Houdini, the Swedish circular sportswear company committed to sustainable innovation since 1993, is expanding its circularity platform, opening the first retail concept of its kind on September 28 in Stockholm’s premier shopping district. Customers may choose how they access their garments, including renting apparel, subscribing to garments, as well as purchasing new, second hand or exclusive remade pieces and trading in garments for other Houdini pieces – all at one venue. In addition, ahead of Climate Week NYC and fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan and Paris, Houdini CEO Eva Karlsson is again asking attendees of these events to join her in “Live Large with Less” minimizing one’s wardrobe in an attempt to fight overconsumption.
First launched in 2022, the “Live Large with Less” program challenges people to downsize their wardrobe, focusing on finding joy in owning less. Houdini Circle facilitates this vision by putting the user and their needs at the center of the retail experience. With support from the Boston Consulting Group, Houdini is establishing a new business model with a pricing structure reflecting these in-store options. In order to highlight the user benefits rather than just the sustainability elements of this initiative, this store concept is reflected in a creative campaign asking people to, “Get rid of your ex; Find the love your life; or Date someone new every week” referencing the Houdini apparel.
“With the world gathering in New York City to discuss the urgent climate crisis and the fashion world descending on iconic cities, we must bring circularity front and center and set an example,” said Karlsson. “If we truly want to change our industry, we have to provide alternatives to the current state, and make sure these alternatives are accessible to everyone. We have provided rental and repair services and second-hand sales for more than a decade. With Houdini Circle, we bring this concept to consumers at one venue, giving them the autonomy on how they want to access, shape and curate their wardrobes. This is a critical and reimagined business model that we hope to expand globally.”
As part of its offering, Houdini Circle is debuting the first outdoor apparel subscription service, enabling users to sign up for seasonal groupings and swap items in store. Timed to coincide with the fall, winter, spring and summer seasons, the cost for a monthly subscription is between 450-700 Swedish SEK ($40 to $65) per month. The starter subscription includes a base package of a jacket, a midlayer and bottoms. Subscribers may add more pieces to increase their subscription. Houdini hopes to launch the subscription service in the U.S. in 2024.
The launch of Houdini Circle coincides with Karlsson’s attendance of Climate Week NY, where she will participate in a number of events in panels including the Action Speaks Summit, the Mastercard Roundtable Global Optimism on Sustainable Consumption and the Stage of Impact Mastercard Talk.
“The point of Houdini Circle isn’t to make maximum profits, but to create value for all of our stakeholders,” continued Karlsson. “That is what our business is about. Sustainability and good business go hand in hand. This initiative is no exception. We hope to expand this concept to other global markets after an additional testing period.”
Houdini is an odd band of friends from Sweden on a quest to reimagine the future of circular sportswear. Ever since the start in 1993, Houdini has challenged the norms of the outdoor industry, as a company led by women, as innovators of sustainable design and as pioneers of circular business models. Ultimately, Houdini wants to enable and inspire people to reconnect to nature.