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 Neonyt 2019 (formerly Ethical Fashion Show Berlin) 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 our GreenMe Tours, where sustainable fashion is always one of the topics (private tours upon request). Let's meet the makers of Berlin's vibrant eco scene - local producers, shop owners, designers and social projects - and get an insight into their amazing work.
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.
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.
Premiere in 2019: The Ethical Fashion Show Berlin and The Green Showroom are merging together into one brand new format: the Neonyt Trade Fair & Conference 2019. For three days, this will be the global hub for sustainability and innovation in fashion. The FashionSustain conference and #FashionTech are happening under the same umbrella, turning Berlin into a hotspot for future-oriented fashion concepts.
Throughout the week, the entire global fashion scene will stream into the city - and will ultimately be inspired by the most future-oriented green labels and designers. Neonyt 2019 is 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 Neonyt Berlin 2019 & be there when green fashion takes over the city for 3 days. And don't miss out all the other cool events happening around Fashion Week - check our events calendar to get an overview.
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 on the GreenMe 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.
5 BENEFITS OF 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 GreenMe 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 (3 locations in Berlin)
LOVECO Friedrichshain is the first shop and 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: over just 2 years, LOVECO has opened two more branches! Swing by at the Kreuzberg store, which is quickly becoming Berlin’s no.1 address for eco-fair, vegan shoes. 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.
The latest addition to the LOVECO family is finally bringing eco-fair fashion to Schöneberg! A warm, inviting space, where you can easily hang out for a while. On roughly 100 m2, the store stocks all the handpicked favorites & beautiful brands that make LOVECO such a pleasure to visit.
P.S. LOVECO founder & owner Christina Wille was our very first podcast guest - listen to the episode here >>
On another note, LOVECO has also been a major support in making our very first VeganBerlin Guide possible <3
Where to find LOVECO:
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 >>
“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, umiwi 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 cool events, talks and workshops.
P.S. Berlin’s famous package-free supermarket, Original Unverpackt, is right next door.
Standard Saubere Sachen (Kreuzkölln)
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 fashion labels. Just like WESEN, a beautiful store run by dedicated female fashion-preneur Mareike, producing exclusive ethical fashion under her own 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, of course, make you look and feel great. The showroom is an open place to meet and exchange, so swing by and say hi.
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.
SHIO Store (Neukölln)
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.
Because there is no planet B! Berlin’s ethical fashion crowd rejoiced when the new flagship store of Spanish-born label Ecoalf opened its doors in 2017. Located in the heart of Mitte’s go-to area for trendy clothing labels, Ecoalf proves that wasting the natural resources of our planet to look good is so yesterday. Instead, the certified BCorp is transforming plastic waste, fishing nets and coffee grounds into high-quality upcycled clothing. Frustrated by the overuse and overproduction in the Western world and a strong urge to leave the world better for his son Alfredo (hence why the name), president and founder Javier Goyeneche decided to create the first fashion line that only uses recycled materials. All while achieving the same quality and modern design as the best non-recycled ones and building a new generation of conscious consumers. Not enough: with their Upcycling The Oceans campaign, they empower local fishermen in Spain and Thailand to save their livelihoods and play an active part in cleaning the bottom of the ocean and turning this waste into top quality products. Today Ecoalf has recovered over 280 tons of waste thanks to the support of over 3,000 fishermen..
The Berlin store is an eye catcher, ultra-spacious, with urban industrial elements mixed in with nature and plants. It offers much more than just fashion, e.g. architecture, design, books and beauty for a holistic experience of sustainable lifestyle. The back area is often used as events space, so watch out for the next gathering.
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 Maska, Kings of Indigo and Haikure, 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 , Wunderwerk & Stoffbruch
- Hungry for more? Check out the GreenMe 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, make sure to join our dear friends of the Green Fashion Tours for one of their public tours. Be guided by the ultimate experts and visit ateliers, studios, unique boutiques and eco concept stores.
- Sneakers with a higher cause: Berlin based fashion label kūlson designed a cool, minimalist, incredibly comfy and timelessly-chic Sneaker, bundled with a project that pulls plastic out of the ocean with every pair of shoes sold. Produced in small quantities with a family-owned manufacturer in Portugal and a footbed made of recycled materials. Check them out
- Read up about Fashion Revolution Day & join next year in 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).