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Editor's Note: Welcome to the Rethink Runway

Kim Kim 10 Mar 2021 Editor's Note: Welcome to the Rethink Runway

This month, Shop Like You Give a Damn is all about the Rethink Runway: we turn everything upside down and inside out, actively challenging ourselves to think out of the box and pledging ourselves - even more than usual - to not take anything at face value.

Rather read this in its original language (Dutch)? Check it out.

The result: 6 articles with six (fashion) phenomena or lifestyle completely 'rethunk'. Let's see what paradigm shift(s) we can create!

In this article:

A short note on our personal history

Particularly in the past 7 to 8 years, we (Stephan and Kim) have learned quite a bit about the world. We discovered the (often purposely hidden) injustice that the world revolves around and how intensely Mama Earth suffers from all of her human tenants - so we adjusted our own behaviour accordingly.

We started making different choices in our lives, setting different goals, spending our time differently, and became vegan. Determined to make compassion and sustainability the new normal, we eventually started this department store.

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But to be honest: our journey of learning and unlearning wasn't always a joyful one. Talk about paradigm shifts. So while you're here, let me introduce you to this month's editorial theme: the Rethink Runway.

"But we have always done it this way ..."

... is one of the most absurd arguments (or shall I say: fallacies) of all time.

Out of fear of changing what we are familiar with or in the name of protecting traditions, we sometimes desperately cling to the habits that have offered us a sense of safety and well-being for such a long time. After all, as the author Milan Kundera said too: happiness is the longing for repetition.

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Really reflecting on many of the unconscious choices we automatically make on a daily basis, isn't something we often do. We have become so accustomed to our privileges that we have come to confuse them with the right to certain habits and goods - and we even argue that they can't be taken away from us.

Sure, we fight for what we love and don't like change very much; that lies in our human nature. And learning about these goods' social and environmental impacts on their way to our living room/wardrobe/dinner plate can be a particularly unpleasant experience.

It is not for nothing that Thomas Gray once wrote: "Where ignorance is bliss, 'tis folly to be wise."

Head in the sand vs. heart under the microscope

Yet you may question whether we as individuals or as a society have become better people by sticking our heads in the sand, not daring to look beyond the surface of what appears to be the reality.

If we take everything we feel, do, say, and consume for granted and thoughtlessly accept our customs and practices as right and normal, where lie our growth and capacity for compassion?

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Couldn't we make better use of our unique ability to reflect?

Allow me to kindly throw a handful of ethical questions your way:

  • Should convenience stand in our way of recognizing the consequences of our behaviour - if it can be just as fun, tasty and affordable in a fairer way?
  • What do we think about the fact that some briefly amused taste buds could mean the end of a life?
  • Can an outfit be actually stylish if, in the (often invisible) production chain, fellow humans are being exploited for it?
  • And what about that glamorous makeup look for which laboratory animals, hidden from view, still get the short end of the stick?

We are not allergic to change

It's up to you. But it is good to remember that we are not allergic to change. Actually, I think that having the balls to critically examine the impact each of us has on other lives (and the earth as a whole) is a great asset to have. Especially if you're prepared to re-shape your choices and habits after gaining these new insights.

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In his acceptance speech at the Oscars last year, Joaquin Phoenix described so strikingly that just mentioned sense of 'entitlement' of people. To get a better grasp on what I meant there, you might want to check that out that short clip yourself.

His conclusion: we fear the concept of personal change because we think we have to sacrifice something. But humans at our best are so inventive, creative and genius - when we use love and compassion as our guiding principles, we can cultivate a change in the system that benefits all sentient beings and the environment. So true.

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Okay, enough rambling out of me. Paradigm shifts. We wouldn't be Shop Like You Give a Damn if we wouldn't want to share all our own learnings with you in the most positive, inspiring and constructive way possible.

That's why I'd like to present to you the following 6 articles, written and designed by some of my fantastic teammates and yours truly!

