Eva and Laura, two Antwerp-based sisters with a shared love for durability, cosiness and beautiful things, are the promoters of HOST. In this concept store you can find fair fashion, fair interieuritems, lunch and tea with pastries.
HOST – House of Sweets & Things moved recently from location to location. You can the concept store is now found in a larger building in the Statiestraat 56 in Berchem.
Why are you on this adventure entered into?
Eva: ‘We are in our personal life have always been conscious of the environment: we eat so little meat, go as often as possible with the bike and try in our way to contribute to a more environmentally conscious planet. My sister is gedoctoreerd and I am in the education gone, but around our thirtieth birthday we had a sense something new. I’ve always been interested in fashion and online I came across several sustainable brands. My sister has green fingers, an aspect that we also have in our store. The idea of a private shop to open is gradually grown and matured.
The idea of a private shop to open is gradually matured
We also knew early on that we not only wanted to focus on sale, but that Host is really a meeting place had to be where people congregate, workshops and lectures are organised, and a coffee can be drunk. We have in our first, smaller property can test and we can find that a mere sale is not quite where we were looking for. By Host to operate we come in contact with all sorts of interesting people and we really want to get to work on the basis of workshops and lectures. To that aspect of Host we look very forward.’
How difficult or easy is it to brands to select that also meet your requirements?
Eva: “That’s actually not so easy. We knew not at all or the brands that we selected would will be tempted into biting. That was ultimately good because we are with small labels work and we often have direct contact with the people behind the brands. That is a lot of fun, because you learn very fascinating to know the people and can you really ask a lot of questions.
Our criteria are very quickly becoming more rigorous. In the beginning, we bought brands, which we over time have found that they were not durable enough. You will learn quickly, usually during fairs or the first contact.
So, we have learned that not everything is necessarily 100% must have been made of natural materials, because sometimes, things last longer when there is something synthetic is added. Sustainability also means that stuff last a long time, and they do not after a few times use away throw. Clothes you need to wash and iron for example is also more durable. A brand can have a label that proves that the organic cotton is made of, but that would still not immediately say anything about the rest of the values of that brand. We also try to local entrepreneurs to support of slow fashion and do in Belgium or Europe produce.
We also try to local entrepreneurs to support to slow fashion.
It is also not easy to needle to thread to be sustainable. The fashion industry is an entrenched industry, which is also one of the most polluting industries is that there are. Durable shoes, search for example is very difficult. There is almost always adhesive is used, making them not only quickly wear out, but also not be recycled. Therefore we look very much to concepts such as ShoeRise, a company that conducts research to shoes you may be completely out of each other can pick up and recycling.
So we try only brands to sell that is already a very big step in the right direction. A brand such as Miss Green is there, for example, very transparent about. On their website you can see what parts are sustainable and which parts they still need to work. Rather honest than greenwashing.’
Do your clients really aware of the sustainable fashion?
Eva: “That is a mix. There are certainly very aware, because they know that they can find sustainable brands can find. There are a lot of people for MUD Jeans. But we also have random shoppers, and when we tell them that we have a sustainable concept store, is usually positively received. Sometimes, do people really not. Well, fair enough, that may here also shopping. Then they have to do but something honest bought (laughs).We have the feeling that consumers become more critical.
It is our goal to not be too obvious to be sustainable, so that people really come because our offer suits them. It should not drip off. There are really still people who think that eco dusty and for hippies. That’s still ingrained, even though that in 2017 all the way is no longer correct. We are so happy when people are excited and surprised. There are also people for the small independent brands, because they are something unique shop.
All revolutions are started with a small spark, and the awareness is step one.
We understand also very well that not everybody suddenly across their wardrobe in a sustainable shops are going to buy. We also have a footprint, but do believe that small changes are meaningful. Purchase a durable pair of jeans and save gallons of water. That was a top contributes that from a fast fashionketen is not very. You will need these pieces do not throw it away, that is not at all durable. All revolutions are started with a small spark, and the awareness is step one.”
What do the customers of the prices of your items? Get you there comments about it?
Eva: ‘yes, it does. We find that we are very, very reasonable prices, but he thinks that not everyone is so over. We have deliberately chosen for a good price kwaliteitverhoudingen. Yet, people find a T-shirt that 39.99 is the price expensive, because they are in a chain of a T-shirt can purchase for 9.99 euros. It is actually the price of that cheap T-shirt that is wrong, but people that become so common that it proves difficult to have a change of attitude. The jeans of Mud are, for example, very well priced, even better than the well-known high street brands, where you’ll also find quite a bundle neertelt for the brand name.
We realize that we have sustainable fashion can promote as much as we want, but that there are population groups for which it really is too expensive. My husband works with people who are disadvantaged and who have no message to. Then we can still say: ‘this quality is better, just buy one’. But they have the budget not to make as much money at one time. If you have the money do not have, we have, of course, all the understanding for. Or people our offer, much depends so very much on the budget that people have to spend and, of course, of the consciousness.
You can’t convince everyone and that you have to accept it. You will always have people that you don’t want to hear. That is then so be it. But you can feel the awareness is really growing. I do not think that fair fashion is a trend that will blow over. It is more and more trickle down, even in the big chains. There will ever be a day that our store no longer special but the norm. And that would be great.’
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