Sustainable style tips from singer-songwriter, Ndidi Onukwulu.
Did you know that the fashion industry produces more waste each year than any other industry, second only to oil, or that America now generates upwards of 82 pounds of textile waste each year. Wait – what?! It’s crazy to think that something that we all use each and every day has come to have left such a lasting and horrific mark on our planet and while we can’t necessarily back track, there are small efforts we can put into action today that could change our tomorrows.
Promoting sustainable clothing choices has always been a huge part of the Stylust mission, so when the opportunity to work with Sica Schmitz of Bead and Reel came to us, we knew it was meant to be. We decided to partner with the ethical boutique to style looks with women who are aiming to perpetuate the ethical fashion movement, like Canadian singer-songwriter Ndidi Onukwulu. Ndidi is a long-time supporter of sustainable fashion choices and shopping local, who believes in wearing what you love but also in putting in the time and research involved to making informed decisions. You go girl! We had the honor of asking her a few questions on what sustainability means to her and how exactly she works it into her daily life.
What does the word “sustainable” mean to you and how do you integrate it into your wardrobe?
Sustainable to me means, longevity without causing more strain or trauma to the fragile environment we inhabit. I believe in aiming for sustainability in my food, choices, my creative choices and most importantly my fashion choices. Ideally it’s about being a part of and supporting movements that are about bringing our planet and us humans back into balance with our environment and each other. So when it comes to fashion choices I am willing to save to be able to buy from the brands and designers that I know are sustainable, pay their workers properly and make classic clothes that I can wear year round.
Tell us a little about your style journey: when did you decide to go vegan/eco-friendly/fair trade/made-in-America in your closet and what troubles did you face?
My style journey. This is a great question, because in all honesty I’m not sure. I have always been a consignment shopper and so when it came to buying new, I have always gravitated towards lines that are locally made, with high quality fabrics. It turns out that those lines tend to be the ones that pay their workers an actual living wage and make items that will last. I haven’t faced any troubles in deciding who to buy from and when. That’s the benefit of being an musician. You don’t have any sort of office dress [code] you need to worry about.
If it makes you feel good then wear it!!
What advice do you have for those who are interested in starting to introduce more sustainable options into their lives?
My advice is to research your brands. Find out where they buy their fabrics, where they piece together their items and how they pay their workers. Also be aware that the ideas of trends are just gimmicks creating by the fashion industry to make you spend spend spend. Pick pieces that you love but that you can wear year round. Pick shoes that will last longer than a season. Take a pause before breaking out your wallet and really think about whether or not you need that low cost cheap piece or if you can wait and save to buy something that is not only fashionable but sustainable.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about ethical fashion and how can people help change it?
I think a lot of people think ethical fashion is boring, for hippies and expensive. It isn’t. I do think that ethical lines need to become more creative in their marketing approaches to dispel the myth that they aren’t as fashionable as top brands. I also think trying to convince some heavy hitters in the industry to do collaborations with local and ethical lines is something to aim for in the future.