Wednesday, 13 February 2013

A Trip to Zurich

I'm back from a little trip to my snowy home country Switzerland... and aside from a lot of eating, drinking and catching up with friends I explored beautiful Zurich in search of fairtrade, Swiss-made and sustainable fashion and accessories. If you ever visit Zurich, here are four shops you must see!

 Ankerstrasse 14, Zurich,
Situated just off the buzzing Langstrasse, one of the many cultural hubs of Zurich, is the hip Boutique Luxplus, where shoppers can buy high-end vintage garments and accessories, as well as unique pieces from Zurich Designers. Upon entering the shop, I'm immediately struck by the elegant and sophisticated feel of the place. Here, every item seems carefully selected to fit in with the overall design aesthetic; which makes for such an assortment of incredibly beautiful things that I am tempted to buy them all. Unfortunately the prices, although still affordable, are on the rather high end of the scale.

Bottom: my friend is having a look through the cute Luxconcept dresses

Under their own brand Luxconcept, Luxplus sell a range of cute dresses that are made in direct cooperation with a seamstress in Bangkok. The pieces are not fairtrade, but at least there is no middle man and the consumer knows where the goods are made.

The shop also sells a range of luxury fairtrade accessories by La Nomada. Pascale Krippendorf, the face behind the brand, explains to me that she sources her products from various faitrade cooperatives and enterprises all over Asia. I personally fell in love with this hand-died mustard yellow to golden brown scarf!

Marktgasse 10, Zurich,

Okay, Change Maker was possibly my favourite out of the four. This shop is so gorgeous, I would love to move in and live there till the end of my days. But not only is the space bright, airy and beautiful, but the products sold here are also just wonderful. As is clear from its name, this shop does things differently. Change Maker specialises in ethically-made, sustainable and eco-friendly home-wares and accessories. To make the shopping experience even easier and more transparent, change maker has devised seven little icons that inform the customer about the product. There is a little hand that signifies hand-made products, a light bulb indicating energy efficiency and a plant lets the customer know that the item is made out of organic materials.

Some of the beautiful products to be found at Change Maker; Top left: the fun felt stones and pebbles by Ronel Jordaan
wallets by Karlen Swiss

One of the highlights at Change Maker were definitely the ingenious felt pebbles and stones (image: top left) by Ronel Jordaan. They look so real, it was a surprise to find out they're actually soft pillows and cushions! The label Ronel Jordaan gives unemployed women in Johannesburg the opportunity to learn a trade from scratch and offers them employment in the company.

Change Maker also promotes Swiss designers and locally made products. These wallets, purses and bags made out of old Swiss army blankets are a classic. Designed by label Karlen Swiss, the accessories are hand-made in a quaint village in the Swiss mountains.

Change Maker has been highly successful and has opened shops in seven Swiss cities, including the capital Bern, Luzern and Winterthur. You can also buy their products online on their website.

Ankerstrasse 14,

Top: Fairtrade trolley bags; Bottom: Made in Switzeland,
a skirt from Let's Rock.
Also situated on Ankerstrasse, Saus & Braus offers young and up-and-coming designers a retail space in the heart of Zurich. The shop offers a wide variety of clothes, accessories and jewellery.

Some of their pieces, such as this modern take on the granny trolley bag, are fairtrade.

Under their house label Let's Rock, Saus & Braus sells quirky and colourful dresses and skirts that can be produced and changed to the customers' wishes. You can even chose the fabric you want, or bring your own! Let's Rock garments are made in the shop's studio in Zurich.

And finally one for the men! In Saus & Braus you can also buy the cool Swiss label Tarzan that sells hip and affordable hoodies, jackets and t-shirts for guys. Almost all of the ethically conscious label's collections are made from organic certified cotton.

This was also the perfect excuse to get the husband to pose for my blog! He is wearing a Tarzan shirt with hand shadow animals.

Preyergasse 6, Zurich,

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2012, Fizzen has been around for a while. The company started out as a dingy second-hand shop in Bern and has evolved into a versatile boutique selling vintage & second-hand, as well as recycled and new clothing in Basel, Bern, Luzern and Zurich. Despite a revamp to make the shop look brighter, it's kept its treasure trove feel and is by far the most affordable out of all the shops. Fizzen is a paradise for hipsters, students and retro-maniacs alike.

The branch in Zurich is split into three sections; new clothes by small independent labels, reworked vintage & second-hand products on the ground floor and a 'pure' vintage section in the basement. The vintage section offers the usual leather bags, jeans jackets, fair isle jumpers and 80s stretch-pants.

Top: The Vintage Section, Bottom: Reworked dresses by Fizzen
The reworked garments are produced by Fizzen either in Bangkok by their label Ark or in the Fizzen workshop in Switzerland. Vintage garments are given more modern shapes, old leather jackets are reworked into laptop or ipod cases and every product is unique. I was tempted by that little rose petal dress (picture: bottom right). The reworked products also promise that no sweatshop labor was involved in their making (yay!).

There is, of course, much more to Zurich than just shopping, so make sure that you hit some sights, drink excellent Swiss coffee and taste the best chocolate in the world between checking out the shops! To make shop-hopping even easier for you, I've created a little map.

Have you ever been to Zurich? What were your favourite places? Wanna share any other vintage or fairtrade treasures you discovered when travelling?


  1. Those felt pebbles are gorgeous!

    1. Yes, they are great, aren't they? and they look so real!