Do you know where your clothes come from and how they're being made? We say: It's time for an ethical fashion revolution!
The times where ethical designs, organic materials and fair production were hiding in the shade are over. And with the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin 2018 behind us and Fashion Revolution Week 2018 just coming up, we thought it’s time to share a few thoughts on why it matters to know how our clothes are being made and where they come from.
Berlin knows how to do ethical fashion right. Looking at the fashion industry as a whole, sustainable fashion is Berlin’s USP and has a worldwide reputation for being the hub of green trends in the textile sector.
Curious to see where Berlin’s most creative green fashion labels and store owners have set up shop? Then come on tour with us and visit ateliers, studios, unique boutiques, social projects and eco concept stores. Together, we meet the shop owners and designers and get an insight into their amazing work. Check out our tour page & get to meet Berlin’s vibrant eco scene >>
On Tour through the Ethical Fashion Scene in Friedrichshain
THE GLOBAL HUB FOR ETHICAL FASHION
Berlin is the mecca for anyone working or interested in green fashion. With a strongly connected scene, lots of industry-related talks and networking events and an array of opportunities to try yourself out, the city keeps drawing in sustainable clothing labels, upcycling designers and creatives from all over the world.
No wonder that large-scale events like the Ethical Fashion Show Berlin are gaining more attention year by year. How? Considering the boost in popularity and public awareness, it’s surprising that Berlin is the ONLY city where international sustainable fashion shows are running parallel to the conventional Fashion Week. In 2018, The Ethical Fashion Show Berlin and The Green Showroom are even joined by a third event, the new conference format FashionSustain and #FashionTech, making Berlin the hotspot for sustainability and innovation in fashion.
Throughout the week, the global fashion scene will stream into the city - and will ultimately be inspired by the most future-oriented green labels and designers. We’re especially fans of the Ethical Fashion Show, because it presents some of the coolest eco-fair streetwear and casual labels, making it fun and wearable for everyone.Set in the stunning halls of Kraftwerk Berlin, a former power station right by the river Spree, industry experts and changemakers will set the tone on how a sustainable future could look like. Topics include digitisation & technology, smart materials and circularity.
Check out all details about the Ethical Fashion Show & be there when green fashion takes over the city for 3 days.
Part of this dedicated bunch of changemakers is Carina Bischof, co-founder of upcycling label aluc and the Upcycling Fashion Berlin movement. We had an inspiring chat about the status quo of fair fashion in Berlin and beyond. Listen to the full interview in episode #6 of the GreenMe Berlin podcast.
Another important initiative for the future of fashion is Sourcebook. From their office in a Kreuzberg backyard, the team is providing a strong B2B platform with 2000+ members! Through their trusted network, they are directly connecting local textile producers and manufacturers with a fast growing community of makers and creatives of the design sector. By providing expert education, workshops and resources, Sourcebook is passionately promoting sustainability and transparency within the fashion- and textile industry. You can register for free & check them out here.
WHY BUYING ETHICAL FASHION? LET's GET THINGS CLEAR...
Generally, we're big fans of minimalism. Consuming less and focussing on the things we really need is for sure the most eco-friendly choice - and incredibly freeing. Also a good idea: re-using the things that came out of the global production cycle (which is a hell of a lot!).
But there are times where we just need to buy something new. If that’s the case, we should stop being cheap skates and keep an eye on fair production, human rights and clean, organic & sustainable materials.
We tell you: in Berlin, it isn’t! There is such a cool new wave of sustainable chic, plus heaps of modern street wear labels that make fair fashion fun and accessible for everyone. No need to wear hippie pants or earthy, “potato-sacky” clothes anymore.
THE BIGGEST BENEFITS OF BUYING FAIR FASHION
#1 You help saving the planet
Fast fashion factories leave a whole lot of shitty chemicals behind and use massive amounts of energy. So, if you pick organic fabrics, you reduce your carbon footprint and protect your own health, too. After all, it’s what we wear on our skin!
#2 You help the people who make your clothes
We guess you’ve heard about some of the ugly things that happen in the production plants, especially in developing countries. By buying fair trade clothes you make sure that the label cares about it’s people at least as much as about making a profit.
#3 It lasts much longer!
It’s a fact - clothes made from organic, renewable fibers are not only less toxic, but also much more durable! So if higher prices hold you back, do the maths 🙂
#4 You truly appreciate your clothes
Not only does it make you consume less (cause it costs a bit more and lasts longer) - knowing where your clothes come from, who made it, what’s the story behind it… I LOVE every single piece I bought eco and it makes me feel happy to wear them. Plus, they just look and feel SO much better than H&M!
#5 You support and give back to people
Green fashion is not all about the environment. It's about fellow humans, people who either live in less fortunate places than us, or work hard to make a living with their creative crafts. No matter if in India or Berlin, small scale artists and designers need our support to withstand against the fast fashion giants.
