Antwerp, city of (sustainable?) fashion

Winter is coming! We all know what this means: cold weather, not knowing what to wear and foremost holidays such as Christmas and New Year (Eve) which equals stunning new outfits and dress to impress. Luckily, every clothing brand reveals a new collection every season, so every need of us as a customer can be fulfilled. We all know what that means: shop until you drop!

Have you ever thought about how unlucky we actually are? Did you for example know that the clothing industry is the most polluting (only the oil industry is wrong) and least hospital for human mankind? It is frightening to realize that textile is responsible for 10 percent of the global CO2 emissions! Furthermore, nearly half of the worldwide problems with wastewater has to do with textile production. It also contributes to the worldwide problem of water shortage, since the production of clothing requires A LOT of water. Above that, clothing brands usually outsource the production lines to developing countries, which generally equals underpaid labour and humiliating work conditions.

We can and should do better, and thankfully more and more clothing brands agree on that: new shopping concepts and sustainable shops emerge, big brands set up campaigns to create awareness about the problematic impact of our lifestyle on the planet and customers start to make incremental changes in their purchasing habits and way of living. Antwerp can be a pioneer in the evolution to sustainable living, since it is the fashion city of Flanders.

Go as u.r.

Who ever tried to avoid materials such as leather, fur, silk or wool in his clothes? In fact, a  vegan lifestyle can be more than not eating animal products. This was proved by the ambitious woman, Annelies Lambert, who opened her own sustainable shop in Antwerp, named Go as u.r. Did you ever dreamed about a dress made of wood pulp or recovered sea fishing nets? One place to be: Everdijstraat, Antwerp (a five minute walk from the Antwerp Management School building).

The idea of circular economy is key in the production of a Go as u.r. item. Annelies is always trying to do the best she can by pushing things in order to get a product that is as sustainable as possible for its entire life cycle.

“You can’t be 100% perfect, no one can, but you can push for it and hopefully one day something will change.”

This new Belgian label has one overall goal: creating future proof on-the-go fashion and vegan, natural beauty products for woman. Annelies tries to translate colours, movement and expression into powerful simplicity and freedom. There are no rules for launch timings and seasonal speedy collections are never followed. But overall, she wants to create awareness. Go as u.r. is more than a sustainable brand, it’s a state of mind. “It is the desire to be free, explore and express ourselves.” By using high-performance, low-impact innovative materials (such as wood pulp, recovered sea fishing nets and recycled fibres), she creates simple yet powerful shapes and silhouettes that enhance the feeling of being free. Every product is made to be light and long-lasting: materials matter.

In addition, all packages of the products in this shop are sustainable. Every skincare bottle is made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, jars are made from > 30% bio-based materials and the make-up packaging is made from recycled cardboard. Details are everything and Annelies believes that even small changes can make a huge difference. Recycled hang-tags and recycled outer boxes are inseparable from the store.

Gstar & MTV

As we already mentioned, not only small initiatives are creating new shopping concepts, but also big brands are setting up campaigns to create awareness about the problematic impact of our lifestyle on the planet. G-Star has for example joined the list of brands doing their bit in cleaning up the ocean, with the added benefit of creating a beautiful collection made from salvaged plastic. This cooperation between G-Star, Pharell Williams as creative director and a pool of creative partners combined casual classics with fun, quirky motifs delivering a much needed politically and ethically drive message: “WTF ARE YOU DOING TO MY OCEANS”.


Also MTV spread out a creative campaign aimed at reducing ocean waste, since tons of plastic waste can take centuries to decompose. It is the truth, we are fucking the ocean and that is only getting worse every single day. We therefore need to stop what we are doing and remind ourselves to reduce our personal dependence on plastics. Therefore, MTV collected plastic waste and created dildo’s with their statement “Don’t fuck the ocean, just do it yourself!”

By Anouk Verniers and Rin Verstraeten (


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