What Is Lebenskleidung?
Here at Lebenskleidung, we love fabrics. Fabrics that don’t just look nice and feel good to the touch, but ones that are produced fairly and sustainably—from the cotton fields, through the dyeing process, to the products’ distribution. To ensure this, all of our textiles are certified according to the guidelines of the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). Our primary goals are to promote socially responsible production, fair trade, and reasonable prices for manufacturers, and in doing so, to increase the value of the individual articles produced. For more information on the guidelines of the GOTS, click on the GOTS logo below.
And yet, sustainability isn’t everything. For us, it’s just as important that we are able to provide you with the newest colors and assortments—the inspiration for which comes from the various showrooms and trade shows taking place across Berlin. For ideas for your own sewing projects, visit our blog.
The GOTS Seal
The Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) eal was developed by the International Association of Natural Textile Industry (iVN, Germany), together with the Soil Association (SA, England), the Organic Trade Association (OTA, USA) and the Japan Organic Cotton Association (JOCA, Japan). The standard requires that articles of clothing made from natural fibers (such as cotton, linen, and silk) be produced without the use of unsafe chemicals in both the fibers’ processing and during the textile-finishing process. It furthermore guarantees that ecological and conventional fibers are not blended and that natural fibers remain uncontaminated at all levels of processing and production. The GOTS is the first global seal that takes into consideration both ecological criteria and social standards throughout the entire supply chain.
On our blog, Enrico explains for Makerist (Link) what the GOTS seal is all about.
The Fairtrade Cotton Seal
Both our fabrics produced from organic cotton and our merchandise are not only GOTS certified, but Fairtrade Cotton certified as well. Products bearing the Fairtrade Cotton seal are certified as having been produced and traded to the Fairtrade standard, and the production chain of the processed cotton can be traced all the way back to the fibers’ unprocessed origins.
What We Offer
All of our fabrics are manufactured by selected, GOTS-certified companies and projects that we visit regularly and are personally familiar with in countries like Turkey, Portugal, and India. In addition to our quality control of our manufacturers on location, we also closely examine the quality of our products here in Germany. This allows us to provide you with the best fabrics—not only from a qualitative perspective, but from a social and ecological perspective as well.
The Value Chain
The value chain (or textile chain) refers to the entire production and trade process that a textile undergoes. The chain is quite complex and is part of a global network of production. When raw materials and individual resources pass between hands, transparency can often be lost. This loss of information is a central concern of sustainable economies.
The value chain of textiles consists of nine stages:
Cultivation/Harvest - Fiber Production - Textile Production - Textile Refinement - Clothing Manufacturing - Trade/Distribution - Use/Maintenance - Collection/Sorting - Recycling/Disposal
Our fabrics are manufactured using the following materials:
The majority of our fabrics (such as Jersey, RIB, and Sweat und Cord) are manufactured using threads spun from organic cotton. Unlike conventional cotton, the organic cotton used in our fabrics is produced without the use of pesticides or herbicides. As a result, the plants from which the cotton originates are not contaminated by pesticides, and the cotton harvesters themselves avoid contact with the chemicals. This provides for fairer working conditions, similar to those of conventional cotton production.
The purchase of just one t-shirt made from organic cotton saves approximately seven square-meters worth of cultivated land from pesticides and artificial fertilizers!
Hear a discussion led by Enrico with cotton farmers in India on the cultivation of organic cotton here.
And look through our supply of fabrics made from organic cotton here.
Our linens are manufactured using flax from controlled biological cultivation. This cultivation process uses neither treated seeds nor herbicides, and thus encourages a form of farming that is nearer to nature and more conscientious of resource conservation.
The smooth fibers are absorbent, moisture-regulating, and almost cooling to the touch.
Silk is produced from insect cocoons, with different types of larvae producing different varieties of silk. The biggest difference between conventional silk and organic silk is the diet of the larvae that produce the silk. In the case of biodynamic cultivation, larvae consume high-quality nutrients without chemical pollution, and as a result, produce higher-quality cocoons. Here at Lebenskleidung, we promote the use of “peace silk,” a technique that produces silk without killing the larvae themselves.
Learn more about how organic silk is produced in the video “Lebenskleidung in India – On the Trail of Organic Silk.”
If you are interested in our silk fabrics, proceed here (only available with wholesale account)
We carry deepmello leather, which is tanned using rhubarb, and is especially soft and well-suited for sensitive skin, individuals with chrome allergies, and even for infants and small children.
Check out our leather for yourself here (only available with wholesale account)
The wool we offer is so-called “kbT” wool—meaning it comes from animals that have been raised using solely organic measures.
This means that artificial fertilizers are not used on the pastures where the livestock grazes, and that genetically-modified fodder, as well as fodder containing meat, are avoided. Another key issue in the treatment of the animals is the use of “mulesing”—a technique used against parasite infestation. Because this practice is exceptionally painful for the animals, the “kbT” label also certifies that the wool does not originate from mulesed sheep.
Click here to view our wool fabrics (only available with wholesale account).
