What do men think of sustainable fashion? A conversation with Scott Staniland
We've got an exciting interview up today with model turned social media influencer Scott Staniland! With a passion for the environment, Scott is a front row regular at Fashion Week and has worked with the likes of Armani, Daks, Churchs and John Smedley to name a few. Aequem caught up with Scott to find out a bit more about him and his passion for sustainability...
Tell us about your background in sustainable fashion!
I've always been interested in the fashion industry and was naturally drawn to clothes that were well made, particularly English brands. My sustainable fashion urge was born out of my hate for plastic actually! A few years ago I set out to buy as little as possible that contained any plastics and this soon grew into a passion of buying less, shopping pre-loved and widening other people's view to clothes less harmful to the environment. I also met many allies at fashion week and saw more collections made from off-cuts or up-cycled and recycled materials which was really inspiring.
When did you start feeling like the fashion industry needed to change? Was there a particular event or time in your life that triggered this?
I think it was looking at my own wardrobe when at university and realising how little of it I actually used and 'needed'. I started looking into how much we consume in general and what happens after you donate it or throw it away. At a similar time, the fast fashion industry rocketed and I remember seeing a women's Dress for £6 online and thought 'HOW!?'. How can a company pay for materials, pay a worker, pay transport / import, marketing etc etc and still turn a PROFIT on an £6 item. After that, I questioned everything.
How do you implicate sustainability in your own lifestyle? Are there any changes you’ve made to be more sustainable?
I definitely consume less. A few years back I would shop out of boredom and so made a conscious effort to fill that time with learning about the brands I like instead. There's so many aspects to 'sustainable fashion' that you can dip into; but I have definitely made a point of looking at labels. Usually, having seen where it was made and what from you can gain a sense of whether it was made ethically, as well as the garments impact on the planet. (I.e a 100% acrylic bobble hat Vs a 100% organic cotton tee) I also tell my self each purchase should be an investment!
What direction do you see the fashion industry going in? How do you think this industry will change by 2025?
I believe 'sustainable fashion' will eventually engulf the fast-fashion industry. With the current global environmental crisis as well as Covid-19, I believe we are much more aware of how we spend our time and money and just how much 'stuff' we need. I hope people will begin to appreciate the effort that goes into making garments really well, ethically and ones that will last. By 2025, I think every successful brand will have incorporated some sort of sustainable materials into their collections regularly, if not entirely. I'm hoping more brands will also have sister companies or subsidiaries that do more than just make clothes, like beach clean up programs or partner with environmental charities.
What, in your opinion, are the key changes that the fashion industry needs to implement to become more sustainable?
Working as an influencer, a pet hate of mine are affiliate links. I don't think brands, nor influencers, can preach 'sustainability' in fashion when their pay-check is dependant on how many people use their discount code - especially the fast fashion ones! I also really think the 'clothes bins for a discount off your next purchase' really needs looking at. You can walk into a few well known high-street stores and there'll be a place to return a bag of old clothes and be rewarded with a 10-15% discount off your next purchase... which surely is encouraging over consumption and defeating the point! Not to mention many of these charities are completely overwhelmed by the amount of donated clothes. The word 'Haul' needs to go too, it just sounds like an unhealthy amount of clothes! And just... less, less, LESS... apparently a very well known high street brand had 52 'collections' last year INSANE... I prefer to call them 'weeks'.
The sustainable fashion market is growing - what does the menswear sector look like? Do you find that there are enough products/brands
I would say menswear is a little behind the women's. I try to compare it to the vegan trend that boomed a few years ago... menswear still needs a 'plant-based' alternative that is mainstream and considered cool! But, more brands are emerging and it's great to see some larger fashion influencers really delve into making some of their own sustainable fashion collections. At the moment you do have to 'go looking' for it, I think having a one-stop market place where you can find multiple sustainable brands in one place will be really helpful in the future.
Do you have any advice for people looking to make conscious changes in their lifestyle but aren’t sure where to start?
Okay so number 1 - 'Less but better', the Dieter Rams maxim I think is great advice for fashion. 2 - Check the labels! Look where it was made, what it's made from and how to look after it - make your clothes last longer!. 3 -Boycott sale shopping and Black Friday! And 4 - (3 is a nice number but I need 4)... follow some sustainable fashion hashtags as it will help you discover some more brands.
We know that you're passionate about sustainable fashion. Do you see yourself working in this sector full-time? What would be your dream job in this area?
I would love to work for a company that has a big sustainable fashion interest or help a brand that is really struggling to find new best practices. I think working for a company doing great work in the sustainable space and heading up a division that's sole focus is to reduce fashion's environmental impact, would be really rewarding. Similarly, working for the British Fashion Council on a specific sustainable fashion council would also be pretty great!
We hope you've enjoyed getting to know Scott, we definitely did! Make sure to subscribe to the Aequem newsletter to catch our other blog posts and interviews!
Aequem Gang xo