Have you dedicated 2022 to be the year where you shop more consciously? It’s not easy embarking on a sustainable fashion journey. Shopping sustainably can be time consuming, expensive, and overwhelming!
But, what if we told you that you don’t need to buy anything to exercise conscious consumption? You can just start by looking at your own wardrobe with fresh eyes. For instance, why don’t you choose one item in your wardrobe to style in 10 different ways? You might come up with some questionable outfits, but it could steer you away from the temptation of ease and habit; hopefully inspiring you to utilise your clothes in different ways.
You could also trawl through your existing wardrobe dictating whether you would like to keep certain items or not. With the items you no longer want or are unsure of, why don’t you organise a clothing swap with family and friends? Even if you just swap one piece of clothing, it may help you find what is missing in your wardrobe or if a style you haven’t tried yet suits you! This is a great way to explore and play about without having to spend a penny.
Styling your wardrobe with Rachel Fortune
Rachel is a sustainable fashion specialist who has years of experience in personal styling, having worked in the fashion industry for over 15 years, as a stylist for companies such as TopShop, Nicole Farhi, and Vogue. Working with these retailers Rachel experienced the effects of fast fashion first hand – the pressure on individuals to shop trends and over-consume garments that will be in the landfill by next spring… Now, Rachel styles individuals with sustainability in mind, working with brands who provide transparent production methods and who care about their social and environmental impact.
Rachel also founded the Sustainable Lifestyle Awards – the first award of its kind. The awards celebrated brands who created with conscience, with the belief that products can be sustainable as well as beautiful. Small companies allow for a personal consumer relationship, allowing for consumers to understand and connect with the product.
Currently, Rachel is working as a Sustainability Projects and Communications consultant, helping businesses to lead their communities towards positive change through engaging and informative conversations and actions.
We spoke with Rachel earlier to share some thoughts about her journey to sustainable fashion, conscious consumption and helping clients style for their body shape!
What was your pathway into sustainable fashion? Would you say there was a particular point in time that set you down the direction of sustainable fashion?
Rachel: I’ve worked in fashion for a number of years, for both high-end and high-street brands, but it wasn’t until I moved out of London and into the country, where the accessibility and choice of shops is rather limited in comparison to the city, that I started to look at my wardrobe in a different light.
Needing multi-functional outfits on a limited budget or working with my existing clothes, I played around with looks and styles that both complimented my body shape and lifestyle. It was also at this time that I watched the True Cost Documentary, a film detailing the devastating impact of fashion on the planet and its people, that I really started to question my attitude and behaviour going forwards.
Not only did I make the conscious decision to buy less and wear more, but working in the fashion industry, I realised that I could make a difference to other peoples’ lives by working with sustainable brands and inspiring customers to buy responsibly also. My sustainability journey is never ending; I am constantly learning about brands and incredible innovations that are working collectively towards a healthier planet. Living as sustainably as possible is something I am truly passionate about.
If someone is looking to consume more consciously, where would be a good place to start that fashion sustainability journey?
Rachel: First things first - stop spending! Look at your existing clothes and really explore the pieces that you already own. I guarantee that you will find some treasures hidden at the back of your wardrobe that you would have completely forgotten about, yet, when you put them on, you miss how great they make you feel!
Next, if you want/need to buy some fashion pieces (and who doesn’t like a little retail therapy!) really research the brands before you buy. This will open your eyes to the choice out there - and there is lots to choose from so have some fun trying new styles and colours - furthermore this time spent researching will also reaffirm if you need these pieces (good!) or you are just buying for the sake of buying (bad!).
Also take an interest in learning about where your clothes have come from; read the “About Us” section on fashion websites and discover more about how the clothes have been made and by whom. The ethics surrounding fashion have raised many concerns over the years and as consumers it is our responsibility to support and only buy from those businesses that put the health and safety of their team first.
And don’t forget to ask questions; whether this be in store or online, if you want to know more about a brand’s sustainability practices never be too embarrassed to reach out to them. I feel that if a brand is genuine and wants to make positive change in an industry where change is a necessity they will be only too happy to talk.
Our goal at Curobe is to help women discover sustainable fashion that fits their body shape. Do you have any key styling tips on how women can consider fit when they shop, in order to buy better?
Rachel: When I work with my private clients, the first question I ask them is: what is your favourite part of your body - as this is a clear indicator of the parts we can ’show-off’ when it comes to the fit of clothes. Let me explain…
If a client tells me that her legs are her favourite part then I know I need to select pieces that compliment this area: slim fitting trousers, long necklaces/vertical layers, print and colour that draws the eye down…these are all excellent styling tools that 1) make the wearer feel confident as we are working with the part of her body that she is happy with and 2) we are taking attention away from other parts of the body that might make her feel uncomfortable.
Don’t get me wrong, I love playing around with different looks and I think it is important, and fun, to try new styles but starting with some elegant and stylish pieces that make the wearer feel ‘WOW’ is a good place to start!
And… don’t be influenced by what your friends are wearing; more often than not they will have a completely different body shape to you, so even if they are wearing a top that you think will work with your figure, remember…only buy pieces that show off the parts of the body you like!
What’s your process when helping someone style themselves?
Rachel: Inspiration is key when it comes to transformation and positive change, therefore when I style someone I talk about two main factors: 1) Dressing oneself is not knowing what size you are, rather knowing your body shape, and 2) Trends are seasonal, style lasts forever.
With both of these, dressing becomes an important ritual, not based on what others are telling you to wear or how you should look, but a personal experience that should leave you feeling empowered and individual. Body shapes come in all sizes but the principles to dressing each of these remains the same – show off the parts of your body you like, hide the parts you don’t – and my role is to provide the tools that help my clients make the most of their figures.
When it comes to trend vs style, yes, it’s great to have a couple of seasonal pieces that reflect the times but don’t be persuaded to buy a style of clothing just because it is the ‘It’ item of the season; instead, remain true to your body shape and incorporate trend into your look that way – a fab fitting nautical shirt or tee for summer that will flatter your bust, waist and arms; a sequin number (skirt, dress or trousers) for the party season that will show off your legs to their best. In other words, don’t be dictated by fashion; work your own style.
We’re really excited to offer one of our customers the opportunity to win a style your wardrobe session with yourself! Is this something that you do as well i.e. do you sometimes ‘shop’ your own wardrobe?
Rachel: Absolutely! As mentioned previously, I think this is the first place we should all start when wanting to do a style overhaul; once we know what we have/don’t have in our wardrobe, we can then fill the gaps and play around putting different looks together.
Aside from rediscovering the pieces we already own, ’shopping’ our wardrobes is a great way to save money: knowing that we already own, for example, good fitting shirts, we don’t need to spend money buying any more, no matter how tempting that new collection might be!
To enter the draw to win an online styling session with Rachel:
- Follow us on Instagram @Curobe.co
- Sign up to Curobe News via our Instagram bio or subscribe at the bottom of our homepage. Easy!
Rachel will be using the ‘My Curation’ body profile in order to style the lucky winner via a live online styling session! Good luck!
UK18+ only. Draw opens 8/2/22 and closes 07/03/22 at 23:59. 1x prize winner meeting the requirements for entry will receive a 60mins online styling session with Rachel Fortune . One entry per person. Winner is randomly selected. Winner will be contacted via email. Promoter: Curobe.
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