The time is now. Vote for the world you want to live in after Corona you do now. Consumers can vote by shopping at fair and honest trade companies.
Dear shoppers, a new chapter has begun

"It's not just whom we buy from, but what we buy." Niki

The well meant call from the major retail chains was clear ... "2020 will be a lost season for all retailers, big and small." "Buy on Belgian webshops." And we like to add a sustainable touch to that. We not only call on consumers to find out from whom (Belgian or foreign) they buy, but also what we buy. As a consumer, the time has come to ask yourself the following questions: "Are these products made locally? Are the products of the Belgian retailers actually made in Belgium? Are the designers Belgian? Are these garments and/or shoes made for a future in a circular world, where we reuse our raw materials? Is this a fair price?

"Not only who we buy from, but also what we buy from is important."Niki de Schryver, COSH Conscious Shopping Made Easy

Buying from Belgian retailers does not always mean that the products are Belgian. Today, more than ever, consumers have the power to initiate a much-needed change! Will we all choose to continue after Corona, with our blinkers on, as before or are we going to make really conscious choices?

The effect of Corona on fashion retail

Creamoda touched it too: "the season is lost." On the first Saturday, March 14, when we asked our COSH retailers how sales were, they invariably responded 0-4% of the usual sales for that first weekend. A dramatic figure! The natural cosmetics and children's shops are doing well for the time being. We will stay in close contact with our retailers in the coming weeks to closely follow the evolution of this crisis.

Also retailers with a webshop or retailers who now launched online sales during the corona season emphasize that their sales through these channels over the last 7 days are only 2-6% of their normal sales in the physical store. This is not even a fraction of the cost of renting the premises and the stock purchased. Still, they also quote that by selling via the internet and also a personal styling service online and matching personal delivery at home (and with the necessary distance), they fortunately give an extra boost to survive. However, there is still great uncertainty about the government's compensation and whether the bridging right in combination with online sales will still be paid for Corona's economic loss.

Many retailers have just had a difficult year, a new circulation plan and road works in Ghent and Antwerp. Others have only started up 1-2 years ago and already have a substantial loan in place. The sustainable retailers themselves are working on smaller margins for better working conditions and more sustainable practices in the supply chain. So they could build up less buffer than the big chains. We don't see all of the small retailers pioneering ecologically responsible fashion collections being able to borrow just as much money to buy new clothing for next winter season.

"In any case, Corona will have a global impact on brands, stitching manufacturers, their employees and all textile suppliers. If we want to use our remaining purchasing power for the economy, why not immediately go for truly sustainable products? That way we can shift the budget from 'miserable jobs' to 'decent jobs with living wages'. "says Niki de Schryver (COSH! Conscious Shopping Made Easy)

Many retailers have just had a difficult year, a new circulation plan and road works in Ghent and Antwerp. Others have only started up 1-2 years ago and already have a substantial loan in place. The sustainable retailers themselves are working on smaller margins for better working conditions and more sustainable practices in the supply chain. So they could build up less buffer than the big chains. We don't see all of the small retailers pioneering ecologically responsible fashion collections being able to borrow just as much money to buy new clothing for next winter season.

"In any case, Corona will have a global impact on brands, stitching manufacturers, their employees and all textile suppliers. If we want to use our remaining purchasing power for the economy, why not immediately go for truly sustainable products? That way we can shift the budget from 'miserable jobs' to 'decent jobs with living wages'. "says Niki de Schryver (COSH! Conscious Shopping Made Easy)

Dear retailers, choose for valuable business without Corona discount.

The chains that only last month sent out a press release in which they loudly said they wanted to focus on sustainability (and sometimes wrongly mark it on their website), now - because of Corona- give no less than 60% discount! Panic football to save income during this crisis, but no sustainable first move ... But a gap in your greenwashing sustainability campaign and killing the little ones who do want to do what is right and still try to keep their heads above water.

