My thoughts on wearing (second-hand) leather

I used to think it was fine to wear second-hand leather. Over the years I bought some amazing leather and suede skirts in thrift shops. Truth be told, I also own a leather jacket which I bought new some ten years ago and I still buy the occasional pair of leather shoes. However, when I would see somebody in a fur coat, I would be shocked. Even if I knew it was second-hand. A conversation I had a while back made me reconsider this. Why should a second-hand fur coat be different from brand new leather shoes? I couldn’t convince myself of an answer. Ever since, I’ve been wanting to look further into this topic to create a well-informed opinion. Fortunately, leather was elaborately discussed last week in the course ‘Fashion and Sustainability’ that I’m taking, by the London College of Fashion. A great opportunity for me to learn more and share my thoughts with you.

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Manifesto

I grew up in the North-West of Europe, in the Netherlands to be precise, where capitalism and consumerism have been leading principles since the nineties. Me and my sisters must have shared over twenty barbies and every birthday and Christmas there’d be piles of gifts to unpack. Buying cheap clothing was the accompanying norm. I would go and buy clothes with my friends during school breaks. We’d have small budgets and want to buy a lot, so we’d only go to fast-fashion chains like H&M, Coolcat, Bershka and later Primark. We didn’t consider the quality of garments, or how often we would wear them. At the time, we didn’t know any better.

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Organic vs Sustainable (or Responsible) Cotton

Hema is a Dutch brand where I love to buy my undergarments. It has been a household name in Netherlands for decades, known for its nice stores and good quality products. Most garments either have a label that says ‘biological cotton’, or ‘responsible cotton’. This gave me the impression that my undies were honestly and sustainably produced. The other day I was in one of the stores and my eye fell on these labels again. I wondered: what is the difference between biological and responsible cotton?

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Commercialization of Culture: Paris

Just back from Paris, I am left wondering about the peculiar culture that I experienced there. Our hotel wasn’t far from Montmartre; the hill in Paris that used to be the epicentre of the bohemians. Artists such as Picasso and Van Gogh lived there at the end of the 19th century. It was a place of creativity, criticism and artistic collaboration. Works of, for example, André Gill, Suzanne Valadon and Renoir that came about ín Montmartre remind us of this. There are multiple places there, such as the Moulin de la Galette, the Montmartre vineyard and small cabaret theaters that you can still visit. You can imagine that, even being unaware to much of this information at that moment, I was excited to visist the hill.

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Cultural Heritage

For the last two months I have been living in Tilburg. It feels like home, as I was born here and went to high school here. Generally, people don’t like Tilburg. It has the same notoriety as Rotterdam, of being an industrial city with hardly any charm. I used to say the same thing; “Tilburg is not a great city if you don’t know it”. Living here once again, however, I was confronted with the strong personality of the city and it’s coherent culture. It seemed that everywhere I went and the things I did were all in some way linked to the city’s cultural heritage; my cultural heritage.

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OOG

Eyes are windows to the soul, so it is said. New Heroes and Het Zuidelijk Toneel, amongst other partners, created eyes to function as windows to the city of Den Bosch. Thus, experiencing OOG may give you an insight to the soul of the city. Or even beyond that?

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