5 Easy Ways to Wear Sustainable Fashion

Photo by Angela Bailey on Unsplash

Photo by Angela Bailey on Unsplash

When I was younger, all I cared about was having as many items in my closet as possible on a budget. I didn't know anything that went on behind the scenes in the fashion industry. So I shopped at fast fashion brands like Forever 21, H&M and Zara.

As long as I looked good, I didn't care.

But in high school something changed. After a trip to visit my grandparents in China, I experienced how bad pollution can get. I was unable to open my eyes outside due to sand storms and the smog gave me bronchitis.

I didn't want to live like that.

When I entered my high school business plan competition, I decided to create a sustainable fashion brand called "8 O'Clock".

From doing that project I learned so much about the fashion industry and its large impact on our environment. Today, the global fashion industry is valued at 3 trillion dollars or 2% of the world's GDP. It's the largest polluter in the world second to only the oil industry.

According to Maxine Bedat, co-founder of Zady, “the apparel industry is responsible for 10% of the total carbon output for the entire world. That’s 5x more carbon output than airline travel combined.”

We don't fly every day, but we do wear clothes ever day (unless you're a part of a nudist colony where that's not a problem). Thus, we need to make more concious decisions about our fashion consumption.

So what is "sustainable fashion"?

According to Sarah Ditty, Head of Policy at Fashion Revolution, "Sustainable fashion is about meeting today’s needs while ensuring that the way we go about meeting those needs meet future needs as well"

Our resources are limited and if we don't care to preserve them we won't have anything left for the future.

"It literally is as simple as it’s a matter of life or death." -Sarah Ditty

Don't panic. You don't have to join a nudist colony to save the environment. Here are 5 easy ways you can have a sustainable wardrobe but still look fabulous.

Buy Secondhand or Vintage

Photo by Micaela Parente on Unsplash

Photo by Micaela Parente on Unsplash

All the cool kids on Instagram are rocking scrunchies (never thought they'd make a come back) and high-waisted jeans they thrifted at Goodwill. Brands like Urban Outfitters are producing vintage inspired goods to cater to this audience.

But why not just buy real vintage?

By purchasing secondhand items, you're not using up any new resources nor adding any waste to our planet. Plus if you find a real one of a kind treasure, nobody else will be wearing it.

If digging through dusty racks at Goodwill gives you the heebie-jeebies, don't worry you can buy secondhand from the comfort of your own home.

I too used to be turned off by used clothing. My mom never let me buy anything used and made me believe they belonged to dead people or would give me aids. I still hate going into Goodwill or other thrift stores because of all the dust that makes me sneeze uncontrollably. But thank goodness for sites like Thredup and Poshmark where you can shop secondhand online.

Thredup is my favorite because the clothes come already cleaned and with no strange smells. They also have a lot of designer brands and it's easy to search and filter through them. I don't have to waste time at the store digging through racks and trying on clothes.

"If everyone in the US bought just one item used instead of new in 2019, it would save nearly 6 billion lbs of carbon emissions - the equivalent of taking over half a million cars off the road for an entire year." - Thredup

I'm making it my personal mission this year to only buy used clothing. Not only does it save me money but it also saves the environment.

Clothing Rentals/Subscriptions

Photo by Celia Michon on Unsplash

Photo by Celia Michon on Unsplash

Resource sharing is truly the future. We can share homes with Airbnb, share cars with Zip Car and share clothes through rental or subscription services like Rent the Runway or Stitch Fix.

Now that I'm 25, a lot of my friends are getting married. I don't want to be seen in the same dress at every wedding but I don't want to spend money buying 10 different dresses either. For a small price, I can rent a dress.

Whether you're a working professional who meets a ton of clients or want more options in your wardrobe, subscription boxes are a great way to mix up your wardrobe. Most of the services will let you switch out pieces of clothing as many times as you want.

Subscription boxes and rental services save you space, time and money while also being sustainable.

Repair or Recycle

Photo by Kris Atomic on Unsplash

Photo by Kris Atomic on Unsplash

According to Sarah Ditty, "In North America alone, consumers throw out what is the equivalent of the Empire State building in weight every year."

What if we didn't have to do that?

I once had a pair of cute sling back sandals that I wore every day for 2 summers. One day I came home feeling like my heel was a little funny. I looked down to realize that one of them had fallen out of it's casing somewhere on my walk home. I was devastated until my dad told me to go to a cobbler.

The only times I'd heard "cobbler" was when someone put peach in front of it.

So I found one and for a small price a middle-aged Korean man fixed my heel, and I was able to wear it again.

It saved me money from having to buy a new pair and I didn't have to create more waste by throwing them away.

If you have clothing that is too used to be repaired, you can bring them to a place to be recycled. Stores like the North Face, Madewell and Levi's will take back your used clothing and recycle them. Sometimes you can get a discount or a coupon for doing so!

Buy High Quality and Timeless Designs

Photo by Mack Johns on Unsplash

Photo by Mack Johns on Unsplash

If you have the means to do so, invest in high quality, timeless designer brands such as Burberry and Chanel to name a few. Designer brands like these have withstood the test of time and produce high quality items of clothing. Their fabrics are less likely to pill or break and the clothes are made by real craftsmen.

My most treasured item is a Burberry trench coat passed on to me by my mom. It was expensive when she bought it but now they cost even more if I were to buy it new. Although she's worn it for years, the trench coat still looks and feels like new.

Choosing timeless designs means they'll still be in fashion years from now and the high quality means it'll last longer than bargain brands. When you're tired of an item, it will still hold a huge portion of its original value.

