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Travel stories, inspiration, news and musing

We are the dreamers, the seekers, the travellers, the adventurers, the optimists. It's nice to meet you! There are lots of us with the same DNA - we look forward to sharing the journey with you.

The style guru proving fashion doesn't have to be fast

Aimee Pearce

Natalie Kay is not your regular fashionista. A fashion major in college, she learned some of the industry's dark secrets, and she found she couldn't turn a blind eye to the impact of fast fashion. Instead she decided to make a difference in the industry she loved! And that's why we love her! Believing fashion can and should exist responsibly Natalie founded Sustainably Chic - a blog and guide to a more ethical wardrobe. Aimée caught up with her to find out what ethical style is all about.

How would you describe your style philosophy?

Before I buy anything to add to my wardrobe, I think, ‘Can I see myself wearing this a few decades from now?’. I really enjoy timelessness in a garment. Besides it being something I can wear time and time again, I have to know and understand the origins of the piece. If it isn't sustainably or ethically produced, then my closet has no space for it. My style does not follow trends, and cares more about the effect it has on people and the environment.


Why is sustainability so important to you?

It has to be, that’s why ;) We need to be more aware of this topic in order for future generations to succeed. I believe it needs to be more important for everyone, and this is the reason I started Sustainably Chic. After studying marketing and fashion, I have an understanding of what appeals to my generation, and my blog enables me to talk about something I care deeply for in an aesthetically pleasing way.  

How does this philosophy translate to other areas of your life?

Sustainability can be applied to everything you do, and is still quite subjective depending on who you are talking to.  For example, when I take my sustainable living approach with food, I go to the Farmer’s Market Saturday morning to help sustain my immediate economy and reduce my carbon footprint. However, not all the veggies last until next week, so come Wednesday, I go to the grocery store down the street to stock back up. Sustainability is all about finding balance in the everyday things. It isn’t sustainable for me to live off the Farmer’s Market, or to grow my own food. I live in a small apartment with no yard, but I take up less space and energy than someone who has a house on several acres with their own garden {unless they are using solar, and then they have me beat :P}. Like I said before, it really is all about balance, and finding what is most sustainable for your lifestyle.

Did you have a particular aha! moment that you can recall that made you want to live “differently"?

There wasn’t an ‘aha’ moment for me, which probably made things easier. It was a slower approach for me, and it started with the fashion industry. I was a fashion major in college, and really curious about fast fashion. After a lot of research, my whole outlook on the industry had changed. I didn’t want to be a part of it, unless what I was doing was positive and for the better. A few years down the road, I run into the word sustainability. I had no idea what it meant, or how many avenues it encompassed. Sustainability wasn’t just about the environment, and it got me thinking. If I was going to change parts of my life to be more ‘sustainable’, I had to look at more than just my carbon footprint. What really intrigued me most about sustainability was the economics portion, and what’s crazy, I feel I’m learning so much more about this topic everyday.

Do you see sustainable living as a sub-culture or is it something we all have a responsibility to aspire to and work towards?

It is something we all have to aspire and work towards. Sustainable living will be different for everyone, but if we are all aware and try to move towards a better way of living then we can have some real hope for the future.

 What are some of the most basic first steps people can take if they want to begin the journey of becoming more sustainable?

  Start with the clothes you wear. It is a pretty easy first step, so it won’t overwhelm you to the point you say ‘forget this’. After, go on to the products you put on your skin. Changing your makeup routine is hard for women, but once you rid yourselves of nasty chemicals, your skin will thank you. Then move on to food which is probably the most difficult. I still struggle!! It is easy eating organic or locally, the hard part is what you eat. I don’t associate myself with a diet. When you live in a world where almost 800 million people are suffering from malnutrition, it is really easy for me to be grateful when my parents cook me tacos. You won’t see me passing up a meal! However, when I shop I stick to the plants, mostly. I’m not qualified to tell anyone how to eat, so there is some homework for you :D

What's your latest favourite sustainable find?

This one is so difficult to answer because there are many great brands out there, today. So much has changed in the last 6+ years of me exploring the slower side of fashion. I just created a new part on my blog so viewers can shop my closet, home and beauty routine! Check it out here.

Thanks for taking the time to hang out with us Natalie! And if readers want to find out more about what Natalie does check out her website Sustainably Chic and you can also find out more about how we value sustainability on our website here. And don't forget to browse our beautiful collection - all our products are ethically and sustainably sourced. xx