A Beginner’s Guide To Sustainable Fashion

If you are like me, you love shopping at op shops, get a kick out of selling your old clothes, and would rather hire a dress than buy one, then you might be well on your way to becoming a sustainable shopper without even knowing it. Give yourself a pat on the back because not only are you saving money but you are also (pause for dramatic effect and insert drumroll) SAVING THE WORLD. I wasn’t kidding about that pat on the back, saving the world is no mean feat.

Sustainable Fashion

I have heard people talking about sustainable fashion for a long time but thought that it meant sacrificing my style and adopting an organic hemp harem pant wearing lifestyle. A lifestyle that I cannot afford and let’s face it, even if I could afford it I definitely couldn’t pull it off. That was until I stumbled across a blog post by Anita Vandyke about the benefits of embracing a ‘no logo’ life. It was unlike anything that I had ever read about sustainable fashion. Rather than suggesting we ditch all of our favourite clothes and abandon our style, Anita refreshingly explains how we can embrace creativity to develop our own sense of style even further.

Anita Vandyke – A Zero Waste Life

Anita is a waste warrior, with a stunning blog dedicated to ‘A Zero Waste Life’, an Instagram account with over 17,000 followers and a book due out in July this year. Oh, and in her spare time, she likes to dabble in a bit of Aeronautical Space because she is an actual rocket scientist. You can go ahead and add her to your #wcw rotation right now because she is one inspirational woman.

Anita Vandyke https://www.anitavandyke.com
Author and rocket scientist Anita Vandyk.

Anita was kind enough to take some time out of blogging/winning the war on waste/rocket scientist-ing, to answer some of our questions about how to make more mindful fashion choices and become a sustainable shopper.

Alex: What does sustainable fashion mean to you? 

Anita: Sustainable fashion to me is about leaving a gentler footprint on the planet using style as the tool. It is about transparency from the start of the supply chain from the way materials are chosen to the labour conditions in which the workers are subjected to. Transparency is the key!

Alex: Where is the best place to start for someone who is wanting to make more mindful fashion purchases? 

Anita: Start by shopping your own wardrobe. Before you begin, you should always consider what you already have. Streamline your style and wardrobe before you buy anything new. Nine times out of ten you’ll find that you are more creative with what you have because you have less choice. In a world of excess, start with minimising your clothing items to curate your style. Trust me, people will notice how stylish you are because you are making more effort with less items!

Sustainable Fashion - Anita Vandyke
“In a world of excess, start with minimising your clothing items to curate your style.”

Alex: Is there anything specific to look out for when purchasing clothes? Are there certain words on the tags to look out for, brands to avoid, preferable fabrics? 

Anita: My only rule is to never buy plastic materials – this includes polyester, nylon etc. Microfibres from washing these plastic materials is one of the biggest micropollutants in our waterways. These particles are ingested by marine life (mistaking it for plankton) and then enter the food chain. Always buy natural materials such as cotton, silk, wool. They feel better on your skin and much better for the planet in the long run!

Alex: I read on your blog that you haven’t bought new clothes in 3 years, which is amazing, but if people aren’t in an area where they have access to amazing op shops or great buy swap sell groups, are there any retailers that you would recommend for new clothes?

Anita: I haven’t bought anything new for over three years, however, my favourite ethical brands include Everlane, Patagonia and People Tree. These brands are vocal about transparency, environmental issues and social issues. For shopping secondhand, I suggest you go to your local markets, try eBay or Gumtree or even organise your own clothes swap with friends!

A Zero Waste Life In Thirty Days by Anita Vandyke
A Zero Waste Life by Anita Vandyke

Anita’s book ‘A Zero Waste Life’ is available to pre-order now from Penguin.

Find Out How Sustainable Your Favourite Brands Are In Seconds

I decided to google some of my go-to brands and was surprised to find that a few of them were anything but sustainable and had some questionable labour conditions. I also found an app that makes finding this information a breeze. The Good On You App rates brands based on the way they impact people, animals and the planet. They can even suggest better brands with a similar style and budget!

The Good On You app is available now on iTunes.
The Good On You app is available now on iTunes.

