For the first 'Across the border' interview for our Curated By series, we sat down with the creative Alina Johnston from Vienna. Alina's love for writing, photography and video grew when she started a blog with two of her friends. Now she puts all her time and love into her inspiring Instagram, known as franklyalina.
Alina likes to share her thoughts on fashion and lifestyle, but also uses her online presence for a greater good by being vocal about sustainability, which is why we were very curious about her journey towards this kind of lifestyle and how it is reflected in her daily life.
1. Can you tell us about what brought you to sustainable shopping in the first place?
It actually started while I was at university, 7 years ago, when I got to know the vegan side of sustainability and how to be more sustainable through the things you eat. I found this very interesting and it was my first step to a more sustainable lifestyle as a whole. I was also very vocal about shopping second-hand as when you don't have that much money available, but have an interest in sustainability, you tend to go for this kind of shopping experience.
These were my first steps into a more sustainable lifestyle and now that I'm a bit older, I also invest more into the things that I buy and I am always looking for the most sustainable way to do this. I like to invest in pieces that will last forever, I think this is really important.
2. How is all of this reflected in your daily life?
Most of my habits come from when I was very much into the sustainable lifestyle and learned many new things. I have now adapted these habits into my daily life to my best ability. A few examples are always taking the public transport and choosing not to own a car, I follow a plant-based diet, I don't go shopping for things that I don't need, and when I do buy, I buy sustainable. Of course, sometimes you have to make exceptions, but I have learned that this is okay too.
What I do online for a living, is recommending this kind of lifestyle to others and inspiring people to make conscious decisions when they are buying something new. This is also reflected in what kind of partnerships I associate myself with.
3. SCOON came to life because we felt it was hard to find one place for modern 'Brands that Care’ that don’t compromise on style and performance. Even with its growing popularity, a lot of people still think sustainable clothing and beauty are for tree huggers, what is your response to that?
I don't think that those people have visited the stores and markets that we have right now. There are so many amazing things happening at the moment, and I feel like you can't compare the sustainable market as we know it now to what it was a few years ago.
When I started to become more interested in sustainability, 7 years ago, it was a bit boring maybe, yes. A lot of natural fabrics, and only earthy colours. But nowadays you have sustainable clothing in every colour and every size. It's very inclusive and unique in its approach to fashion. It has made fashion absolutely more diverse, it's better for everyone and it has a very wholesome view on things. I love that about it.
So, tree huggers isn't the right way to put it. It's actually for everybody.
4. We believe there is nothing better than gifting something that’s been made with care. With the holiday season coming up soon, what are the things you look for in buying gifts?
Gifting is a very special topic for me, because I am a perfectionist. That is why I really want everybody to be super happy with their gift. So I am more into looking for something that they really need or want. I think that is a very sustainable approach to buying gifts. Also, if I can buy an item sustainably I will. And next to that, I like to shop locally.
I like to gift mindfully and I like to gift something that is needed and wanted.