30 Jun 2022
Ezzahra, Tunisia
Sustainable Textiles and Clothing

Households in Tunisia hold the magic ingredients for a booming upcycled fashion scene, according to Khouloud Torkhani, co-founder and chief executive officer of Tunisian designer Vintage Bae Studio. “Tunisian people love vintage clothes and old things,” Torkhani explained. “Families here have pieces that date to the 80s and 90s in almost every corner of their houses.”

Unfortunately, many old clothing items do not end up in vintage stores, arriving at a far less productive destination: landfill dumps. Torkhani and the Vintage Bae Studo team saw an opportunity to end these wasteful practices by re-vamping pre-loved clothing. “ I wanted to combine the two things I love the most — nature and fashion — to help people,” Torkhani enthused.

Established in 2021, Vintage Bae Studio brings together a dedicated group of professionals, united in their aim to disrupt Tunisia’s fashion scene. Alongside Torkhani, co-founder Khadija Ben Yachoub leads the design and reworking of vintage pieces, such that they fit within engaging and coherent seasonal trends for Vintage Bae Studio’s label. Fashion designer Sarah Touir — a “visionary,” according to Torkhani — works with each individual piece, ensuring their uniqueness.

Like any strong fashion business, Vintage Bae Studio cannot operate on creativity alone. Torkhani makes special mention of the company’s inventory manager, Rouaa Dhifaoui, whom she describes as “the Excel sheet lover.” Dhifaoui tracks Vintage Bae Studio’s different items, balances the finances, and helps to drive sales.

Vintage Bae Studio’s product range has grown impressively over the past year. At present, customers can choose from a wide range of dresses, shirts, blouses, shorts, and complete outfits. The team is also working towards establishing a custom-order service, whereby customers can bring in their own clothes for bespoke alterations and upcycling.

Some commercial challenges actively inspire Torkhani. For instance, she enjoyed the pursuit of funding — a typical struggle for any startup business — which required that she make presentations to potential investors. “While pitching, I fell in love again with every single thing we did for our brand and the progress we made so far,” she remembered. “And that’s why I adore pitching!”

Other issues present sterner, ongoing obstacles. Torkhani identifies recurrent bottlenecks in Vintage Bae Studio’s supply chain, from sourcing high-quality materials to producing appealing final items. These imperatives ultimately stem from Vintage Bae Studio’s main goal: the client’s happiness.

“The most challenging thing is to guarantee the customer’s satisfaction with everything,” she said.

Despite this looming pressure, Torkhani wholeheartedly encourages similarly minded creatives to pursue their fashion dream. “Yes, it can be scary,” she admitted. “But, it is the future of fashion — and if you can see it in your mind, then you can hold it in your hand!”


Learn more about Vintage Bae Studio through the website, Facebook and Instagram.

Photos courtesy of Vintage Bae Studio

David Wood is a freelance writer and researcher based in Beirut. He previously worked in Cairo.David Wood
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Vintage Bae Studio Sustainable Textiles and Clothing