How To Find The Most Stylish Vintage Clothes

Buy Swap Sell 

As I mentioned in all of the How To Sell Your Stuff posts (because I am obsessed) Buy Swap Sell (BSS) is one of my favourite ways to shop. Do yourself a favour, go and search your favourite brand on Facebook. Almost every brand has a BSS group, I am a member of Witchery, Spellbound, Seed, and Country Road! People post amazing clothes in near new condition at a fraction of the retail price. It’s also a really great way to find out about garage sales.

Markets

As Anita mentioned, markets are a great way to shop sustainably. My favourite vintage market is Suitcase Rummage, I like to go towards the end of the day when people tend to drop their prices in order to get rid of whatever they’ve got left. For super stylish new clothes head to your local Young Designer Markets. Not only will you find quality, one-off pieces but you’ll also be supporting local talent.

Suitcase Rummage Markets are a great way to score cute vintage clothes super cheap.
Suitcase Rummage Markets

Vintage Stores & Op Shops

I have two favourite vintage shops, Camp Hill Antique Centre and Little Sister Cafe. I always look out for things like denim jackets, overalls and leather skirts, quality items that are durable and can stand the test of time. When it comes to op shopping I head straight to Instagram. There are so many awesome ‘Op Shop Insta Gurus’, my favourite is @nevereverpayretail by Hannah Klose. Hannah has amazing style and posts daily about her op shop finds. To find all the best op shops near you head to her blog and check out some of her local lists. If you have absolutely no idea where to start then her post ’10 Commandments Of Opshopping’ is the perfect beginner guide!

Sustainable Fashion - Hannah Klose Never Ever Pay Retail
Never Ever Pay Retail – Hannah Klose in one of her vintage finds.

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We Tried 5 K-Beauty Masks Under $3 And These Are The Results

I am hopeless when it comes to skincare. In fact, my skincare routine mostly consists of wiping my makeup off with a baby wipe before I go to bed and the occasional Frank Body Coffee Scrub, whenever I remember that I have it. My 17-year-old sister, however, is a skincare queen with a nightly 10 step K-Beauty routine. I am constantly asking for her advice and she always comes through with the goods, so when she told me that she had ordered a cart full of K-Beauty masks I was keen to try some.

K-Beauty Mask
Alex, a 29-year-old writer and skincare novice with Eilish, a 17-year-old student and skincare queen.

What Is K-Beauty?

With a surge in popularity around the world, K-Beauty, which stands for Korean Beauty, has found its way to the Australian market and is taking the beauty industry by storm. As the K-Pop craze started to grow so too did the demand for South Korean beauty products and now women all over the country are looking to K-Beauty gurus for all the latest skincare tips. I wanted to get the low down on this beauty phenomenon so I went straight to my own guru…

Alex: Eilish how did you get into K-Beauty?

Eilish: I was watching YouTube tutorials one night and a K-Beauty video came up as a suggestion. I am really into K-Pop so I was really interested in learning about K-Beauty.

Alex: You know so much about it now. Who are your main influences?

Eilish: I get most of my information from The Klog, it’s a blog by Charlotte Cho. That’s where I learnt about the 10 Step Routine for Treating Hormonal Acne that I do every night. I also watch Joan Keem’s YouTube tutorials and follow her on Instagram.

Joan Keem is a K-Beauty and fashion icon.
Joan Keem is a K-Beauty and fashion icon with an Instagram account that defines the term GOALS!

Alex: What do you like most about K-Beauty?

Eilish: It has really transformed my skin. I have oily skin with hormonal acne. Since I’ve been using K-Beauty products, I’ve noticed a huge difference in my skin. I also love the whole culture surrounding it and I look forward to doing my routine at night. I think K-Beauty is really innovative and they are always ahead of all the latest trends.

Alex: Where do you buy your products from?

Eilish: I mostly buy all of my products online but lately there have been more stores popping up which is really exciting! W Cosmetics has quite a good selection of masks and makeup and they have stores in selected Westfield Shopping Centres.

W Comestics K-Beauty mask section at Westfield Carindale
W Comestics K-Beauty mask section at Westfield Carindale

The Masks

We bought all 5 masks from the South Korean site, I Buy Beauti for under $3.00 each (this is in Australian Dollars, the site is in US dollars so make sure you convert the currency before you checkout). Shipping is calculated by weight, it was only $4 for our order, but it is free if you spend over $65.00. We went with 5 of the most popular masks and though it did help having Eilish to translate some of the Korean, most of the site is in English, as are all of the ingredients on the packets.

