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Out of the Green Closet with EFW Cofounder
Written by Eco Fashion World - Friday, 12 August 2016



We recently caught up with Kim Poldner, one of the original founders of Eco Fashion World, as she wrapped up her involvement in a photography project titled Out of the Green Closet, created by photographer Chantal Aimée Ehrhardt.

Eco Fashion World:  Please tell EFW readers who you are and what you are up to these days.

Kim Poldner:  My name is Kim and I am a co-founder and former blogger for Eco Fashion World. For my PhD project, I studied around 60 sustainable fashion enterprises around the world and since then I have been focusing on my academic career. I am now an assistant professor at Wageningen University in The Netherlands where I teach and do research on topics such as sustainability entrepreneurship, leadership, gender and circular economy. My most recent EU funded project builds sustainable fashion incubators around Europe. My aim is to bring an aesthetic perspective to business and organization. To me, beauty and sustainability are intertwined - aesthetics can support people to be receptive to connection, compassion and love, for each other and their environment.

EFW:  What makes your wardrobe green?

KP:  Some of the items in my wardrobe such as the brown suède skirt and the black leather skirts have been with me for the past 20 years. They remain beautiful and my body has not changed much even after two pregnancies, so I can still enjoy wearing them. Otherwise, I prefer to shop either vintage or green fashion labels. I wear items from L’Herbe Rouge, Veja, Bibico, People Tree and Dutch designers Rianne de Witte, Alchemist, Humanoid, Studio Ruig, Kuyichi and Cora Kemperman.

EFW:  How and when do you shop for your clothing?

KP:  During the past eight years, I have had the chance to meet and study many sustainable fashion entrepreneurs around the world, such as Ada Zanditon in the UK and Nicole Bridger in Canada. For me, acquiring their designs was a form of data collection.  I did not only include their stories in my PhD research, but also ‘analyzed’ the artefacts they created. Wearing these items taught me about the fabrics, the durability, the craftsmanship – all crucial aspects of the sustainable fashion discourse. Nowadays, with two small children and a busy job, I hardly have time to go shopping, so my purchases are most often ‘lucky hits’ discovered in a stolen moment during a business trip. Last month I was in Poland and found a cool store with local designs so I got myself new shorts and a blouse. Otherwise, I bump into sales once or twice a year at for example Amsterdam-based stores Sukha, Charlie+Mary or Imps & Elfs and then buy a bag full of stuff for myself and my kids. As I am now so happy about my wardrobe I intend not to buy anything for a year or so.  Fortunately, I will be too busy with my job to even have a chance to shop.


EFW:  Can you explain a little about your style and taste?

KP:  My style is classic and feminine with a twist. I love fabrics like suède, silk and bamboo that feel soft and sensual on my skin. I try to avoid synthetics and clothes that are too tight and make me feel uncomfortable.

EFW:  What colors do you wear mostly?

KP:  I love ton-sur-ton - wearing for example brown and orange tones together, but I also enjoy wearing bright greens and blues. Black serves very well as a basis and on days that I want to look less outspoken.

EFW:  How did you decide what to pick for the Out of the Green Closet photoshoot?

KP:  I picked my favorite outfits so it was really not that difficult. I photographed all of them in advance, played around a bit with shoes and accessories (from brands such as Royal Blush, A Beautiful Story and Prancing Leopard) and had some friends comment on my choices. Based on those interactions, I fine-tuned my selection.

EFW:  Did the photoshoot change the way you look at your wardrobe?

KP:  It made me more aware of my style and lifestyle. I realized that most of the outfits I only wear at work, because when I am at home taking care of my two kids things tend to get dirty quickly. The result is that usually my at-home outfit consists of jeans and a T-shirt or sweater. I would like to make my ‘at-home outfits’ more fashionable, so I consulted a friend who looks fabulous in boyfriend jeans. But when I tried some things in her wardrobe, I realized that they did not fit me at all. For now, I am delighted with my ‘work’ outfits that I sometimes also wear to parties or other occassions.


EFW:  What does your wardrobe look like?

KP:  We just moved to a new house that contained a white built-in closet for our clothes. We first thought it would be way too small, but then a friend pointed out the Konmari method to us, which helps to efficiently organize and store our stuff. The best thing is that my shirts don’t crinkle anymore and my tights are rolled up like sushi!

EFW:  What do you pay attention to when you’re shopping?

KP:  The story of the brand. Ideally, I meet the creator myself and have a conversation with them about how things got started and how the clothes are being produced. If the story resonates with me and I’m in love with the design, I’m sold.

EFW:  Is there anything missing in your wardrobe and if so, what?

KP:  I bought the perfect white skinny jeans a few months ago, but then my daughter tried to give my husband a kiss bending over from her front seat while we were cycling. Our bikes became entangled and all four of us fell on the street. Luckily we had no injuries, but my jeans were ripped and I could throw them out. So, now I am hoping to once again bump into the perfect white jeans.

EFW:  What would you pick as ‘being you’ if it had to be clothing?

KP:  My brown leather jacket – it has served as my nomad harness for the past 12 years. I bought it at a Gsus sale at a time that this company had started working with the Fair Wear Foundation. The color is really ‘me’, the fit is cool but elegant like a blazer, and even though I don’t like brand names, it has Gsus patchworked in leather on the back of the jacket so it has a bit of an edgy feel to it. It’s a nice contrast to my otherwise classic style.


EFW:  If you could build you wardrobe again from zero, would you do it differently?

KP:  This shoot is a visual milestone for me expressing not just my wardrobe and style, but also my personality. The past years, I have gone through a ‘new-mom identity crisis’ of redefining myself as a grown up woman with needs and ambitions that reach beyond raising a family and having a career. That journey is reflected in my wardrobe – so I would not want to build it up again in any different way. I feel very blessed with the unique items I own, some from sustainable fashion companies that have closed their doors by now such as Linda Loudermilk, Deux FM, Loyale, Modafusion and Sobosibio. Combining these items with the clothes that I have been wearing for so many years gives me enormous delight.



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