The answers to all your questions about COSH!
What is the purpose of COSH!?
COSH! helps people wanting to live more ecologically to find more sustainable clothing. If you don't know anything about sustainable fashion, you will discover more sustainable alternatives.
COSH! takes into account many personal preferences such as vegan clothing, circular alternatives, organic raw materials or natural products.
How was COSH! created?
The pioneering work of founder Niki de Schryver at Honestby has already created a growth in transparency of the brands in the fashion world. What she found was that the brands were on board with this revolution, but the consumer wasn't at all. The gap between consumer behaviour and supply intrigued Niki. She wanted to investigate this and find a solution for it. She wondered why so few people buy sustainable clothing. Here Niki already had a suspicion that style and budget would be the main reasons. The research then conducted has confirmed her premonition. It takes too much effort for the consumer to find honest and sustainable fashion and COSH! solves this problem.
What is sustainability according to COSH!?
At COSH!, we do not see sustainability as a black and white story. There are many different aspects to sustainability. And few brands score on all those characteristics and are circular and natural, short chain and 100% vegetable, traditionally produced and without any chemicals, honestly made and without any waste or polluting transport.
All brands on the COSH! platform are building a better world of fashion in their own way. They are all committed to a more sustainable, honest manufacturing industry and therefore deserve all the support of COSH! and the consumer.
At COSH! we check for different elements in 7 categories:
- ethical (working conditions),
- ecological (impact on the environment),
- short supply chain,
- slow fashion
- and transparency.
COSH! puts the emphasis on ethical and local, artisanal production, especially when the social aspect is involved.
How do you rate brands at COSH!?
COSH! currently operates at brand level.
COSH! uses icons to visualise which sustainability characteristics apply to a brand and does not intend sparking sustainability competition. COSH! does want to highlight the strengths of each brand, without concealing the weaker sides.
More icons do not automatically mean that a brand is more sustainable than another. This first version of COSH! helps us gather information and build insight. In the meantime, we are investigating ( via the data available so far) which relevant algorithms can be built so that COSH! can also take the general life cycle of garments into account, in combination with the ecological footprints of brands.
Will COSH! soon be providing product-level sustainability analyses?
COSH! is a lean start-up, which meets the demands of the market. Our goal is to help shoppers find more sustainable fashion and textile initiatives swiftly and effortlessly. If there is a demand for sustainability analyses at product level, COSH! will also provide this information.
Is the COSH! rating system waterproof?
No, but we're trying to keep it as pure as possible.
Many rating systems or certificates look at a brand from one point of view.
For example, the Higg-index only examines the degree of transparency of a brand. Rank-a-brand places strong emphasis on the energy management of the production units and head offices. The certificates relating to fair production or cradle-to-cradle are often only feasible for multinationals such as G-Star and C&A, while smaller brands sometimes have more circular products in their range, but have too small a turnover to obtain such a certificate.
COSH! focuses mainly on processing information about sustainable fashion brands and wants to make it easier for consumers to make more sustainable clothing choices. To do this, we use the information we receive through our assessments, a brand's online claims, our knowledge of the industry, sustainability certificates and our critical eye. In case of doubt, we search databases or request concrete information.
COSH! cannot go on site to check a production process or to carry out checks. That is why we check the certificate numbers where possible. We check whether the textile suppliers with whom a brand works actually produce the fabrics that the brand mentions. COSH! takes a critical look at a brand and examines whether the sustainability story matches the clothing that the brand produces and sells in physical stores or through other sales channels.
How are brands included in the COSH! database
Before the launch, COSH! actively searched for brands that seemed to be eligible. These brands ended up in a list and were invited to register and perform a self-assessment. Thanks to our subsidy from Vlaanderen Circulair in 2018, we were able to include the first 20 most progressive fun brands and designers in the spring of 2019.
Retailers who join COSH! may - depending on their subscription - annually pass on 1 or 2 sustainable brands to us. We investigate the sustainability characteristics of these clothing brands and then include them in our database.
By working in this way, we hope to cover the entire market and to be a reliable platform, driven by that market.
Retailers can also trigger brands to work more sustainably. We can re-analyze brands that make extra efforts.
COSH! will then become a market-based platform with up-to-date information.
How do retailers end up on the COSH! platform?
Big Data' - COSH! links the brands to their retailers. We already have 430 potential retailers in Belgium and the Netherlands.
But only retailers who subscribe to COSH! are clearly visible on the COSH! platform. It is these shops and boutiques that shoppers can select to plan a sustainable shopping trip.
Retailers who are interested in joining COSH! can register here.
Why doesn't COSH! put all retailers on its website?
Continuous subscriptions ensure that COSH! can provide up-to-date information. If we make marketing efforts to - in a reliable way - include sustainable stores and present them to shoppers, there is a correct compensation. That too is fair trade.
Cities can contribute to the costs of retailers on a one-off or annual basis. For example, there are cities that pay (part of) a COSH! subscription for their sustainable shops.
Because of the income COSH! receives through the subscriptions, we can invest in marketing tools with which we can make shoppers aware of sustainable fashion (customer activation) and guide them to sustainable retailers with an offer that suits those shoppers (customer acquisition).
What advantages does it have for retailers to be included on the COSH! website?
Retailers who are members of COSH! are part of a community that stimulates more sustainable living. This allows you to include your customers in that story.
We summarize the four good reasons for choosing COSH!
- You attract new customers.
- You help (potential/new) customers save time in their search for sustainable fashion.
- You increase your turnover & reduce your costs: more focused customers = more turnover & you spend less time and money in finding and attracting new customers.
- You are part of a reliable network.
As a retailer, do you also believe in a more sustainable and transparent fashion industry? Then join COSH now!
Is COSH! also active in the Netherlands?
Until its launch, COSH! only entered into partnerships with Belgian retailers. But our data already reaches into Europe. From the Netherlands there are requests from boutiques to join COSH!, but we could not yet actively follow them up.
First of all, we want to ensure that we can create sufficient value for our Belgian retailers. If that goes well, we will also launch COSH! in the Netherlands soon.