Did you know that the municipality of Amsterdam has huge circular ambitions? And that there are many circular entrepreneurs in Amsterdam? This is necessary to extend the life of clothing and this way reduce the large textile waste mountain. Curious how Amsterdam and the entrepreneurs approach this? Then keep on reading!
The circular fashion ambitions of Amsterdam
Amsterdam has set itself the target of switching entirely to a circular economy by 2050. A circular economy is an economy without waste and where everything runs on reusable raw materials. This objective also brings enormous challenges for the textile industry; an industry that is unfortunately one of the most polluting in the world.
Circular fashion, what does it mean?
More and more often we talk about circular fashion, either as a replacement of the term “sustainable” or in combination. But what does the term circular mean? Circular fashion can be seen as the superlative of sustainable fashion. The term circular fashion includes both the principles of sustainability and circularity. And to avoid confusion; this definitely includes fair working conditions and respect for craftsmanship.
A garment being ‘circular’ means that every part of the life of this piece of clothing is cyclical. This starts with the design phase of a garment. In this early phase the optimization of the lifespan is already taken into account so that the item does not become waste at the end of its lifespan. Timelessness also plays an important role in the design of a garment.
The use of fabrics and materials is thought through in detail. How sustainable are the materials? Are the materials newly made and which raw materials are used? Are these materials compostable? Will the choice be made for recycled and recyclable materials? Or for already existing materials such as so-called deadstock stocks.
When designing a circular fashion item, attention is paid to the construction. Can the garment be easily modified or taken apart? We also look at the haberdashery such as zippers, buttons and yarns. When these are redundant, they are either left out or sustainable and recyclable options are considered.
Many Amsterdam entrepreneurs already design according to circular principles: look at the Amsterdam labelArchivist Studio that upcycled sheets from luxury hotels into beautiful white and colored shirts,NUTT Amsterdam that makes unique, fashionable blazers from discarded clothing,Koda that makes timeless bags and accessories from snippets of curtain and furniture fabrics andCapsule Studio andRambler Studios both work with deadstock materials.
Besides sustainability and circularity, fair and ethical production processes are also an important part within the definition of circular fashion. Quality, respect for craftsmanship and living wages are essential for a healthy circular fashion system.
Making clothes is seen as a craft again. We want to know how our clothes are made and by whom. This will make us appreciate our clothes more, take better care of them and want to use them as long as possible. By sharing the love for the garment and the knowledge about the production process we work together towards a healthier, fairer and circular fashion system.
Curious about how a garment is made? Then stop by New Optimist in Amsterdam-West. In the back of the shop you can take a look at the atelier and see the whole production process.
The way to a circular fashion system
To make fashion circular, your role as a consumer is also very important. For example by consciously choosing certain materials, knowing how to keep that material beautiful as long as possible and how to wash the garment without causing pollution.
Repair broken clothes yourself or have them repaired by a good tailor in your neighbourhood. The COSH! sustainable shopping map in Amsterdam lists no less than 28 tailors that can repair your clothes. At De Steek sewing cafe you can learn how to repair your own clothes with a darning workshop. There are countless opportunities to give a piece of clothing that you think is no longer wearable a new lease of life! This way you extend the life of a garment and prevent it from unnecessarily ending up on the textile waste heap.
Don't want to wear it anymore? Give your pre-loved item a new life by giving it away, selling it in a second hand shop or swapping it during a clothing exchange or shops specifically for swapping like The Swapshop. Even when you want to buy something 'new' yourself, you can go for one of these options.
Do you want something new, but rather not buy it? Take a look at the LENA Fashion Library or rent clothes at Iconic Wardrobe. The most sustainable product is the one you didn't buy!
Discover circular entrepreneurs in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is well on its way to making the switch to a circular fashion system. From designers, consumers, brands, tailors to governments: they are all working to move from a linear to a circular model. Through COSH! you can discover the best circular entrepreneurs in Amsterdam!
