Tribute was first started a little over one year ago, after intense research and a lot of consideration. Nevertheless, we still get regularly asked why we decided to open a brick and mortar at a time where brick and mortars are closing? Why don’t you just focus on online sales?
We always answer with the same honest story. After working on a business plan to build a company that could bring together our love of fashion studies, history and style with our respect for the planet and its people, we strongly believe that fashion stories deserve to be told and that garments can change the world. Fashion is not only about what you see in magazines or catwalks, it’s a perfect expression of our civilization. And those stories deserve to be told in person. We wanted to create a space for our community to approach topics like responsible consumption and style and society.
We understand that the retail environment has dramatically changed over the past few years. We understand that with the advent of technology, some of the old rules do not apply anymore, and retail businesses are becoming more cautious about their investments. But we decided to break the rules. We followed our instincts to open a brick and mortar in Washington DC. One that promotes fashion history, design and sustainable practices.
Today, Tribute turns 9 months. And although we are not perfect and have more steps to take, we take pride in the small impact we have had.
Our first goal was to prove that sustainability and profitability can co-exist. As a fashion and design company, we believe that it’s our responsibility to support, contribute and encourage a more sustainable living and consumption pattern. The beauty of being part of a growing section of the fashion industry is that there is still so much more to discover and create!
We are about balance and originality, we believe in bringing an honest approach to retail.
How did we start?
It’s very challenging to start a sustainable fashion brick and mortar store in a world where the top three words to describe our industry are “changing”, “digital” and “fast”. It’s evencounter intuitive! However, as we embrace challenges, our idea was not to go against the trend. On the contrary, our objective was to launch as a traditional, even old school, brick and mortar with a disruptive mind. We have an active stance on social issues, we are fully open and transparent in the way we operate and sustainability is at the core of our mission.
How can a fashion and design business contribute to a nature and human centered future? How can we reshape the old brick and mortar model and still be relevant in our digital world?
Back in February 2018, when we initially thought about what Tribute would look like, we thought about what would be ideal for us: to create a space in D.C. that embodies our values of diversity and inclusivity, a place where we could talk about fashion and style, learn about emerging brands and share our experiences around sustainable design. It all came down to one simple idea: looking good, feeling good and doing good.
We wanted to start clean, by implementing sustainable practices as well as fair and ethical practices. So, when envisioning and creating TRIBUTE, we thoroughly assessed every detail, from buying and merchandising, labelling, interior design to the shopping experience. We thoroughly assessed everything you see in our space. We looked for the right products, materials, furniture, labels, packaging, that are cleaner and safer than conventional alternatives and that are designed for more than one use.
We believe in personalized encounters, immersive social experiences that become memorable, and leave a mark on our community and beyond. With a passion for social enterprise, for change, for fashion history and culture and for artisanal design, the idea behind this project is to bring more than a concept store to D.C. and to its community. TRIBUTE is a place where fashion and design are celebrated not commoditized, where fashion nerds hang-out, discover amazing products and enjoy peerless in-store workshops and gigs. It is a place where the consumers are empowered.
Being environmentally conscious is one of our core values and as such we hold ourselves accountable. We wanted to show that sustainability does not necessarily need money to be implemented. You can be creative and come up with solutions without paying a huge price.