The fashion episode

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The fashion episode

The latest fashion is sustainability. Not a passing trend, but a permanent, innovative look at fashion and how we deal with it. For example, don’t buy, but rent. Don’t throw it away, but repair it. Or reuse, alter, sell or recycle. In this way, we use raw materials more efficiently and together we reduce the impact of the fashion industry on the environment. And the great thing is: this new fashion looks good on everyone.

Be inspired by the stories of pioneers of sustainable fashion and discover how small initiatives like 1/Off Paris, A Beautiful Mess and Xupes grew into serious businesses and made a difference in the fashion world.

The fashion episode

The story of A Beautiful Mess

With A Beautiful Mess, Naz Kawan wants to make the fashion industry more sustainable and at the same time use the talents of refugee tailors. In the atelier in Amsterdam, tailors with a refugee background receive a re-start programme and make products for e.g. Patta, Google and Daniëlle Cathari.

“Four years ago I did research on circular-economic challenges in the fashion industry. Repair, reuse and redesign have become important terms in the fashion industry. Among the stream of refugees that has reached the Netherlands in the last few years, there are many people with knowledge of the tailoring trade and twenty to thirty years of experience. I wanted to use that talent and together with Fleur Bakker I founded the Makerspace studio, where people can make a new start. So far, in one year, we have been able to give 25 tailors a place to put their talent to use again.

“We produce fashion from remnants or recycled materials. I think it would be great if we could one day create new products from surplus textiles alone. Our goal is to produce as sustainably as possible. Because our atelier is located in the Netherlands, companies can easily be part of the production process and use the knowledge that our tailors have. It is more of a co-creation than an assignment. And because we produce locally, people don’t have to fly back and forth to foreign countries, so we also contribute to sustainability in that way.”

“My mission is to bring the textile industry back to the Netherlands, where tailors in the fashion industry earn a fair salary and we can produce in a more sustainable way. That is a complicated process. Fifty years ago there were still hundreds of studios in Amsterdam, now almost all production processes have moved to cheaper countries outside the Netherlands. The re-start programme – supported by Refugee Company – of A Beautiful Mess helps people to get back on their feet again. We create a safe environment, where people become part of society. A Beautiful Mess is about much more than making fashion. It’s about equality, re-learning to appreciate the talents of the craftsmen who make our clothes in the fashion industry.”

The fashion episode

The story of Xupes

Luxury second-hand boutique Xupes sells special items from the likes of Rolex, Chanel, Hermès and Cartier and offers service and quality of the highest level.

“Ten years ago we started selling second-hand luxury items. We focus on high end brands that last a lifetime and stay in the family for generations.”

“We are trying to change the image of second-hand in such a way that soon it will be as natural to buy a used Rolex watch or Chanel bag as a new one. Several factors play a role in this. Trust and quality are of course very important. With our service we try to match the level of the fashion houses – with this we hope to appeal to people who are normally not interested in second-hand products. They want the guarantee that when they spend a lot of money on something special, they get value for money in every way. That’s why Xupes offers premium service.”

“Buying a special product should be a unique experience. That’s why we carefully select the location, surroundings, furnishings and staff for our boutiques.”

“The idea that a luxury product must necessarily be new is outdated. We live in a time when we should cherish products that have already been made. At Xupes, we try to preserve the value of second-hand products. They are all things that you want to keep with you throughout your life. We don’t compete with fashion houses, we complement them. When someone buys a second-hand Hermès, they don’t have to make a new one. That saves energy and raw materials. The brands themselves also benefit from maintaining a certain scarcity.”

“In recent years we have noticed a clear shift in thinking, which we hope to contribute to. That we don’t always have to do something new. We think this is a very positive development.”

Buying a special product should be a unique experience. That is why we carefully select the location, surroundings, furnishings and staff for our boutiques.

The fashion episode

The story of 1/Off Paris

Despite a different background in fashion, Renée van Wijngaarden and Xuan-Thu Nguyen had the same dream. Their love for high-end vintage brought them together and in 2019 they founded the fashion label 1/Off Paris to give old designer pieces a new life in their atelier.

Xuan-Thu: “As a couture designer, I was shocked by the amount of beautiful pieces that are left over and destroyed. I thought, I must do something with that. Then I met Renée. Like me, she has a love of vintage design. Together we founded 1/Off Paris, where we reinvent special design pieces.”

Renée: “We give pieces a twist by highlighting the most special details. A Burberry trench coat, for example, we turn it inside out. It is upcycling, a popular term in fashion at the moment, where materials are reused and thus made valuable again. We do that with respect for the garment, not cutting it up completely and leaving the authentic details intact.”

Xuan-Thu: “Like couture, there has to be a lot of love in a piece. We approach a vintage piece in the same way. We discover what is special about it and then come up with a new, modern design.”

Renée: “We hope that 1/Off also makes people think about consuming fashion and the current fashion industry. That we show that you should invest in a beautiful piece and cherish it, not just throw it away. That when you get tired of it, you think about what you could do with it, how you could give it a new life. This also makes your wardrobe more valuable.”

Xuan-Thu: “It’s a mindset. Much more is possible than you think. We don’t just want to make beautiful things, we also hope to inspire people. I think it’s great to see that people who normally wouldn’t wear vintage are discovering through 1/Off that it can be very tasteful. In doing so, we appeal to a completely new target group, so we reach even more people with this important message.”

Renée: “Many young people are attracted to our brand. They look at this world differently, want to do things differently. We are proud to be part of that. New ways of dealing with fashion, inspiring each other, motivating. That is the future.”

Credits

Author

Mark
Lange

Photography

Emma
Pallant

Date

28.04.21

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