This week, we had the pleasure to work with Amsterdam-based sustainable fashion advocate Sara from @whensarasmiles for her second Curated By series with SCOON. She shares her critical view on the fashion industry and helps you rethink your consuming habits. Now, as SCOON’s collaborator, Sara answered some questions about what made her embark on her journey of conscious living and shopping and what she hopes for the 'new normal'.
Where does your sustainable drive come from?
After having a serious shopping (fast fashion) addiction for years, I remember watching the Rana Plaza disaster on the news in 2013. I was completely shocked. That day I made the first link between my greedy behaviour and how I directly contributed to horrible things happening in the shadows of the fashion industry. After having seen the The True Cost documentary at the end of 2015 - yes, it took a while for me to change - I finally pushed myself to do a fair fashion challenge for one month. That month I thought myself so much about the fun and beauty of slow fashion that there was no way back. Since there wasn't much information about ethical fashion, I started writing about it.
How is all of this reflected in your daily life of running a business and a household?
My sustainable life mantra is 'when you know better, you have to do better'. Sustainability, to me, is a continuous journey and something that should be taken seriously, but also be enjoyed. I try to make my sustainable steps fun and share this fun and enthusiasm with my family, my friends and on my platform When Sara Smiles in a 'just take steps, but also don't be too hard on yourself' kind of way. I'm extremely proud that my mission to put sustainable fashion on the map is now my fulltime job.
What are your favourite places to shop for clothing and beauty and what do you take into consideration before you decide to buy?
My wardrobe consists of timeless qualitative basics from ethical brands. I spice them up with vintage treasures that I love, mainly from the '70's and '80's. Before I buy, I always ask myself first: is it really, really, REALLY going to make me happy? Will I wear it hundreds of times because of that? Do I trust the brand in terms of ethical practices?
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. Sustainability is becoming more mainstream with new sustainable brands launching every day, what do you think of this movement?
What's not to love about it?! The bigger and the more fashionable our movement, the better! I do want to point out the danger of greenwashing, though. More and more fast fashion brands are making big sustainable claims that aren't even true and it worries me. It makes consumers with only little knowledge about the industry believe that we're already 'there'. But there's still a lot of work to do and it's our job to bring the truth to the people. In an inspiring way, of course.
With Corona putting everything on hold, people are saying that this is the time to make big changes and create a new normal, what do you hope will change in the fashion industry?
I hope these times of reflection will create a more conscious consuming mindset and a bigger group of consumers who are inspired to put their ideals first. I think we can reach this, but only if we start educating people more about what (true) sustainability is, what it isn't and where and how they can shop more sustainably.