For over a decade, William Bayle Chitra-Straley has been styling clients from New York, New Jersey, California, and Texas. He carefully works with his clients, identifying their goals, and helping them find joy and confidence in their individual style. His journey to becoming a personal stylist grew out his own appreciation of fashion and was cultivated by working in a variety of retail settings, from branded stores to designer boutiques. He now runs House of Owl,where he helps his clients feel good about themselves through a carefully curated wardrobe. We are fortunate to have Will as a regular contributor to A Fashionating Life. Read his previous post here.
What do you think when you hear the phrase sustainable fashion? My first (uninformed and ignorant) thought would have gone, “ugly, mundane, and undesirable clothes that only appeal to a tiny group of people, which is not me.” I am very glad that I was so wrong!
In the past, luxury fashion and sustainability did not always go hand in hand. Many fashion houses and brands eventually began to adapt to the concept of sustainable fashion, but as a devout vegetarian, Stella McCartney has always applied her conscientious choices to her brand.
But, her personal ethics – which, in turn, are her brand’s ethics – go beyond her vegetarian ethos of making products without leather, fur, skins, or feathers. Her business follows ethical and sustainable fashion practices, from ensuring her products are PVC-free, to certifying that her suppliers do not utilize child or forced labor.
Last year, she worked in partnership with The RealReal, a luxury consignment marketplace, to promote sustainability and extend the lifecycle of luxury fashion. Like many of you, I have witnessed and experienced the impact of climate change. I know how the fashion industry has contributed to our environmental problems.
I am committed to being more mindful of what apparel items I buy and where they were sourced. I stopped shopping and purchasing from fast fashion giants, who are notorious for knocking off runway designers and have the worst ethical records for sustainability and social responsibility. I’ve re-worn what I already own over and over and over again (thanks to Tiffany Haddish for re-wearing her white Alexander McQueen gown five times at red carpet events). I use my skills to fix and mend any damage on my garments before retiring them. And I’ve started purchasing second-hand goods whenever possible.
It has taken me many years to develop this mindset. And even after all this time, I’m still a work-in-progress. I still, occasionally, succumb to the temptation of purchasing new designer items. I want to encourage you to start thinking about this more. Find out what you can do to reduce our carbon footprint. You don’t have to do everything perfectly – just start with one thing. It’s not always an easy journey – it hasn’t been for me. But Stella McCartney has shown us all that it is possible to produce and consume luxury fashion while being more ethical, sustainable, and socially responsible.
From Ellen and Jennifer
As lovers of luxury fashion, a major reason why we started shopping consignment instead of just thrifting is because we wanted to own Chanel, Valentino, Etro, Fendi, Gucci, Cavalli, and so many more. While we have had our fair share of, “holy crap, I just thrifted a brand-new pair of Manolos for $9.99 at Goodwill!” moments, we wanted to be able to find those labels with a bit more regularity, even if meant a paying a higher price. And speaking of price, a lot of the reason we love designer consignment is because it allows us to own items we otherwise could not afford.
We are not sure exactly what buying sustainable clothing on the secondary marketing does for our eco-karma, but it sure does feel extra good on our psyche and our wallets. Stella is not hard to find on the secondary market. Online deals for her designs, from dresses to items from her collaborations with Adidas were easy to find with just quick searches on three top online resellers, The RealReal, eBay, and Etsy. Happy Hunting!
Learn more about Will and House of Owl here. Get in on his designer deals by shopping his Instagram here. And stay tuned to learn how you can win a personalized styling session with Will by following the blog and our Instagram.
Images by Breezy Ritter