For the launch of our second preloved collection with Marija Paganini; the woman behind the popular Instagram account Marymerak, Mary gives us her very personal perspective on circular fashion and the important role it plays in her conscious parenting philosophy for her two girls, Mia Sophia and Gaia Charlotte.
Name: Marija Paganini
Does: Content creator promoting local/sustainable brands with a focus on Italian-speaking Switzerland. Runs the popular Instagram account @marymerak.
Lives in: Chur, but spends much of her time in Lugano and Poschiavo
Family: Husband and daughters Mia Sophia, 4 and Gaia Charlotte, 2,5
Tell us, what does your history with preloved look like? Were you always a fan? I first became interested in second hand during a stay in London where I got caught up in the allure of vintage, but I didn't shop anything preloved until I became a mother. I didn't have that network of family or friends who could pass on clothes to my girls, so I started looking online. Five years ago, there was only Facebook Marketplace, tutti.ch and Ricardo to choose from. There was nothing sector-specific or a high-quality second hand selection, where you could find a certain type of brand etc. There was also a lack of trust, which you wouldn't feel l if things are passed on to you by someone you know. I was also missing the necessary sensitivity to the circular economy, and second hand still carried a bit of an aura of 'economic impossibility' and no one was talking about the circular economy or sustainability.
"No one was talking about the circular economy or sustainability"
I initially started shopping second hand when it came to gifts (things, not clothing), which somehow seemed less wasteful. Then slowly with jackets, a few pullovers and only after a few months did I buy my first t-shirts and trousers. What came in direct contact with the skin seemed more difficult to buy used. The real turning point came with the first high-quality second hand shops, where I could trust the selection of clothes.
This possibility of buying second hand with more peace of mind led me to opt for second hand as a first choice for many garments.
"The real turning point came with the first high-quality second hand shops, where I could trust the selection of clothes."
Another aspect of second hand that I really appreciate is the possibility of selling the clothes that the girls have outgrown. This gave me the inspiration to set up a bank account to put the money from sales into, as a savings account for the girls. Since I started getting involved in the sale of used kids' clothes, I have also become interested in brands with a bigger market, those that are sought after more, and whose products are of higher quality. So I started to experience the concept of circular economy more intensively and to bring it into my own life. The idea of reducing the consumption of raw materials by buying clothes created from recycled material, choosing brands that create more durable clothes and finally selling them on really spoke to me. I like to think that a parent's effort is always a sign of love. Even when it comes to effort in clothing choices, when it comes to choosing a brand, a material, a style.
"A parent's effort is always a sign of love. Even when it comes to effort in clothing choices, when it comes to choosing a brand, a material, a style."
What is your philosophy when it comes to dressing the girls? I think it is interesting to follow the child in his or her own personal development of individuality, which also involves choosing his or her own style. When I say that, I mean several aspects; both giving the child the opportunity to experiment by letting them choose what they want to wear from time to time, but also following them as they dress by giving them cues. I like to give cues based on what I observe and make my daughters aware of the colours they like best, the clothes they prefer and to go for what they like and not what they see from their peers; I like to choose a neutral style to convey a bit of that freedom to be anyone you want, without cultural gender impositions; I like to choose sustainable and handmade and speak to the girls about the brands in our wardrobe and the thought that went into it.
I love telling the girls about the love their grandmother puts into it when she sews or knits a dress for them. I like to talk about second hand and explain to them who passed that dress on to us and to whom we pass things that's become too small.
"I like to talk about second hand and explain to them who passed that dress on to us and to whom we pass things that's become too small."
Being able to buy and sell the girls worn out clothes is something that makes me feel very good, because it allows me to be part of a circular economy that I consider important. You can sell on many platforms but being able to create a collection by making a sort of capsule is really innovative, and I am honoured to get this incredible opportunity to sell my used clothes in this form on Ingrid & Emil. In addition to bringing new life to clothes, they are enhanced in a unique way on the website and on social media, through inspiring photos, new combinations of outfits and a presentation made from the heart of Ingrid and Emil's team.
Every passion that we have, we pass on to our children. The nice part is that we can decide how to pass it on. I love fashion but I want to pass it on to my daughters this way.