Emily Keney: Hi Erin, excited to chat with you! To kick things off, can you share a little bit about yourself and how you became interested in sustainable fashion?
Erin Polowy: I'm Erin, a slow fashion and sustainable lifestyle youtuber and blogger, as well as a sewist and mom. I've always loved fashion and decided to study fashion design and technology in university. This is when I became more aware of the extensive environmental and ethical issues in the industry and began to develop an interest in alternative and less-harmful ways to design and manufacture clothing. My passion for these topics continued to grow and I began using social media to share my conscious wardrobe journey and spread awareness about how our clothes are made.
Emily: If you could describe your sustainable fashion philosophy in one sentence, what would it be?
Erin: Slow down and take some time to think and ask questions before making a purchase.
Emily: Love that! How do you incorporate sustainability into your daily fashion choices?
Erin: The capsule wardrobe concept has been an incredible tool. It can help you figure out your personal style and ensure items are versatile and will get a lot of wear. Having a capsule wardrobe also makes you consider more if a new item deserves a spot in your wardrobe and generally reduces the amount of clothing you own. What I also love is it encourages you to build a wardrobe of clothing you most enjoy wearing. In my capsule wardrobe, I love that so many of my garments have a story behind them. I'm also very conscious of the impact of laundry and clothing care, and do a variety of things (which I've shared in this video) to more sustainably wash and maintain my garments.
Erin: That it's expensive to have a sustainable wardrobe. We often think that sustainable fashion means only buying from sustainable brands. Yet there are so many free and affordable ways to make your wardrobe more sustainable. Thrifting, upcycling, swapping or borrowing, DIYing, washing in cold water, air-drying, and mending are all budget-friendly ways you can reduce the environmental impact of your clothing.
I also often see the misconception that sustainable fashion is bland and boring. That might have been true 10 years ago but it's not the case anymore!
Emily: What do you think is the most important thing people can do to make their fashion choices more sustainable?
Erin: Buy less. The root of so many issues in the industry is over-production and fashion desperately needs to slow down to ever be sustainable. Here are some things we all can do to help us buy less clothing:
- Look for quality fabrics and construction
- Only buy clothing you know you'll get regular and long-term wear from - ask yourself where you'll wear it, what you'll wear it with, and how long you think you'll wear it for.
- Develop an understanding of your personal style - what you like to wear and feel best in
- Make sure garments work for your lifestyle - do you require certain features? eg. pockets or machine washable fabric?
- Avoid highly trendy styles that you're unlikely to wear for years
Emily: Great advice! What’s next for My Green Closet - any exciting sustainability initiatives you’re working on?
Erin: Behind the scenes we've been working on a criteria and assessment tool which I'm really excited about. Hopefully, later this year we'll be highlighting and sharing some "gold star" brands who are really leading the way in sustainability initiatives and social standards. I've also moved into a new place and have finally set up my sewing room, so I'm looking forward to sharing more DIY and upcycling projects on my YouTube channel!
Inspired and ready to shop with brands that align with your personal mission? Shop by your values at wearwell.