Last Sunday Nadia and I went to the Fair Fashion Festival in Utrecht. This is an event that introduces, celebrates and acknowledges fair fashion. During the day visitors could shop fair fashion at a market, fashion shows were being held and lectures and workshops were given. We got to know new brands and spoke with visitors and boss ladies of fair fashion brands. A truly inspiring and fun day. In this post we will take you through our day to catch a glimpse of the amazing brands and people we got to meet. After reading this we hope that you will visit next year!
Lecture LENA the Fashion Library by owner Suzanne Smulders
About 10 years ago, three sisters Angela, Diana and Elisa set up the first vintage webshop of the Netherlands: Doortje Vintage. After gaining tons of experience, having two shops and adding fourth team member Suzanne it was time for a new step: LENA the fashion library. This is a library in Amsterdam where customers with a subscription can borrow clothes. From the idea that fashion should be fun, for all involved, LENA created the fashion library at the end of 2014. They encourage consumers to consume more consciously. LENA prolongs the life of clothing: the longer the clothes are worn, the less greenhouse gas is released and valuable raw materials are wasted. After all, fewer clothes need to be made.
After the lecture, we had a short chat with Suzanne to ask her a few questions.
What is your personal motivation for wanting to change the current fashion industry?
Well that is difficult to describe.. I studied at the Amsterdam Fashion Institute. When I discovered what was going on with the fashion industry, I was in shock. It was so in contrast with my believes and who I am as a person. I enjoyed fashion, but also wanted to change it for the better because it didn’t make any sense to me. To me, the industry revolves to much around money and there is no added value.
What do you gain from this day?
I enjoy seeing that there are people here that are involved as well. I feel that there are more and more people that find this subject important. Also, I find it important to plant a seed and to tell our story. It is nice if we gain new subscribers from this event, but I like it even more if I can raise awareness with the visitors.
When Chanel was 18, she gave birth to a baby boy which resulted in her becoming a mumster. This stands for being a mum and youngster combined. Her son was also the reason behind her awareness and shift in lifestyle. After she watched the documentary The True Cost, she was personally shocked and touched by seeing young children in horrific situations caused by the fast fashion industry. She couldn’t accept this being a mother herself. With the help of her knowledge learned from her media studies, she got into field research by interviewing industry experts, entrepreneurs, designers, consumers, politicians, and more. All to share that knowledge that will hopefully lead to a positive chain of change.
After her lecture, we also asked Chanel some questions.
What is your personal motivation to be here today?
My motivation results from seeing the documentary The True Cost, what personally touched me. This is because a few years ago I became a young mum. I was shocked that my consumer behaviour contributed to the sorrow of others. Especially, the misfortune the kids of my son’s age experienced in the documentary. Every time I speak about this, I become emotional. It’s just ridiculous that because I want cheap clothes, I contribute to the misery of others. At the same time I was also happy because I found purpose in life. I was able to combine my passion for film, my curiosity, and my search for the truth and start my platform MUMSTER.
What do you take home with you after today?
I take with me that there are certainly consumers interested in fair fashion. So that makes me very happy. I think an important lesson I learned from today is that communication from the industry towards the consumers is the most important thing.
Visitor Laurens (26)
What brings you to this event?
I personally like fair fashion. I have studied environmental sciences which I find super interesting. Since a few years I try to buy new stuff fairly made only. In Utrecht there is a lot of fair fashion to be found. I am here today to see if there are some new brands I don’t know yet and to check out some nice items.
And what do you hope to see next year?
More sustainable cotton. A lot of times fair fashion brands only use virgin cotton. I think it would be better to use recycled cotton. I think that that is something that could still be improved. Like MUDjeans. That’s really cool.
Laurens turned out to be the owner of Duko. This an app that offers students discounts on sustainable products in Utrecht, Nijmegen and the Hague. Awesome right? Visit their website https://dukostudent.nl/ for more information or download their app in the appstore.
Visitor Else (22)
What brings you here today?
I am trying to look for ways to simplify my life and live more sustainable. We all love fashion and we all love to enjoy life, but it is just not durable the way we are living this life. I thought that this event is a place with like minded people, that have a positive vibe to them and look for practical solutions. And sometimes, especially these times, I just really have the need for positivity.
What do you think of today so far?
I really like it! It is exactly how I thought it would be. A lot of positives voices, great initiatives and practical tips. For instance, someone that has started her own textile factory in Twente. Very inspiring.
Thank your Fair Fashion Festival Utrecht for having us. It has been a truly inspirational and exciting day. It was good to see so many empowering women and men. We’re already excited to see what next year will bring. See you next year!