Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Ethical shopping in Berlin

Where to shop clothes in Berlin when you want to get it ethical? Lately we get a lot of questions where to get organic textiles or where the ethical fashion shops are in Berlin. Now when we went shopping for ourselves, discovered it still is a rather difficult question. There is not a specialized shop, but if you do your best, you can find really cool stuff fair trade or organic.

Off course there is American Apparel. However cool they might be, they are not really organic or fair trade, but always the number one in the media when there is written about ethical fashion. Fair trade jeans brand Kuyichi is to find in several shops, although the collections are often rather small, we found only one male jeans, which is rather disappointing. There is the Berliner label Slowmo, great organic streatwear with limited collections. Okay, actually there is really a lot, you just have to make the efford to find it. Either chique labels like Noir, Misericordia, activist shoes from Vegetarianshoes or Blackspot sneakers at the Veganladen or eco-hemp clohting from the Hanfhaus in the Oranienstrasse.

We first went to Prenzlauer Berg and found a few rather priced down clothes from Patagonia, who integrate organic and recycled materials in their products. We also found a pear of sneakers from the French shoelabel Veja, pretty stylish sneakers from organic materials. We went to Mitte and searched for Howies, but we did not succeed. In stead we found a nice organic jeans from Lee. We believe it is best to buy from brands that are truly ethical and not only selling a few organic items to greenwash their image, nevertheless it is also great that one can find organic clothing from quite a lot of mainstream brands. And not to forget to notice, the great organic recycling label Pamoyo is coming to be sold in Berlin really soon!

Searching for a lunch place we passed the LPG at Kollwitzstrasse, claiming to be the largest biosupermarket of Europe. The concept of the LPG is that every costumer can become a member and shop with discount. Two flours of organic
products, with large meat and cheese counters, big nonfood area, childrens corner, and even a moving staircase. For dedicated bioshoppers this is quite a shock!
Geheimtip: on the first floor there is a soft, read couch where you can relax and drink a free cup of coffee. The canteen next to the entrance sells fresh soups and meals for 3-6 euros. We had a pasta with spinach-Gorgonzola sauce, a Broccoli grattin with salad and lemon whater for 10 euros, not too bad for Prenzlau. A popular place, and it does not seam to disturb any bio-shopper that all the Furniture is from Ikea. Something we found disappointing was to find cotton clothing in this biosupermarket without being controlled organic. Some work to do!

In genral one can say: organic is coming! In food we just stumble over the new biosupermarkets, take-away-shops, etc. For clothes it will come, and 2008 will be the year that ethical fashion getting more available in Berlin.

Visiting a natural textiles store (naturtextilien) we asked if they sold organic textiles. We were treated as if we asked for Satan. That organic is a religion, that it is all nonsense, that all their materials were natural, etc. Just when we left in full shock, we saw the cross hanging on the wall. A religious conflict just over organic cotton? It made us think, and when we later where in the bookshop Pro QM we had the idea to make a book about the connection between cultural creatives, LOHAS, and worldviews.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Storms and new ideas

Last week we traveled to The Netherlands for a bit of fresh sea air and inspiration. We happened to see the sea at it's highest level since 1953, the year of the big flood in The Netherlands. Such strong nature pwoers always give a strong energy. Meanwhile the Dutch government is seriously investigating the possibilities to build five islands in front of the coast. And in the media the idea of an island in the form of a Tulip got a great response. The Dutch response to Al Gore's warnings and climate change: build some new land...

We met some people and projects on our way, such as Annouk, the woman behind the Yoi Foundation and the Hiphonest label, an initiative that have made ethical fashion more hip in The Netherlands. It was very inspiring to speak with someone who had the same kind of ideas as we had a few years ago, and they realized quite a lot of them. A guerrilla store, pr actions, workshops, etc. On our way back we visited some people in Frankfurt am Main, who we met on the Fair Fashion Affair. Such as Noel, working at the marketing department of the German ecolabel Hess Natur, and Christoph, who is a business adviser for sustainability and LOHAS and the man behind Karmakonsum. As we are still developing our ideas for new actions and events, it is really nice to get in contact with people working in the same direction.

A lot of upcoming things for us: Frans going to Kenia and Uganda next week, a trip to Sweden and The Netherlands (again), a lot of new projects under construction, our ethical fashion label Pamoyo getting started for real, the realization of the Grass Routes Foundation, finding a funky office and atelier space in Berlin, etc. etc.

We keep you informed...

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

Videos for sustainable development

What if we make a machine that creates snow. Without snow everything will be dark. The snow will make the earth a little bit colder. Maybe this will be the first useful machine...

This film gives a playful perspective on the topic of global warming. It is part of a project where art students in Sweden made short videos on the topic of sustainable development. See also Soderberg.tv for more info, and check all 26 movies on youtube.

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Fair Fashion Affair: impressions by Karmakonsum

KarmaKonsum made a nice short video impression of the Fair Fashion Affair and also published an enthusiastic report and some pictures through his blog. Anyway an interesting blog for German readers
who are interested in topics such as ethical consume, sustainable living and the rise of the LOHAS.

Fair Fashion Affair Performances on TV

Finally some good visuals from the Fair Fashion Affair Performances! Although the TV Berlin did not name the credits, half of the images of this sending are from our Fair Fashion Affair Performances; showing clothing of o.a. Lisa D., Slowmo, Caro E., Epona, Ketchup&Majo and Pamoyo. Ethical fashion in underground style, designed by Grass Routes.

Öko-Mode aus Friedrichshain - TV Berlin Video
Öko-Mode aus Friedrichshain - TV Berlin Video