Do you want your clothes to contribute to a circular fashion industry? Then you've come to the right place at NUTT Amsterdam! Owner Esther Mutsaers makes unique fashionable blazers from discarded garments. Esther makes the upcycled garments in her workshop in Amsterdam, which you can visit by appointment! Do you have clothes to spare that you don't wear anymore? You can also donate your clothes to NUTT Amsterdam to give them a new life!
Why make new materials when there are so many beautiful ones available? With this vision in mind, Amsterdam-based label Koda amsterdam designs unique bags and accessories from furniture and curtain fabric remnants: firm and circular! The products are made locally in Amsterdam by talented people with a distance to the labor market.
Did you know that around 10 million kilos of luxury hotel linen from Europe end up on the rubbish heap every year? This high quality material can also be used as a fabric for beautiful shirts, noticed the Amsterdam-based label Archivist Studio. Archivist now works with hotel linen from luxury hotels in Amsterdam, London and Romania and has developed a beautiful, timeless and high quality collection made of upcycled bed linen, such as Egyptian cotton.
Amsterdam and bikes go hand in hand. At Recycle in De Hallen Amsterdam, you can buy a sustainable bicycle or have your bike repaired. From restored old-timers to recycled bicycles and from unique products made from old bicycle parts to new bicycles from sustainable bicycle brands, you'll find it all at Recycle.
Everyone knows the situation: you have a pile of beautiful clothes at home that you don't wear anymore and you don't know what to do with them. Take this pile of clothes to The Swapshop, do a swap and come home with a new addition to your wardrobe, without having to buy anything! This way you also make sure that these clothes don't end up on the textile heap.
Another sustainable way to create a new wardrobe without having to buy is to rent clothes! The Netherlands' first clothing library, LENA Fashion Library, opened its doors back in 2014 and has been a great success. You can borrow clothes here without a subscription or opt for the try before you buy concept, where you can try out a garment before you buy it. This way you're sure not to make a bad purchase!
Have you always wanted to learn how to sew or are you interested in repairing clothes, but don't know where to start? At the sewing cafe De Steek you can attend sewing classes, workshops and courses,-. Or, you can rent a spot where you can work independently for a few hours on qualitative sewing machines. Take a look at the darning workshop for example, where you learn to repair clothes using a special technique.
Do you want to have your jeans repaired? At Denim City in De Hallen Amsterdam they are specialized in the famous jeans fabric! Besides the wide range of durable jeans you can also have your 'old' jeans repaired or altered. On top of that, Denim City is an academy where students are trained for the denim industry and a place where innovative developments around sustainable denim are experimented with.
You know the drill: suddenly your jeans have a hole in them or your favorite jacket has a zipper that needs to be shortened. Don't panic! The right tailor can solve it for you. This way you don't have to say goodbye to your favourite item of clothing and you can enjoy it for years to come.
On the sustainable shopping map of COSH! in Amsterdam you'll find no less than 28 tailors spread throughout the city. Do you have a city card? Then you'll receive a 40% discount on your clothing repair. Want to know more about this promotion? Make sure to read this blog.
Shop secondhand in Amsterdam
Do you love treasure hunting and pre-loved clothes? From second-hand designer clothes to thrift stores, Amsterdam is a Mecca for second-hand shops and boutiques! For second-hand designer clothes, check out Reverse Studio, Kath-a-Porter, De Kloffiemarkt, De Ruilhoek and Second Life. For the most beautiful curated vintage items, head to Indianaweg in Zuid or West, Vintage 2.0, ENSO or Laura Dols. Other great addresses for second hand quality clothing are: garment, Carlarobe, De Woensdagwinkel, Crafted Stories, Helly Secondhand, De Weggeefwinkel and don't forget the thrift store De Lokatie!
Does your child also outgrow their clothes quickly? Then it can be a good idea to start shopping for second-hand clothes for children. In Amsterdam, you'll find lots of great second-hand addresses for babies, kids or budding teens. In Amsterdam-West, check out Old West, Otis en de Wolf, Lino & Moos and JunJun. In Amsterdam-Noord ROOKIE the Recyclekid and De Woensdagwinkel are definitely worth a visit and in Amsterdam-Zuid pass by Ziggy & Lucy!