It’s Skin Power 10 Formula Mask Sheet

The first mask we tried was the Power 10 Formula by It’s Skin. According to the website, the Vb mask is supposed to balance and moisturise oily skin, leaving it feeling refreshed. Which is perfect for us as we both have oily skin.

K-Beauty It’s Skin Power 10 Formula Mask Sheet

Prepare yourself, the following image is genuinely terrifying and could definitely be used to promote the horror film, Goodnight Mommy. You’ve been warned…

K-Beauty Mask It's Skin Power 10 Formula Mask Sheet

The Verdict

Eilish: I liked the It’s Skin mask. The texture of the mask itself was thick and not as breathable as some of the other K-Beauty masks that I have tried. The formula was cold and left my face feeling nice and fresh. I’d definitely like to use it in the morning to wake me up. It made my skin look… is glowy a word?

Alex: I don’t think so… luminous? I feel like you look luminous. I loved this mask! It made my skin feel tight and refreshed. It did feel really cold which I liked. I feel like if I used this every day it would really help with some of my fine line wrinkles.

K-Beauty Mask It's Skin

It’s Skin Aloe Relaxing Mask Sheet

The Aloe Relaxing Mask also by It’s Skin is described on the site as soothing and cooling. I was worried about trying this one because I have reacted to creams containing aloe vera in the past.

K- Beauty It's Skin Aloe Relaxing Mask Sheet
K- Beauty It's Skin Aloe Relaxing Mask Sheet

The Verdict

Eilish: This one was very cooling and refreshing as well. I think it would be good to do when your skin is feeling inflamed or puffy. It didn’t affect the redness of my acne but it did soothe the pain. I think it’s a good one to do in the morning before school.

Alex: Or when you’re hungover! I like the ingredients in this one, it has cucumber, ginger and liquorice which are all anti-inflammatories. It didn’t give me the same ‘glow’ as the other one but it didn’t irritate my skin which was surprising.

Eilish also informed me that the reason that this mask didn’t fit our faces properly is because our features are too small for our very round faces. This was news to me but could explain why I always found it so easy to peak through the ‘Pin The Tail on the Donkey’ mask as a kid… using my big lemon-shaped head to make lemonade.

K- Beauty It's Skin Aloe Relaxing Mask Sheet

Etudehouse 0.2 Therapy Air Mask

Etudehouse is a popular K-Beauty brand and Eilish is a big fan of their other products. The description on the website says that the Manuka Honey Rich Moisturization mask improves wrinkles, so I was very excited to try this one! I am turning 30 this year and I feel like my wrinkles are getting worse by the minute. Although I don’t believe that there is actually a mask on the planet that can help with my ‘smile lines’ or ‘judgement frown line’, I am willing to give anything a go, especially when it is only $1.70.

K-Beauty Etudehouse 0.2 Therapy Air MaskK-Beauty Etudehouse 0.2 Therapy Air Mask

The Verdict

Alex: This mask was my absolute favourite. The cream was so soft and when I took it off, my skin felt as smooth as a baby’s butt. More importantly, this mask fit my face which helped my recently bruised ego. It made my skin look so tight and fresh that I would feel confident going out without makeup after doing it. My friends reading this might not think that that means too much as I often leave the house fresh/zombie faced depending on how much sleep I’ve had but, I mean I would go ‘out-out’ with no make-up on after this mask, like to a restaurant.

Eilish: This mask definitely made our skin glow. I really liked the essence of this mask. There was a lot of extra cream which I love. I learnt the best tip from one of my favourite YouTubers, BeautybyBriddy, in her Formal/Prom GRWM + Vlog 2017 video, that when you are left with excess cream on the mask, squeeze it together and rub it on your legs as a moisturiser.

K-Beauty Etudehouse 0.2 Therapy Air Mask

Skinfood Beauty In A Food Mask Sheet / Innisfree My Real Squeeze Mask

For our final mask of the week, Eilish was keen to try the Watermelon Beauty In A Mask, mask by SkinFood as she uses their other products. I love anything rose water flavoured so I decided to try the Innisfree My Real Squeeze Rose mask.

