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How I transitioned from fashionista to sustainable fashionista

Hi,

I'm Verónica Del Valle, a chemical engineer turned sustainable stylist and I want to share my journey with you. 

Ever since I can remember I was fashion obsessed. I used to try on my clothes for hours into the night while everyone at home was sleeping and try to make as many outfits from my wardrobe as I could. This gave me such a rush and so much happiness I can't even describe. I remember for one casual dress day at school I was the first to rock lace up knee high boots and as it happens was mocked by my peers for such a statement.

I always consumed without much thought to materials, quality, lifecycle of the clothing because honestly it wasn't even on my radar. I had absolutely no idea what was happening behind the scenes of my favorite Zara purchases. I went on to my first job and was able to afford other higher end brands and my clothing collection continued to grow. By the time i turned 27 I had a huge walk-in closet full to the brim and the truth is I loved it.

Then came the weight fluctuations...I was always at a steady weight then went vegan and exercised every day and shrunk from a size 6-8 to size 2-4. This meant more new clothes and getting rid of everything that didn't fit me. In 2016 I had my first extended medical leave and my health started deteriorating from there. I was forced by my company to go on an extended disability leave that's been going on for two years now, which is another story, but this changed my life drastically. My health issues came with weight gain and I am now at a size 10-12. So again I did another huge closet purge because I really couldn't stand having clothes in my closet that I just couldn't wear. However this time I had found Daria Andronescu, a youtuber and personal stylist who advocated for capsule wardrobes and sustainable clothing. I learned so much from her and her course that after I only had clothes that fit me in my closet I vowed to only buy sustainably. After trying my first capsule, that was it. I was in love. I got to wear my favorite pieces over and over in different ways and really got my confidence back. Through continued learning, watching documentaries like The True Cost (on Netflix if you want to watch it), I built this business and I built a closet I am so happy with.

Most of my clothes are in storage, which I switch up into my now tiny closet and I only buy pieces that are special and I feel go well with my color palettes. I only buy what represents me. My go to fashions havens are vintage and second-hand shops. I love browsing through the clutter and finding a gem. I also do some shopping online, but mostly I have restrained myself to mindful purchases. Not only is the planet thanking me but so is my wallet!

The transition was very slow and I still have a lot of non-sustainable pieces. In fact I always wanted a pair of Dr. Martens and my dad surprised me with a limited edition pair. I know thay are not sustainable so by no means am I saying I am perfect but I do wear them at least three times a week. I still love my Kate Spade bags and my boutique purchases. In fact I now value them more because I know the hardships that the environment and laborers went through so I could enjoy that item.

If you are looking to transition to a more sustainable wardrobe I would say the first piece is understanding your color palette and body type. Really learn what flatters you. I also recommend starting with what you have. You are not doing the planet any favors by getting rid of things just because they are not sustainable. Try to revise your wardrobe at least once a year. Take a half day and try everything on. Donate what doesn't work and what you are not wearing and keep the rest. No one starts with a blank slate but the important thing is that you can start whenever. Once you discover the options that are available in sustainable fashion there is really no reason to go back.

 


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