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By Marthe Seydel

I’ve written before that strategic boundary spanning is the new black. But this is now obsolete, as there’s a tremendous new development going on in the world of fashion. ‘Green’ will inevitably be the new black. Today, you’re not adding value to our futures if you’re not the least bit interested in sustainability and biodiversity. Utilizing green practices will lead to global fruition in the years to come. And not only in the space we are living in, but also in the world of fashion.

It’s inspiring to see such a small country being a pioneer when it comes to sustainable fashion.  Amsterdam Fashion Week (AFW) is the initiator of The Green Fashion Competition, which is part of The Green Collective. With its partners, Dutch Design Week and the Netherlands Architecture Institute, The Green Collective works on strengthening and combining the creative industry with Agriculture, Water and the Chemical industries. Holly Syrett, Project Manager of The Green Fashion Competition at AFW, sees a bright future for sustainability in fashion and design. When asking Syrett if she has any advice on fitting sustainability into your daily life, she advises to do what feels right and suits you personally. If you’re into High Street, check out the new Topshop eco-line and, for example, the H&M Conscious Collection.

The winner of the first season of The Green Fashion Competition was Dutch Designer Elsien Gringhuis. Syrett said that at first she wasn’t aware that Gringhuis was a ‘sustainable’ designer. Syrett always loved her clean, almost architectural, designs and was elated to learn how everything about the designers mindful operation is a conscious decision.

Elsien Gringhuis is a designer aiming at green quality. When I asked Gringhuis about translating sustainably into fashion, she said that first of all, “Clothing should be functional and of a high quality.” She designs with the ‘classics’ in mind. Her patterns are minimal, an efficient way of consorting with materials. When taking a look at the future, Gringhuis said that people will become more aware of the negative consequences the fashion industry may cause. But she believes that one should take their responsibility when it comes to buying and producing. Because just think of the huge amount of toxins that are being used and dumped during the process of making clothes. The designer’s advice on sustainable fashion: “Go for quality and keep it simple.”

Syrett’s dream is that The Green Fashion Competition becomes an annually reoccurring initiative, known globally for presenting the best fashion (which is of course ‘green’). They’re looking forward to tightening their connections to organizations such as UNCTAD and Textile Exchange.

For more information on The Green Fashion Competion or Elsien Gringhuis visit,, and

Marthe Seydel, age 27, is based in Amsterdam. She studied Communication and Information Science at the University of Groningen, and currently works at a PR agency focused on fashion and lifestyle.

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