Meet Rebecca Bahmani, Founder of PreLove You
It is estimated that “11.3 million tons of textile waste – around 85% of all textiles – ends up in landfills every year,” according to Earth.org. Rebecca Bahmani, a Westchester mom of two and 25-year veteran in the fashion industry, was shocked to learn these stats. When she was pregnant, she thought about how clothing (from her daughter) could be repurposed for her son. She noted, “As I delved into research, I was struck by the harsh realities of the fashion industry’s impact on the planet, particularly in childrenswear. It was eye-opening to see how quickly children outgrow their clothes, especially in the first couple of years. This prompted her to seek sustainable alternatives. Thus, PreLove You was born.
Through this community, parents becomes members where they mail kids’ clothing (up to size 12) that no longer fits. After the items are evaluated, parents receive credits to browse their online store. Parents can then send the items back when the clothing is outgrown (for more credits) or shop for other items. Thus, the cycle of shopping stays within the community.
Read on to learn even more about Rebeccca and how PreLove You works below:
Westchester Family: What was your career path before PreLove You?
Rebecca Bahmani: I’ve spent almost a quarter of a century immersed in the world of fashion. My career took off in showrooms of various designers, where I started in sales. It wasn’t long before I found myself in management positions, learning the ins and outs of the industry.
My journey then took an exciting turn towards the textile field. This was specifically in lace manufacturing and sales. It was a fulfilling experience, providing and developing lace to countless designers and seeing my work come to life in their creations.
This path eventually inspired me to start preloveyou.com. This project is really close to my heart. I’m making amends for the environmental footprint of my past work while contributing positively to our planet. It’s more than just a business to me. It’s a commitment to a better future.
Westchester Family: How did the idea for PreLove You come about?
Rebecca Bahmani: When I was pregnant with my second child, a boy, I faced a new challenge. I had to figure out how to clothe him while considering the impact on the environment. This realization dawned on me as I pondered over my daughter’s clothes. I was thinking how they could be repurposed for my son. My journey into sustainable childrenswear began from this personal experience. It is rooted in the desire to be environmentally responsible as a parent.
As I delved into research, I was struck by the harsh realities of the fashion industry’s impact on the planet, particularly in childrenswear. It was eye-opening to see how quickly children outgrow their clothes, especially in the first couple of years. This prompted me to seek sustainable alternatives. Additionally, I found resources for quality second-hand clothing for my kids. This aligned with my newfound commitment to sustainability.
Westchester Family: Tell us more about the PreLove You concept.
The idea for Prelove You emerged through several iterations. I realized that what started as a personal journey could be beneficial for other parents. The concept was simple yet powerful: provide an affordable, sustainable option for parents to shop for their kids’ clothes, while significantly reducing the environmental footprint of the childrenswear sector.
Prelove You is more than a platform. It’s a reflection of my journey as a parent navigating the challenges of raising children in an environmentally conscious way.
Westchester Family: Why is this important to you?
Rebecca Bahmani: Firstly, as a parent, I’m deeply committed to the well-being and future of my children. This extends beyond just their immediate needs to the kind of world they will inherit. By engaging in sustainable practices, like reusing and recycling children’s clothing, I’m contributing to a healthier planet.
Secondly, my journey into understanding the impact of childrenswear on the environment was eye-opening. It made me realize that our choices have power. By choosing sustainability, I am taking a stand against the unnecessary waste and environmental degradation caused by the industry.
Furthermore, PreLove You represents a personal transformation. It’s a manifestation of how I, as an individual, can make a difference. This project allows me to combine my role as a parent with my passion for the environment, creating a positive impact in both areas.
Lastly, it’s about community. PreLove You isn’t just for my family. It’s a platform for all parents who share similar concerns and values. It’s a way to connect, share, and contribute to a larger movement towards sustainability. This sense of community and shared responsibility is deeply important to me.
Westchester Family: Tell us about how Prelove You works.
Rebecca Bahmani: Preloveyou.com is more than just a service. It’s a community-driven movement towards sustainable fashion in childrenswear. Our unique monthly subscription model allows parents to become a vital part of this eco-friendly cycle. For a modest fee – $65 per month or a discounted rate for a three-month advance payment (with a 10% discount) – members join a network of like-minded families who believe in reducing waste and promoting sustainability.
Kids outgrow their clothes so quickly. Instead of letting these barely-worn garments collect dust or end up in a landfill, Preloveyou.com invites you to send them to us. We welcome all kinds of childrenswear. We are commited to handle even the well-loved pieces responsibly by upcycling them.
