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06.10.2017

How sustainable is your wardrobe, Mrs. Meier?

Barbara Meier, BMZ ambassador for sustainable textiles, model and actress

From Math studies to catwalk to textile ambassador: Barbara Meier won the TV competition Germanys Next Topmodel ten years ago. Since then, the former Math student has been successful as a model and actress, and since this year she has been on the road as a textile ambassador on behalf of the Federal Government to take up a lance for sustainable clothing.

Barbara Meier: Let's just say I'm on my way. I actually do it like the members of the Textiles Partnership. I have set myself a goal, one that I can achieve. I know that not all my clothes will be sustainable overnight. In my job, no one will take that away from me. But I have a goal and that is 20%. I look now more consciously and buy here a fair produced top, sometimes there a certified sweater from organic cotton. This makes my wardrobe more sustainable bit by bit. My experience is that 100% targets or bans are more deterrent than motivating. Then the task seems so huge that you have to fail and don't even start. But 20% that is feasible, anyone can do that.

From Germanys Next top model to ambassador for sustainable textiles - how does it fit together?

Barbara Meier: Quite good! Many people know me and I was able to build up a certain credibility in fashion issues over many years in the industry. I want to use this influence so that people value their clothes and increasingly opt for the sustainable T-shirt or the fairly produced variant of the suit.

Visit to a textile factory in Ethiopia

At the beginning of the year I was allowed to accompany the minister on an educational journey to Pakistan, India and Ethiopia. I saw production plants there and spoke with seamstresses. The whole topic suddenly became very clear to me. There are people who produce these beautiful new outfits for us and who are not always well off. I want to help improve their situation. And I do that by addressing people in Germany who like to dress fashionably. If they start to be interested in where their clothes come from and how they were made, and if they start to move their wardrobes bit by bit, then a lot has already been achieved. We should never underestimate the power we have as consumers. At the end of the day, an entire industry also depends on our wishes and needs.

What message do you have for the members of the Textiles Partnership?

Barbara MeierSince I have been more intensively involved with environmentally friendly and fair produced textiles, I have noticed what pioneering work is being done in the Partnership for Sustainable Textiles. They are working hard to fundamentally change the structures. So in numerous small and large steps something is changing for the better in many different places. Until the whole system is changed at some point. So that at some point it will be possible to dress sustainably - without having to familiarise oneself with the subject or study seals.

Visit to a textile factory in Ethiopia

I am sure that a commitment to the Partnership is a worthwhile investment in the future. The issue does not disappear. I can also see this in the reactions of my followers, for example to Instagram: They think it's good. My commitment has always met with a positive response. And personally, I would be delighted if at some point I could say that my wardrobe is not only 20% sustainable, but 30, 40, 50 or 80%. Of course, I can only do that if the offer is right. So, dear Partnership members: Keep up the good work. Together we are on the right track!

Barbara Meier writes about sustainability and fair fashion on her Instagram account . She also shared her visit to the annual general meeting of the Textiles Partnership with her followers.

The interview was published at umweltdialog.de ..

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