This month: 6 times a (fashion) phenomenon or lifestyle ... rethunk

??  With the dawn of February, the Dutch Week of the Circular Economy also took place. So, naturally we wrote about circular fashion: Circularity and Fashion: (How) Does That Work?

Polly created an article on what exactly this complicated concept means (and why it is different from recycling), saying goodbye to the linear model of (fast) fashion, and whether circular fashion (in which waste and pollution are actively designed out) can be a realistic solution. And if (and where) you can already find these circular fashion pioneers in the real world. Including several handy models you might want to check out.

??  A few days later, it was Warm Sweater Day, and the Shop Like You Give a Damn team participated too, of course! Lio and I wrote about this fun collective climate action, while the entire team (each member from their home) got into their favourite jumpers and turned the heat down by one degree. All under the motto: "Turn the heating down by one degree and warm yourself - not the world." ??

But does one degree actually make a difference at (inter)national level? What do our teammates have to say about (the origin of) their favourite sweater? Of course, we'll also treat you to (according to Sonja) 12 of the most beautiful vegan sweaters that you can find in our department store.

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??  If you are in need of a laugh, definitely have a look at the slightly psychedelic Shop the Look that Sonja and Polly have prepared for you. I call this masterpiece: An Ode to the Sweatpants. (They call it: Shop the Look: Quarantine Edition.)

For your grinning pleasure: check out these 4 completely unique looks that don't require you to change your sweatpants to uncomfortable jeans, but -  from the waist up - still make you look damn good in front of your webcam. Everything you need for an important work meeting, a romantic online date night, a digital pub quiz with your friends or just for a nice evening with your dearest friend Netflix for maximum chillaxation!

??  After this, Polly and Paul joined forces for another gem. Our team enjoys nothing more than philosophizing about life, ethics and good (vegan) food. That is why our youngest (late nineties kid) and our oldest team member (born in the sixties) digitally got together to engage in an entertaining conversation about the future: Life in 2067: Have We Truly Swallowed the Past?

They watched the BBC mockumentary “Carnage: Swallowing the Past” (2017) and discussed - each through their generation’s lens - how they envision the (vegan) future and what an ethical and sustainable lifestyle means for them.

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??  And if you haven't seen enough of the man, be sure to check out his insights in The Voice of a Generation: This is Paul, Gen X. He describes growing up during a time when thinking about the ethics of consumption wasn't actually a part of everyday life: “We worried about the cold war, not about our earth warming up."

He started his transition to veganism at the age of 56, discovered the vegan master-chef of his dreams in his girlfriend Kisa and won the Vegan Award for Best Store with this lot!

By the way, you will also find that ultimate fallacy at the beginning of the interview with Paul. Grace Murray Hopper was the one who spoke these legendary words: “The most dangerous phrase in the language is, ‘We’ve always done it this way'".

??  Together with one of our sellers we dive into the how-and-what of that magical little plant called hemp. This one's not about erm - using it, but wearing it. Yes sirree!

In: The High Qualities of Hemp: meet MÁ Hemp Wear we will take you on a journey to the origin of this extremely strong plant and explain why it is such a sustainable material to make clothing from. Including some awesome hemp looks from our collection of course!

I'd like to send you a letter with news

Enjoyed this blog? Then, be sure to sign up for our newsletter; I take much joy in writing one each month! Once every four weeks, you will receive our best articles, most beautiful new brands and sellers, discounts and other tips in your mailbox.

Some of our newest sellers that I highlighted in February's edition that fitted perfectly within the monthly theme:

  • Culthread, for instance, is passionate about fur-free while still making 'fur' coats (female-owned slow fashion awesomeness galore!), and
  • there is actually 'nothing new' under the sun here but you'll still have some beautiful bling with the handmade jewellery of Nouare Jewelry (because Marie actually uses only recycled materials from product to packaging),
  • and with the Organicup, you can say goodbye to the usual disposable menstrual products (and save 2,640 tampons or sanitary pads over a period of 10 years and use only 1 menstrual cup instead)!

This (and more) beautiful things can be found in every edition ??

Thanks for reading!