Other than food, fashion is also a section in daily life where individuals can make eco-friendly and sustainable choices. “Charlie + Mary,” for instance, is a fashion retail shop that only treats brands that produce their products in ethical and sustainable ways.
Although the general perception and prejudice regarding eco-fashion seem to be getting better, the owners of Charlie + Mary acknowledge that prejudice toward eco-fashion definitely still exists.
“I think the biggest prejudice is that sustainable fashion is not as fashionable,” Vinck mentioned. “I think now people tend to think that sustainable and ethical fashion is trendy, and that is also something dangerous because it is not a trend but something which needs to stay. I think there is still prejudice, but it is getting better.”
Fighting against such misperceptions was a challenge for Charlie + Mary, but its owners were able to get through those obstacles with their efforts and possibly some external help.
“I think the media also helped, and there is quite a big group of pioneers, especially in Amsterdam,” Vinck observed. “They also help put sustainable, ethical fashion on the map , in a positive way.”
Charlie + Mary hopes to help customers realize that shopping sustainably can be fun.
“We are raising awareness or helping to raise awareness to get people to realize again what fashion is about,” Vinck spoke up. “We want people to come here and feel like they like the brands here, and then they also realize that what they buy here has positive effects in the world instead of negative.”
While Charlie + Mary is a retailor, Studio JUX is a wholesaler fashion brand that creates fair and eco-friendly products. Along with the spirit of environmental sustainability and fair-trade, the company sets forth a tag line of “Studio JUX = Design + Eco + Fair.”
“We want to show people that you can make fashionable and commercially-interesting products that are made in an eco-friendly way so that you can create social impact with design,” said Carlien Helmink, one of the founders.
Studio JUX was founded in 2007 by Jitske Lundgren and Carlien Helmink who each act as the designer and the manager of the company, respectively. After the two friends witnessed the production part of fashion, they became aware of the need to pursue fashion in a more sustainable way.
“For us, it was a little complicated to create a fashion brand that is only about design and ignore the whole part that should be improved, to only create the show and not be aware of the factors behind the scenes as well,” Helmink elaborated.
As the company is very much into sustainability, eco-friendly characteristics are reflected in every decision Studio JUX makes.
“It is in the DNA of our company,” Helmink announced. “Throughout our entire production chain, we try to make the best possible choices.”
The fabrics used by Studio JUX are all organic, recycled or chemical-free. The consideration of environmental sustainability is not just reflected in the fabrics but in every detail of the company: other materials such as buttons, zippers and labels, the services used by the company such as electricity, bank and insurance, and office supplies such as coffee and paper.
“For us it’s logic,” Helmink asserted. “Once you inform yourself what it means, every choice you make and what impacts you have, then for us, you have no other option. It’s quite logical that you try to create something that only adds positive things to the world instead of creating something negative.”
The number of companies and shops that think like Studio JUX may not be large, but their role and impact on society is quite significant.
“I think at this moment, the shops have a pioneering role,” Helmink remarked. “They have more of an inspirational role and serve as an example. They show the bigger retailors the way to go.”