Who is Lebenskleidung?
We are Lebenskleidung: Enrico Rima, Benjamin Itter, and Christoph Malkowski. In 2005/2006, we spent a few months in India and were repeatedly shocked by the way people around us were being exploited—especially by the textile industry. While looking for alternative production options, the idea for Lebenskleidung was born.
In 2009, we started the project in a one-room apartment in Berlin-Prenzlauer Berg and step-by-step grew our business into what it is today. In addition to Lebenskleidung’s move from Prenzlauer Berg to Berlin-Kreuzberg and its physical expansion, our ideas, employees, and experiences have grown as well.
Benjamin Itter, Enrico Rima, and Christoph Malkowski are the founders of Lebenskleidung and are happy to help, should you have any questions or require individual help.
Johanna-Sophie Koß oversees fabric production and coordinates product flow from the manufacturers to the customers.
Nadja Voigt is responsible for the online shop, writes our newsletter, and contributes to our Creative Team.
Marlene Wetzel is a member of our Creative Team, photographs our fabrics, and develops our marketing strategies.
Jeanette Jungbluth is a student employee involved in customer service. As part of her bachelor’s thesis, she is working to develop new strategies for quality management.
Sophie Schaal is responsible for preparing all ordered samples at our pattern station.
Reinhild Greeske assists Christoph Malkowski with accounting.
You’re interested in buying our fabric but have questions? Call us or write us an email any time!
Tel: +49 (0) 30 548 105 17
Like us, the partners that we cooperate with are all GOTS certified. Nevertheless, we don’t rely on their GOTS certification alone—we also make regular visits to examine the individual manufacturing conditions. We primarily work with selected manufacturing partners in Turkey, Europe and India, and the maintenance of a friendly relationship with our partners is of the utmost importance to us. Because of this, you can trust us and our partners with all of your organic fabric purchases!
Our fabrics’ GOTS certification and our own personal standards ensure the quality of our fabrics. We maintain our GOTS quality through regular visits to our manufacturing partners, during which we closely examine the conditions of production in order to come to our own understanding of the manufacturing process.
We are always open to questions regarding our quality standards!
Our primary objective with regards to the quality of our products is to meet your wants and needs. For us, this means offering:
- consistently high-quality fabrics
- fabrics that are available when you want them
- reliable delivery
- quality service
In addition to our quality control of our manufacturers on location, we also closely inspect the quality of our products here in Germany. Every fabric roll we receive is examined atop a light table, which allows us to guarantee that every meter of fabric we sell is of the highest quality.
Here at Lebenskleidung, constant improvement is a crucial part of quality assurance and it is important to us that you continue loving our fabrics. To this end, we continuously strive to optimize our service and offer fabrics that meet your wants and needs. We are always happy to hear your ideas, requests, and suggestions for improvement!
Upcycling Fashion Store
The Upcycling Fashion Store iin Berlin informs, inspires, and visualizes UPCYCLING in fashion. Building off of the goals of the store’s four founders, a network of individuals interested in sustainable fashion has developed and meets regularly for the “Strich und Faden Modestammtisch”—and Lebenskleidung is a part of this group!
Sourcebook is the European networking service for the fashion industry connecting local textile producers, service providers, and leading manufacturers directly to established and emerging creative leaders of the design sector. Members have the opportunity to network with designers, craftsmen, and industry partners in order to develop projects with the best in the business. Expert consultants are available to guide members through the entire process—from the conception stage through production. With a strong presence at forward-looking trade fairs and with access to important players in the fashion, Sourcebook acts as a platform for the promotion of professionalism in the textile industry. Check it out!
Enthusiasm is contagious - and with deepmello's enthusiasm for their products, we couldn’t resist incorporating their incredibly soft, rhubarb leather into our portfolio. Far from being “eco-chic,” the label’s individuality, certain degree of minimalism, and well thought-out functionalism continues to inspire us.
Each year, the worldwide fashion revolution day takes place on April 24 in memory of the collapse of a textile factory in Bangladesch on April 24, 2013. By raising the question “Who made my clothes?”, the global campaign Fashion Revolution brings into question the origins of our clothing and prompts many great efforts. An awesome cause!
Our Environmental Policy in Our Berlin-Kreuzberg Office
- use 100% green electricity from Polarstern,
- manage our finances with GLS-Bank - a bank that finances sustainable companies and projects with social and ecological investments,
- only buy used or refurbished computers and strive to purchase “green” IT products,
- utilize power strips that can be completely turned off,
- only make use of sustainable office supplies ordered from Memo,
- have all our flyers and business cards printed by Umweltdruckerei,
- save misprints to be used as scratch paper,
- clean with ecological soaps and cleaning supplies,
- cook fresh, primarily organic and vegetarian foods in the office everyday,
- come to work by bike or using public transportation,
- sort our trash and reuse boxes/packaging material,
- offer our trade fair customers organic, fair-trade lemonade from Lemonaid.
All of our employees are trained to follow these rules, which are displayed prominently on our office bulletin board!