K-Beauty K-Beauty Etudehouse 0.2 Therapy Air Mask
The Verdict

Eilish: This mask was my favourite. It smelt amazing, good enough to eat! It did exactly what it said it would on the website, it left my skin feeling moisturised and looking glossy. The mask itself was really thick and it was freezing which was cool considering it was only kept at room temperature. My skin felt hydrated for the whole day which is a lot longer than it does when I use my regular moisturiser.

Alex: The Innisfree Rose mask was a gel rather than a cream like the other masks we tried. It made my skin feel kind of sticky but very clean. I think I would use this mask before doing my make-up for a special event.

For more budget beauty tips checkout 1o Real Women Share Their Favourite Budget Beauty Products.

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10 Real Women Share Their Favourite Budget Beauty Products

I love nothing more than discovering budget beauty products that work just as well as their high-end counterparts. Sometimes the best way to find these little gems is through recommendations from friends who actually use them.

We asked 10 real women what their favourite budget beauty products are and they delivered…

Alex Whittington, 29, How To Hustle, Brisbane (AUS)

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“I am in love with my NYX blush, it is $9.95 from Priceline. I used to use Pure Envy Sculpting Blush by Estée Lauder which was $55.00 until my sister recommended NYX, it works just as well and lasts just as long!

Eilish Moloney, 16, Student, Sunshine Coast (AUS)

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“I got this 6 pack of Jeju Volcanic Nose Strips by Innisfree from W Cosmetics, for $6.00. I am a big fan of K-beauty (Korean Beauty Products) so I was excited to find these at Westfield! I have used heaps of different nose strips in the past but these definitely work the best.”

Ruby Schmidt, 26, Producer/Production Manager, Brisbane (AUS)

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“I don’t even have to think twice about this one! My favourite is Face Base Primer by Face of Australia it’s $11.95 and is just as good as Auto Pilot by Napoleon Perdis.”

Jenny Kennedy, 29, Occupational Therapist/Fitness Guru, Glasgow (SCT)

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“My favourite budget beauty product is MAYBELLINE Lash Sensational Mascara Washable in Blackest Black. It’s £8.99 here in Scotland ($21.95 in Australia, available at Priceline). The brush is sort of a half moon shape which is great for getting all the tiny wee lashes right in the corners without smearing it all over your nose and face. It doesn’t go clumpy, defines all of your lashes, and you can build it up as you apply! I wear one coat for work/daytime and then reapply it for my nighttime eye make up.”

Laura Appleyard, 29, Gym Manager/Personal Trainer, Gold Coast (AUS)

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“I use T.N Dickson’s All Natural Witch Hazel Toner. You can get it from Coles for $7.70 or on sale at Chemist Warehouse for $6.49. It is so great for my skin and prevents breakouts!”

Amber Schmidt, 21, Marketing Graduate, Brisbane (AUS)

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“I used to use Mac foundation but I have changed to Rimmel Lasting Finish Foundation. It is normally $18.95 but it is always on sale at different outlets! I recently bought it on sale from Woolworths for $9.50.”

Cassie Davis, 27, Mum/Small Business Owner, Mackay (AUS)

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“My favourite would have to be Nude By Nature Mineral Cover. It is $39.95 which is half the price of the Estée Lauder powder that I used to use. I buy it from Priceline and would definitely recommend it as it is the best powder that I have ever used!”

Kelly Jean, 49, Pharmacy Manager, Sunshine Coast (AUS)Screen Shot 2018-01-04 at 7.41.23 pm

“I have tried bronzers by Nepoleon, MAC and Lancôme but now I use DB (Designer Brands) Glow Get Em Bronzer and I love it! I get it from my work because I am a Pharmacy Manager but it is also available online for $11.99.”

Danielle Head, 27, Nursing Student, Sunshine Coast (AUS)

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“I have recently discovered Olay Moisturising Lotion For Sensitive Skin and I swear by it! I spend a lot of time at the beach which can leave my skin feeling really dry, so I like to apply a good moisturiser at the end of the day. I find Olay leaves my skin feeling hydrated and fresh! I buy it from Woolworths for $13.00.”

Roxy Lewis, 31, Naturopathy Student, Gold Coast (AUS)

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“My favourite budget beauty product is Corta’s Rose Water. I get it from my local Middle Eastern Grocer for $4.00 a bottle but you can also order it online from Amazon. I use it as a toner and apply it every night before bed and even bought a tiny spray bottle from the chemist so that I can carry it with me at all times. It just smells so beautiful!”