stephanie paulis

Stephanie Paulis and her quest for on-demand clothing

Does on-demand clothing imply the death sentence for fast fashion? The future might tell. We spoke to Stephanie Paulis from her eponymous label to get the answers to all of our burning questions.
Cover photo: © Stephanie Paulis Amsterdam

Stephanie Paulis

Sometimes, you stumble upon a brand you instantly love – as with Stephanie Paulis Amsterdam. Owner and founder Stephanie Paulis never understood the idea behind fashion fashion and an inexhaustible striving for the latest trends. In a world that needs to be faster – while at the same time standing still due to the pandemic – an on-demand clothing brand seems to conflict with people’s needs. However, this didn’t stop Paulis from pursuing her dream of changing the fashion industry. We talked to the founder and talented brain behind S.o.P. Amsterdam about the necessity of change within the fashion industry. “Only when you slow down regularly can you perceive the beauty in details and feel the power of timelessness.”

On-demand clothing

Sustainability has been a hot topic for years. High street labels such as Weekday, H&M, and Zara have developed sustainability strategies at a rapid pace. But is it enough? A big part of the problem lies in the overproduction of collections, not only by using high-tech sustainable materials. In line with this, fashion entrepreneur Stephanie Paulis developed S.o.P. Amsterdam – a brand entirely dedicated to on-demand clothing.

How did you come up with this on-demand initiative?

Stephanie Paulis: “I never really understood the idea behind fast fashion in chasing trend after trend and launching eight collections yearly. Pre-selling and pre-producing go along with the traditional system. Keep in mind that, on average, 25% of what’s in your closet of fast fashion is being worn and loved. Many tons of generated textiles that become ‘leftovers’ come from the traditional routine of producing clothes before orders are placed. On-demand conflicts with the idea that everything needs to be faster, cheaper, and more. The quality that often goes along with the more traditional system often results in buying more and more but wearing our items less and less.”

She continues: “We choose on-demand to produce more sustainably and have closer contact with our clients. There is an eye for the craftsmanship behind the product, from fabric development to the final stitching and finishing part of a design. Making sure a garment is put well together takes time. And this part is often underexposed. All pieces are handmade with dedication to the product and the end consumer. This on-demand production ensures fair prices, you can wear your items more than one season, and you invest in more longevity. We can work with small stocks, have fewer surpluses, and do less harm to the ecosystem, including logistics. We work closely with our atelier in Amsterdam and Le Marche, Italy, so lines are short. We hope to inspire people to make fewer impulse buys, give them more insight into the process, and show that it can be worth waiting for an item made with dedication. Waiting a few days longer for an item precisely crafted for them is worth the wait.”

The beauty of timelessness

What is the biggest inspiration for your brand?

SP: “The beauty of timelessness drives us. We believe a good timeless piece always holds its charm. We find this element in clothing, but this also applies to details in architecture, interior design, nature, or listening to a good song that inspires us. Our inspiration comes from all these elements. Next, we always work from fabric to design, not vice versa. The fabric is our inspiration. We get inspired by appealing fabrics, and then we convert this into a design that fits the fabric and translate this into an item for your capsule wardrobe. This can be a minimal or more outspoken design that still holds its charm over the years.”

And what message would you like to spread with your brand?

SP: “Only when you slow down regularly can you perceive the beauty in details and feel the power of timelessness. We believe everything comes down to how clothing feels and how it makes you feel. We hope to make consumers more aware that we need to leave overconsumption behind us and try to stand still for a moment.”

TT: Slowing down is vital, both for brands and consumers. How do you slow down your fashion consumption yourself?

SP: “I invest in a good basic wardrobe. The right pair of jeans, crisp white blouse, the perfect blazer, outdoor coat, shirts, knits, and singlets. Basically, invest in high-quality modern classics, made with the right perfection, that can stay in your wardrobe and make it easy for you to get dressed in the morning without any hassle. The pieces complement each other, and it is super easy to mix and match. Next, I invested in some good vintage pieces from high-end designers that I had worn for years. I also have more outspoken rock and roll items in my wardrobe, which makes my wardrobe match my personality. Items I love and know I will wear again in the coming years or even will pass on to my daughter.”

TT: Do you think on-demand clothing will be the future of fashion?

SP: “On-demand means we start making a garment when an order has been placed—Made-to-order and made-to-measure share those same principles. Fast fashion is based on convenience on many levels; consumers consume all trends at once, cheaply, order, and arrive the next day. But seeing fashion as a way of art has lost its meaning more and more over the years. More and more consumers have started to look at this concept differently. People feel the market is so full and feel all the disadvantages that also come along with it. They are more aware of the huge environmental impact of overproduction, and they are at the same time looking for a way to not look like one in a million but one in a million and looking for the style that fits the person they are in their core.”

And what will the future of Stephanie Paulis look like?

SP: “We hope to expand our brand in The Benelux. We are slowly expanding in Belgium at the moment. The most important value is that we want to expand solidly, step by step. Good things take time, and we try to choose wisely instead of quickly. We hope we will inspire more women with our concept of timeless beauty and the power of simplicity. We keep developing clothing that makes you feel strong yet soft, which makes you embrace yourself even more and gives you a ‘she carries herself’ feeling. The clothing needs to empower, not overpower. Our ultimate dream is to give this feeling to more women so they feel comfortable and confident after choosing from their ‘easy’ wardrobe.”