service. Garments are picked up by couriers on any London doorstep, taken to seamstresses in Cornwall and then returned ready for wear. Turnaround time is less than a week and clothes arrive in environmentally friendly, reusable canvas bags no horrid plastic sleeves here.

O'Connor's interest in clothes was born in her teenage years when she committed "all the fashion crimes a lot of tiny crop-tops and big platform wedges". After studying economics and management at Oxford, she worked as a retail analyst at Credit Suisse and then Goldman Sachs. "I was studying the evolution of ecommerce," she recalls. "There has been a constant stream of people thinking 'X won't work online' and then someone finds a way. It started with clothing. Think about jeans you want to touch them and see the fit people have got past that."

Why is it that so many entrepreneurs have Goldman on the CV? "I hate to sound like I'm drinking the Kool-Aid, but there's a very entrepreneurial culture. My bosses built up my selfconfidence and there's no micromanagement they just say, 'Go make that part of the business better'."

After Goldman, she had a stint at a hedge fund before quitting in February to launch The Clothes Doctor. She chose to base the workshop (a converted barn) near Redruth, where underemployment is high. She put an ad in the local paper for seamstresses, hired the two best who run the workshop while she mostly stays in London, found web developers and then hit "go".

Alterations and repairs remains an unmodernised, fragmented industry. O'Connor hopes, rather than taking market share from independent tailors and seamstresses, she will help spark a revolution where clothes are fixed not binned: "People don't necessarily know what can be done you can get your moth holes mended and your cashmere will look as good as new. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.