After visiting Stockholm, I did an overnight stopover in Amsterdam. This was my fourth time visiting, and I thought I’d be a bit blasÃ© about the place by now, but no, I still love it. It’s just so cute. The energy in this city uplifts me.
Amsterdam has the bustle and benefits of big city life, with the quiet and quaintness of a small town.Â I usually stay in De Pijp, south of the city, because it’s more of a local neighbourhood, but since I had an early flight to catch, I stayed in the Jordaan neighbourhood this time, which is closer to Amsterdam Central Station.
The 9 StreetsÂ shopping area is just steps away from my hotel, so I spent the afternoon browsing the little shops. I didn’t come with a shopping list or expectations, so I was surprised that I actually bought a few things.
My biggest purchase was at Rain Couture. I thought I was covered when it came to chic rainwear with my trench coat, but when I went inside the store, I snapped up the pink bird print bomber with the removable hood (see my review here).
I chatted with the owner and designer of the label, and she assured me that her coats are made with fair labour in Hong Kong, where she visits twice a year.
I hadn’t heard of People’s Avenue before stumbling into their store. This is an ethical Dutch label with affordable price points. They make their clothes fair trade in a factory in South India, using organic cotton and recycled materials. UPDATE: sadly, the store is permanently closed.
I bought a few pairs of their organic cotton socks (so hard to find ethically-made socks!) and this organic cotton striped longsleeve.
Since I was so interested in ethical fashion, the salesperson recommended that I visit Verse, which is a few blocks away.
Verse is a fairly new retail store. They sell clothes, accessories and beauty products that are ethical, sustainable, and/or eco-friendly in some way. They also encourage the brands they stock to be as sustainable as possible.
The products here are well-curated and definitely to my taste (and my sister’sâ€”she loved the Amsterdam earring I got her from here.) From the sound of it, the ethical fashion scene is catching on in Amsterdam, and I’m excited for more stores like this. Will someone open a cool ethical retail store in Toronto already?
Lena Library, where you can borrow clothes, was closed on the Sunday I was in Amsterdam, so I also wasn’t able to visit. I heard about the place from My Green Closet, and it sounded like a fun concept.
At least I’ll have new places to check out next time I’m in Amsterdam!
As for other ethical fashion stores,Â Terra Amsterdam sells handmade shoes by artisans from different parts of Spain.
I spotted Veja shoes in The Pelican Studio. I’m not familiar with many of the European labels they stock so I’m not sure how ethical each one is. I suspect there are more ethical or local brands stocked in the different retail shops of this area if you browse. There are also vintage stores here.
See more ethical shops on Ecocult’s Sustainable Amsterdam Guide. I’ll have to put those stores on the list for my next visit too.
By the way, Non-EU residents can get a VAT refund. Simply get the proper receipts from the stores.
If you’re wondering about the cute hotel I stayed in, it’s Mr. Jordaan Hotel. I’d wanted to stay in one of the eco hotels as suggested by Alden from Ecocult, but they were either booked or farther from the train station than I would’ve liked.
Mr. Jordaan is quite mysterious, but he was pretty much the first Airbnb host back in the ’60s. He now has a blog giving tips on all the hotspots in Jordaan. Recently renovated, his little boutique hotel takes up two Dutch houses. It’s by the canal, very cozy, and very charming. When I checked out, they gave me a goodie bag with a pen and a bunch of snacks. I adore the Jordaan neighbourhood, and I would stay in this hotel again when I return.
Did I mention that I love Amsterdam? It might just be my favourite city (tied with Toronto?). I can’t wait to return.