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Monday, 20 October 2008

Rain drips into the collar of my sports jacket and instantly chills my sweaty back. I have lost the feeling in my hands, cold as they are from the icy wind that blows around us. Slowly I place my right foot one rock further. But the slippery stones and my heavy backpack make me lose my balance. I reach out to the steel cable that is only half visible through intense fog. The weak air makes me almost stop to breathe. My heart is pounding like it wants to jump out of my body. Am I going to fall off this 2.500 meter high peak? What about my eco fashion ambitions? Or is it better nobody knows since I’m not exactly looking like a fashion victim conquering this giant Swiss mountain?

When we have finally made it to the panorama restaurant and have warmed up with hot soup and rösti, we decide to change our route. Instead of pursuing the mountaintop track, we take the cable car down and walk towards our starting point. “Let’s just stay one more night”, my brother suggests. “We might get a second chance tomorrow”. And he is right: the next morning our hike up treats us to breathtaking views of the region. No global warming here, it’s mid October and the peaks are snow covered. Blue skies and a bright sun highlight the colors of the autumn trees that shape a painter’s pallet. The melting snow creates waterfalls ending in the alpine lake that glitters down in the valley. We’re standing on top watching the big birds ride the waves of wind below us and feel great: we did it!

After talking to over 50 labels last week in Paris I know now: eco fashion is about conquering big mountains. It’s about creating new paths towards a better world and being flexible enough to alter your path. It’s about not giving up too easily even when you lose sight for a moment. Because in the end your reward is gigantic, just like Säntis!

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