Bridge&Tunnel-Fair Fashion and Social Change

Bucerius Master students get behind the scenes to see how Bridge & Tunnel is working hard to reduce waste in the fast fashion industry!

Education & Study |

Inspired to counteract the negative impact of fast fashion, Bridge&Tunnel are working hard to reduce waste in the fashion industry.  Bucerius MLB students had the chance to get behind the scenes.

 

Social entrepreneurship

The Bucerius MLB Program offers an elective module in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management which includes a course, taught by WHU Professor Christina Günther, focusing on social entrepreneurship. Here students learn about social entrepreneurship and how it differs from conventional commercial enterprises; the role of strategic planning and resource mobilization as well as strategies to scale social value. This module is very practice oriented combing theoretical concepts with real-life cases.

In order to gain valuable insights into how social entrepreneurs function, Prof. Dr. Günther organized a field trip to Bridge&Tunnel, a social fashion company in the culturally diverse district of Wilhelmsburg. The fashion industry lures visitors in with new collections almost every week and many clothing items are only worn for a short time and then discarded. This fast fashion mindset hinders sustainability and negatively impacts the environment in many ways. Conny Klotz and Lotte Erhorn joined forces in 2016 to found their enterprise Bridge  & Tunnel. Their vison:  to counteract the impact of fast fashion and offer socially disadvantaged people a chance on the job market.

The name Bridge&Tunnel has two meanings – firstly Wilhelmsburg can only be reached via bridges and tunnels and secondly, they want to build bridges for people who are unable to gain access to the job market, whether it's because of, age, religion, a lack of certificates or a refugee background. Their motto is ‘Talent over Diploma’.

 

 

 

Visit - Bridge&Tunnel

Using pre-loved denims as well as pre-consumer denim waste (for example from excess material left over from the dying or weaving process), jeans that would otherwise be thrown away are tailored into bags, backpacks, cushion covers and clothing and sold online.

Bridge&Tunnel also have a strong B2B area where textile leftovers such as samples or advertising materials are also upcycled into bespoke products. Employing 8 seamstresses and one seamster, Bridge&Tunnel is a fair, locally producing upcycling label with a strong focus on being socially and ecologically sustainable.

During the visit, the MLB students had an info session about the origins of the enterprise and the ups and downs facing social entrepreneurs.  They were able to take a look at the busy workshop and studio and left with a deeper understanding of fair fashion and what it takes to start and run a social enterprise – a perfect complement to the classroom experience! 

 

Author

MLB Team

Hamburg