DEPLOY EU brand Ambassador @Elizabeth Kuiper reflects on the recent Brussels Sustainable Fashion Masterclass she co-hosted for DEPLOY in partnership with FIPRA International and its critical relevance to the European Green Deal and Circular Economy Action Plan.

‘The start of the year is the ideal moment to consider how to make an impact, both personally and professionally. It is wonderful to see the DEPLOY community grow and to discuss how we all can make a positive difference, to our self-esteem, our careers and our environment through the clothes we wear. 

The Masterclass, given by DEPLOY Founder @Dr. Bernice Pan started with the question: Why do we buy clothes, to feel better and / or to do better? With clothing being a key communicator of our identity, what do we want our clothes to say about us before we have a chance to speak?

Bernice then gave the hard facts and figures on the social and environmental impact of our clothing from the fashion industry. She also shared how to decipher greenwashing from genuine efforts of sustainability; to equip ourselves with the knowhow of feeling the difference between fabric and garment quality, natural and biodegradable from synthetics fibres, with a step by step guide on how to curate our own wardrobes to maximise our existing resources, style and confidence whilst minimising excess purchasing, stress and inconvenience

Considering the current geopolitical situation, we are well aware of the personal effort we can and must make to reduce our energy footprint. However, we were probably all much less aware of the direct link between fossil fuels and the clothes we wear, with their enormous social-environmental costs to the surprise of many. 

Reducing our reliance on fossil fuels has become a key driver of EU policy-making, and the Green Agenda has become vital for the future resilience of the EU economy. The global supply of textiles and garments is now identified as a major source of emissions along with its reliance on fossil fuels for production

The European economy is still very linear by nature, based on a ‘take-make-dispose’ model. Now is the time to make our economy more circular.  

Last year we launched the DEPLOY Brussels Sustainable Fashion Forum, on the day the EU published its Textile Strategy as a roadmap for the European Green Deal. This policy together with the Circular Economy Action Plan and the New Consumer Agenda addresses the problem of fast fashion with concrete actions to take. 

Two examples explain how these proposals from the European Commission will empower consumers to make more informed decisions by creating awareness for the lifecycle of products, including clothes. 

Firstly, aDigital Product Passportsystem with detailed and fully traceable data on each individual product will be developed and implemented. This will mandatorily require brands and suppliers to be accountable and transparent with their processes and products, whilst enabling consumers to have better knowledge of the lifecycle of clothes through the stages and options of rental, repair, resale, and recycling. 

Another tangible action is that by 2025, all Member States must have separate collection processes for textile waste in municipal waste management. This will nurture citizens’ habit of reuse and speed up the process and scaling of recycling. 


Due to its importance as the centre for EU policy-making, Brussels is a key stop for DEPLOY’s seasonal tour and its global Changemaker Series, launched last March in partnership with the Institute of Directors

Later this year DEPLOY will host the second edition of its Brussels Sustainable Fashion Forum for Brusselites in business, industries, policy & NGO sectors. It will be an excellent platform to take stock on how the EU’s sustainability agenda has progressed over the past year and how it can be further accelerated, especially in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the urgency to act now.  

The sustainable clothing journey is not an easy one, I know it from my personal experience, however, it is critical to start now. And together we can make it a meaningful and impactful one’. 

By Elizabeth Kuiper, Associate Director & Head of Social Europe & Wellbeing Programme, European Policy Centre | DEPLOY EU Brand Ambassador

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