This system of discounts and selling products below the actual cost price is no longer tenable. As consumers, we don't think about the cascade effect this will have, especially in combination with this corona crisis. The large discount policy means that not everyone in the supply chain is paid a living wage. There is great pressure on raw material prices, employment, distribution, etc. The big companies can afford this and their suppliers will give in, because otherwise they could close down. The biggest losers are therefore the stitchers in the producing countries, who cannot fall back on technical unemployment. Environmental legislation, e.g. the colouring of fabrics in the Far East, will also come under pressure due to even more pressure on prices and chemicals will be discharged again.

Dear politicians, what did you think of Sales from September 1st?

Move The Sales

And what about the little entrepreneur? They feel compelled and put under pressure to follow... While by giving away turnover through discounts, they cannot set up budgets to be able to make a nice offer to the customer next season as well. But if they don't compete with the chains, even then they suffer...

"If, as always, the crazy fashion season lets conditional sales continue and sales start in June, this means that in the best-case scenario there is now only 1.5 months of resale. Impossible to get your budget out of this for the next season. So it's time to overthrow the dictates of fashion giants and chains, regulate sales much more strictly again and let the real sales go on at the end of the season. Read winter sales at the end of February, summer sales at the end of August." According to Stefanie of Harvest Club in Leuven.

"Replacing sales only makes sense if this is endorsed on a European level, otherwise there will be shopping on foreign webshops again." Jan van Hoof, Moose in the city of Antwerp

"The current sales period is much too early, but there should not only be Belgian regulation, but also legislation by the European Union, because the neighbouring countries are also competing with each other too." Sandra Nys, Tenue Préférée Leuven

As consumers, we now have the luxury of choosing very precisely from our couch and voting with our remaining purchasing power for the kind of labour we want to support. Do we choose for our own sake for even more discounts and the associated exploitation of the planet and people? Or do we realise that we better invest in pieces that last longer, are repairable and have been produced in a fair way? That do not harm nature and communities abroad? That were bought from a Belgian entrepreneur?

At COSH, we not only take the statement to replace the sales in time, but to leave them resolutely and keep them behind us. Large sales are a thing of the past. Only in this way can there be a shift to sustainable trading and trading. We are very much in favour of seasonal collections. Because the value, the time, the money and the materials that crawl into clothes, nor the rent of the shop premises does not decrease with time. So why is the value of the clothing decreasing so quickly? The system is maintained by fast fashion. These giants buy so much. Because of the mass volumes they get lower prices from suppliers, but they use more raw materials than necessary.

Dear brands, bet on timeless fashion

On the other hand, we also want to point out that brands should not simply place all the responsibility and burden of the COVID-19 measures with the traders. We hear that brands are now urgently insisting on paying their invoices, but retailers haven't had a chance to start the sales season yet. We expect that brands will also take some of the responsibility, helping to absorb the costs of the sales shortage. Only with the cooperation of the brands now, the retailer can decide in confidence and understanding his investments for next season. At COSH, we advocate more seasonal fashion. Retailers are also increasingly looking forward to timeless, unsoldable pieces.

"I often think of the pointlessness of the sales and also try to select 'never-out-of-stock' from clothing brands. Wherever possible, I opt to choose a part of the collections that I just need to complement instead of putting on sale. My suppliers/brands are often not set up for this yet. That doesn't always make it easy." Sandra Nys of boutique Tenue Préférée, Leuven

#COSHONA Conscious go shopping, now

For once we don't say to consume less at COSH, but encourage them to buy if you have purchasing power. Boycott now all unfair production chains and vote hard for sustainable retail, young designers and fair products.

We find it heartwarming that so many initiatives are being set up out of solidarity. We at COSH are also going to do our bit! We are working hard behind the scenes to publish a list of sustainable webshops of physical boutiques all over Western Europe. As a consumer, you can consult this free of charge in order to purchase even more consciously. For retailers with sustainable offerings in our prospecting lists and who are still members of COSH, this is a temporary and free offer, because everyone needs extra support now. The more consumers we can lead to a sustainable direction, the better. And so together we are strongly behind a new spring, summer, autumn and winter, a new world.

Share your purchases, your sustainable shopping initiatives with #COSHONA and follow us on social media and surf to www.cosh.eco to be the first to consult the list of all sustainable physical stores in Belgium and the Netherlands.

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