Whether you are a lover of designer brands and need to find almost-new items, or are interested in renting a piece of jewelry or evening wear, this is the place to go! The online website has photos of each item and there is a QR code you can scan to visually “try on” certain necklaces! We caught up with Giji Gya Obradovic from Downtown Uptown Genève.
Why did you start?
My husband, Christophe, and I created DOWNTOWN UPTOWN 7 years ago. Our aim is to offer a space in Geneva with a range of men and women’s fashion that promotes better buying, greater awareness of slow fashion, avoidance of fast fashion and protection of garment workers and our environment. In addition, we give a second life to clothes and we enact sustainable fashion for our customers. How? If you purchase from us, you leave the boutique being a responsible consumer! You can walk the talk.
We enact our principles not just in the merchandise we provide (recycled or ethically sourced), but in every step of our day-today business and supply chains, by minimising our impact and promoting good practices. All our furniture is second-hand, we reuse paper & cotton price tickets and shopping bags, use sustainable hangers, have recycled and forest-friendly shop bags and paper, sort and recycle our waste, use ecological cleaning products & use fairtrade organic coffee grains for our customers (no capsules nor throw away cups). We only source ethical brands for new stock and we attend the UN Business and Human Rights forum each year.
What has been the inspiration?
Have you been working on this idea forever, or was it something that came to you recently?
Our inspiration is our principle of ethical fashion, value and sustainability. By value, we mean quality, attitude and method, also behaviour, that is, bringing back the importance of enacting responsibly in fashion. Responsibility to reduce consumerism, to stop fast fashion, to ensure the rights of garment & accessory workers and to minimise impact on the environment.
Giji has worn “second-hand” since she was a teenager and she has worked on human rights, including fair-wear, for over 20 years. Christophe worked for 20 years in the luxury fashion industry. When we met, we had already both (separately) wanted to begin a business with value in mind. Our backgrounds merged perfectly to create the business we have today!
What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome?
Many! In Geneva, the hardest is getting people to embrace second-hand and ethical fashion. For instance, sadly, the younger generation is very influenced by social media and instagrammers that show new outfits everyday. They all want fashionable items fast and different each week! This encourages fast fashion – which is cheap, as it exploits and is unsustainable. Its cheap price makes it too accessible to the young generation that buy in quantity, as we have lost the education of value and buying fewer, but quality things to last. We try to counteract that by educating on sustainable consumption & fashion and value, and offering quality items that they can buy and pay in 2 or 3 times.
DOWNTOWN UPTOWN Genève summer pop-up in the patio inside Aeschbach, 40 rue du Marché, opposite Place du Molard.
Where do you see this company going? What are your plans for the future?
We are growing every year and aim to continue to do so to further expand slow fashion until it becomes a norm in Geneva. Quite a task!
We currently have a summer “pop-up” with our partner Aeschbach, in their patio opposite Place du Molard (see photo), to bring our concept to the left bank in Geneva. The pop-up is open until 29 August 2020. Our boutique on the right bank is also open all summer and we are open 24/7 with our online shop.
What is your favorite product you offer and why?
Our favourite products are those that bring a sparkle to customers’ eyes, in particular when they look for and find something they will treasure in their closet for years to come… the ultimate in sustainable fashion!
What others are saying about Downtown Uptown
“DOWNTOWN UPTOWN boutique in Geneva is a good address to shop for your second-hand designer brands, where you can still find the item in very good shape (almost new) and with interesting prices and very nice staff as well, definitely I will come back!” Dhanie
“Le meilleur magasin de Genève!… surtout service sur mesure et si sympathique qu’il rend l’expérience encore meilleure!” V. M.
“Good value for money and good service and friendly staff!” D. McC.
DOWNTOWN UPTOWN pop up
The pop-up is open until 29 August 2020
Within Aeschbach, in their patio
opposite Place du Molard
40, rue du Marché
DOWNTOWN UPTOWN Genève
Your ethical style and luxury consignment boutique
32, rue de Monthoux
022 364 62 56
Monday: by appointment
Tuesday to Friday: 10h-19h