Interviewed by Cherie Birkner
"I blog about having less and feeling good with it."
What’s the story behind your blog name?
When I had to start my own blog for a university project a couple of years ago I didn’t want to give it a typical fashion blog name. I had been thinking about it the whole afternoon and at some point I just started to write down phrases and word combinations. I liked the sound of „at least“ and went with it. Years later, the name fits perfectly with what I do because I blog about having less and feeling good with it – the least you need to be happy so to say.
Why do you blog about sustainable fashion?
I think that blogging about sustainable fashion is important for two reasons: Firstly, most people think of fair fashion as being pretty dull. I want at least to be a platform where I show that ethical fashion has developed a lot during the last years and that there’s something for every taste out there – it just costs a little research to find the right brands for your style.
Secondly, I think it’s dangerous, how fast fashion brands use sustainability as a squishy buzzword to sell their cheap clothes. The mainstream consumer isn’t really educated about what goes along with being sustainable as a brand. I don’t want my readers to just take the easy way and believe everything they’re told but rather adopting an attitude of researching on their own and asking questions.
What does being sustainable mean to you?
This is a tricky one, because there’s a lot of opinions about that. To me, being sustainable fashion wise equals buying less. But what is actually ‚less‘? For years, shopping has been a way to reduce stress for me and to feel better about myself, it has been even a social experience when I went shopping with my friends. I still like clothing a lot and I obviously keep myself busy with this topic very often but I try to fight my old habits. It is hard to value what you have instead of wanting something new all the time when this is what you’ve been taught. So I try to find ways to be content with what I have and to be really excited about each and every piece of clothing I add to my closet. I have started to invest in good quality clothing that will last a long time – so that it can make someone else happy even if it doesn’t fit me or my style anymore. Besides that, to me sustainability also means that my clothes are made in a way that is respectful towards nature and humans.
How has blogging about sustainable fashion changed the way you think about it?
I often find it crazy that for years I’ve been part of this machinery creating desires and letting me spend a huge portion of my income on them. Although my study path included topics like marketing and advertising I didn’t really ask any questions or wonder where a society that is based on blind consumerism would end. It’s hard to see people chasing this ideal of being and looking perfect, having toned bodies and always wearing the latest trends while the whole thing isn’t that much about what we wear but about our wish to be accepted by others – and it’s pretty mean that companies exploit this elementary desire. This hasn’t only changed my view on fashion but also on other topics like food, travelling, living and even on working.
Do you think that one person can have an impact?
Yes! One person can change a lot – I’ve changed a lot during the last two years only because people in my environment saw what I was doing and listened to what I had to say. Although this has lead to a lot of discussions with peers, we were at least talking about sustainability and what is going wrong. Even if you’re not on the same page with somebody, it’s crucial to address such issues. You might not believe it at first but most people will think about a conversation like this again and will reflect on their habits.
How often do you go shopping (and where)?
I don’t really go shopping anymore. Before I buy something I put quite some research into a purchase. I have a list of things that I want to have in my closet and just try to stick to this – right now I buy about one new piece per month. I do sometimes visit online shops or stores without a buying intent – but then only to get to know their assortment.
How do you think the fashion industry will change in the next five years?
I think sustainable business practices will become more normal, also because legislation might be adjusted – I hope that this doesn’t mean that we will pay less attention to the things that can be still improved and let brands get away with greenwashing. Although fair fashion might play a bigger role in the future, cheap clothing stores will still have a lot of customers – so there will be plenty to do for us.
What can everybody do to make a difference in the fashion industry?
Free yourself from what you have been taught, question your buying behaviour and talk to others about the issues you see in the fashion industry. Make it clear to yourself that you fund big companies with each and every purchase. Find alternatives – they might not be as obvious as high street chains but they are there and will be thankful if you chose them.