Wandering around the beautiful Barcelona, it’s clear to see that it is a city of sustainability.
The streets and beaches are practically free from litter, there are more recycling bins than waste bins (sorted by glass, plastic, aluminium and cardboard), the grocery stores hide a small stash of plastic bags behind the counter and make you pay 10 cents per bag if you want to use them, there are more bikes on the roads than cars and the public transport system is dirt cheap. Safe to say, they are pretty up with the times when it comes to the state of global consumption.
And this level of consciousness doesn’t stop with disposable goods and transportation, no siree. It extends into the massive industry of clothing and textiles production, with the number of sustainable and secondhand clothing stores in Barcelona being almost on a par with, if not larger than, the mass produced chain stores.
One shop in particular, Humus Sustainable Wear, is of note due to its prime location in El Gotico, one of Barcelona’s most bustling barrios. Owned by a lovely Spanish lady named Cecilia, Humus stocks pieces from sustainable and ethical fair trade designers from all over Europe.
According to Cecilia they are very picky about which designers they do and don’t work with, ensuring her shop contains high quality and 100% ethically produced garments only.
She explains they follow a strict threefold criteria, where the clothes “do not contain substances harmful to human health, their process is environmentally friendly and they are produced respecting the rights of the workers”.
Humus have a wide variety of garments, shoes and accessories made to suit all body types and accommodate all styles. Cecilia says the “transformable” pieces she stocks are currently the most popular, due to their extreme versatility and timelessness.
Another noteworthy store is Ecoology, which follows the principle of “design and ecology in a single garment”. Using natural, organic or recycled fabrics only, the ladies behind Ecoology aim to “provide eco-conscious women with simple, beautiful pieces they can treasure for a lifetime”.
As well as sustainably and ethically made clothing stores, there are an abundance of second-hand shops in Barcelona. Contrary to Australia’s famous Vinnies and Lifeline however, these stores are not your obvious op-shop. From the outside they appear just the same as any other boutique fashion outlet and the clothes they re-sell are all generally high quality, well-made pieces that have been either donated as is or re-made from scrap fabrics.
Flamingo Vintage is a favourite among tourists, with three stores around Barcelona all booming with business. A self-proclaimed retro vintage clothing store, Flamingo sells mostly colourful, patterned prints (also known as party shirts) and has an absolutely magic atmosphere. The best part? The clothes are priced by weight, so you can stuff a bag full of goodies and still come out with a heavy (or at least not totally empty) wallet.
If none of these stores seem to tickle your fancy, you can find endless amounts of decent second hand clothing at the Fleadonia (Flea Markets), held every first Sunday of the month. Similar to Brisbane’s suitcase rummages, the Barcelona Flea Markets take place in a huge outdoors space and attract a large number of people ready to get their hands on some oldies-but-goodies.
All in all, Barcelona’s knack for rejuvenating the old and making it beautiful again is inspiring to say the least. I highly recommend a visit to any eco-conscious consumers out there, can guarantee you won’t be disappointed with what you find.