Anne-Ro Klevant Groen is Marketing and Communications Director at Fashion for Good, a platform that connects established fashion brands with startups.
“Ever since I was a little girl, fashion has been my passion. But I also know that the fashion industry has a large, negative impact on people and our environment. We need to transform our current take-make-waste model into a circular fashion system. For me, it is very rewarding to work on solutions via Fashion for Good.
We connect sustainable and innovative startups to corporate fashion companies and manufacturers such as Adidas and C&A. Many startups have fantastic ideas for more sustainable fashion, but they don’t yet have the network or financial resources to connect with large companies. Others want to know more about intellectual property or marketing. Our mentors help these startups with tailor-made programs based on their maturity.
Corporations invest in us to help us do our jobs, but they also dedicate teams and time to our programmes. We help them with impact assessments so they can see where they will be most effective, and then we connect them to the startups that fit their goals. C&A, for example, was part of a pilot that used blockchain technology to improve transparency in the organic cotton industry. The technology helps trace the origin of organic cotton, similar to what is already being done with coffee and cocoa. Tommy Hilfiger has collaborated with a startup that makes vegan leather from the pectin in apples. We are also starting our own foundational pilot projects, including one with chemical recycling and another that’s working on developing circular polybags for clothes, such as the bags that are wrapped around our clothing when we order from webshops.”
The Amsterdam ecosystem
“Amsterdam offers us plenty of opportunities. It is a very creative city and home to many of the large fashion house’s headquarters. There’s also a good startup and investment climate. We have a co-working space in the heart of Amsterdam for innovative, sustainable fashion startups and freelancers. It’s a large open space where individuals or companies can rent desks and connect to other members of the Dutch circular fashion ecosystem. We always have some space available, so feel free to contact us if you want to be part of our network.
We are also working on an education program for MBO schools to ensure that the fashion industry’s future workforce understands the need to get rid of that take-make-waste model.
For consumers, we have the Fashion for Good Museum on the Rokin in Amsterdam, where we want to educate visitors so they can make better fashion choices. The museum industry is still fairly new to us, and we would like to get in touch with parties that can help us reach more people. Ultimately, it is consumers who either have to buy less or get to know more about the sustainable apparel our partners are developing, make better decisions and demand a better product.
We publish what we learn about sustainable clothing and textiles in our website’s Resource Library. It’s accessible to everyone—free of charge—so startups don’t have to waste valuable time reinventing the wheel. By working together better, we work more efficiently and can accelerate our transformation to a circular fashion system.”
If you’d like to get in touch with Anne-Ro, you can find her on this platform.
This interview is part of the series 'Meet the Members of Amsterdam Smart City'. In the next weeks we will introduce more members of this community to you. Would you like show up in the series? Drop us a message!
Interview and article by Mirjam Streefkerk