A sustainable wardrobe with Carmen!
Today we are going to be discussing sustainability in fashion with Carmen, she is a digital creator and a sustainability enthusiast! Read on for the full interview where Carmen gives some tips on how to curate a sustainable wardrobe and what she thinks the fashion industry will look like in 5 years time!
Starting off with the first question, we were wondering when you started living a sustainable lifestyle? Was there a particular event that inspired you or made you realise that the industry needed a change?
I would say it was a transitional phase, it wasn’t really like I had one moment where I realised something has to change. I started out at fashion school and when we started learning about the industry me and my colleagues would often discuss sustainability in the industry. The more I talked about it, the more I wanted to get informed. I watched different documentaries, I read a lot and I listened to podcasts. It was a lot of information, there were a lot of facts I learned that were not good and I realised something has to change. During my time and fashion school I realised that although we were talking about sustainability there, outside of those walls people really weren’t aware. People were buying things everyday, they don’t know where these clothes come from either.
Did you study sustainability in school?
No, I actually studied fashion journalism and communication but of course sustainability had so much to do with current affairs it was always a main topic.
What are your top 3 or more tips on how to curate a sustainable wardrobe?
So my first tip is I always quote is by Orsola de Castro from Fashion Revolution. She said that ‘sustainability starts in your own wardrobe’ and I think this very true. It’s also something people might have realised during the coronavirus because you have so many clothes in your wardrobe which you don’t even know about. It's really about getting to know your clothes, what is it about a garment that makes it your favourite? How do you combine your staples to make yourself feel good and confident?
Another tip I would say is to read a lot and get informed. Go on the websites of your favourite fashion brands and find out how sustainable they are. Are they transparent? This can inform you on whether you want to support the brand or not.
My last tip would be to go to second hand stores. Go with friends and make it fun! To say that would can become a fully sustainable person right away isn’t possible, have some fun with it and you sustainable wardrobe will evolve naturally.
Where do you see the future of sustainable fashion in five years time?
People are becoming more aware of sustainability and I think in five years time fashion companies will have to be, or are in the process of becoming, more transparent. In five years time I think we’ll see a better industry where sustainability is more forward. There are already lot of start ups who provide sustainable solutions where other brands don’t and I think we’re going to see a lot more of that. It seems a lot like everyone is talking about sustainable fashion but no one really knows enough about it. With brands becoming more transparent in the future this will help consumers a lot. I hope that it will become more clear for consumers where they can go to get true sustainable clothing and what brands they can rely on. I’d also like to see the possibilities of circular fashion becoming more popular, through second hand stores etc…
Do you think it's becoming a trend to be sustainable?
I was actually having a conversation about this a few days ago and the discussion was very interesting. If it’s a trend then maybe people are just doing it to be cool, but at the same time I think it can be a good thing. It's building awareness and people are becoming more informed about it. I look at it as a good trend, as long as brands don’t use this trend to pretend to be something the aren’t. You have to be aware of greenwashing!
Do you have any favourite go-to sustainable brands? Fashion or lifestyle...
There are so many! I’ve actually been discovering so many brands via social media. It’s amazing how many startups are emerging with a sustainable philosophy and have this focus on their craft. Stella McCartney is a pioneer in the industry. She focuses on innovation and supports young designers which I think is amazing! I love Brava Fabrics and Boyish jeans. For skincare I just discovered Gitti nail polish. I’ve never actually thought about the sustainable values in nail polish, but this one was really cool. Another favourite of mine is a very small brand called The Renewery, they rework vintage shirts which is a really cool twist on upcycling second hand clothing!
What would you say are the hardest parts about living a conscious lifestyle?
I think a lot of people wore are sustainable would assume that there aren’t that many options, but if use really your core motivation you’ll always find an alternative.
I’ve been vegan for a little over 2 years now and the only time I’ve ever struggled or found myself limited was in France where veganism isn’t as common. I would say that the lifestyle isn’t problematic, but there are brands that are. For example, you could find a sustainable brands that uses really good fabrics, but then you find out that they are using plastic to line the garment or for the buttons. This can be a little disappointing because then it isn’t truly sustainable and there aren’t that many alternatives to this.
What would say to people who don’t want to buy into sustainable fashion because of its high price point?
I think there are a lot of options, you can do to thrift stores or swapping events. I just had a look at swapping events in different countries and there are many amazing groups emerging for clothes swaps. You could even do a little swap event among friends! A fun little get together with your friends, you could all bring some clothes mix and match different pieces with your friends.
You could also play around with DIY. I don’t have too much time to do this but if you have maybe a t-shirt you don’t wear anymore, you could rework it with a patch or make it cropped. There are so many Pinterest videos on this!
There are a lot of sustainable brands trying to deliver affordable sustainable fashion, but I think the idea that you can buy a t-shirt from a fast fashion brand for £4 isn’t relatable to sustainable fashion because it’s not possible. Buying into sustainability is a smart investment because you are buying something that is going to last you for years to come and in the long run, this will work out more affordable than buying and replacing a £4 t-shirt.
Thanks so much for sitting down with me today and sharing your ideas!
Thank you for having me and thank you for your efforts in sustainability, Aequem is such a cool company doing an amazing job!