Wiebke Hövelmeyer is a dedicated person. Not only is she the designer of green clothing label Fairliebt, she also runs the Hamburg version of sustainable fashion store Glore (as in globally responsible fashion) which currently has four branches in Germany (in Nürnberg, München, Stuttgart and Hamburg). Here, Hövelmeyer shares what moved her to open up her store and why she can’t shop in conventional retail any longer. Interview by Maria Hunstig

Glore is located in Hamburgs lively Karoviertel.
Glore is located in Hamburgs lively Karoviertel.

Why did you open up your store in the first place? Tell us the story behind it!
I opened up my store in 2010, when another store which was specialized in green fashion wanted/had to close down in this neighborhood (the Karoviertel in Hamburg). Through the small fashion label Fairliebt („fair in love“), which I had founded in 2006 together with Mathias Ahrberg, I have been part of the little green fashion scene anyways and I was convinced that a store which offers young green fashion must work out in Hamburg somehow. Next to the work with the label, I was jobbing in handicapped aid by that time and I was looking for a new challenge anyhow – so I just opened the store.

Why did you decide to exclusively sell sustainably produced fashion?
Whoever has looked behind the scenes of conventional fashion production once and thought about the whole procedure – like I did for our label Fairliebt – cannot but try to shop more consciously I believe. Afterwards you simply have to pay attention to where and by whom things have been produced. I myself cannot shop unscrupulously in conventional fashion retail any longer. And as I would wish for many more people to start caring about a good manufacturing of their garments, I started Glore in Hamburg. I want to proof that green fashion actually doesn’t look like boring greenie style anymore, but can very well be fashionable, trendy and beautiful.

Changing rooms at Glore
Changing rooms at Glore
Which requirements does a label have to fulfill to be taken into Glore’s assortment?
It has to monitor and/or tell and proof how and where it produces its merchandise in a transparent way. We have quite a close contact to most of our labels and they are generally glad to disclose their sustainable production methods. Moreover, we pay attention to eco labels and certificates such as GOTS, FairTade and the FairWearFoundation.

Which is the most important ingredient for successful retail?
To continuously hang in there and never rest, at least not over a longer period of time. A store always has to develop.

Which are your current bestsellers and which is your personal favorite brand?
Nudie Jeans is both our bestselling and my favorite brand. It simply offers styles for everyone, both men and women. Simply great jeans.

In terms of denim: which cuts and colors are most popular right now?
At the moment, it’s still rather all about skinnys in our shop. Shades of grey and intensive blues are popular right now with raw denims not being inferior.

In terms of denim, Nudie is a bestseller at Glore.
In terms of denim, Nudie is a bestseller at Glore.

Which new brands did you add to your assortment?
We recently added A Question Of and the cosmetics brand Organic Iam with amazing nail polish.

Do customers look for certain brands and styles or do they rather shop spontaneously?
Many do come specifically for buying a pair of denims and apart from that, people come and ask for Armed Angels clothing quite frequently. But I guess most of the shopping happens spontaneously.

Where do you buy your merchandise?
We visit the trade shows during Berlin Fashion Week and meet most of our labels, respectively their sales people, in their showrooms for final ordering.

What does your shop have that others don’t?
A particularly good concept!

What do you like about your city, the location and customers?
I especially like the mixed audience and our neighborhood, which is very unique for Hamburg - even if it’s not as alternative as it used to be and a lot of things have changed, I still like the atmosphere a lot over here. The Karoviertel district is simply very inimitable for our Hanseatic city.

The retail space is very light-flooded.
The retail space is very light-flooded.

Which are the difficulties in running a fashion store that is specialized in sustainability?
Sometimes you are a bit restricted in your choices. A lot of things have been happening in the past few years: new brands have come along and others have developed very well. Still, in comparison to conventional fashion retailers, you only have a small pool of labels to choose from and that can be a pity sometimes.

Do you have and online shop? Are you active in Social Media?
The glore.de webshop has just been launched very recently. And we are active on Facebook, more or less.

Glore Hamburg
Marktstraße 31
20357 Hamburg

phone: +49 40 35777650