What can be a better way to meet fashionable people then on a fashion show? And what can be a better place to meet people into slow fashion then a slow fashion show? I got to know Stina Joelsson and Anna Lundström, both project managers at Pondus Kommunikation, while having a seminar on Slow Fashion Explosion in Umeå by local Red Cross. I approach them because I liked their style and the day afterwards we had a coffee and a chat about sustainable fashion. Here are their perspectives.
What’s your relationship with clothes?
S: I believe that clothes should be something fun and exciting – a way to express yourself and to be creative with. However, that’s not always the case.
A: I agree, it’s about having fun and expressing myself with clothes. Over the years it has also become more important to feel comfortable.
S: That’s true – I don’t want to use clothes that’s uncomfortable or that doesn’t fit properly.
A: Sometimes I dress according to what I want to express about myself that day.
S. Yes, if you’re facing a tough task you might need to wear clothes that gives you strength or feels like armour, for instance a “power-suit” or a leather jacket…
A: …or a happy color or a cosy jumper, if you’re having a rough day and need something to comfort you. For me, it comes back to being creative about what you wear. Just like when I was a kid, I used to dress out a lot.
How would you describe your style?
A: Out of impulse with a huge mix. Low key one day, more eccentric some other day.
S: My style is quite of a mix as well. I like clothes that clothes that speaks loudly. I don’t have the classical basic items some say you should have in your wardrobe. I like items that are classical but preferably with a twist. It can be a colour, a seam, a certain cut or a pattern, something that gives a classical garment an edge.
A: I like to mix different styles. It can be skirt with an “old lady look” that I would wear with sneakers, like the outfit I’m wearing today!
S: Old and new, soft and tough. It’s about the contrasts.
A: But to being uncomfortable in small shoes or way too tight jeans is something that I’ve put behind me.
S: A lifestyle where you want to have fun leave no space for being uncomfortable.
How would you describe your closet?
S: Silence.. My closet currently contains clothes that work well for breast-feeding. My baby is 2 months old and I need shirts I easily can unbutton. At the moment there are too many clothes in my wardrobe that I can’t use because they simply don’t fit. Otherwise it’s an interesting mix of everything. Some of my clothes have served me for 10-15 years. There’s a lot of jeans. T-shirts, jackets in different styles – I love jackets – and scarfs. Those are my basics, but often with a twist. My closet is a bit of a mess at the moment, but I usually like to keep it in order. When I do, it’s easier to get an overview of what I have and I will also wear more of the clothes that I own.
A: Marie Kondo temporarily inspired me, but watching two episodes was enough. I didn’t say thank you to the clothes I gave away – I never made it that far. But I have cleaned out my closet properly, so at the moment there’s order in it. I can also see that it represents my wish to stay more outdoors. When Stina and me became friends, we went to clubs all the time. Nowadays I enjoy spending my time in nature and brands like Fjällräven has moved into my closet for those occasions. I have become more interested in materials and that my clothes will last a long time. I’m quite new on the subject but the last years I’ve been following Johanna Nilsson (Slow Fashion blog) who has a smart material guide. And also Husmor Karin (watch it she’s amazing) with her perspective to never wear synthetic fibres! So good!
What is a sustainable closet for you?
S: A closet with clothes that you use.
A: Exactly, one you use, with clothes that circulates over time. My closet is just a station and it should keep on going to the next station. Material that lasts helps with that. And you should ask yourself if the clothes have to be new? Can I borrow or inherit clothes from friends or family, buy second hand etc. If you buy something new, will you still use it in five years or can someone else use it then?
S: Have a plan of what goes in and out of your closet.
A: I think a sustainable closet is a planned one, not driven by an impulse.
What do you think about the fashion industry?
S: A lot of things.
A: The fast speed has to change. It’s not sustainable.
S: I agree...we need to use leftover materials already when designing clothes. Reuse materials to make clothes circular, and then encourage exchange of clothes, second hand shopping, to look after and take care of your clothes.
A: From a consumer perspective, it should be easier to repair clothes.
S: Every store should offer a tailor service that can help you fix or adjust your clothes if needed.
A: The industry needs to become circular. I also think about the research part of the industry. I am not aware of how – or if – players collaborate regarding facts, knowledge and experience within sustainable fashion. Although some are competing it would be amazing from a responsibility perspective with an initiative were they share with each other, like some kind of an open source solution. It’s also difficult to be a consumer today. What role do the producers play? It needs to be easier to make better choices.
S: Yes, make it easier to do the right thing. It is the producer’s responsibility to guide us consumers.
What can one do that seeks to create a more sustainable closet?
S. Use Pinterest to pin looks that you like! It’s important to know what one likes and wants. What do you enjoy? To have a look in your friends or your relatives closet or at second nand.
A: Read the information inside clothes about material, washing etc. I also think we should be more collective, to share our clothes.
S: The clothes should circulate among consumers. My closet is not their final destination, they will sooner or later go to someone else.
A: Cloth-exchanging events are really good. One colleague of ours invited us to her place for a summer party and had prepared for us to have a look at shoes and clothes that she no longer used. Some of the things we bought but most of it she just gave away. So kind and generous of her! If you don’t want your clothes, sell them, give them to friends or charity. The last option should be to throw them away. Try to repair them first. A little checklist in my mind is: Can I repair it? Can someone else repair it for me? Can someone else use it? Can I make something else of it? Maybe my children can use it to play with?
S: Most important is to look after your clothes! Make sure you give them some fresh air, wash gently and not too often.
A: Don’t automatically buy new things. If there’s a party or wedding and you need something to wear, try to borrow from someone, like my friend who went to a party with a silver theme and first asked among us friends if we had something suitable.
S: And ask the older generation! They have a different perspective on resources and maybe you can learn something new.