Our guest today is Jeanne de Kroon, the founder of the award-winning ethical fashion brand, Zazi Vintage. In this episode, we talk about her journey to find her true passion, the “magic of cloth”, and how there is no such thing as sustainable fashion as of yet. If you want to step into your own superpower and live a more conscious life, then this episode is for you.
“My parents were both full of chaos so I chose the opposite and applied for law school.”
Jeanne´s parents were both very creative but also full of chaos. As her childhood did not have much structure, she initially decided to do the opposite and applied for law school.
However, Jeanne realized after only three days that it was not for her. She left university to follow her longing to travel and explore and moved to Paris. She became a street musician to make ends meet, but was soon discovered as a model and moved to New York. While this sounded very glamorous, the reality was very different and it turned out to be quite a challenging and disillusioning time for Jeanne.
Jeanne subsequently moved to Berlin without a plan still carrying quite a few demons. During that time she partied a lot and was feeling quite lost. But on the 1st of January 2013, everything changed. She decided to change her life completely and find joy again.
Finding Her Passion
“I just noticed oh my god, this is my favorite thing in the whole wide world.”
Jeanne followed her intuition and traveled to Nepal to find the spark in her life again. In Nepal, she immersed herself into the local culture and rediscovered her passion for fashion and beautiful cloth.
From then onwards, it was always cloths that led her somewhere. Jeanne started to travel all over the world, while studying philosophy in Berlin. While she discovered the magic of cloths, she also learned about the harmful environmental impact of the fashion industry. Jeanne initially started to sell some of the pieces she found on her trips on the local Sunday market in Berlin.
She became really fascinated with the culture and traditions of Afghanistan and saved up money for a few months and brought fabrics from an afghan family she met during one of her trips. Jeanne sold those fabrics on the Sunday market, sharing the stories from her travels and the stories the Afghan family had shared with her and she just realised this was her favourite thing to do. Friends then encouraged her to create an Etsy shop.
“We work with many different women-led projects from all over the world.”
Jeanne had no business plan or expectations, she just wanted to share her joy and to share the stories of the creators and the garments.
At some point the Afghan family created a coat for her following in the tradition of the coats that the Beatles and Jimmy Hendrix wore in the 1970s.
A friend of her encouraged her to create a business and Jeanne went back to India shortly after that to investigate how she could work together with women vintage garment collectors. This is where she met Madhu who had created an incredible NGO working with women tailors and Jeanne started to co-create with Madhu and Zazi was born.
Coming back to Berlin, she also connected with a PR agency which loved the dresses and the story and in just a few short years, Zazi became very successful, and now they work with different communities in countries like Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Ghana, or Ecuador. Zazi´s focus is on women-led projects and they use 100% upcycled fabrics.
“One of the most important things that we have to understand is that sustainability is not for sale.”
According to Jeanne, sustainability is one of the most overused and non-true statements of our time, because it has nothing to do with the quality of the garment or the fair wage for the employees. It is more about the connection that is facilitated because, in the end, the most sustainable garment is the one that stays in someone’s closet the longest. Sustainability is about our inherent relationship with the earth and all the elements around us.
Palma’s Reflection On Welcoming Our Differences
Jeanne talks about the idea that all the things that are different or even weird or strange about us, are the things that make us unique or even point us to our purpose.
So this week, we invite you to reflect or journal about all the things that are different about you. What are the unique habits and quirks that you might have? What are the things that make you different?
Just see what comes up for you as you write all these things down and if they might lead to a new insight.
About Our Guest, Jeanne de Kroon
Jeanne de Kroon (27) is the founder of ZAZI. ZAZI is an Amsterdam based fashion label with a focus on sustainability and women's economic and social independence. Working with women's artisanal communities through both the United Nations Ethical fashion initiative and independent women's led social enterprises, ZAZI aims to connect consumers back to craftsmanship and co-creation.
Jeanne is a public speaker on behalf of the European Union, a global ambassador for sustainable fashion, environmental awareness advocate and is changing the perception and importance of artisanal craftsmanship one step at a time.
A special thanks to Jeanne de Kroon for taking the time to share her inspiring story with us.
Continue Your Journey
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