If you are not comfortable ignoring the impact of the clothing industry on the environment and worker conditions, you might find yourself either buying fair-trade/ local made clothes, wearing DIY fashion or going through second hand markets. In my experience these solutions are either expensive or time consuming.

Fortunately, in the heart of Amsterdam you can find a unique new startup within the collaborative economy – Lena library of fashion. Lena takes a stance against ’fast fashion’ and it’s basically an apparel store that works with a membership model where you rent clothes, you return the clothes and another person can rent them again.

As any newcomer to Amsterdam, I had to move in and out several times before finding a long term flat. In the meantime I discovered Lena and after becoming a member, I quickly donated a big part of my wardrobe and have barely bought any clothes since.

What does Lena mean for me and why is it innovative? I get the feeling of constantly having new clothes; I can experiment with clothes I normally am not sure of or clothing items that would be too expensive to buy.  All in one store, which works with local brands and is constantly renovating and uploading photos of their stock on their website.  Additionally, the sharing economy’s principle applies: you have access to more while you own less, so finally: I share my store-size wardrobe with other ladies, and my closet at home contains less unused clothes.

Since 7 months I am a proud Lena member because it makes it easier to stand by my principles and enjoy fashion without the guilt of having double standards. It’s important to help these platforms and initiatives emerge and prove that there is a demand for alternative and conscious ways of using items. Start with what you are wearing!