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FASHION

Sustainable fashion: Five German brands aiming to make your wardrobe eco-friendly

We're all trying to do our bit to cut down on waste. But what about fashion? Laura McDermott takes a look at some sustainable brands in Germany aiming to tackle fast fashion.

Sustainable fashion: Five German brands aiming to make your wardrobe eco-friendly
The Berlin-based brand HUNDHUND. Photo: Ewan Waddell, HUNDHUND.

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

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

Let’s bring some brightness into autumn season!

A post shared by UlStO (@ulsto.bags) on Nov 14, 2019 at 9:03am PST

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

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

Hello Weekend! . www.hundhund.com

A post shared by HUND HUND (@hundvonhund) on Jan 11, 2020 at 12:24am PST

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.

READ ALSO: Recycled fashion: Refugee boats find second life as bags in Berlin

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

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

Rüdiger wears the Brik and Dania the Blok Large both in Cement Taupe. ⁠ ___⁠ #pinqponq

A post shared by pinqponq (@pinqponq) on Jan 30, 2020 at 10:45am PST

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

 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 

 
 

 
 
 

SO in Love with the new drop earrings. You too? ✨ #byebyefastfashion #jannjune

A post shared by JAN 'N JUNE (@jannjune) on Jan 7, 2020 at 3:34am PST

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.

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LIVING IN GERMANY

REVEALED: The most commonly asked questions about Germans and Germany

Ever wondered what the world is asking about Germany and the Germans? We looked at Google’s most searched results to find out – and help clear some of these queries up.

Oktoberfest
Hasan Salihamidzic, the sports director of FC Bayern, arrives with his wife at Oktoberfest in full traditional dress. Photo: picture alliance/dpa |

According to popular searches, Germany is the go-to place for good coffee and bread (although only if you like the hard kind) and the place to avoid if what you’re looking for is good food, good internet connection and low taxes. Of course, this is subjective; some people will travel long stretches to get a fresh, hot pretzel or a juicy Bratwurst, while others will take a hard pass.

When it comes to the question on the bad Internet – there is some truth to this. Germany is known for being behind other rich nations when it comes to connectivity. And from personal experience, the internet connection can seem a little medieval. The incoming German coalition government has, however, vowed to improve internet connectivity as part of their plans to modernise the country.

There are also frequent questions on learning the German language, and people pointing out that it is hard and complicated. This is probably due to the long compound words and its extensive grammar rules, however, as both English and German are Germanic languages with similar words in common, it’s not impossible to learn as an English-speaker.

Here’s a look at some of those questions…

Why is German called Deutsch? Whereas ‘German’ comes from the Latin, ‘Deutsch’ instead derives itself from the Indo-European root “þeudō”, meaning “people”. This slowly became “Deutsch” as we know it today. It can be a bit confusing to English-speakers, who are right to think it sounds a little more like “Dutch”, however the two languages do have the same roots which may explain it.

And why is Germany so boring? Again, probably a generalisation, especially given that Germany has a landmass of over 350,000 km² with areas ranging from high rise, industrial cities to traditional old town villages and even mountain ranges, so you’re sure to find a place that doesn’t bore you to tears.

Perhaps it is a question that comes from the stereotype that Germans are obsessed with being strict about rules, organised and analytical. Or that they have no sense of humour – all of these things being not the most exciting traits. 

Either way, from my experience I can confirm that, even though there is truth to German society enjoying order and rules, the vast majority of people are not boring, and I’m sure if you come to Germany you’ll meet many interesting, funny and exciting people. 

READ ALSO: 12 mistakes foreigners make when moving to Germany

When it comes to the German weather, most people assume a cold and cloudy climate, however this isn’t entirely true. While the autumn and winter, especially in the north, come with grey skies and sub-zero temperatures, Germany can have some beautiful summers, with temperatures frequently rising above 30C in some places.

Unsurprisingly, the power and wealth of the German nation is mentioned – Germany is the largest economy in Europe after all, with a GDP of 3.8 trillion dollars. This could be due to strong industry sectors in the country, including vehicle constructions (I was a little surprised to find no questions posed on German cars), chemical and electrical industry and engineering. There are also many strong economic cities in Germany, most notably Munich, Frankfurt am Main and Hamburg.

READ ALSO: Eight unique words and phrases that tell us something about Germany

Smart and tall?

Why are Germans so tall? They are indeed taller than many other nations, with the average German measuring a good 172.87cm (or 5 feet 8.06 inches), however this may be a question better posed to the Dutch, who make up the tallest people in the world.

Why are Germans so smart? While this is again a generalisation – as individuals have different levels of intelligence in all countries – this question may stem from Germany’s free higher education system or their seemingly efficient work ethic. Plus there does seem to be some scientific research behind this question, with a study done in 2006 finding that Germans had the highest IQ in Europe.

So, while many of the questions posed about Germany and Germans on Google stem from stereotypes, we can confirm that some aren’t entirely made up. If you’re looking to debunk some frequently asked questions about France and the French, check out this article by our sister site HERE.

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