Upon receiving your child’s outgrown clothes, our team carefully assesses each item. You then receive credits based on the type, condition, and eco-friendly credentials of the garments. These credits are your key to unlocking a world of “new-to-you” fashion in our online boutique. This not only gives your child a fresh wardrobe but also keeps the cycle of sustainable fashion in motion.
What’s truly special about Prelove You is that the clothes you send in don’t have to be originally from us. This open policy encourages a broader participation in the circular economy. Thus, extending the life of clothes beyond what one might expect.
Through this ongoing cycle, each Preloveyou.com member becomes a part of something bigger. A community dedicated to a sustainable future in fashion, where every garment sent back is a step towards a greener planet for our children.
Westchester Family: What are some of your goals for Prelove You?
Rebecca Bahmani: My primary objective is to raise awareness about the environmental impact of excessive clothing production. I believe it’s crucial to educate people. This is especially important for the younger generation to understand how it affects our planet’s future. Thus, the legacy we leave for our children.
I’m deeply committed to this cause and have taken on the role of an ambassador for re/make. I also engage with schools where I speak to children about sustainable practices. It’s often the case that children, with their open minds and fresh perspectives, can influence and guide adults towards more eco-conscious behaviors.
Another vital goal for Prelove You is to create a sense of community centered around sustainability. Prelove You isn’t just about promoting eco-friendly practices; it’s about connecting people through shared experiences and memories associated with their clothing. This creates a personal and emotional link that enhances the message of sustainability.
Looking ahead, I have plans to expand our impact by exploring ways to upcycle clothing. Additionally, I also want to create fair labor opportunities for women in third-world countries. This is an area I’m particularly passionate about. I’m excited to delve deeper into it in the future. By addressing both environmental concerns and social issues, preloveyou.com aims to make a meaningful and multifaceted impact on the world.
Westchester Family: What are some of your favorite things to do in Westchester?
Rebecca Bahmani: In Westchester, I’ve discovered a personal haven of activities that truly resonate with my interests and values. Taking classes like wreath-making at Folkways Wine and flower arranging at Wild Fig Floral has been incredibly fulfilling. It’s not just about the crafts. It’s about the sense of community and the personal satisfaction I get from creating something beautiful with my own hands.
Joining Yellow Studio has been a highlight for me. It’s more than just an art studio. It’s a place where I’ve found a sense of belonging and empowerment, especially connecting with other women. Additionally, it’s a nurturing space where my creativity can flourish.
Music is a big part of our family life. Taking the kids to the Rock and Roll Playhouse (at the Capitol Theater) has been such a joy. It’s amazing to see their faces light up with the music. It’s a bonding experience for all of us.
Our family walks along the dams in the area are my personal refuge. These walks are a time for reflection and togetherness, allowing us to appreciate the natural beauty around us and the simple pleasures of life.
Every season in Westchester brings new adventures and opportunities. The ever-changing landscape keeps our family excited and eager to explore. For me, it’s about building those lasting memories and enjoying every moment of our journey.
Westchester Family: What are some of the stats around unused donated clothing?
Rebecca Bahmani: I’ve seen the unsettling reality where 85-90% of donated clothes end up in landfills or are incinerated. The process starts with good intentions. People donate clothes hoping they’ll be reused. However, the overwhelming volume exceeds the thrift stores’ capacity. This leads to a significant portion being shipped to developing countries. Thus, this can harm local economies and textile industries.
Clothes that can’t be reused or recycled due to technological and cost limitations contribute to environmental degradation. This is either through landfill waste or toxic emissions from incineration. It’s a cycle that underlines the challenge in managing textile waste sustainably.
Westchester Family: Anything about the conditions in fast-fashion?
Rebecca Bahmani: Moreover, the labor conditions in the fashion industry are deeply concerning. The fast fashion model thrives on rapid and inexpensive production. It often overlooks the welfare of workers who face harsh conditions. This includes long hours, low pay, and unsafe work environments. This demand for speed and low cost in production perpetuates rights violations and environmental harm. Addressing these issues is imperative.
It calls for a systemic change in the industry. This includes technological advancements in recycling, responsible consumption, and a shift in ethical labor practices. It’s not just about environmental sustainability. Additionally, it’s about the dignity and rights of the workers in the fashion industry.
For more information, please visit Prelove You