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Fashion for Good Launch
Written by Kim Poldner - Friday, 31 March 2017
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Twelve years ago, I read the book Cradle to Cradle (C2C) while traveling around the US and Europe to befriend the handful of pioneers in sustainable fashion. At the time, my friend Annouk Post and I were in the process of setting up and running the very first sustainable fashion store in The Netherlands.

Since then, the C2C philosophy inspired my thinking during the (ad)ventures that awaited me for the next decade. Last year, I started teaching Circular Economy and my horizons expanded once again. What struck me most is that whereas sustainability is about reducing negative impact and doing ‘less bad’, circular economy is about doing good. While linear thinking limits our imagination, circular thinking fosters creativity and helps us to perceive abundance instead of scarcity. Circularity helps to view waste as a precious resource that can be turned into valuable new products. It also spurs open innovation, collaboration and community building.

 

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Fashion for Good building
 
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William McDonough and the C&A C2C certified T-shirts

 

Yesterday, I was privileged to attend the festive launch of Fashion for Good in Amsterdam. A partnership between the C&A Foundation, accelerator Plug and Play and impact investor Circularity Capital, amongst many others. Cradle to Cradle co-founder (and co-author of the book), William McDonough, addressed the audience saying: ‘Let’s put the ‘re’ back into resources, by remaking, re-using, retaking’. He also ‘re’framed the word competition going back to its Latin roots ‘competere,’ which means ‘coming/striving together’. During the event, the very first C2C certified golden standard T-shirts were presented and will hit C&A stores around the globe in June. The excitement that I felt in the room – boosted by energetic moderator Sally Uren of Forum for the Future – outperformed the lovely Spring weather outside. It was as if the Californian sun was solely shining on Amsterdam for these few wonderful hours.

 

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What’s more, after the break, a range of startups pitched their radical innovations. From Amadou mushroom leather, to Mycotex, from Dropel and Reblend to textiles made out of food crop-waste developed by S3. Prince Constantijn – brother of the King of the Netherlands – dropped by to receive a standing ovation by saying that he was happy to see many women at a startup event. I myself was pleased to see a range of suits in a colorful crowd of fashionistas. And suddenly it all made sense to me: how technologies that my life science colleagues in Wageningen invent can disrupt the textile industry. How there is an eco-system in place now to support these pioneers and match them with the big retailers and brands. How my story of David & Goliath is finally being materialized in a physical space downtown Amsterdam and a global community with the key players on board. I have not felt this excited since the opening of the YOI store in 2005 when we felt we were part of a revolution. That movement has grown tremendously and changed the face of the industry. But now it is time to take change to the next level and make Fashion for Good.

I’m ready.
 

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