In July 2017, British fashion house Burberry, known for the check print, was in the news.No, not because of their most recent collection, but because it was found that the brand had burnt through more than 30 million euros in clothing. Say what? This kept the products out of the hands of counterfeiters who wanted to replicate them. A smart idea, but very bad for the environment. Because in the end, it turned out that 100.5 million euros had gone up in smoke over the past years.
In the Netherlands, 1.2 million items of clothing are destroyed every year. The environment is therefore extremely burdened and additional man-hours are required to process the textile waste. Why is this happening and why is there no legislation or regulation for this yet?
And how can 1 in 9 children live in poverty and therefore have no money for new clothes, while new clothes are being burned? Entrepreneur Chanel Trapman does not understand this and decided, together with Green Left, Suzanne Kröger, to start a petition to get a ban on burning unsold clothing. Are you down with this too? Then sign the petition…
Chanel has a huge mission to make people aware that fashion needs to be more sustainable and to inform about the many initiatives that exist. Something that naturally inspires me enormously. A few weeks ago I decided to interview her at The Impact Store in Amsterdam.
Where did your passion for fair fashion arise?
About four years ago when I saw The True Cost, a documentary on Netflix, I was a mother and student, so I didn’t have much money. My son was 2 years old and I regularly went to Primark, because he grew up fast. Actually, very ignorantly, I bought everything for him and for me. Isn’t that just how it works?
The True Cost has done so much for me. In the documentary you see children working with mothers and so I realised that I made a subconscious contribution to their nasty living conditions through my buying behaviour. In combination with seeing The True Cost and my training as a documentary maker, a lot has been triggered. I knew I had to change this. My mission to make more people aware of what is born.
However, the path was still very searching. That’s why I spent four years looking for initiatives with my camera, interviewing people, writing a lot and helping sustainable brands with their communication to the outside world. After 4 years, that resulted in the documentary Positive Chain of Change, my graduation project.
The documentary premiered on October 6, 2018, during the Dutch Sustainable Fashion week. The reactions were fantastic and I can’t wait to share this with the rest of the world and with the whole of the Netherlands (tip: hopefully early next year on NPO3). How can we solve the clothing problem? The problem is super complex, but the biggest problem is that we are shifting responsibility to someone else. The government, the market (companies/brands) and the consumers are the main players and actually point to each other. But if you point a finger at another, you point a finger at yourself. You as a consumer, yourself working for a (fashion) company, yourself working for the government. We must realise that we are connected to each other. We are all links in the chain, where cooperation can bring a positive chain reaction. It sounds logical, but unfortunately, it is not all that easy. I wanted to approach the documentary positively, emphasise positive examples in the market. People who want to make a change themselves, instead of waiting for it, and I went looking for all those people. Many of these people have quit their jobs to make this change. Just like at Hatsup (during this interview Hatsup launched its brand in the Impact store).
Hatsup makes sustainable products and ensures that someone with a mental illness is helped with every purchase.
Why did you start The Impact Shop in Amsterdam?
The Impact Shop is an initiative of Liza Elsenburg, known among others for the Gelukszoekers. She did not want to do this on her own and through me, she ended up here. I had been in the sustainable fashion industry for a few years, I knew the players and I had already worked with many brands through my own company Mumster.
I could offer a lot to companies, but it was just that last piece, the sale, that is ultimately what it’s all about and I couldn’t offer it to them. By working together with Liza the puzzle was complete. The name, “The Impact Shop” actually says enough. It fits me really well.
Which clothing brands are sold in The Impact Shop?
The great thing about The Impact Shop is that research has been done into the brands that are being offered. Sustainable production, transparency in the chain, the materials used and working conditions are looked at. One brand is more sustainable than the other brand. Rhumaa is a brand that communicates very clearly that it is not yet 100% organic matter, but that they have consciously opted for a certain mix in order to make the product-life longer. Then it is also more sustainable and better for the environment. The Dutch bag brand Fraenck makes an impact on all areas, they are a lot further in the process.
Do you have some tips for more sustainable shopping?
- Buy less (that is very strange to say with my shop, but it is true)
- Buy second hand: The Next Closet or Lena Library!
- Find your personal style. That way you limit faulty-buying.
- Buy products of better sustainable quality. This makes clothes last longer and you will not have to buy something new as quickly.
- Do not throw away clothing immediately if it is broken, but have it repaired. Don’t like your clothes anymore? Give it a second life, bring your clothes to someone else or throw it in a textile bin.
- Best tip; buy at The Impact Shop in Amsterdam!
Do you find yourself a world improver?
Oehhh, (short break, but full) YES! If you take it very literally, I am a world improver. Everything I do is all about improving the world. Sustainable fashion is of course about people and the environment, animal and welfare, everything – the world. But I also want to bring improvement to the next generation that comes into this world. We all live in the world and everything I do is about improving it.
When are you most happy?
I really get very happy when I notice that more and more people are becoming more aware of sustainability, the environment etc. It is good to hear that more people are starting to think about who they are and how they can contribute to improving the world in a positive way. But luckily I still get from my son, friends, and family, an ordinary life.
Do you want to know more about sustainable fashion, the petition or the documentary, do you have questions for Chanel or do you want to say something to her? Feel free to do that in the comments below. Did you like this article? Perhaps you will like our previous article ‘Entrepreneur Willa Stoutenbeek is Dusting off Boring Sustainable Fashion‘. Do you see mistakes? Let us know! Do you want to stay informed? Sign up for our Newsletter or social via Facebook and Instagram.