Inspired by the sustainability movement, I decided to ‘konmari’ my wardrobe. You’ve probably heard about the method of the world-famous decluttering guru, Marie Kondo. The goal is to get rid of (read: recycle) the unnecessary piles of things I’ve collected over the years and to reconnect to the sense of joy within.
But then I thought, what would truly define ‘joy’ when it comes to wardrobes and accessories? As I get older, I have indeed become more selective. When it comes to retail therapy, I have imposed a new mantra: “If I don’t truly love it, I won’t spend money on it”. I have come to realize how that love and appreciation get even deeper when I discover that my ‘wannahaves’ were produced ethically and sustainably. And knowing that the money I spent actually helps the people who create the products to maintain a decent living and preserve the environment makes my heart beat faster.
Now, I am not meaning to pass myself off as a ‘sustainability inspirator’. I am simply trying to be more conscious and to get better oriented when it comes to ‘fair fashion’. In my pursuit of adding good karma to my wardrobe and accessories, I discovered the following two sustainable retailers with visions and creations that are so special, they brought a bling to my soul. And no, I didn’t get paid to write this piece.
Organic Jewelry by Julia Otilia
I first met Julia a year ago at the Swan Market at the Vredenburg, where she was selling a gorgeous collection of elegant and timeless organic jewelry. I became a huge fan! And I am not surprised to see her collections find international exposure, featured on ELLE and Harpers Bazaar UK.
The term, ‘organic jewelry’, also intrigued me, so I asked her what that means. Julia, who is originally from Sweden, explained that each piece of her jewellery is made of sustainably produced materials and crafted by hand in the Netherlands and Bali. As much as possible, they use recycled silver, sourced from Italy, the United States and Bali. The pearls used in her collection are natural sweet water pearls, grown slowly on small family farms in the Hainan province in China. They also ensure good labour conditions for everyone involved in the creation process.
Julia also creates unique pieces, combining gold or silver with natural elements, such as organically grown superfood and high frequency holy seeds, as well as nuts from the Amazon regions. How amazing is that? I decided to buy a pair of beautiful gold leaf-shaped earrings adorned with sweet water pearls for my daughter. Something pretty that also makes her feel proud whenever she wears them.
In Utrecht, you can find a selection of Julia Otilia’s jewellery at the WAAR store, Lijnmarkt 21 and at Yoga Moves, at St Janshovensstraat 1. Also visit her webshop: www.juliaotilia.com.
If you are an Explore Utrecht fan (aren’t you??), then you probably recall that we featured LIV stores just a while ago. Well, there are many reasons why we are such great fans of LIV Stores. When I told Daina that I wanted to write a piece on sustainable fashion, she recommended that I visit them at Twijnstraat 41. I was welcomed by their co-founder, Han Faber, who showed me some pieces of their collections, as well as several brands. I was truly charmed by their concept.
Han explained that the main goal of LIV Stores is to offer high-quality and sustainable fashion items, created by international and local (new) talents. They wanted to provide Dutch design talents with a platform where they can continue to blossom and to express their creativity in a sustainable way.
“When it comes to sustainability, we don’t only focus on the use of organic fabrics, but also efficient use of materials that are already available, so that very little goes to waste,” said Han. “We also know where the designers source their fabrics and how the clothes are made. Most items are produced at their own design studios in the Netherlands or somewhere in Europe.” Han noted that while their collection is quite diverse, the clothes are produced in a limited amount. “In this way, we give the designers an opportunity to offer customers something that is truly unique, produced responsibly and with great care. We want our customers to feel good about their purchase.”
Among LIV Stores brands is Loop.alife, which turns 100% recycled textile from Dutch clothing waste into beautiful and timeless knitwear items, such as sweaters, cardigans and scarves in various tones. Another one is Elements of Freedom, an Amsterdam based fashion brand, which prides itself for its ‘sustainable, but light-hearted’ creations. Also, Blei Ji Boots – a brand that uses eco-friendly materials for shoes and accessories, such as recycled jeans, vegetable tanned leather and hand-woven textiles.
Basically, all that you need to add some ‘feel good’ elements to your wardrobe and to spark joy in your heart.
LIV Stores – Twijnstraat 41