TheTalkingThread

CHANGEMAKER OF THE MONTH IS NADINE VAN LEERSUM!

Making a change in this world of ours sometimes seems tough and impossible. When I think I do something good, I read in the news something bad happened. Or when I thought to be an inspiration to others, somebody proudly presents me their new fast-fashion bargains. It makes me feel lonely. There is only one thing that can cheer me up at that point: like-minded people! I truly believe all the little things will eventually add up, and I love to hear about other people’s stories and get inspired by their little actions to make a change.

If you recognize this struggle, or you are now at a point that you want to make a change but it seems too far away, too big, this column is a must read. I will share the stories of others, how they take up their part and show you ‘’See? It is that simple! You can do it too’’

As primeur our very own Nadine! She started this journey with us a year ago, but unfortunately has left The Talking Thread a few months ago to focus on her career. Nadine did a lot behind the scenes and we wouldn’t have been here today without her. Let’s see what motivated her, what it brought her and what stays with her.

Why do you want to make a change?

I think the best answer to this question is: read the blogs! Things are going terribly wrong in this world and human beings, animals and nature are treated unfairly. For 20 years this was “just the way it goes” for me, but luckily things have changed in my behaviour!

When was the moment for you to make a change in your way of (fashion) consuming?

When I met Nadia and Florien. It did not take long before I truly understood why it is important to spread the word about sustainable fashion. It was only once I took a step into a second hand store, watched documentaries about the industry and read about the misconceptions in the world that I understood that it is necessary, not that hard and even fun to change your behaviour.

What do you do to make a change?

I’m not the type of person that feels the urge to take a big public stage and talk about the topic of sustainability (in fashion), but I try to make my contribution by buying consciously. I think that is the reason that my purchases have halved since I started reading about this topic.

When I am talking to people and they mention news items (a collapsed factory, Dutch tv-personality Arjen Lubach talking about this topic or anything else) I ask them how they feel about this. I do not drown them in arguments why they should stop buying fast fashion, but I ask them to join me for a visit to a second hand shop the next time they feel the urge to buy new items. My own experience shows that not only talking, but also literally giving a hand to adjust small things in people’s behaviour is the right way to act. When I talk to someone about a topic that Nadia or Florien (or anyone else) has mentioned in one of their blogposts, I directly forward the link to that blog and give some usable tips which -by the way- can mostly be found at the bottom of the articles.

How do you keep up?

How do you not keep up?! I think this question is relevant to people that have stopped buying and living the unfair life they did before. I am still the same person and still buy clothes and (luxury) goods, but now I pick brands that share the same mindset I have. I visit second hand shops and think twice before I pay. Yep.. I still go shopping and pick everything I like, but always ask myself the following question before I walk to the cash register: do I need this? How is it produced? Do I want to contribute? Mostly the answer is no and I walk out of the store and go back home. However, when the answer is yes, is ask the question again and again until I find the true reason to buy and then search for better (more sustainable) options. It is fun. I fool myself time after time and learn about my own brain as well. No child, river or underpaid worker is directly helped with this, but spreading the word and putting people into action will help.

How do you see the future?

I personally think it will still take a lot of time to solve all the problems and challenges there are right now, such as child labour, chemical garbage and over-consuming, but like Florien and Nadia also state: even the smallest change is a change. Step by step things should get better.

Nadine, thank you for the awesome ride! We think you are an amazing person, you challenged us to do better and just had so much fun! All the best, and cheers!

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