Solidaridad & Sympany Launch Dutch Campaign To Inspire Fashion Consciousness

What you choose to buy, or not to buy, has a direct influence on someone’s life. To raise awareness of this fact, Solidaridad and social enterprise Sympany have launched a campaign in the Netherlands to inspire the public to become #modebewust (fashion conscious).

An Industry Plagued By Social & Environmental Challenges

The textile industry faces many social and environmental challenges. Approximately 70 million people work in the industry worldwide, many of them six days a week, and up to 13 hours per day.  Workers are often underpaid and experience bad labour conditions, and the factories they work in often lag behind international safety standards.

Women are at a particular disadvantage within the textile value chain. Typically, they get paid less and don’t have access to the same possibilities as men to grow professionally. In addition, problems such as forced labour, child labour, and discrimination occur regularly.

Pictured: A woman at work in a textile factory in Ethiopia

The textile industry also has a negative impact on the environment; a lot of water and energy gets wasted. The production of just one cotton T-shirt requires around 2700 liters of water. For a pair of jeans, this is 7000 liters of water. Contaminated water regularly gets discharged untreated and it is local communities and fishermen who are among the victims of these environmentally-unfriendly practices.

‘How Fashion-Conscious Are You?’

In this campaign, Solidaridad informs the public about these challenges and advises them on how to make (more) fashion-conscious choices. While consumer awareness of these issues is growing, especially in light of the tragic Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh five years ago, the public still lacks clear information on how to make more sustainable choices.

With this in mind, Solidaridad has launched the website This platform offers a lot of information, from background information on the challenges in the textile industry to tips for consumers to help them make more sustainable fashion choices. A short animation campaign video has been created to illustrate the problem and provide a call-to-action. And as a symbol of this movement, The Fair Shopper bag has been launched. 

The Eerlijke (Fair) Shopper

The Fair Shopper (Eerlijke Shopper in Dutch) is grounded in a sustainably produced bag made of 30% recycled and 70% organic cotton. In exchange for a donation of 20 euros, people can order the ‘Fair Shopper’ online on This bag has been produced in close cooperation with Sympany, an organization which collects and recycles second-hand clothing, and a partner of Solidaridad’s Better Mill Initiative Programme in Ethiopia.

Contributions from the campaign will be invested into the Better Mill Initiative, a three-year programme in which Solidaridad works directly with local textile factories on cleaner production methods and better working conditions.

Interested to find out more? Visit

Find out more about Solidaridad’s textile programme here.