As you can read in this blogpost, I only buy clothes that are made in fair labour conditions. This means either from sustainable/fairtrade brands or second hand. Living in Groningen for half a year, I discovered quite a few places that offer Fair Fashion and I want to share them with you. So here I present you: the Groningen Fair Fashion Guide.
• Koko Toko: Koko Toko is a concept store dedicated to sustainable fashion.
Shopping at Koko Toko gives you one certainty: what you buy is ethically and sustainably produced. On top of that the owners of Koko Toko are doing a good job selecting beautiful pieces from their favourite brands. Low on a budget? Do not buy two cheap trousers but one quality pair here or come by the store when they are doing sales (which is often enough).
• Reshare restore: In the same street you will find the second hand store of the Salvation Army. This is where you need to be for thrifting those never out of style essentials. And for what a price! The staff here is incredibly sweet and enthusiastic and the interior is super cool which makes shopping here a very pleasant experience.
• Oddity: But the Oosterstraat has even more to offer us, the boutique store Oddity sells sustainable and fair brands like the well known People Tree but also repurposes old clothes. Look for the tags on the clothes that either say eco or revive.
• Viva: The Oosterstraat also hosts another second hand store where, with a bit of searching, you’ll definitely find some things you love.
• Mamani (Helpman): You’ll find second hand clothes here at very cheap prices but let’s be honest: if you’re new at thrifting then this place is not for you. To enjoy your shopping experience and to find something at the Helpman store, you need to be an experienced thrifter.
Helper Oostsingel 15
• Onder de Linden: This store brings you high quality vintage pieces in a nice and charming environment. You’ll feel like you went back in time once you walk through the door.
• Stardust: Do you always love the vintage items that others wear but have trouble finding such stylish pieces yourself? Stardust has already done the hard work for you. In their store you can find their favourite vintage items, which are of high quality and in perfect condition.
• Haastje repje: This beautiful boutique offers fair fashion and also has some sustainable brands in their collection. If you want to dress up or are looking for something more than just casual dress, Haastje Repje will definitely have something to offer you.
• Zich Zach
In a lovely environment, this store offers fair fashion, vintage and pieces made by local designers. They also sell the eco brand braintree and the new owner told me she wants to invest more in eco fashion brands.
These are stores that offer quite a big and cool selection of fair and/or second hand clothes. This doesn’t mean however that other retail shops or concept stores won’t have one or two ethical brands in their selection. When you really like an item and are not sure of what the ethics of the brand are, google it. You can check if they can provide information about their sustainability and labour conditions on their website. If there’s nothing on there, chances are they have something to hide: Don’t buy it. You can also check lists like the Fair Wear Foundation, Fashion Revolution or Rank a Brand to see if the brand is listed.
Tip: When shopping second hand don’t feel obliged to follow the division in gender sections. I’ve found the best oversized m sweaters and denim vests at the men section of second hand stores.
Shops are not the only places you can go to to find fair fashion in Groningen.
There are plenty of events you can attend where you might just find what you’re looking for.
- Flea markets: Keep track of the events organised in the city center, initiatives like ‘Klein Berlijn’ or ‘Vintage, retro and slow food market‘ attract second hand traders from all over the country to Groningen to sell their best goods.
- O swap: The two yearly O Swap organised by an USVA committee provides an alternative to fast fashion while at the same time recycling your old clothes. You bring in old items that you don’t wear anymore and with the vouchers you get in return, you exchange them for other clothes.
Just like with fast fashion, if you don’t find what you’re looking for in stores you can always have a look online. Good web shops are Geitenwollenwinkel and Supergoods. But you can also go to the own webshop of the specific eco brands you like (Armedangels, Wunderwerk,…)!