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From About You to Patagonia: How the fashion industry is mobilising for the European elections

By Simone Preuss


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‘Europe gown’ by Talbot Runhof and upcycling atelier Bellevue Couture. Credits: Talbot Runhof

From today, 6 June to 9 June, the European elections will once again take place, in which citizens of the EU countries elect the members of the European Parliament. They represent the interests of EU citizens at European level and have the task of shaping and adopting new laws in all areas of life in the European Union (EU).

As such, retail organisations in the region are urging both citizens and employees in the sector to vote in the hope of strengthening the EU at a time of socio-economic instability seen at a more global level. In regards to retail, Alexander von Preen, president of the German Retail Association, said: "Close cross-border cooperation in the world's largest single market is essential for the retail sector in order to be able to supply its customers with a variety of high-quality products. To ensure that we can continue to build on peace and prosperity in the future, we must stand up for this in the European elections and give Europe our vote."

Brands and fashion companies are also mobilising for the election - FashionUnited has put together a few initiatives.

'Democracy is About You' campaign by About You. Credits: About You

About You

Since the 22 May, online retailer About You has been delivering ready-made demonstration signs directly to customers' homes so that they can “set an example for democracy and diversity at demonstrations and public events”.

These are part of the ‘Democracy is About You’ initiative, which the online retailer designed together with the Hamburg-based creative agency Jung von Matt. 50,000 demonstration signs were produced from recycled cardboard and sent to customers in Germany with their orders via the online fashion store.

"With this campaign, About You demonstrates how easy social commitment can be for brands: The packaging utilises the wide communicative reach - for a direct appeal and a strong brand statement," commented Michael Wilde, creative director of Jung von Matt, in a press release.


Bugatti board member Julius Brinkmann is also calling for people to vote: "For me as an EU citizen and CEO of a company that operates in Europe, taking part in the upcoming European elections is a matter of course. We can have a say in the direction in which European policy will move," Brinkmann wrote on LinkedIn.

"Together, we have the power to help shape the transformation of our continent. That is why we should exercise our democratic right and participate in the decision-making process in the upcoming European elections in June 2024. Our vote will decide the future of Europe," added Brinkmann.


Swedish footwear brand Icebug is also committed to the European elections and emphasised the importance of voting and prioritising nature. "No matter where you stand: Use your democratic right and go vote," was the brand's appeal.

"The world itself might feel far away - but it's not. The decisions taken in the EU have a significant impact and many regulations affect us directly. One example is the PFAS issue. Thanks to the expected legislation to ban these ‘eternal chemicals’, product development is taking place and we are gaining access to new materials that are better for the environment," read a statement on social media.


A panel discussion entitled ‘European Elections - Why Brands Need to Engage Politically in a Changing World’ explored the positive power that companies can exert on a macro-political level yesterday [Wednesday] at the Outdoor by ISPO trade show event, which took place from June 3 to 5.

It also examined how selected brands are already putting this into practice in times of climate and environmental crisis. Representatives from Icebug, Patagonia, Protect Our Winters Europe and Vaude took part.


The US outdoor company Patagonia, together with the Swedish manufacturer of dairy alternatives Oatly, is calling on entrepreneurs in Europe in an open letter to campaign for higher voter turnout, as the European elections are taking place "at a crucial time for the climate and society".

To this end, employees of both companies in the EU markets (around 1,000 employees in shops, factories and offices in 11 countries) are allowed to take time off work to vote. They have also provided various information for employees so that they can also convince their friends, families and networks of the importance of voting.

'Europe Dress' by Talbot Runhof and upcycling atelier Bellevue Couture. Credits: Talbot Runhof

Talbot Runhof x Bellevue Couture

German fashion label Talbot Runhof is making a fashion statement for the European elections. Together with the Munich upcycling atelier Bellevue Couture of the social project Bellevue di Monaco, it has created a ‘European robe’, which is intended to call for people to vote with the incorporated bold appeal ‘Vote’.

Bellevue Couture created the elaborate patchwork for the garment by hand from Talbot Runhof fabric remnants. European flags were incorporated into the design and the skirt is a dark blue, reflecting the colour of the European Union.

"The more citizens who vote, the more resilient our democracy is. A high voter turnout is more important today than ever," summarised Talbot Runhof and Bellevue Couture.

This article originally appeared on FashionUnited.DE. Translation and edit by: Rachel Douglass.

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