“We need to focus on sustainability as the norm instead of a luxury.”: Wear? Magazine interviews Permanent Clothing

1_1024x1024In a climate where environmental sustainability and ethical production is very important, and increasingly on the agenda of streetwear and fashion brands, Permanent promotes a strong brand message, one with such values at its core.

“We need to focus on sustainability as the norm instead of a luxury.”

Standout graphics and creative prints have instantly become synonymous with the brand, yet accessories, such as a lanyard and harness, have provided a strong differential when compared to others in streetwear.

However, it is the message behind the clothes that really separates this brand from others. A far cry from the consumerist and fast-fashion space to which many occupy, Permanent sits outside this box, encouraging DIY attitudes, reuse/recycling and pushing eco-friendly and sustainable messages, all the while reaming fresh and clean, both and product and ethos.

Wear? Magazine spoke to founder and creator, Iris van Melsen, about the brand, the message and also about Permanent’s most recent drop, highlighting the huge amounts of water their goes to waste within the fashion world.

“I’ve always been interested in fashion but didn’t think of starting a sustainable fashion brand until I found out how the clothing industry has such a big impact on the environment. The fashion industry is the second-largest user of water globally, one cotton shirt consumes 2,700 litres of water – the equivalent of taking a 5,6 hour long shower,” Iris van Melsen, speaking for Permanent Clothing.

Fusing her passion for the environment and her long-standing interest in fashion, Permanent was formed. Yet, it wasn’t without extensive research, delving deep into fashion’s darkest secrets in order to find a niche and educate others.

“I started to read about exploitation, chemicals, pollution, dangerous working conditions and more issues of the fashion industry. This made me decide I wanted to start my own sustainable fashion brand and educate others through my garments.”


After one year, the debut collection surfaced and there couldn’t be a more apt inspiration than what it is based on, water.

“I’m trying to show how water is an often unseen and unknown resource in the production of fashion.”

Research led Iris to Neutral®, a sustainable apparel producer which is built on the highest social, ethical and environmental criteria for clothing production. An environmentally friendly supplier was one of the hardest thing for Permanent to find, with many cutting corners and failing the planet, or their workers, in one way or another.

Yet, Neutral® gave Permanent the platform to create their first launch, ‘Water’. The supplier had all the certificates it needed to show its eco-friendly stance and the visions of Iris van Melsen have come to life. “Permanent sources the garments from suppliers who provide organic and eco-friendly materials, as well as to improve the livelihoods of those that work in the fashion supply chain.”

Repeating the fact that one cotton t-shirt consumes 2,700 litres of water, it became evident as to the inspiration behind the drop, despite it being made clear in its title.

Water waste has led Iris into action and with Permanent making waves with their first drop, awareness is being raised.

“Think about the amount of cotton clothing pieces being sold daily, it’s crazy. A lot of people can’t imagine how the production of just a single T-shirt costs so much water. That is because people aren’t aware of the chemicals being used for growing cotton. These chemicals make it impossible to reuse the water.”


Behind the water inspiration, Amsterdam, the birth-place of Permanent, has also furthered the brand.

Iris explained: “It’s a city where many different cultures live together, and I still learn from others every day. It’s a small city compared to other capital cities in Europe, and therefore you get to know others easily. It’s not difficult to find other creatives and get together, and that’s definitely a blessing.”

The brand has been inspired by the many creatives around the city, with the unique fashion in the Dutch capital part of Permanent’s heritage.

Iris puts it perfectly: “Permanent is striving to reflect the unique individuality of the Amsterdam streetwear culture through conscious collection concepts, in a positive and sustainable way.”

Iris van Melsen for Permanent speaking to Wear? Magazine. 

Images courtesy of Permanent Clothing (@permamnentclothingeu)

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