Events like the Fashion Revolution Week, as well as our own tours and Circular Economy Tours remind us that each and everyone of us has a choice. And every piece we consume makes a statement. Let's try to look a bit closer from now on and support those brands who get it right.
But how can we find out who is, without spending hours of research? How can we be sure which clothing brands really care and aren’t just fast fashion in green disguise?
Easy: there are SO many amazing designers, labels and ethical fashion stores in Berlin. Numbers growing. Wanna know which ones to check out first? Here comes our choice:
ETHICAL FASHION IN BERLIN: BEST STORES TO BUY MORE CONSCIOUSLY
LOVECO is Berlin’s biggest concept-store for eco-fair fashion. The bright, brick-walled interior, an amazing swing hanging in the middle of the shop and a very friendly team just make you wanna stay. Whether it's clothes, jewelry or accessories - everything they sell is truly beautiful, trendy, hip and approachable. Forget the boring, old-fashioned eco-image, this is the happy future!
Good News: they just opened their 2nd branch, LOVECO Selected. Tucked away on a side street off the canal in Kreuzberg, you’ll be dazzled by the high ceilings, the wooden door and the stucco walls. This store will soon be Berlin’s no.1 address for eco-fair, vegan shoes.
P.S. LOVECO founder & owner Christina Wille was our very first podcast guest. Listen to the episode here!
Just a stone’s throw from Kreuzberg's Markthalle Neun you’ll find the marvelous showroom of FOLKDAYS. They’re a young fair fashion label from Berlin, which I instantly fell in love with, as each product is handcrafted and tells us a unique story of far-away cultures. Living out their own passion for artisan products, every piece you find in the store is handmade using the finest materials and represents a specific craft, culture and tradition. With their beautiful products, they build a bridge to artisans in hard-to-reach countries and thus support small local producers to make a living through their craft.
P.S. Listen to our podcast interview with FOLKDAYS founder Lisa Jaspers: Empowering remote communities while building a business you love >>
photo: Zoe Spawnton
“Better wear fair” - that’s the motto of this bustling concept store in Kreuzberg. Far away from being a supermarket, Supermarché likes the irony and offers fair trade, organic streetwear and ethically produced living accessories. It’s our go-to shop to buy (nice-looking!) organic underwear, comfy leggings and colorful socks. And while their own label Hirschkind makes cool t-shirts and bed sheets - embellished through screen-printing which happens just around the corner - Supermarché also works with some awesome Berlin eco brands, incl. Jyoti, Minga or Little Sun. Moreover, they boast one of the biggest eco-fair jeans collection in town, a range of fair trade sneakers and upcycled items, bags made from recycled plastic. The whole team is very active in pushing the green fashion movement forward, so watch out for events, talks and workshops happening especially during Fashion Revolution Week.
P.S. Berlin’s famous package-free supermarket, Original Unverpackt, is right next door.
STANDARD - SAUBERE SACHEN (Neukölln North)
One of my best-loved little stores in the Kiez. Katharina and Kathrin are giving all they can to make sustainable, “clean” fashion become a standard (hence why the name). The sell only products made from ecological, natural and fairly sourced materials. Brands and designers are changing regularly and the focus is on pieces that make us look great for more than just one season. Apart from fashion, they also sells a range of ingenious little items to green our lives, such as cosmetics, tea, paper items, liquors, glass ware and more. Again, every piece has its own story - and some make a great guilt-free gift, too. (It’s our no. 1 address for beautiful last-minute birthday shops).
Corvera Vargas - Kreuzkölln
Just a stones throw from bustling Maybachufer, this pretty boutique is home to Bolivian-born expat and fashion designer Maria Corvera and her friendly team. She started her Berlin brand in 2013, with the desire to combine timeless, elegant styles with contemporary, straight and pure designs - skilfully mixed with influences from Bolivia, Bali and Mexico. Nearly all garments are designed and sewed here in Berlin - sometimes even right in front of your eyes in the shop’s built-in atelier. And the knitted alpaca pullovers are the result of a partnership with a cooperative from Maria’s home in Bolivia. There are no intermediaries, no profiteering, all the money goes straight to them. Generally, the team works towards raising awareness and appreciation for the clothes we wear, as well as for fair working conditions in the fashion industry worldwide.
WESEN (Neukölln North)
Not far away lies Weserstraße - a looong street that forms the beating heart of this area. It is home to SO many vintage stores, independent designers and innovative Berlin labels. Just like the team at WESEN, a dedicated local design collective, producing exclusive ethical fashion under their label format. With the workshop and atelier in the back, the front is open as a showroom where they sell their own creations, complemented by a selection of like-minded designers, making things like eco-fair boots, underwear and jewelry. All have the same goal: making top notch products that follow the highest ethical standards - and look dazzingly good. The showroom is an open place to meet and exchange, so swing by and say hi.
