I believe that having conversations, sharing knowledge and asking critical questions is essential to come to new insights.
Willa Stoutenbeek is the regular host of de Bijenkorf’s Green Sessions, and for good reason. As the founder of sustainable branding and communication agency W.Green, Willa is a pioneer in this field and knows the ins and outs of the sustainable fashion, beauty and lifestyle industry like no other. What are her motivations and what does sustainability mean to her?
Ethics + Aesthetics
Having grown up in a fashion and textile family, Willa was brought up with fashion. At the same time, she was critical and went against the grain. “I always had a love-hate relationship with fashion. I knew the world inside out and enjoyed my job in fashion communications, but at the same time there was an activist element in me from an early age, linked to human and animal rights, and sustainability which resulted in an inner friction.”
A turning point in her career in 2010 gave Willa the opportunity and the impetus to think about her future. She decided to combine sustainability and her love of fashion. “At the time, sustainability was not a topic in this industry that was being discussed at all. I went looking what my role could be in the development of sustainability, and came up with the idea of literally bringing these two worlds together.” W.Green was the answer. It is not for nothing that Willa chooses the combination Ethics + Aesthetics within her company. “The core is about the balance between those two elements. Advising companies on how to become more sustainable and working with sustainable companies on their branding and communication strategy.”
Sustainable is the future
Meanwhile, sustainability is a topic that can no longer be ignored, especially within fashion. In recent times, the world has largely come to a standstill which, according to Willa, has led to the fact that the need for change is being truly felt collectively for the first time. “Only with intrinsic motivation we can make new choices and initiate change. That’s what I find interesting about the ambitions of the de Bijenkorf, and I like being part of that positive change. I believe that having conversations, sharing knowledge and asking critical questions is essential to come to new insights. And that’s exactly what we want to bring with the Green Sessions.”