Research by Eurostat has found that a standard German produces 633kg of waste a year: that’s almost 200kg higher than the EU-wide average of 487kg per citizen.
Meanwhile, one Greenpeace survey found that German’s have 5.2 billion pieces of clothing stashed away in their wardrobes; 40 percent of which is never worn with Greenpeace claiming that most unused items are thrown away.
With the growing culture of consumerism in the west, fast fashion is an issue that is becoming an exceedingly serious problem, and has been named the world’s ‘second largest polluter’.
READ ALSO: Germans 'waste valuable clothes': Greenpeace
However, do not despair– not all is lost for the world of fashion. Many companies have both been founded upon or shifted their stance on the benefits of sustainable fashion, producing garments through socially responsible labour practices from sustainably sourced fabrics.
Here are five German-based brands doing their bit to tackle the issue of fast fashion.
1. UlStO, Dresden-Neustadt
UlStO is a vegan brand striving for three key components in their garments: durability, sustainability and fairness to people and nature. Situated in Dresden’s hip Neustadt district, the main product sold by the label is their range of backpacks which incorporate cork; however they also sell accessories. As a natural material, each piece of cork has a unique look whilst being extremely durable.
UlStO produce their items locally, in Dresden and Saxony with the textiles sourced in a region known for its long textile tradition, the Erzgebirge – less than an hour away from the office. UlStO are not only producing sustainable pieces, but they are also economically supporting the local community.
The cords and zippers are produced in Germany, the recycled PET felt from Italy, and the cork from Portugal.
2. HUNDHUND, Berlin
For the Berlin based brand HUNDHUND, it is all about transparency. They state ‘transparency empowers us all to make more informed buying decisions.’
This comes in the form of breaking down the costs of every single garment they design and manufacture, so the consumer knows exactly what it is their money is going towards.
HUNDHUND maintains a local production base within the capital to cut down on emissions from transport.
Through cutting costs by removing the middle-man, skipping physical retail and offering their products at an identical rate to the wholesale price, the brand have an increased level of expenditure to put towards other elements of the production process, such as a higher quality of material.
They also strive to design their pieces in a way that lies outside of contemporary trends, making garments timeless. As a result there is a lower chance of people throwing them away.
3. Pinqponq, Cologne
The Cologne-based brand pinqponq create effective and lightweight backpacks, which are 100 percent made of recycled PET bottles. The label offers an original angle of purely sustainable design and production without compromise. In their own words, the brand strives towards creating ‘sophisticated and timeless products’ for their consumers.
Pinqponq believe that ‘sustainability is a promise for the future’ and this is a promise that they truly take to heart, following ‘this path step by step’. The brand is a member of the Fair Wear Foundation (FWF).
4. Jan n June, Hamburg
Jan n June maintains the ideal that affordable fashion does not entail a choice between a reasonable price and the environment.
They believe that ‘you can have it all’. Their garments are produced in Wroclaw, Poland in a family-owned factory. All the fabrics used by the brand are certified by GOTS, the Global Recycling Standard and Oekotex.
Jan n June also promotes the concept of transparency, so customers have a holistic understanding of what they are buying.
The brand even goes further to increase levels of sustainability; reusing their carton shipping boxes as often as possible, purely using recycled office paper supplies, working to give off-cuttings a new life in the form of scrunchies or notebooks, and cutting down the level of plastic used throughout the entire shipping process.
5. LANIUS, Cologne
Since 1999, vegan clothing company LANIUS have been creating organic garments responsibly. To this day, over 20 years later the label are still bringing together sustainable materials with sophisticated design. LANIUS is GOTS-certified and only uses materials controlled by independent institutes. They only use mulesing-free wool qualities, meaning that their clothes have a PETA-Approved Vegan Label for pain-free clothing.
Higher costs but better for environment
The labels mentioned in this article are just a small handful of sustainable clothing brands throughout Germany doing their bit to fight against fast fashion
Their inspiring work is revolutionizing consumer relationships to the garments we buy and as a result reducing overall waste in the long-term.
Although such brands tend to be more expensive, buying such a piece of clothing is seen as an investment, due to its durable nature, and therefore in the long-run, it could be better for both your pocket and for our environment.