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Fashion and our journey towards sustainability: Chicksforclimate and Ssustainably on the topic

Fashion and our journey towards sustainability: Chicksforclimate and Ssustainably on the topic
By Renoon

We met with two of our advocates to get their insider views in this journey that we are all doing together, both as a Renoon user and as a brand owner: Nergiz and Gaia… Iris, co-founder and CEO of Renoon met Nergiz and Gaia for quick chat all about sustainability and its role in the fashion industry.

Everyone, meet Nergiz. Not only is she the face behind the well-celebrated Instagram page @chicksforclimate, we are also proud to say she is also the founder of Magi, a brand that specialises in underwear made out of hemp! 

We also have Gaia joining us – an environmental management and sustainability student, Renoon writer, and creator of the Instagram account @ssustainably_, which raises awareness towards conscious consumerism.

Gaia (left) and Nergiz (right)

Unless you have been living under a rock lately, you have probably heard the word “sustainability” a couple of times. It’s what everyone is talking about all the time, so much that it almost feels like it has lost its sense, or that people don’t even know what it actually means. And it’s weird to tackle such a discussion, because it seems like everyone has a different opinion about it. So…

This is what sustainability means to me

“I think that fashion is definitely one of the hardest industries to make sustainable, and that is because there are so many parts that go into it.” immediately says Nergiz. “For starters, the fabric, which is the most important part. Is it made from plastic? From recycled materials? This affects sustainability so much. The packaging too. Is it made out of eco-friendly material? Are the workers being paid? There are so many things that go into it.” Many questions can cloud our minds indeed. 

She continues “The definition of sustainability relies on THE question: Can this be sustained for a long period of time without exploiting the planet and the people?“.

Magi The Label, Nergiz’s underwear brand

The other problem is accessibility. How can we make these brands accessible and affordable to everyone? Nergiz admits “From my side, I try as hard as I can to make Magi sustainable. I cannot control everything, for example what kind of car Royal Mail uses, the way they pay their workers, etc.”

Gaia follows up “I think that sustainability is definitely a holistic term hard to express. I think that we need to have different standards when it comes to brands. For example, small brands are not able to afford the same as large ones. We should not aim for perfection at all in order to improve. It’s a gradual process.“

Sustainability might seem easy, but people don’t always see the other side of the coin…

Image via @chicksforclimate

“Making your brand sustainable is harder than what people think” admits Nergiz. “For example, my products are made out of hemp and it was hard to find a manufacturer that I was sure was ethical and paid well. Hemp fabric is also not that popular, and many manufacturers would just rather use polyester since they already have it there.

I believe that it takes more than just the consumer to make a change, we need people like designers in the industry that are willing to ask for more sustainable options, people with power.“

Sticking to your values is important in order to stay on track in your sustainability journey, which is why…

“One of the main values that I follow is well-paid work. That is the most important one to me. You cannot preach for sustainability if your workers are not being well paid. You cannot claim that you support the feminist movement if you are not paying your workers appropriately, since about 80% of workers are female” states Nergiz.

Gaia agrees, “I think that definitely protecting workers’ rights is important. If they are not being paid fairly and are working in poor conditions, then the brand cannot be considered sustainable. It is all linked.”

But even with all of these facts, some people are still clueless about the sustainable world and its importance

“I think that as someone that used to shop fast fashion like 3 or 4 years ago, the thing that made me want to stop was when I found out how much water is wasted in the manufacture of clothes. I think that shock is the best way to get someone interested in learning more about the dark side of fashion” says Nergiz.

“I agree that showing facts is powerful, which is why I have my page. At the same time, I also believe that it is important to make it easy for people to find more sustainable brands and options, and then start from there”, follows Gaia.

And some topics are still untouched…

“I think that accessibility to the sustainable movement is something that needs to be talked about more.” admits Nergiz. “Like Gaia said, a lot of people cannot afford to shop sustainably which leads them to make decisions that are not the best for the planet. I think that unpacking this subject is the next move.”

“I think for me it is more about performative activism.”, adds Gaia. “Demand more from brands. This is something that goes beyond consumption, like ensuring human rights. It’s about pushing for better standards, don’t settle.”

And if you had to choose one sentence to summarize all of this… 

“Make it last”, says Nergiz.

“Make sure you love what you buy. Think before buying. Be mindful before buying”, adds Gaia.

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