A t-shirt and a fair fashion company with a history – I’ll also share with you more info on how you can become fashion rebels and activists yourself!
Regular readers of my blog already know about the shirt story. After an exciting trip around the world, I was able to have one of my favorite souvenirs tailor-made into a one of a kind piece. I found a small piece of vintage fabric in a second hand shop in Cambodia and actually carried it in my backpacker backpack for months. Back in Germany, the vintage fabric was then sent to Poland, where the KOKOworld team used it and made it into a shirt! You can read the whole story here.
And today the story continues!
Agata Kurek had a similar experience that inspired her to start the fair fashion label KOKOworld:
Like me, she quit her permanent job, packed her backpack, and traveled through countries that she had never seen before. The biggest inspiration came in Mali: at a music festival she met people who inspired her to combine her passion for music, dance, travel and craft: it was not easy and the path had many hurdles. But Agata managed to unite artisans from different countries in one project and thus fight mass production and fast fashion. The KOKOworld brand was born.
Agata knows the conditions under which the designs, which pay great attention to detail, are produced. Kis Herry from Indonesia produces special fabrics in his small studio, which are stamped by hand. In Kraków, Maruna sews bags from these fabrics. Eduardo from Colombia produces jewelry for KOKOworld in a traditional way. You can read more about the individual stories here.
Transparency: KOKOworld is constantly evolving. The share of sustainable fibers at KOKOworld is to be increased to 70 percent in 2020. At the moment, 55 percent of the collection is already made from natural materials such as organic cotton and Tencel. Most of the production takes place in small family businesses in Poland.
Of course, I was also able to try out a few styles:
- Light brown cardigan: sold out.
- Black trousers: a timeless design made from organic cotton, produced in Poland. Made from a super comfortable, soft and at the same time firm fabric, so that it is comfortable to wear, but still looks chic.
- Green dress: Made out of viscose, a comfortable material to wear, but must be cared for very carefully so that the garment lasts a long time. So make sure to treat it well, information here!
- T-shirt, jacket and backpack, old
- Shoes borrowed from Vreni!
Change in the fashion industry
It is really important that there is a change in the fashion industry. We cannot continue with business as usual. The shoe and clothing industry is responsible for a whopping eight percent of global CO2 emissions. This is more than the entire air and shipping traffic together (source)! So we need to rethink, focus on slow fashion, real craftsmanship, sustainable fabrics, fair pay and social working conditions along the entire supply chain, as well as create an awareness of the influence of fashion on the environment and animals.
I am not just shocked by the fast fashion industry almost every day. You often ask me how I endure all the bad news, what you can really do and what really brings change. My answer: fashion activism! Activism gives me hope and the feeling that I am doing more than just voting with my purchases. Your consumer behavior is of course super important, but it takes a little more to start a small rebellion, in my opinion. That is why, for example, I took part in the Fashion Revolution demonstration in 2019, campaigned for the #fairbylaw petition and am also involved in the Fashion Changers demo block “Fashion & Climate” at the climate strike.
I know these actions are not possible for everyone, but there are so many options for activism.
Mini guide for more fashion activism:
- For example, keep up to date on fashionchangers.de (there is also a newsletter)
- Find out more on Fashion Revolution and of course here on heylilahey (you can subscribe to my newsletter here)
- Write a letter or an email to fashion brands – ask them #whomademyclothes?
- You can also do the same publicly on social media!
- Organize swap parties and inform participants about the problems of fast fashion
- Participate in Fashion Revolution Week April 22-24 by printing and distributing posters and flyers, creating social media posts on the topic or donating to certain organizations
- Sign and share the #FairByLaw petition!
- Take on a challenge: for example, not shopping for half a year or a whole year (as I did), or just buying vintage fashion – this is how you can be an activist in your private life and hopefully it will inspire those around you
- Over the next few weeks and months, I will be presenting these options in more detail on a regular basis, especially on Instagram, as well as a more information on how to get involved in various ways in fashion activism. There will be something for everyone! So I’m looking forward to an activist 2020 with you 🙂
Thanks again to Agata from KOKOworld for the support for this contribution, which is, so to speak, a kick-off for even more fashion activism on heylilahey!