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Extending life of fashion: This UK-based startup offers clothes maintenance as a service

The Seam founder
Image credits: The Seam

Work from home became the new norm with the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we’ve also had to rethink other aspects of our lives, clothing and fashion being one of them. Although purchasing new clothes might seem the obvious option for most consumers, repairing and caring for older clothes is something many people are interested in as well. Catering such customers is the startup The Seam, which has now raised £250,000 to fight fast fashion and revolutionise clothes care and repair services. 

Major UK expansion and next funding to happen soon

The pre-seed funding for The Seam was raised with Jenson Funding Partners as the lead investor. This funding will primarily be used for startups’ further expansion. Additionally, the company’s Founder and CEO Layla Sargent exclusively tells TFN that the company will be conducting its next funding round in Q3 2022. However, we’ve been told that details on the upcoming funding will follow later. 

In an interview with TFN, Sargent tells us,”Post-funding, we’re concentrating our energy on refining and improving our product, and bringing our offer to new regions throughout the UK.” The Seam currently offers its services in Greater London but post funding, it aims to grow its Maker communities in major cities around the UK. It will also expand its postage offer so that both Makers and wearers outside of big cities can benefit from its services. 

The startup currently consists of four team members, with a new Community Manager set to join them soon. They will hire more talent, which will focus on supporting the company’s community of Makers and Wearers. 

The Seam fights fast fashion

There’s no doubt that buying clothes is easier than ever with everything one might want being a few taps away. However, the waste being produced due to this convenience cannot be overlooked. 

The Seam provides a way for consumers to connect with tailors and get their clothes repaired or altered as per their liking. This not only reduces waste but is also said to promote wearers to ‘have a personalised connection with their clothes.’ The Seam boasts of an impressive online network of over 700 makers across Greater London. They serve thousands of people who are said to be booking their services. 

During COVID, the startup witnessed a 20% year-on-year growth. This is being attributed to the fact that people staying at home were clearing out their wardrobes and would opt to mend or alter their clothes instead of buying new ones. The Seam tells us that they conducted research during the pandemic that is said to have confirmed that people across the UK are more committed to the longevity of their clothes, and less driven by purchasing new things.

“Polling 500 randomly selected UK participants in April 2020, 64% said that they prefer to repair damaged clothing instead of discarding it when it becomes worn out. 45% of respondents said that lockdown made them need less stuff in order to be happy,” Sargent  says.

A generational attachment 

The idea for the startup was always with Layla as she grew up in Birmingham with her grandmother, who was a professional dressmaker of 65 years. Her grandmother would tailor all of Layla’s clothes to fit her and would repair or alter them when needed. 

“Clothes tailoring and alteration services were something I thought that everyone had access to. Naively, I thought that was normal! But I started to realise that my friends had a very different relationship with fashion – they would see clothes as very disposable,” Layla reveals. This led to Layla starting up with The Seam in 2019, which was a simple marketplace connecting people with makers and weavers. 

“A Crunchbase research found that just 2.3% of VC Funding went to women-led startups in 2020. So while I know that the challenges for female founders are plentiful, this also means that the funders, team members and supporters we have in our network represent a cohort of people and businesses that are contributing to change the status quo,” Sargent concludes, speaking on women founders’ challenges in the startup scene. 

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