How can we follow the latest fashion and respect the rights of people and the planet? Olga Van Genechten, fashion boutique owner, explains how it's possible to stay on trend and make responsible choices.
Ecological and fair fashion for all
Do you know who made your clothes? All too often, we have to admit we don’t. In other sectors, they are more likely to ask this question, but the fashion world is rather vague on the subject. The label tells us the composition of the garment, how to care for it and the country in which it was made. But we usually don’t learn anything about the manufacturing conditions.
The concept of the Supergoods boutique is based on the fact that the clothes we buy on the high street are often produced in conditions that are far from transparent. Sustainable, fair and ecologically-produced fashion items do exist, however. And you will find those garments and accessories in Supergoods.
The missing piece of the puzzle
“During a trip to China, I discovered the social and ecological truth behind my wardrobe. That’s when I decided to devote myself to sustainable fashion. First I created my own label, and now with the shop I’m closer to my customers,” Olga Van Genechten explains.
The promotion of sustainable fashion requires the cooperation of designers and consumers, but also the distributors. For that reason, in 2016 Olga decided to open her own boutique in Ghent. She was trained as a fashion designer and dedicates her career to sustainable fashion. She noticed that it was not demand but supply that was limited, so she decided to open her second Supergoods boutique (the first is in Mechelen). For funding, she went to Triodos Bank.
“When we think of ethical and sustainable fashion, we often imagine the picture of trolls in the wood. Here you find affordable pieces reflecting Scandinavian chic. So neither style nor your wallet lose out."
The fashion sector is changing
Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of what they buy, second-hand shops and sustainable fashion shows are mushrooming each year, from Lisbon to Berlin and also in Ghent. Since 2015, the city has organised the Fair Fashion Fest, featuring workshops, training courses and fashion shows through which Ghent wants to promote fairer fashion. The last edition in 2016 attracted an incredible 3,700 visitors.
“You can find information about how sustainable your clothing is from the consumer organisation Rank a brand,” Olga tells us. The site evaluated over 700 brands from 25 different sectors based on their sustainability and social responsibility. The evaluation is independent and transparent. “The evaluation is based on the impact that a brand has on the environment, working conditions and policy transparency. In this way, Rank a brand wants to encourage manufacturers and consumers to make more responsible choices.”