Actress, TV presenter and sustainability advocate. Next to being nominated for Best Actress in the hit series 'De Luizenmoeder', Jennifer Hoffman presented the program 'Genaaid' where she confronted young fashion students with the harsh truth behind the fashion industry. Jennifer:"That changed everything for me. Not just with clothes, but my entire lifestyle changed."
In this exclusive interview with SCOON she talks about her sustainable drive, considerations before shopping and her big hopes and dreams for a greener future.
1. Can you tell us about what brought you to clean beauty and sustainable shopping in the first place?
I became more interested in a sustainable lifestyle a couple of years ago. Which was fairly doable and clear on the topics of organic food and food waste, but the garment industry was always a bit of a mystery for me. I struggled to find the truth behind it. I watched documentaries, but they never gave a solution, so I left it there. But 2 years ago I got the opportunity to go to Myanmar for the Dutch Television show “Genaaid”. It was a reality show with 5 fashion students and I took them to the other side of the world to see with their own eyes who is paying the real price for our cheap clothes. That changed everything for me. Not just with clothes, but my entire lifestyle changed. To see the mess we are making, the environmental disaster we’re creating there is heartbreaking to watch. I can’t think about it without getting angry. The cotton dying, the sewing, the leather factories... the conditions these people are working in, sometimes resemble hell. The fumes of acid make people sick and there are people that die approximately 30 years earlier from it. And for what? So we can have cheap clothes? So companies can make more profit? “Why don’t we matter on this side of the world?” is a quote from a factory worker in the documentary “The True Cost”, that keeps echoing in my head...
2. How is all of this reflected in your daily life?
Since that show, I changed a lot. I never buy at fast fashion chains, never buy cheap leather and I take care of the clothes that I have. I ask in stores if they also sell sustainable brands or where their products are being made and in what conditions. I also look for natural skin and hair products and I try to travel less. Basically, with almost every step I take, I consider my footprint.
3. SCOON came to life because we felt it was hard to find one place for modern ’Brands that Care’ that don’t compromise on style and performance. Even with its growing popularity, a lot of people still think sustainable clothing and beauty are for tree huggers, what is your response to that?
Haha! Well... maybe it does go hand in hand. I have also become more appreciative about nature. I think nature is incredible and gives us all we need. And she’s incredibly resilient. Why mess with that? And why destroy that? If we destroy our “host” we destroy humanity. Simple as that. But I think nowadays a sustainable lifestyle is not only for those who love to be close to nature. Or for the tree huggers ;) I think the brands who are not thinking about sustainability nowadays are making a fool of themselves.
4. What are the most important questions you ask yourself when considering what products to purchase?
It’s an open door, but “do I really need this?” Or for clothes, I might want to buy “am I going to wear this more than 100 times?” And “Do I feel good supporting this company or brand?” Don’t fall for easy marketing. Stay true to yourself. You don’t need new things to make you feel beautiful. Borrowing can do the same for example. Taking good care of yourself too.
5. With Corona putting everything on hold, people are saying that this is the time to make big changes and create a new normal, what do you hope will change in the fashion industry?
My hope is that every brand will take the time to reinvent itself. Big or small. On a bigger scale, my biggest wish (naively) is that companies will change their mission. Instead of trying to make more money and gain more profit, the mission should become more about how they can contribute to the world without harming people, animals and the environment. And maybe one step further, to really make a difference and help nature to flourish. But those are big hopes and dreams.
I love their products, but maybe mostly what their brand stands for. They really want to make a difference in the denim world, they’re not in this for the profit. The jeans are at least for 40% made out of old jeans (some of them more) mixed with organic cotton. Their goal is to create a fabric that’s 100% made of recycled jeans and they’re getting close. A circular economy brand that’s also CO2 neutral.
I’m pregnant and I live in these jeans and I get so many compliments. I’m not a fan of pregnancy dungarees, they have a weird cut for some reason. But these I love, especially because I got them a size bigger than I normally have. And I can wear them also after pregnancy. So very sustainable.
Best jeans jacket I ever had!
So soft. The beautiful pattern and colours reminds me of Sedona, where I have family. With the weather getting colder, the perfect blanket to curl up under.
I finally have a house with a bath. It took me over 20 years, but I succeeded. And I love spending time in there. Little bit of music, candles and being surrounded by a few lush plants. But the best part of it is that I can take Magnesium baths. They help you to relax and make you sleep better.