Meet Bij Priester:The Hague’s first designer fashion library

Art & design Global challenges Social innovation

The Dutch alone throw away over 124 million kilograms of clothing each year. On average, only 20 percent of the clothes in the average person’s wardrobe are worn regularly. Yet, we keep purchasing cheap clothing. That’s why the founders of Bij Priester are on a mission to advance sustainable fashion. To this end, they just launched The Hague’s first fashion library.

Designer Amanda Hofman explains her sense of urgency: “Women own an average of 145 handbags throughout their lives. Our over-consumption of clothing and textiles tremendously impacts the environment. It’s about time to consume less, re-use, and share”.

Unique items at the fashion library

That’s why she launched The Hague’s first designer fashion library Bij Priester last March, together with her husband Nick Spier and sister-in-law Wendy Spier. It is located at Zoutmanstraat in The Hague’s Zeeheldenkwartier.

Their collection caters to both women and men. All items are designed by Dutch designers, like Esther Haamke and Judith van Vliet. Hence, each piece is unique and sustainably produced.

“We have dresses on sale that are made from textile left-overs, bomber jackets made of sleeping bags, and beautiful coats made of old vintage blankets,” Amanda says. “And there is no longer a need to own 145 handbags, as we offer repair services for your broken leather bags at the store.”

“It’s about time to consume less, re-use, and share” – Amanda Hofman, founder at Bij Priester

Raising awareness about sustainable fashion

Her partner, Wendy Spier, adds: “I worked in the fashion industry as a product manager for fourteen years. My experience triggered our brainstorm about how to offer an alternative to ‘fast fashion’.”

“In the spring of 2016, we teamed up and started to work on our ideas for the fashion library. We want to inspire consumers with sustainably manufactured clothing and accessories. Also, we want to raise awareness about the environmental impact of over-consumption.”

Swap your garment

To borrow items from the fashion library, customers are required to subscribe. They can borrow one garment for twenty Euros, two for forty, and three for sixty. For the duration of two weeks, they are allowed to swap items. “Cleaning is included in the price,” Wendy says.

The library has been up and running since March this year and has many subscribers already. Consumers are responding positively. Yet, the majority still seems to be hesitant to borrow clothes instead of buying them.

“We are ready to take on this challenge,” co-founder Nick Spier says. “Together with the designers, we organize events at Bij Priester to make consumers more aware of the social and environmental impact of excessive garment waste and what we can do to avoid it.”

Are you ready to embrace sustainable fashion? Connect to Bij Priester by following them on Facebook and drop by for a visit.