Unpack your spring clothes AND the concepts of sustainable and ethical fashion.

April 17, 2017 2 Comments

Unpack your spring clothes AND the concepts of sustainable and ethical fashion.

With Earth Day fast approaching, I started thinking about what makes something “sustainable” or “ethical or “organic” or one of the other numerous terms out there to describe a product that has some attribute related to being environmentally or socially-responsible. The truth is there is no magic product that biodegrades, dissipates into thin air, dissolves in water purely with no impact. Every product has some impact on the earth and its inhabitants (yes, that’s you fellow earthlings). Like the saying goes, every action has a reaction.

So what’s a girl to do when she wants to look good while doing good?

In honor of Earth Day, here are my top five tips for you to tread more lightly (pun always intended) to be carried with you all year long!

  1. Focus on the issues that matter to you and in the ways where you can make the best positive impact. For example, you might be passionate about reducing waste. Set a goal related to this, which might be never using plastic bags at the grocery store and buying products with no packaging or only with packaging that is recyclable. It might be about your family’s health and so you only buy products that are certified organic. You might be passionate about a plant-based lifestyle and ensuring that all of the products you consume are cruelty-free and vegan, from food to skin care to fashion. Or it might be all of the above!
  2. Buy less. The minimalist movement is having a day in the sun (that I hope is going to last!). If you’re thinking about adding some pieces to your wardrobe, you could make a rule to give one item away for every item purchased. It’s also worth it to really think about what you wear most often (most people seem to have the same 5-6 items in heavy rotation and rarely wear the rest!). Why not choose a few good pieces that are versatile enough to be worn for work and weekend leisure?
  3. Buy better quality classic pieces that you won’t get bored of wearing and that will stand the test of time. Once you have some high quality classics you can always treat yourself to a couple of “trendier” pieces each season as a way to refresh your wardrobe.
  4. Repair clothes and shoes. Even the best quality (vegan) shoes need to have the soles replaced every once in a while. Your favorite blazer will inevitably need the elbows patched at some point. And the zipper in that gorgeous pencil skirt is sure to give way at some point (just hopefully not in public somewhere like it did for me…whoops!). Every season, I take my shoes in to my local cobbler for a shine, a buff, and the occasional repair. Repairing items can cost a fraction of the price of buying new.
  5. Get outside because the more you connect with nature and disconnect from your devices, the more you’ll have an appreciation for your surroundings. You’ll probably reflect on what matters to you most (i.e. loved ones and being in the moment) and less on all of the stresses of daily life, some of which are caused by the “stuff” we have and the “stuff” we think we need.

At this point, you might be wondering how SOULiers Studio is living up to these sustainability values by selling shoes.  The answer to this kind of question is never perfectly satisfactory. SOULiers Studio sells products that take energy and materials to make and that ship to various destinations, often overseas. I am well aware of the impacts that consumer products have but I think SOULiers Studio is part of a positive movement towards sustainable fashion by offering luxury, stylish alternatives to leather footwear. All of the materials and glues in the shoes and boots carried are entirely vegan and animal-free. I look for brands that employ fair labour and wage practices. Wherever possible, I work with brands that employ environmentally-conscious practices too, like Bhava Studio, who use recycled ultra-suede in their booties and Susi Studio who make many of their shoes from recycled pop bottles (more to come in a future blog post on our brands!). This collection of SOULiers Studio vegan shoes features high quality brands that are well-crafted with luxe materials, meaning they should last you several seasons.

I also advocate for “conscious consumerism” or “conspicuous consumerism”. I believe that you don’t need to own 30 pairs of shoes to look fabulous! Through our souliersstudio.com site and Instagram, I offer up ideas on how to pair our shoes with lots of different looks so that a few key selections will go a long way from dressy to casual and everything in between. Follow us on Instagram @souliersstudio for weekly “Look Book” styles!

That’s it for now but stay tuned for upcoming blogs where we’ll feature pre-eminent vegan lifestyle, fashion, and sustainability trends.

In the meantime, Happy Earth Day, Week, Month, and Year to Come!


2 Responses

Lise Beutel
Lise Beutel

May 07, 2017

Thanks so much, Joelle! Excited to be a part of your Vegans of Ottawa movement and especially excited to watch you grow!

joelle tremblay
joelle tremblay

May 06, 2017

This is a beautiful article Lise.
We need this more and more!

Bravo xo

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