#54 Disrupting the Fashion Industry

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Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. A simple but powerful mantra. Our seemingly careless consumption of freshwater, minerals, and fossil fuels usually takes the spotlight in conversations about our impact on the planet, and for good reason. By comparison, remarkably little attention is given to the true environmental – and human – cost of the garment industry. The production and sale of clothes is largely based on disposability, planned obsolescence, and exploitation of cheap labor. But before you give away all your clothes and join a nudist colony, just try thinking about garments as a resource rather than a disposable commodity.

That’s exactly what Bert Vanson is doing as the founder and CEO of Mud Jeans. Based in the Netherlands, the company’s Lease a Jean program offers customers the ability to exchange or give back their used clothes. These materials are then re-purposed into new, high-quality garments. Hear how Bert is taking on the fashion establishment, and why looking good and feeling good about your clothes shouldn’t be mutually exclusive.

In this episode:

+ Understand the hidden cost of cheap fashion, and why inexpensive clothes are bad for both the environment and the global economy

+ Bert’s commitment to the circular economy, from the cotton field all the way to the fitting room

+ Customers as brand ambassadors: how offering a quality product pays for itself by generating positive reputation and loyalty

+ Learn how Mud Jeans has already incorporated up to 40% post-consumer waste into its products, and still has room to keep improving in the future

+ Mud Jeans’ “never-out-of-stock” model, putting just enough product on the market to sell, but not lose value

+ Bert’s 30 years of experience in the fashion industry: what’s changed, and what needs to change

+ The financial and personal challenges of insisting on sustainability in an unsustainable industry, and why taking a long-term view is critical for success

“We live in a world with limited resources. I thought it was time to consider the wellbeing of the earth and its resources, to see how we could do things better.”Bert van Son
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