If you can't afford new designer pieces, buy used ones at a discount. I bought a vintage Calvin Klein dress off of Thredup for $40 and it looks brand-new.

Be aware that just because a piece of clothing is expensive doesn't mean it's high quality and timeless. Do your research before you invest in big ticket items to make sure you're investing in something that'll last you a long time.

Buy from Sustainable Fashion Brands

Photo by Amanda Vick on Unsplash

Photo by Amanda Vick on Unsplash

If you hate the idea of wearing secondhand items or want to buy new clothing in the latest trend, sustainable fashion brands give you that choice. Most of them use recycled fabrics and more sustainable methods of production to create new clothing.

One of my favorites is Everlane. They recently launched a line of clothing called ReNew, which uses fabrics made from recycled plastic water bottles. It's a great place to buy basic sweaters, t-shirts and jeans for the modern working woman.

Reformation is a great place to buy trendier clothes for a younger audience. They also use recycled fabrics to create their clothing items. I love their dresses and crop tops that make me feel like I'm an insta-model.

A lot of other sustainable fashion brands are popping up with their own unique style. It's great to have a lot more options and to know that the world is beginning to care more about sustainable fashion.

Know any other sustainable fashion brands, share them with us in the comments!

I hope this post will inspire you to start a journey to wear more sustainable fashion. We all make choices every day and sometimes a simple change could make a big impact.

The New Minimalist 10-Step Korean Skincare Routine: 'Skip-Care'

Photo by ONNE Beauty on Unsplash

Photo by ONNE Beauty on Unsplash

Like most Korean beauty junkies, I couldn't wait to try the 10-step skincare routine when it was all the rage. I bought the oil cleanser, the foaming cleanser, the exfoliator, the toner, the serum, the essence (still don't know what the difference is), the sheet masks, the moisturizer, the eye cream and the sunscreen in hopes of achieving perfect, supple and dewy skin.

I ended up sticking to it for a week before I got lazy and returned to my 3-step clean, tone and moisturize. Most of the products ended up forgotten and expired on my bathroom counter.

The truth is I don't know of a single person who's stuck to it. Like meditation, exercising and journaling, the 10-step routine is something we wish we could do every day. But in reality, we barely have enough time to sleep let alone contemplate what goes first, the serum or the essence.

There is an overall trend towards a simpler life amongst millennials. We're living in tinier spaces, donating our possessions and deciding what is truly important to us and worthy of our attention and time. It's no surprise that our skincare regimens have become simpler too. Korean millennials are trading in the 10-step routine for a simpler one called Skip-Care, which saves them both money and time while still providing the same exact benefits.

"Skip-Care is a skincare method that allows you to identify the essential ingredients for your skin and avoid the use of unnecessary products for a simpler, yet proper, skincare routine." - Representative from Korean brand AmorePacific.

It's literally about skipping products in your skincare routine and replacing them with products that offer more than one benefit. Here are some ways you can get started on becoming a Skip-Care convert.

1. Get A Customized 3-step System to Address All Your Skin Concerns and Needs

photo by Helloava

photo by Helloava

First, figure out what your major skin concerns are. Do you have acne, fine lines or dark circles? Or are you just looking for something to nourish your overly dry skin? Then choose a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer that address those problems. These three products are the foundation of any skincare regimen.

If you have no idea where to begin, services like Helloava can help you out. HelloAva is an artificial intelligence-powered skincare platform, that uses computer algorithms to personally curate a skincare regimen for every user. You fill out a quiz online, which helps you figure out your skin concerns even if you have no idea, and the computer, along with skilled skincare advisors, would curate a personal skincare routine for you. You get to choose what to buy based on their recommendations and the personal skincare advisor is there to answer any questions you have. You can use my code NANCY20 for 20% off your 1st order and free shipping if you do decide to try it out.

2. Choose Products that Do More Than One Thing

photo by sk-ii

photo by sk-ii

"Using more product means more potential irritation." -Joshua Zeichner, director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City

You don't need a separate essence or serum if your toner has the necessary ingredients already. Japanese women swear by the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, which not only tones but also moisturizes and provides nutrients and vitamins to create a more radiant appearance.

Sleeping masks are great replacements for your night-time moisturizer. They repair your skin and provide vital ingredients while you sleep. The Laneige Water Bank Sleeping Mask is a favorite of mine.

3. Skip Products You Hate Using but Feel Obligated to

DO YOU SEE ME NOW (Photo by Effie Liu/Very Good Light)

DO YOU SEE ME NOW (Photo by Effie Liu/Very Good Light)

For the longest time, I tried to convince myself I enjoyed sheet masks because it's a part of the 10-step routine and everybody in Asia was using it. I hate how cold and slimy they feel and I get super OCD about how well they fit on my face. I rarely ever use one even though I have about 50 sheet masks sitting in my bathroom drawer right now. If you hate using a certain product don't force yourself to use it only because everybody else is. In true Mari Kondo fashion, use what gives you joy.

My current skincare routine consists of a cleansing oil, a foaming cleanser, a toner, and a day and night moisturizer. That's it. The day moisturizer has SPF, so I don't have to worry about layering a separate sunscreen over everything else. This is what I've learned works for me and a routine I can stick to without going crazy over.

How many steps are in your current skincare routine and what products are you using?

Trying Vegan Temple Food in Seoul, Korea

Trying Vegan Temple Food in Seoul, Korea

So temple food in Korea! On my second day back in Seoul, Dani suggested we meet up before she had to go back to Toronto for good so we met in Insadong. She's always wanted to try Korean temple food so I said sure why not. She was worried I wouldn't want to go due to the price but I am down for any new experiences I can vlog about.