This is how you green up your wardrobe

The winner and jury of the Green Fashion Talent Award, Mariangela Lavanga on the right. (Photo: Pieter Symon)
Pieter Symon

Do you ever wonder where your sweater was produced and what it is made of? Dr. Mariangela Lavanga, assistant professor Cultural Economics at the Department of Arts and Culture Studies at Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication (ESHCC), definitely does. Because of her strong academic background and personal interest in sustainable fashion, she took place in the jury of the Green Fashion Talent Award last month. The winner: MYOMY do Goods, a Dutch bag-brand that shows that it’s not only possible to be a sustainable fashion company, but it’s also possible to grow as one.

‘You could see the winners were ready to conquer the world,’ Lavanga says. ‘MYOMY surprised me with the real wow-effect. Since it was bags, not clothes, I wondered how they would style the models. But they did so in a really professional and beautiful way.’

But, equally important: you could see they made a collection with which they’d be able to develop every year. They also invest a lot in research and innovations, which make the brand sustainable.’ One of the bags was made of so-called mushroom leather, a leather-like natural and biodegradable material.

‘But it is important to understand that sustainable fashion is not just about the environment,’ Lavanga, who is also the co-founder and coordinator of the first Minor Fashion Industry in the Netherlands, mentions. ‘It is also about, for example, local production or production-on-demand to avoid waste.’

Lavanga: ‘When I teach my students about the economics of fashion, I also always emphasise the cultural aspect of it. Through fashion, you can preserve and valorize a craft or artisanship that could otherwise get lost. There are designers who rediscovered design patterns that no one would use anymore. I think that’s great.’

Inspired to make your wardrobe a little more green? Follow the example of Lavanga: buy less, buy better. ‘Try to see what really fits you, in color, style and texture. Reflect a bit more on how you spend your time and money on clothes. Build a relationship with your closet and try to understand the life cycle of your clothing: what is it made of, how long can I wear this, can I recycle it? It is impossible to be a 100 percent sustainable, but you can try to be as sustainable as possible by forcing yourself to choose better.’

Oh, and: when you don’t want to buy fast-fashion, Lavanga adds, ‘don’t go to stores that sell it. Because if you enter the shop, you will buy something anyway. Control your buying!’

The most famous bag of winner MYOMY. (Photo: MYOMY)