• WHY I DO WHAT I DO - TALKING TO THEKLA WILKENING, AUTHOR OF THE BOOK "DAS BIO-PIZZA DILEMMA"

    Thekla

    Talking to Thekla Wilkening, co-founder of the Kleiderei, expert on the circular economy and author of the book "Das Bio-Pizza Dilemma". A book that shows that joie de vivre can be reconciled with sustainability. 

    DEAR THEKLA, CAN YOU BRIEFLY INTRODUCE YOURSELF AND WHAT YOU DO IN A FEW SENTENCES?
    I am Thekla Wilkening, 33 years old, and have been involved in sustainability and fashion for fifteen years now. Together with Pola Fendel, I founded the Kleiderei, Germany's first fashion rental model, when I was 25. After six years as co-managing director, we unfortunately had to file for insolvency for the online business - but the concept lives on, managed by Lena Schröder in the Kleiderei Köln & Freiburg. Since then, I have been working freelance as a management consultant in the field of circular economy, sustainability and fashion, as well as an author.

    YOU HAVE JUST PUBLISHED YOUR FIRST BOOK: "DAS BIO-PIZZA DILEMMA" - THE SURPRISING GUIDE TO MORE SUSTAINABILITY. WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO WRITE IT?
    In conversations with friends, I realized that many people are missing a book that explains the environmental and climate crisis in an understandable, entertaining and yet honest way and gives tangible recommendations for action without being dogmatic or too complex. There are now many great sustainability books, but they are often not so easy to read on the bus, train or at the beach if it is your introduction to the topic of sustainability.

    Bio Pizza Dilemma
    Thekla Wilkening first Book "Das Bio-Pizza Dilemma" 

    PARTICULARLY LIKED THE SLOGAN ON THE BACK OF THE BOOK: "LEBENSLUST STATT ZUKUNFTSFRUST". HOW DOES "JOIE DE VIVRE" COMBINE WITH SUSTAINABILITY?
    Many people associate the topic of sustainability with renunciation, strict rules and above all pressure for perfection. All of this leads us to give up quickly or, even worse, not to start at all. We say that it doesn't have to be perfect, also because our individual consumption decisions don't save the world. I always advise friends that if they really feel what makes them happy, they will consume less. Because consumption doesn't really make us happy. Evenings with good friends, days in nature, good books or films or an afternoon in a museum. These are the things that really make people happy.

    WE, AT "THE WEARNESS", SELL SUSTAINABLE FASHION. IT IS A CONCEPT THAT IS BASED ON CONSUMPTION, EVEN IF THE PRODUCTS ARE CREATED WITH SUSTAINABILITY IN MIND. DOES FASHION FIT INTO A SUSTAINABLE CONCEPT OF LIFE AT ALL?
    Yes, definitely! Fashion is wonderful! There is no denying that a cool look makes us feel strong, sexy and confident. But only in really good and selected looks. I think there are a few aspects that can easily make our own fashion consumption more sustainable:

    1. Link your clothes consciously with memories. Then they become a true partner-in-crime. When you put the boots back on, you remember the last happy night out and take that feeling with you into the new day. 
    2. When you spot cool looks on Instagram, ask yourself if you can recreate some of them from your own wardrobe and maybe just add one new ''it'' piece. 
    3. When it comes to it-pieces, you can make sure that they are produced in a fair and sustainable way. There are now great platforms like "the wearness".
    4. Clothing swap parties with friends make you happy! Invite your friends, put your smartphones aside, cook something nice and take turns presenting the clothes you no longer wear. Whoever shouts "here" first gets the deal! 
    5. If you realise that you want a change your clothes more often, then fashion rentals are perfect for you! You get variety without feeling bad about your wallet and the environment.

    WHEN DID YOU FIRST COME INTO CONTACT WITH FASHION? AND WHEN DID YOU REALISE THAT YOU WANTED TO CHANGE THE FASHION SYSTEM?
    The first time I saw what fashion can really mean was when I was very small, maybe four years old. My mother had a beautiful colorful skirt and explained to me that it was very valuable because it was made of real silk and my dad had bought it for her in Cannes. Meanwhile, this skirt hangs in my wardrobe and is still as magical for me as it was back then. I am aware that we cannot attach such importance to every piece of clothing in our wardrobe but knowing that it can be done and is also much more beautiful has led me to question fast fashion and the throwaway mentality in dealing with fashion more and more. Why do pieces of clothing mean so little to us? Why do we just throw them away? These are the questions I have been asking myself for fifteen years.

    DO YOU HAVE A PERSONAL "SUSTAINABLE" HOTSPOT WHERE YOU RECHARGE YOUR BATTERIES?
    Yes, I love to travel to the small Baltic island of Hiddensee as often as I can. My family owns a small thatched cottage there since the 60s, and for me it's the perfect place to unwind, leave the hustle and bustle of everyday life behind and just be. Here I realise over and over again how little I actually need to be happy.

    Thekla
    Thekla on a bench, recharging on her favorite spot, the Baltic island Hiddensee
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