Sustainable Fashion and Lifestyle with Marieke Eyskoot
Marieke Eyskoot (1977) is sustainable lifestyle expert; she puts contemporary, conscious living on the map. Marieke is a sought-after (TEDx)speaker, event presenter and consultant, and co-founder of the international fair fashion trade show MINT. She is the author of the modern handbook ‘This is a Good Guide – for a sustainable lifestyle’, filled with practical and positive tips regarding fair fashion, clean beauty, real food, eco travel and a low-impact home – empowering citizens to make their choices matter. The series contains an adult and youth version, and has sold over 30,000 copies worldwide.
With 20 years of experience, Marieke has an extensive global ethical network. She’s featured in several top-women lists and was nominated as Amsterdam Citizen of the Year. Marieke has initiated the worldwide movement #SustainabilityAgainstShame, putting a spotlight on how we’re being shamed into buying more and more – which not only makes us feel bad about ourselves, but makes us treat the planet badly too. She is fond of taboo-breaking, feminism and reading aloud, and for many media, she is the go-to person for all things sustainable.
As a sustainable fashion expert, do you own an item that is made from rPET? Is it an item you wear often?
M: Absolutely, I own several items: a sweater, a jacket, a pair of sweatpants and underwear. Especially the last items I wear lots, as they are very comfy.
What other ways do you like to practice sustainable fashion? Is there anything you can recommend to people who want to slowly make that transition?
M: I aim to go for a mix of second-hand and ethical fashion brands. Buying pre-loved items is such a good way of supporting a different fashion industry. We really don’t need so many new clothes, we have enough. And the good thing is it’s affordable too, as well as a way to not look exactly the industry wants you to (the same as everyone else). Borrowing from a fashion library such as LENA and sharing with friends are also great options. If you do need something new, aim to spend your money on what you want to grow: ethical fashion labels who treat workers and the planet with respect.
If you could imagine your ideal sustainable fashion future, what would it look like? And what is needed to get there?
M: In my ideal future, we buy clothes that make us feel good about ourselves. They are created with respect for people and our environment, and nothing and nobody is exploited in the process. How is it still acceptable to make a lot of profit by exploiting people and the planet? Why is it okay for others elsewhere to be treated like that, but would it absolutely not be okay for us? We are exactly the same, just born on a different continent by chance. We need laws that forbid products - that were produced through exploitation - to enter the EU market. And we need them now – because people and the planet should no longer have to suffer for our outfits.
Marieke as Penelope on the Wasted Tales Podcast
Marieke voiced the character Penelope, on the third episode of Mission Zero’s podcast, “Wasted Tales”. Penelope the polyester jacket discusses her transition from her past form as, Polly, the plastic bottle, to a fashionable and circular rPET jacket.
How did you experience being Penelope in the podcast?
M: I loved it!
Attentive listeners might have noticed that the podcast jingle is also your voice. in fact, you have more often lent your voice to characters in the past. How is it for you to be a part of this project?
M: It’s great! I love working with my voice, doing voice-overs, reading audiobooks, creating podcasts et cetera, so this was a wonderful combination of important content and one of the things I enjoy doing most.
Creating Movements: @Thisisagoodcloset and #Sustainability Against Shame
On social media, Marieke is paving the way to create dialogue and awareness around sustainable initiatives and contemporary issues in commercial practices. Marieke runs the Instagram page @thisisagoodcloset, a closet sale promoting fair and vintage fashion, accessories, interior, and more. She is also breaking taboos with the movement #sustainabilityagainstshame, which aims to stop shaming for profit in advertising and media.
“[It’s] A virtual version of closet sales I’ve done before, where I would invite everyone into my home and garden, to purchase clothes, accessories, books, interior and beauty products and other things I don’t use anymore. Now we of course can’t organise such events because of Covid, so I though this might be a nice way to continue them, and still be in touch with people. The response has really been amazing, and it’s been lovely to connect over re-using clothes, bags and shoes.”
“I always find it such a waste when great items just sit in my wardrobe and no-one enjoys them. So I go for the pieces that are still cool and in fab shape, but I don’t wear them anymore – either because they don’t fit me, they don’t suit me or they’re just not me. Such a huge pleasure to see someone else shine in them.”
“This campaign means a lot to me, as it links subjects that are very important in my life: sustainability, mental health and shame. We are all perfect, just the way we are. There is nothing to be embarrassed about. We are all human, we all have a shape, a colour, and we all have flaws. Nothing we buy, can increase our self-worth and self-love.
The ideal we have to live up to in the fashion and lifestyle business is ridiculously limited. We are being shamed into shopping. We are made to feel like we are not good enough, like we don’t belong, so we will spend money on the items that’ll solve this. At the same time, we are aware that people and the planet are in trouble, and that we need to change our consuming behaviour to get us out of this climate and social crisis. How come we have such a hard time actually doing this? Well, partly because of the shaming system. Because we are being brainwashed by these norms and taboos, that teach us time and again we’re not okay until we spend more (and more and more and more). We need to actively recognise and resist the way shaming for profit works, to not only save ourselves, but the world too.
This commercialisation of our body and being lies at the heart of our struggle to change our behaviour. As long as you don’t like yourself, it’s okay, because then you remain vulnerable for the idea that you can fix this by shopping. I started this movement to make us all aware of how the system of shaming for profit works, and what we can do to stop it. On my website you can find how you can become a part of it, and I’ve created the highlight #SustainabilityAgainstShame on my Instagram page. Let’s stop shaming for profit together: be yourself and change the world!”