– Supported by the German federal ministry for economic cooperation and development –
Fair Fashion is something we like to think doesn’t have to be explained anymore. We all know that the main high and fast fashion brands’ production systems do tremendous, often irretrievable harm to the environment, and are based on the abuse and exploitation of workers in the producing countries, don’t we? However, was that on your mind when you paid a very low price for fast fashion items on your last shopping spree? Probably – maybe even understandably – not. Raising awareness for the plights of the majority of seamstresses working in unbearable conditions to create the trendy garments we all like to show-off on the streets is what a new campaign of the German federal ministry for economic cooperation and development is all about: the story of Vero & Selvie puts one of the workers in the spotlight, and her portrait on the t-shirt I’m wearing on the above photo.
Selvie is an Indian garment worker with a typical biography: When she finished school, she left her home in southern India to work in different garment factories in Tirupur where she was paid by completed piece. Her monthly income of about 55 Euro was irregular, since she was a seasonal worker, and she was never sure whether her employer would pay her social insurance contributions. In 2016, she was employed by Mila Fair Clothing, where she receives a fixed yearlong contract and a regular salary of about 200 Euros. Her social insurance contributions are now paid regularly, and she has a day off for the first time in her working life. This factory is where my shirt got made.
Beautiful story, right? However, to get fair fashion the influence and importance we need it to have is a long-term task, one whose success is depending on us not merely applauding the cause, but changing our shopping habits, aka actually buying fair fashion. To make this way easier for you, I scanned the city for the most fashionable (a feature fair fashion is still and unfortunately often lacking) stores selling fashion that is fair, mostly eco-friendly, sometimes even vegan, and extremely good looking.
Let’s start with shoes! Vegan shoes, to be precise – the best selection in the city has avesu, a shoe store on the same premises as vegan supermarket Veganz (with a second branch in Prenzlauer Berg just next to Dear Goods, see below). The brands sold at avesu include Dr Martens, Veja, Lowa, Birkenstock and many smaller ones, all of whom aren’t only fair to animals, but also to their producers and employees, and are only using sustainable and eco-friendly materials.
Warschauer Str. 33, 10243 Berlin Friedrichshain, Mon–Fri 11:00–20:00, Sat 11:00–18:00
Hailing from Munich, this fair fashion store is also located at the Prenzlauer Berg vegan mall by supermarket Veganz. Additional to respecting fair working conditions, all brands sold here are considering protection of the environment and animals the core of their philosophy, so everything’s vegan and organic. Brands include People Tree (including their Peter Jensen collection), Mud Jeans, Armed Angels, as well as Hamburg newcomer Jan’n June and many more.
Schivelbeiner Str. 35, 10439 Berlin Prenzlauer Berg, Mon–Fri 11:00–20:00, Sat 10:30–18:00
This is probably my favorite – the main shop of the Folkdays brand is not only super pretty, but also selling all their pieces, who’re produced in cooperation with small, artisanal manufacturers all over the world. Folkdays creates new designs together with craftsmen specializing in traditional techniques in countries like Bangladesh and India to keep their wisdom and businesses alive. Made from the finest natural materials, the collection includes garments, jewelry, accessories, and interior goods.
Manteuffelstraße 19, 10997 Berlin-Kreuzberg, Mon–Fri 12:00–19:00, Sat 12:00–18:00
This concept store in the heart of Kreuzberg is not only concerned about the sustainability, and eco-friendliness of the products, but they only sell pieces by small, independent labels, many of them based in Berlin. Brands include Italian Haikure, vegan and sustainable shoe designer Bourgeoius Boheme, fair and sustainable bag brand Harolds, and the vegan and 100% natural beauty products by Ambre.
Dieffenbachstraße 15, 10967 Berlin Kreuzberg, Tue–Fri 11:00–19:00, Sat 11:00–17:00
To keep shopping that is less harmful to everyone and everything around you fun, it’s very rewarding to go super-local and take a look at what the labels in your hometown are doing. Konk is a shop devoted to local labels only, from the colorful designs of Hui Hui, to the arty prints of Anntian, the fluffy wool of Maiami, the very fashionable Tim Labenda pieces, or the impressive leather goods of Marina Hoermannseder.
Kleine Hamburger Straße 15, 10117 Berlin Mitte, Mon–Fri 12:00-19:00, Sat 12:00–18:00
A shop that only sells fair and eco fashion but does not look one inch like it, is how you could describe Loveco. They’re offering a selection of brands that have a strong focus on fashion trends, as well as accessory and beauty labels – like the Dutch denim label Kings of Indigo, Knowledge Cotton’s menswear, the minimal designs of Jan’n June, and the fan favorites Armed Angels, People Tree, and many, many more. They also have a very interesting blog you can check here.
Sonntagstraße 29, 10245 Berlin Friedrichshain, Mon–Fri 12:00–20:00, Sat 11:00–19:00
This cute store in Kreuzberg focusses on fair and eco labels that are not yet as well known but produce some very interesting designs. Brands include the British Cossac, Swedish knits brand Maska, Cologne based AEP who use materials made from recycled PET bottles for its bags, and the Dutch bag label O My Bag who use eco-leather for their simple yet chic accessories.
Schönleinstraße 10, 10967 Berlin Kreuzberg, Tue–Fri 11:00–19:00, Sat 11:00–18:00
This place is everything but standard, rather about offering brands that use quite unusual materials to create their products – like Anekdot, who produce their underwear from leftovers of other productions, or Antonio Verde, where sunglasses are made from recycled computer parts and bamboo, or Kaffeeform’s coffee cups made from recycled coffee grounds. Complementing that are basics that will be with you for more than one season by brands like MUDJeans, Beaumont Organic, Studio Jux, and Jan’n June.
Reuterstraße 53, 12047 Berlin Neukölln, Tue–Fri 12:00–19:00, Sat 12:00–16:00
That there’s loads to be gained by limiting yourself shows this Kreuzberg shop devoted to “slow shopping”. They only sells products by designers based in Berlin, using only sustainable material that is locally sourced: Menswear by Aurélia Paumelle, jewelry by Mies Nobis, and the colorful designs of Sepideh Ahadi, as well as weaving brand Ania Grzeszek. Additional to grown-up garments, you’ll find a big selection of organic and fair kids’ fashion by brands like Monkind, Jimmi Wow, and Le Dernier Cri.
Hasenheide 54, 10967 Berlin Kreuzberg, Mon–Fri 11:00–18:00