Sustainable fashion’s critics might once have dismissed the movement as being a flash-in-the-pan fad, yet in 2015 responsible fashion is being championed by ethical shoppers in the same breath as organic food and fair trade items. It has become not just popular but stylish, too. From the high-end clothing of Stella McCartney, which uses no leather, to trainers from Veja and jeans from Nudie, ethical fashion is on the rise. In Stuttgart there are a handful of stores where those with eco-leanings can invest in the best sustainable fashion on the market – and discover some exciting German brands in the process.
Glore – an abbreviation of ‘global, responsible’ – has four boutiques across Germany and one in Switzerland, as well as a burgeoning online store, and stocks German sustainable brands such as Wunderwerk and NeoNow as well as Swiss bag maker Freitag and French knitwear company Les Racines du Ciel. Its spokesperson Nicola Haug believes that the move to responsible fashion is the next logical step after buying organic food and beauty products. ‘Usually people start thinking about their food first: what it does to their body when they eat fruit and vegetables that were sprayed with pesticides, and also what effect this has on the environment. So they start to buy organic food, come to their cosmetics and end up in their wardrobe,’ Haug explains. ‘We believe that people’s consciousness is growing, as well as the fact that the designs of eco-products are much more mainstream and fashionable than 20 years ago.’
When it comes to eco-fashion’s style credentials, there is what Haug describes a ‘persistent prejudice’ around its reputation for being unappealing in terms of its fit and feel, as compared with its less ethical peers. Glore hopes to dispel this myth. ‘There are many great brands and designers that do great collections. And, in fact, there are many people coming into our stores or buying online who did not come [because] they wanted to buy ecological clothes but because they were interested in the designs,’ Haug clarifies. ‘Now there are experienced brands that offer a big range, but there are also small labels that have very special pieces with flattering details, so there’s eco-fashion for everyone.’
Glore also stocks an array of ethical beauty brands, including Organic Glam make-up and fragrances and Dr Bronner’s shampoos, soaps and shaving gels. ‘There’s a long tradition of ecological beauty brands in Germany,’ Haug points out. ‘We are always looking for great new brands. Besides fashion fairs we also visit beauty fairs such as Vivaness.’ In compiling an eclectic mix of beauty and clothing brands in its stores and online, Glore has one key objective. ‘Our goal is, of course, to raise awareness for eco-fashion and make more people think about their consuming behaviour,’ Haug says.
Unique Nature is another Stuttgart-based eco-fashion store stocking clothing and accessories, but also sustainable furniture. Made out of wood from renewable sources with no harmful chemicals used in its production, it is the next frontier in ethical product development. The Graphic Background cabinet from Unique Nature is one such product. This small yet elegant wooden box on slim crossed legs allows for a few books or a small plant to be stored within it, and is decorated inside with anything from blue and green leaves to pink graphic patterns.
Anna Perino, Unique Nature’s managing director, believes that the current fascination with eco-fashion is a reaction to disposable trends. ‘I am seeing in many instances a change to quality over quantity, and better production practices. Many people are slowly starting to lose interest, faith and trust in what fast consumption has become. People seem to be much more interested in well-made, handcrafted and more unique pieces,’ she says. ‘In the past few years there has been unprecedented interest in environmental and social issues in fashion and textiles. Sustainability has become vital in our daily life, in foods, in interiors, as well as in fashion and cosmetics.’
Unique Nature also offers a line of ethical jewellery, made using recycled silver and fairly traded gemstones, and a range of responsible beauty items. ‘The belief that natural and organic ingredients are better and safer for the skin is becoming common. The results and efficiency of organic products are so impressive at balancing the skin,’ Perino explains. ‘Our preferred brands are Zoya Goes Pretty, Ballot-Flurin, Hurraw and NCLA.’
If you’re yet to embrace sustainable clothing, Glore and Unique Nature are stores that will give you a chic introduction to this growing global phenomenon. In Stuttgart, you can follow Glore’s motto and ‘be green in any colour you like’.