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We live in a very fast and globalized world, in a consumer society in which we buy more than we need. We can have it all – so why not purchase it? It’s never been that easy to get something you want right now, online or offline, you can wear it tomorrow. The fashion industry has become an object of luxury. We don’t need clothes in order to survive, we ‘need’ them to be fashionable, appreciated or simply because our society expects us to buy more and more and exchange clothes even there’s no actual reason for it. Retailers sell fashion at low prices, and what still seems hard to understand for a lot of people is that we actually pay a bigger price: our environment. For a couple of years now several sustainable brands came up and second hand fashion got more attractive, especially for younger generations. It’s on us to obtain the world we live in, and to change the fashion industry could be seen as one of the big challenges our future generation will have to cope with.
A lot of people are aware of what happens when retailers sell the latest fashion: child labor, exploitation and pollution of the environment. But I also think a lot of people don’t know what can be done to not be a part of it, or at least how to find options that are not part of a huge catch-22. Obviously, flew markets, swap meets and (online) second hand stores are a great option. But since it’s hip to wear ‘vintage’ clothes, a lot of people start making money with it. They open up store chains, sell second hand clothes at prices that are way too high, and the worst thing: they get clothes from all over the world, even countries thousands of miles away. If vintage fashion is flown or shipped in, the meaningful aspect of why we all want to wear second hand clothes gets lost, doesn’t it?
A couple of months ago Lena, the owner of the Kleiderei shop in Cologne contacted me whether I would be interested in collaborating. I heard about the concept of Kleiderei before, but wasn’t too sure what it was all about. Kleiderei was founded by two students in 2012. The concept is simple: you pay a monthly contribution to borrow 4 different garments (online or offline, the contribution is higher when ordering online as they need to pay for mailing). At the end of four weeks you give them back to the shop and you can borrow your next 4 garments. It works like a library, only for clothes. It’s possible to keep one item for a longer period or purchase it. Simple, right?
Kleiderei also works with charity partners and only provides clothes which origin from donations. If you have too many clothes and want to make a contribution to local (or national) second hand shops, Kleiderei is a wonderful option! They cooperate with various foundations (e.g. Deutsche Kleiderstiftung) and as well support a charity fighting for woman rights in the fashion industry. The durability of a garment is maximized as they only use second hand clothes. That’s the most sustainable way of consuming fashion. Pretty impressive!
I can highly recommend you Kleiderei as I already lowered my consume of fashion. If there is a possibility to slow down the fashion industry and familiarize people with sustainability and eco-friendly clothing, the first step is to buy, or in this case borrow, second hand clothes. As you can see in these pictures I found super nice habiliments at Kleiderei and can only encourage you to question your consume of fashion. To be honest and keep this post as transparent as possible: I don’t have clay feet regarding this topic, I still buy clothes from retailers (even though I try to minimize that) and in the supply chain I still leave my ecological footprint. Sustainability is a huge and complex topic, there need to be changed so many things in the future, but as an individual we can still make a change. Even if it’s a small one. Same thing with consuming food, traveling and being attentive with our environment. But that’s a different topic. Start somewhere, it’s always better than nothing.