We love this short documentary Patagonia produced Fair Trade - The First Step. It is the "invisible story behind the products we buy" highlighting the importance of conscious consumption.
"The garment industry is broken. People would be shocked if they saw what goes on in factories. It really changes the way you think about clothing when you consider the people in the process. But because there is no visibility when you buy garments you are just oblivious to it."
The first step it argues is Fairtrade, improving the lives of all factory workers. "In a world were two billion people live on $2 a day we clearly have our work cut out for us." They dream of a world were workers aren't exploited, "this should not be tolerated in this day and age. Keep the pressure on so every brand is doing this"
Amsterdam is at the front line of the ethical fashion movement according to the Eco Fashion World. This cutting edge comes from the innovative design its renowned for and financial incentives from the Dutch government.
So where should you shop this winter? We've chosen some of our favorite local gems that will not only keep you warm and on trend but also support sustainability and Fairtrade.
CHARLIE + MARY's concept store holds beautiful collections that are created with love for people, animals and the planet. Charlie and Mary themselves guarantee everything is enviromentally friendly and supports fair trade. They stock a range of fashion brands that fit with their philosophy and that won't break the bank.
GEITEN WOLLEN WINKEL is a trendy store with brands that are open, fair, green and vegan. Wollen Winkel sells vegan friendly clothes, bags and shoes. They believe in using natural textiles: organic cotton, recycled products and 100% biodegradable materials.
MHOOM is a hairstylist and concept store combo. Head here not only for a hair cut, but also hair and beauty products which use natural ingredients. They also sell clothing and accessories, it's a chic place that "sells, uses and serves" green sustainability and eco fashion.
MUD JEANS sell jeans, and there is the option to lease or recycle them. CEO Bert van Son worked in the textile industry in China and saw first hand the problem with clothing manufacturing. Mud supports a circular economy - waste is seen as a opportunity for something new. Returned jeans are broken up and blended with new cotton.
SUKHA meaning "joy of life" is a home and fashion store with timeless designs you don't need to constantly update. The owners believe in using natural sustainable materials and provide a fair wage for their workers in Nepal and India.
We love all these stores not only for their slick threads, but also for looking at the bigger picture. "We have to keep asking the hard questions and challenge ourselves. There's an easy route, and there's a hard route that involves doing the right thing"
When shopping this winter keep in mind people and the planet. These are just a handful of stores in Amsterdam in the green scene. Try them out and let us know what you think. Remember green is the new black!
Here's a few more ethical brands to check out: