When Modeltypeface Went to Amsterdam!

Honestly, I am still floating on air from my trip to Amsterdam. Not even the huge quantities of cheese, beer, bread and appeltaart can weigh me down.

I was going over, as I said last week, to give a talk on sustainability, modelling and Fair Trade and I was very excited. I didn’t really know what to expect though.

Firstly, let me give you a brief rundown of why you HAVE to visit Amsterdam. Theo and I had three days there before the talk, staying quite central in an Air BnB. We went to museums, galleries, cafes, bars, restaurants and markets. Everywhere we went we met friendly people, beautiful streets (we LOVED the tall skinny houses) and whatever we ate was delicious. And bountiful. I’ll do another post on where to go another day cos for now I want to focus on MINT.

So, MINT is a trade show of sustainable brands within a trade show held at Modefabriek, which is huge (and when I say huge, I mean huge). Can I be honest? A lot of the overall stadium featured boring denim companies and square stall after square stalls of satchels.

Then you walk into MINT. It’s a huge circle, and it lives up to it’s name: fresh, inviting and modern looking, this isn’t what sustainable and Fair Trade fashion is supposed to look like. There was this huge sign to welcome you and make you feel part of the area.

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The brands on display were innovative, desirable and most of them were wearable – I was particularly drawn to Anne Gorke‘s dresses.

I got there just before my talk, and changed into my fave People Tree Atelier dress. Marieke Eyskoot (more on whom later) was super organised and whisked Theo and me off to the press area, which was gorgeously verdant and rammed full of expectant press, bloggers and other personalities from the world of Fair Trade and sustainable fashion.

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The first part was all in Dutch (of course) but Marieke was explaining why sustainable fashion is so important, and what Mint does. Then, a lady named Nina Pierson (something about our surnames!) who runs SLA, an organic salad bar. She looked so pretty and composed and confident, I started to get mild jitters.

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Then it was me! Marieke asked me some challenging questions about modelling, body image and sustainable fashion. For example, does sustainable fashion promote a more varied and healthy image in their advertising and lookbooks? I had to be honest here and say no. I’m a typical ‘Fair Trade’ model – western, tall and thin. Whereas other brands, such as Debenhams, will put out lookbooks featuring women in wheelchairs of a variety of ethnicities and ages. On the other hand, I said, they will do that once and then go back to using their usual white, tall, thin, young models! These are difficult subjects to discuss but it’s important we do discuss them.

Here’s a little video of me chatting with the wonderful Marieke:

According to Theo and Marieke and Nina I came across confidently. I felt pretty chilled but my entire body was involuntarily shaking from my toes to my scalp! It made for a wobbly mic, so I held it with two hands. I also bore in mind my Grammar School learnings in regards to oral exams…Look at everyone in the audience and don’t look down! I definitely stared at the same afro again and again, sorry to the owner!

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Then there was a talk from the director of the must-see movie True Cost, Andrew Morgan, over Skype (as to fly him out for one small talk would, of course, be unsustainable!).

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He spoke so passionately about thinking about the consequences of each purchase and how we can be positive and constructive with our purchases. We need to remember the hands that made our garments, and question whether they belonged to happy and healthy workers – or exploited – workers.

Finally, Dutch Glamour announced that from now on, they will be including 10% sustainable fashion in every issue. That’s HUGE!!!!!

From there I gave a lot of interviews, which was rather a thrilling experience. I loved seeing what I do through their eyes. I am passionate about Modeltypeface, helping others and pushing sustainable fashion, but it’s an every day reality for me and I don’t always know how other people are receiving it. Blogging can be rather lonely in a way, and there’s no editor to tell me what to do or focus on. To get encouragement and even a spot of admiration from others at this event was the most euphoric feeling – all this hard work and time and love I put into this feels like it’s paying off.

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I rounded off the interviews with a call from Dutch Glamour, so hopefully I’ll be featured there. How exciting!

As you can see, I found the whole thing exciting and inspiring. Marieke is so very passionate, professional and driven about what she does.

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I do feel that Fair Trade and sustainable fashion have been firmly established – but that now, it’s about pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone and getting ourselves out there, truly infiltrating the fashion industry and making Fair Trade – ie not exploiting hundreds of thousands of people (not to mention nature) – THE NORM!

MINT makes me believe that we can do that. So thank you, MINT, for having me – let’s change the fashion industry for the better!

Rebecca x

PS I also have to say a humungous thank you to Theo, who was so very supportive. He wheeled my wheelie, he reminded my to breathe, he practiced ‘talking’ with me the night before, taking the photos and videos you see here…And he went off and did his own thing, returning now and then to give me snacks. Now THAT’S a model boyfriend! xxxx



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