My Journey towards Sustainable Fashion

When I started this platform, I called it The Stylist’s Notebook because I was a freelance stylist who always had a notebook in hand and I wanted to share what struck a chord with me. Fast forward three whole years (!!!) of writing this blog and my life has changed completely. This platform and what I’m writing about has also changed to focus on wellness, yoga, nourishing food, travel and conscious consumerism. If you’d like to know how I went from a trend-hungry Fashion Assistant to writing about sustainable style and wellness, read on.

The Start

I decided to study fashion design after high school. Since I was a child I’d always gravitated towards clothing. My understanding of fashion vs clothing was something I only grasped in later years but I always cherished seeing how people would transform when they felt good about what they were wearing. Did you ever watch Oprah as a kid? My mom and I did! Some of my favourites were the ‘make-over’ shows. I loved seeing a person who didn’t feel so good about themselves go from hunched shoulders or looking shy, to walking out with long confident strides, standing tall and smiling. Those memories didn’t come to mind when I applied for my BA Fashion Design, but they have since. I think I liked that the hosts always went deeper than physical appearance and helped people work through a tough time towards something better.

My studies seem like a blur now, but there was balance of learning and hard work with making life-long friends and having a good time. I think I was an average student in most subjects, I seemed to be better at conceptual subject than the practical part of fashion. On the advice of a mentor I had interned with during college, I worked multiple jobs for a year and a half or so before stepping into the Marie Claire offices to apply for an internship. I got the internship and fell in love with print publishing.

I eventually found a paying job in publishing at Elle as a Fashion Assistant. These two jobs taught me so much and were amazing opportunities but I felt like I stopped growing after two years at Elle. This lead me to researching freelance fashion styling and after calculating the risks, I took the plunge and decided to work for myself. Around this time, I started this blog.

Falling Apart at the Seams

Working as a freelance stylist involved advertising and marketing shoots, some work for magazines and jobs for fashion designers and brands- both local and international. Breaking in and making a name for myself was tough, the hours long and often stressful but when I started, I loved my job. The longer I did it, the less I loved it. For a long time I was taking any job I could get and without realising it, I ended up working with brands and companies who made me feel out of sorts.

As health, wellness and a holistic life became a priority and I found yoga (through a work-related injury, funnily enough) the reason for my inner conflict became clear to me; my values had shifted and my job hadn’t. I was taking steps in my personal life to cut back on waste and live in an environmentally friendly way. But I was sourcing and returning fast fashion clothing every day or styling campaigns for fast fashion brands that hadn’t even considered the impact of their product’s life cycle. Yoga helped me realise that I was no longer in alignment with the life I was leading. It took a long time to admit it to myself and I had guilt around it too. I kept reminding myself of how many people had reached out to me because they wanted to do something similar. And here I was unhappy when I had so much to be grateful for

Looking forward

Now, I will be honest, I still do styling work for some clients who I truly cherish working with. Most of them are small local brands or companies that try to reduce their footprint with production. I’m so grateful for the brands who have stuck by me during my transition from a fashion maven vying for a front row seat to a slow-fashion loving, yoga teaching, content creating gal in three-year-old jeans.

On a personal level, I’ve learned these things

  • I don’t need to buy everything I like or am drawn to. Not everything is “for me”.
  • There is such a thing as enough.
  • To reduce the amount I own and reduce the amount I buy so I’m not just filling up the decluttered spaces and supporting a linear fashion economy again.
  • To buy and consume carefully by considering where something is from, what it’s made of and who made it before I buy it.
  • Buying clothing has become more meaningful, in that I now ask “Do I have physical and mental space for this thing?” instead of just “Do I want/ need this thing?” It’s not just cupboard space that is taken up by owning stuff. It clutters our mental space too.
  • To take care of what I already own. I don’t let stains sit and set in before washing my clothes, simple mending is done quickly and other items I can’t repair don’t sit at the front door for months before going to specialists.

I’m looking forward to sharing more on sustainability in fashion, simplified wardrobes and making conscious clothing choices with you soon!

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