I'm talking about sustainable fashion with the lovely Yvonne from slowingdowntozero!
“New Year, new me” - I honestly don't know if there is any other quote that makes me cringe as much as this one! The pressure of new year can be unbearable. Everywhere you go people ask about your resolutions for next year, you almost feel obliged to have one. Gyms get full, diets are followed and shops put sales on. Massive sales, 70% off sales so you can shop your way through your January pay check before you even get one. Fast fashion lures us into buying more than we need, especially this time of the year. What if we kept the money in our pockets, rediscovered our wardrobes or shop ethical brands? Can you resist the red S A L E sign temptation this year? I came across Yvonne's account on Instagram a few months ago. I loved it straight away because she was honest – she admits to have been a fashion addict once. I mean who does that, we're all so flawlessly eco friendly! I love T R U E people that share their journey towards a better lifestyle, share their bad habits from the past, how they managed to change them. I was intrigued what made Yvonne change her way of living, so I asked her a few honest questions and I got some very honest answers. Have a read!
Kasia: What was your relationship with fashion 6 years ago?
Yvonne: Six years ago, I didn't have a solid understanding of the fashion industry and its negative impact on the environment and garment workers. Even though I was already a couple years in exploring the zero waste lifestyle and I knew how bad the agriculture and oil industries were, I didn't make the connection that the fashion industry was just as polluting and exploitative. I think at that point of my life, I was afraid to give up something that gave me an outlet to cope with the stresses of the world. I thought to myself that since I was doing quite well in reducing my waste overall, I could indulge in retail therapy every so often, which was more often that I'd like to admit.
K: What made you change your approach towards fashion industry?
Y: The collapse of the Rana Plaza happened around that time five years ago and it completely opened my eyes to the horrible conditions and unethical practices that these workers had to work in and be subjected to, all for the sake of meeting our demands for clothing made quickly and cheaply. It was a form of modern day slavery and I was disgusted that I was part of it. I quit fast fashion that year and started to look into alternatives and break old habits. The hardest part was teaching myself to not shop when that itch to buy something was triggered. I went through a period of excessive secondhand shopping, buying things I thought I needed but didn't. It was a big learning curve but I'm improving. The best thing is to shop your own closet and rediscover old gems!
K: Do you find it hard to express your style without following ever changing trends?
Y: I was worried I'd lose a part of myself because fashion has always been an extension of my creative expression but, to my surprise, I found that quitting fast fashion has allowed me to come to my true sense of style. I realize that linen, and not poorly made polyester that I subjected my body to for many unfortunate years, is my fabric of choice that feels good on my body. I take my time examining a piece or imagining how I could pull an outfit together before making a purchase. As a result, my closet is more cohesive and I think I'm a better dresser now. And I love how a vintage item can really make an outfit unique in way that reflects my personal style.
K: What is your favourite piece of clothing in your closet and why?
Y: I recently purchased my first pair of cropped wide-legged pants from the brand First Rite and I love them so much. They're a great basic that can be worn with essentially anything. I love that I can dress them up or down and the shape and cut is flattering for all body types across the spectrum.
K: How big is your closet?
Y: To be honest, I'm not a minimalist but I am on my way toward having a smaller closet that works best for me. For me, a sustainable closet is one that is well-loved and intentional, no matter the size. I have been downsizing quite a lot the past couple of years, keeping things that I only feel good in. I don't like to do big donation dumps at my local thrift stores because I think that's an easy way out to get rid of things. I still donate items that are in good sellable condition but I also I sell or give away things slowly through online buy, sell, and swap pages. It's more time consuming but I think people will more likely take care of items that they paid for or went out of their way to get. So to answer your question, my closet isn't small but it's not big either. It's a vast improvement from where it once was.
K: Your favourite ethical brands?
Y: There are so many great small ethical brands out there now! Honestly, I used to pretty much only rotate between vintage, secondhand designer pieces, and Reformation. Thankfully, I've expanded since then and been exposed to so many other awesome brands dedicated to small batch production that are grounded in ethics and sustainability. Brands I have personally worn and vouch for are First Rite, Ilana Kohn, Everlane, Kowtow, Doen, Rachel Comey, Vitamin A, and Thinx. Other noteworthy ethical brands that I haven't yet had the pleasure of wearing are Elizabeth Suzann, Jesse Kamm, Harly Jae, Not Perfect Linen, Beaton, Ozma of California, and Pansy.
K: Last thing you bought?
Y: My First Rite pants.
K: Next thing you'll buy is...
Y: I'm still looking for the perfect pair of strappy black heels, secondhand preferably, for some time now. I'm picky and patient so I don't mind waiting :)
I hope you enjoyed meeting Yvonne and you should definitely go and give her a follow on Instagram (@slowingdowntozero). She will inspire you in many more aspects of your everyday life, not only fashion!
(all images used in this post are from Yvonne's instagram)
Do you want to start shopping vintage but you keep thinking that it's not for you? My next post will be all about shopping second hand, stay tuned!