P.S. WESEN just moved into their brand new space at Tellstraße 7, 12045 Berlin (corner Weserstr.)
SHIO Store (Neukölln North)
Did you know that there is 10 to 20% of waste generated in each step of the textile and clothing production? Thank god, there are some passionate designers out there who want to change that. Like Kate Pinkstone, owner of the beautiful SHIO Store. All her designs have a strong focus on upcycling - taking garments that are already there and giving them a new life by improving elements and cuts. We are big fans of Kate’s creations, as they are absolutely timeless, pure and wearable everyday (as opposed to the sometimes very extravagant patterns and shapes of other upcycling brands). To find materials, she strolls over flea markets and always keeps an eye on what’s high quality and will last a long time. With this reuse-reduce-recycle approach, Kate is also one of the stars on our Circular Economy Tour & Dinner sessions. Keep in touch to learn when we host the next one.
SÜßSTOFF (Neukölln South)
A bit further South in Schillerkiez (right near Tempelhofer Feld), this colorful little store sells clothes, accessories and artful gifts, which are fairly produced and 100% vegan. It is run by fair fashion designer Jenny - the face behind the beautiful organic label Börd Shört. Süßstoff is her atelier & store, where she also sells other amazing eco fair brands for women and men - some of them come right from the neighborhood, too. Next to clothes, the offer ranges from organic cosmetics, creative laptop cases and fine handmade jewelry to playful accessories, made by Jenny using leftover materials from her Bördshört lines.
BOHAZEL (Neukölln South)
Further up the same street, this homely store has turned into one of my new favorite places in Schillerkiez. You’ll find ethnic designs on handwoven rugs, colorful cushions & other epic crafts work. Inspired by the owners travels to Morocco, Vietnam & other places, it makes you dream of foreign cultures AND supports small scale craftsmanship. Come by with an open heart & get inspired. Not to forget the charming makramé plant hangers that you can either buy, OR learn to make yourself in one of Bohazel's awesome workshops.
UN AUTRE VOODOO (Kreuzberg)
In its new location near Südstern, this friendly eco design store has found a bright large space to showcase local talents & introduce more people to the concept of slow shopping. That means: stop by, have a chat and hearing inspiring stories about the ideas and origins of the products you buy. Owned by a lovely French couple, you’ll find hand-made, sustainably and locally produced gems by international, but Berlin-based designers. Each artist gets a limited period to showcase, meaning you’ll always find something new.
Of/Berlin is a beautiful design store in West-Kreuzberg, selling carefully chosen fashion, food and design products to fall in love with. All are made by up-and-coming Berlin designers and small manufactures. If you’re look for a unique gift, a delightful accessory for your home or simply wanna try something new while supporting local craftsmanship and creative food producers - this is your go to place. From homemade chocolates with fairly traded beans from Belize, to handcrafted jewelry plotted in Berlin’s backstreets to the stunning organic collection of travel bags by Marine et Marin - there is simply no other way but being inspired by the incredible talents that live in this city.
Wertvoll Berlin (Prenzlauer Berg)
A real institution in Berlin’s ethical fashion scene, Wertvoll has been the first eco-fashion store in the city! Opened in times when hardly anyone heard about fair fashion before, this pretty boutique has done an amazing job to put the spotlight on elegant, smart and high quality labels, vegan shoes and fairly produced accessories. With established brands ranging from Armed Angels to People Tree Jan’nJune, they’re proving that eco fashion is exciting, sophisticated and feels amazing to wear.
MORE TIPS AROUND ETHICAL FASHION IN BERLIN (AND BEYOND)
- Other stores worth checking out: Jyoti - Fair Works, Studio Hertzberg , Homage Store
- Hungry for more? Check out the GreenMe BLN map and filter for "ethical shops"
- Check out one of Berlin’s vibrant ethical fashion networks and join them for their next meetup, e.g. Textile Round Table , Get Changed , Sustainable Fashion Matters or Slow Fashion World
- If you happen to be in Berlin on the 1st Friday of the month, join our dear friends of the Green Fashion Tours Berlin for one of their public tours
- Read up about Fashion Revolution Day & join in this April
- Our Book Tip: Let my people go surfing - The Education of a Reluctant Businessman** (by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard)
Always thought your actions don’t matter? See, it’s not true! Every single piece you buy makes a difference. You choose if it’s a good one or not.
Now, let's join the revolution & support the people who are making this world a f*** beautiful place for everyone
WHAT IS YOUR RELATIONSHIP TO ETHICAL FASHION? IN BERLIN - OR WORLDWIDE.
Do you find it easier to make good choices? Or is there something that holds you back?
Share your thoughts with us in the comments (right at the bottom of this page).
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