There is no better way to realize how much stuff you have that you no longer use than facing the draconian task of organizing your closet. It’s amazing the quantity of non-practical items we are able to accumulate there through the years – even when you try to consume rationally and buy just one, two (or even none) new clothes per season.
So, if you are looking for ideas to downsize, but care about the environment and don’t want to get rid of things by throwing them away, you should pay attention to the following solution.
A few weeks ago we visited a very special second hand shop in Düsseldorf called BROKE (Tussmannstrasse 5). It was truly interesting to get to know the owner and discuss with her more in detail the way in which the business works. She told us, for instance, that everyone is welcome to bring their old clothes, shoes and accessories to be re-sold in there. Of course, the better the condition of the items, the more possibilities you have to succeed in your goal.
In this case, the prices are fixed in agreement between the owner of the clothes and the shop manager. The items will be shown at the store over a 3-month period and the benefits coming from the selling are divided 50% for each part. What means, not only will you gain space in your wardrobe but also a little economic profit will come out of it.
On the other hand, remember that second hand shopping brings us a lot of pleasures also from the consumer point of view:
o Environmental. You will be preventing the clothes from slowly decomposing in a landfill while releasing heavy metals into the soil and groundwater.
o Economical. You will save money when buying, and make money when selling.
o Sentimental. The clothes that have been worn by somebody else already have a story and, from the moment you buy them on, you will be responsible to continue writing that story. In a way, this means you will be connected to the complete stranger who first owned them… How fun is that?
“On 24 April every year, Fashion Revolution Day brings people from all over the world together to use the power of fashion to change the story for the people who make the world’s clothes. We want fashion to become a force for good. We believe in an industry that values people, the environment, creativity and profit in equal measure. We believe transparency is the first step to transform the industry. And it starts with one simple question: Who made my clothes?“
“The love we give away is the only one we keep” is one of the inspiring messages we found printed on fabric cards at the Dignita Store in Amsterdam. Like we mentioned in our previous post of this series, this shop is a social enterprise that sells products made by survivors of human trafficking to finance – among others – culinary training programs for them. That way, the victims have a chance to look at the future with hope thanks to the new professional opportunities they now aspire to.
The entity behind the Dignita Store is the Dutch arm of Not for Sale, an international organization that defines its goals as follows:
“To break the cycle of exploitation, Not For Sale provides survivors and at-risk communities with shelter, healthcare, and legal services, first attending to the most basic needs of individuals who have suffered extreme trauma. We are dedicated to addressing the profound and enduring effects of violence and exploitation. Only once their physical and emotional well-being is established can we begin to work together toward long-term opportunities for education and employment.”
Walking through the Red Light District in Amsterdam a few weeks ago we spotted a small and very interesting store. It was called Dignita and, after a friendly talk with the female workers there, it was clear to us that we had to write about this particular place and the great structure behind it…
We have recently interviewed Meijet Broers, the program coordinator at the “Not for Sale” foundation in the Netherlands. The goal of this organism it to bring a future of hope to those people who survived the abuse and exploitation of human trafficking.
How does the “Not For Sale” foundation work?
The foundation is composed by social enterprises like the Dignita café or the Dignita store – both of them located in Amsterdam. All the profits made by these social enterprises go to the foundation. These profits subsequently pay for the training programs offered to survivors of human trafficking. Read more →