I would love to buy all my clothing second hand! But I am not quite there yet. For one because I live in a city where there is limited access to good second hand shops and secondly because I do enjoy browsing my favorite shops and buy a good quality piece once in a while. I mean, we all vote with our money. And I vote to support the shops I believe really do want to change something in the third most polluting industry in the world.
1) Armed Angels
I love their philosophy! They say: “Why do so many people believe that fair & organic does not go together with modern & pretty?” They really focus on combining high quality with timeless design while maintaining a fair work environment. I own one of their T-shirts and a skirt. And let me tell you: they really keep what they promise. I wear my shirt constantly and it has still the same shape, color and feel to it. Both my items are made out of 100% Lyocell, which is a cellulose. And the fabric is amazing! It’s super soft and feels way better on the body than anything made out of polyester. I think my next cardigan is going to be from Armed Angels.
UPDATE: I just went to “Zündstoff Clothing” in Freiburg and bought my dream-cardigan, a blue sweater and a headband. To be honest, the headband was not on my clothing wishlist, BUT the other two have been on there for quite a while! And I am so happy with the purchases!
2) Wood Fellas
Another German Company. I try to support the more locally produced products, so that’s why I have three recommendations coming from Germany. Wood Fellas is based in Munich and uses wood scraps from the furniture industry because they are too small to use for making furnishings. My glasses only have wooden side pieces but you can purchase complete wood glasses! So cool!
3) In the Soulshine
This is an only vegan company. They carry their message on their tees, bags and stickers. I do admit, my closet is not completely vegan, nor will it ever be, because I do feel that sometimes animal products like sheep wool is more environmentally friendly, but I love the messages that are printed on their shirts. I have two: One t-shirt that says “be nice.” And one saying: “Cows are for mooing not BBQing”. Watch out: It is very straight forward wearing your values on your shirts, so be aware that there may be stares or annoyed questions. It did take me some time until I accepted that part and started wearing my shirts (especially the cow shirt) with pride.
4) Erlich Textil
The last German company I promise. Erlich Textil makes underwear that fits like a second skin. I purchased a body called Emma and I love wearing it together with a high waist jeans or my Armed Angels skirt. Top it off with a jeans jacket and you’re ready to go. This company is from Cologne as well (I should really check out Cologne in the near future!). We often have this misconception that high quality means higher prices. That’s not true. Their pieces are very affordable, produced in Europe, using only renewable resources like cotton and/or modal (cellulose yarn). Additionally, their shipping is Co2 neutral. I don’t think I need to tell more.
5) K.O.I. – Kings of Indigo
Since I’m quite tall (177cm; 5’10”) I often have trouble finding jeans that fit perfectly. Plus, I like wearing high waist jeans and that together with my length can make it very hard finding the perfect jeans. After searching for two years (I swear I’m not kidding) for the perfect black, skinny, high waist jeans, I finally found her! It’s the Christina from K.O.I. and I wear it at least 4 days out of 7. It’s 98% organic cotton and produced under fair conditions in Tunisia. I highly recommend checking out their jeans.
I hope I could inspire some of you to go and check out those companies. And yes, buying should not be the first thing when you need something new for your wardrobe, but I believe that sometimes it’s okay to go out and buy a new item, but only when you know what values the companies you support have, what you really need, when there is no second hand alternative. Please do not go out and buy mindlessly! The US alone has 25 billions pounds of clothing waste every year. I do my best to reduce the impact I have on our planet. One small step at a time.
PS: Lauren Singer from Trash is for Tossers just released a very interesting post about how to build a zero waste wardrobe, go check it our here!
GOTS = The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) is the worldwide leading textile processing standard for organic fibres, including ecological and social criteria, backed up by independent certification of the entire textile supply chain.
ÖkoTex100 = The STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX® is a worldwide consistent, independent testing and certification system for raw, semi-finished, and finished textile products at all processing levels, as well as accessory materials used.
BSCI = Business Social Compliance Initiative