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The New Fashion Initiative regularly invites a leading voice in the sustainable and ethical fashion revolution to answer 17 questions about themselves, both personal and professional. It’s our green and socially conscious spin on Vanity Fair‘s beloved Proust Questionnaire. This month, our interviewee is Hannah Ringwald.

Combining her strategic mindset with creativity, Hannah has been deeply involved in sustainable fashion for over a decade. Her experience ranges from researching circularity, coordinating trade fairs and fashion shows, campaigning for Fashion Revolution in Germany, and running projects with garment manufacturers on the ground of Cambodia, Myanmar, and Ethiopia.

When tackling the challenges of the fashion industry, Hannah’s approach for success is rooted in cross-disciplinary collaboration and innovative solution-finding. Her vision is to reinvent the structures of the industry towards more circularity.

What is your favorite article of clothing?
I love to wear timeless pieces and mix them up with jewelry. One of my all-time favorite is my old Levis jeans
 
What is the most wonderful thing about the fashion industry right now?
While circularity was smiled upon a few years ago and was often dismissed as being utopian, the time for bold actions has finally arrived. The industry is now more open to reinvent its structures and move towards more circular ones.
 
What do you think is the most shocking thing about fashion today?
That some brands rather burn or dump leftover stock or returned fashion items instead of keeping them in the value cycle.
 
What’s your favorite place you’ve ever traveled to?
That is a very difficult one! I value so many places and I like them for different reasons. I love southern Tirol for its mountain view’s and it’s soul food, Northern Spain for its lush and hilly coast, and Cambodia for its smell and positive vibes
 
What is your favorite indulgence?
Chunky-Monkey ice-cream by Ben and Jerry’s and looking up stunning houses on Pinterest
 
What makes you happiest?
Real connections and feeling rooted
 
What environmental or social problem are we overlooking?
Each environmental problem is as well a social one! Everything is connected! Empowering those most affected by any problem, by giving them the tools needed to address the root causes, bares huge potential for groundbreaking innovation! 
 
Are you more introverted or extroverted?
Definitely more introverted in a room full of strangers and extroverted with loved ones 
 
What do you do first in the morning?
Kiss my baby girl when she wakes me up way too early
 
What was the happiest moment of this past year?
2020 was and is crazy in so many ways. I experienced so much happiness despite having a lot of Weltschmerz. One moment of mind-blowing happiness was the birth of my daughter
 
Best professional moment of your life thus far?
I was managing a project that aimed to improve the environmental performance of garment factories in Myanmar. During the project we faced tons of challenges such as conflicts with trade unions, strikes, intercultural misunderstandings, fire hazards … despite those challenges we achieved great project outcomes. Factories established well-functioning waste management systems, LED bulbs were changed in the entire factories and environmental awareness was increased among workers and manager. We achieved all of this only by working on soft skills with the factory staff. Managers and workers learned in joint workshops about each others concerns and ideas and increased the empathy for each other. This new base for understanding lead to great ideas and cooperation.
 
What was the last outfit you wore that made you feel amazing?
After becoming a mum in the middle of a pandemic, my outfits were not the most exciting ones. For many weeks, ok let’s be honest months, I was and still am mainly wearing sweatshirts and leggings. 
 
Last time I definitely felt amazing was when wearing my well-fitting pair of Levis, a white shirt with a mock collar, my beautiful blue silk kimono by Folkdays and lots of golden jewelry
 
Favorite movie?  
The movie that recently touched me the most is Capernaum
 
How do you recharge?
A walk through a forest can do magic for me! That’s why the Japanese healing method shinrin-yoku resonates with me 100%. Shinrin-yoku means bathing in the forest atmosphere. Smelling the forest, listening to its sound and seeing the reflection of light opens up all my senses.
 
What three words describe you best?
curious, honest, caring
 
What makes you laugh the hardest?
My hubby’s dance moves 
 
Favorite book?
There are so many good ones! My list of favorites is endless and even longer the list I still wanna read! An absolute favorite is Amerikanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and everything ever written by Benedict Wells
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