To continue my ‘In Conversation With’ Series, I was super happy when Lottie from ‘Into The Eco’ agreed to answer my questions. Read on to see what she had say on all sustainable topics, from the fashion industry to her favourite sustainable reading.
What can the reader expect to find on Into The Eco?
There is so much to talk about when it comes to sustainability. When starting Into The Eco, I really wanted to focus purely on talking about fashion, as that is where I have the most experience. I quickly realised when opening the door to making a change with my clothing choices. I opened the door to caring about all environmental issues in a huge way. It is such a huge and relevant topic and we love getting stuck into it.
I hope anyone who visits our blog feels each of our articles are informative and relatable. We aim to make sure it is a place where people can come to learn and not feel judged. I try to write longer article-style posts, which I hope engage our readers into feeling inspired. You will also see the handy work of my very talented eco team member Josh, who makes our message come alive with his photography. We are also planning on starting making videos very soon.
Our most popular article to date was about taking the 30 Wears challenge. So many people have spoken to us about that, and it felt really good to have a piece so well received.
You previously worked in fashion, was there a particular aspect of the industry that you found most shocking and made you want to start the blog?
This is a great question and one which I don’t have a concise answer for. There are so many shocking parts of the fashion industry, it is hard to know where to start. I have been a fashion designer for the last 6 years working for a range of different suppliers. From my personal experience, I have to say the crazy thing about working in fashion is how fast you need to move to keep up. I fail to understand how the industry went from feeling like a genuine art form to a mad rush that no one can seemingly keep up with. Least of all the planet.
Honestly, I feel like we are been made fools of by the fashion industry. There is no time for deep thought processes behind designing any more, it is just a huge business of how much can we produce and sell for as cheap as possible on repeat. On top of that, the pricing is always on a race to the bottom basis. Who can quote the lowest price possible to gain the order, rather than finding the fair price. A fair price meaning enough to cover everyone’s wage who has been a part of the process. A garment touches so many different people’s hands all over the world before it reaches the shop floor.
What made me finally bite the bullet and start blogging was the day to day feeling of real frustration, feeling like a part of a huge machine, that I didn’t even agree with. The breakthrough moment that made me start was realising I could turn this negative feeling into a positive, getting these feelings out, in a therapeutic way. It is a great way of combining Josh’s and my talents to create a true passion project.
What issue around sustainability do you find most pressing and awareness needs raising? (for me it is intensive meat farming and the monocrop farming)
Yes, I agree that is a whole issue which needs immediate attention.
We wrote an article about the importance of caring, each issue regarding sustainability seems just as important and needs attention, whether it be reducing our meat consumption, reducing the amount of plastic we use on a daily basis, recycling our waste properly, or just generally being more mindful.
Raising awareness of all these issues is so important and I challenge anyone to pledge to truly care, to be empathetic and understanding. The first step to making a real difference is understanding that all of our actions have an impact, be that negative or positive. The more people who take a stand, the more noise we make collectively, the powers at the top will have no options but to listen.
Keeping within the fashion thread, I would urge anyone to make the effort to buy less, choose well, and make it last. Wise words by Vivienne Westwood and so true.
In today’s consumer lead society with shiny celebrity endorsed products and high octane advertising campaigns, it can be hard to stick to buying sustainably, what do you do to help you stay on track?
I am not perfect, and I don’t really believe in going cold turkey instantly. Learning to live with less is a slow but inevitable learning process. The slow fashion movement is about resisting these overly tempting traps, pausing our fast fashion habits and making the most out of our current wardrobes. Most importantly choosing our clothes for love over lust and quality over quantity.
Think about what you actually need, and buy something that fills that need. We need to look at this as a positive, there is joy in owning less. It is not about punishing ourselves or being overly frugal, it is about appreciation for our belongings. If you love it, buy it. If you are not sure, walk away.
I know some people may disagree with this mentality because we are ingrained to believe happiness and self-confidence can be bought, but I urge anyone to challenge themselves to take a break in their regular buying habits. Personally, I did that, and I felt a surprising sense of empowerment, by starting to focusing on the real things that brought me happiness. I felt calmer and less worried about “keeping up.”
I can’t think of a better reason to keep strong than that, do it for yourself. Soon you won’t notice yourself missing those impulse purchases that you thought you could never live without.
For someone looking to start a more sustainable lifestyle, what would be the first change you would advise someone to make?
Starting small and manageable is the key. Buy a good reusable water bottle, a fun reusable coffee cup, (I love my keep cup,) carry a lovely tote bag with you, they are much more stylish and you will never need to use a plastic bag again, bonus.
These are the really easy things we can all do – no excuses. If you can avoid single-use cutlery too, do it, because eating with a nice knife and fork is so much more enjoyable than fickle plastic.
Then I would say if you are a big meat eater, start to eat one less meat-heavy meal per week, vegetables are super yummy. I never thought having a mainly vegetarian diet would work as I am not overly imaginative when it comes to putting meals together. Getting really good at a couple of dishes you enjoy is the key.
Finally get comfortable with your clothes, really think about what you want your image to say to the world, then have fun with styling the real you. Not the you the advertisements tell you to be. The person you have been waiting to be given permission to be your whole life. Turn your back on quick, easy come easy go trends and start styling with longevity.
I would love nothing more than for women to take back the power, no longer allowing ourselves to be fed the lie that buying new clothes continuously will make us happy.
As I asked Hanna from Flor + Cesta, do you have any other recommendations for blogs or websites for great information on sustainability and Eco-Friendly living?
I would strongly recommend to anyone who hasn’t seen it already to watch True Cost The Movie. Sometimes it can seem easier to live unaware of what is going on behind the scenes. Generally speaking, people have an outdated idea of fashion being a glamorous industry. I believe strongly that it is important to self-educate, so we all know what our hard earned money is funding.
If you are looking for reliable information on the effort individual companies are making or not making – Good On You App is an amazing resource.
Big shout out to Sophie Benson I love her writing style, she is basically a badass fashion and environmental activist, whose blog is well worth a read.
Curiously Conscious is a great informative lifestyle blog by Besma.
For zero waste tops and inspiration, Kate Arnell is great to check out, especially her youtube channel Eco Boost.
Ps. My all around Idol is Lucy Siegle, I think she is doing amazing things, always at the forefront of any conversation and still seems so approachable.
Thank you so much to Lottie for talking to me, and definitely hot foot it over to Into The Eco, you won’t be disappointed!