How does sustainable fashion fit into a healthy & conscious lifestyle?

Popular Australian lifestyle, fitness & wellness blogger Amy Darcy talks about the role of ethical and sustainable fashion, organics, etc. in a conscious lifestyle

As a health and wellness blogger, I am always trying to improve my lifestyle and wellbeing by making healthy, conscious choices in all I do. Recently, I have been considering sustainable fashion and how it forms part of a healthy lifestyle choice. These issues came to my mind after falling pregnant with Finn (who was born a year ago) when I began to consider the origin and contents of products consumed by my family and myself. 

I really believe that purchasing sustainable and ethical fashion plays a large part in both a conscious and healthy lifestyle, and I would love to share with you my thoughts around this!

Choosing a conscious lifestyle

Eat, Pray, Workout's Amy Darcy dressed by Ecoture 

Amy wears NAJA's Black Tigress Nina Strappy Sports Bra under a gorgeous Ivory Slit-Back Blouse by US brand Delikate Rayne  

Can purchasing sustainable and ethically made clothing really make a change? 

When you hear about major problems and issues the world is currently facing, such as global warming and waste, it's hard to think that you, the little guy, have much of an impact. But you do!

Where we spend our money can play a major part in these issues. Purchasing from clothing companies that provide dangerous conditions and low wages to their factory workers, make their product primarily out of synthetic materials and have no regard for landfill or recycling, contributes to these problems in a big way. We are effectively endorsing these poor practices by purchasing the products. We are voting with our money to say, I can turn a blind eye to the human rights violations or the environmental waste because the outcome means cheap clothing that makes me look good in the latest trends, which are ultimately more important to me here and now. 

This is a harsh reality (one that I hadn't considered until recently), but, really, until we start giving our money to companies that care about their workers and environmental issues, there won't be a push for a change in industry practices and standards. 

Unless there is a demand for a more ethical market, the supply just won't be there. We need to show the fashion industry that there is a demand for ethically made and sustainably produced clothing so that more companies provide safer conditions for workers and a more positive environmental impact.

Supporting initiatives that help reduce waste

I love Ecoture's Waste not, Want not initiative, which not only provides a trusted way to recycle your clothes and reduce landfill, but also supports two great charities. What a cool idea!

Don't forget cruelty-free!

Everything at Ecoture is 100% cruelty-free and most (although not all) products are vegan. Check the Values tab for each product to be sure. This helps us consciously look out for our lovely furry friends, another important aspect to consider in living a conscious lifestyle.

Amy Darcy and her dog Honey
Amy and her furry bestie Honey

Choosing a healthy lifestyle

Not-so-fun fact: There are more than 80,000 chemicals on the market that have not been sufficiently researched for what they are doing to our health, in both the short and long term. How alarming is that?!

Pregnancy was the catalyst for teaching me a lot about organic & natural products

When I was pregnant I bought a lot of big-brand supermarket baby soaps, oils, powders, etc. When proudly showing off my new decked-out nursery to a neighbour, I was shocked when she told me to reconsider my skin care choices because the ones I had chosen were filled with active chemicals that weren't natural or kind to the skin of a newborn.

Naively, I had presumed that baby skin care corporations that had been around for decades would have developed their products by now to be paraben-free and safe for the skin of babes. Apparently not!

Amy Darcy and her 1-year-old son Finn 
Amy with her gorgeous son Finn

After being faced with the fact that everything I used affected my body and my baby's health, I started taking note of organic products - organic foods, drinks, body and skin care, cleaning, fragrances (candles and essential oils) and clothing. This didn't leave me when Finn was born, either; if anything, it became more important to me because I was now aware of the impact that unnatural or chemical-filled products could have on my baby's delicate skin, which is more susceptible to absorbing toxins from clothing and bedding.

Purchasing organic where possible

But what about my husband and I? My research has shown me that organic products are not just important for babies, but for everyone. I now try to buy organic products where I can, not just for my baby's health, but for my whole family's health, because if we don't know what these chemicals are doing to us, I don't want to take that risk.

I have written some articles about organic baby skin care and bedding, if you'd like to read more.

Blogger Amy Darcy wearing ecoture australia 
Amy has teamed an organic cotton Wrap Scarf from slow fashion pioneer Alabama Chanin with ethically produced Black Printed Flowers Serena Compression Tights, black vegan LaBante Black Windsor Tote, fair trade organic cotton Etiko Black + White Low-cut Sneakers and a fair trade organic cotton function piece from New Zealand label Kowtow.

Opt for organic cotton over synthetic where possible

Synthetic clothing can take between 20 and 200 years to break down, while also releasing toxic chemicals into the air. By purchasing natural materials, like organic cotton, we can help to reduce both waste and pollution. Just think, if every person purchased one natural product a year instead of a synthetic one, there would be significantly less landfill and waste!

If you're in need of a new scarf, the one I'm wearing in the pic above is organic cotton from Ecoture.

Choosing a mindful & minimalist lifestyle

I recently did a wardrobe de-clutter and got rid of a LOT of clothes. I was finding the simple everyday act of retrieving clothes from my wardrobe was causing me frustration and was it was taking so long to find a simple outfit (not ideal when you have a needy baby on your hip).

I was expecting the de-clutter to make me feel less frustrated when I walked into my wardrobe, left with nothing else to wear, but I was surprised at how much better and clearer it made me feel. I didn't realise the effect it was having on me until I'd finished. I don't ever want my wardrobe getting back to that again!

Amy Darcy's wardrobe detox 
Amy's wardrobe detox saw her get rid of a LOT of stuff, making getting dressed each morning far less frustrating

 Wardrobe detox inspo with Amy and stylist Amelia Clements

I now don't have a need for 'fast fashion'. If I feel that an item is missing from my wardrobe, I have the flexibility and money to invest in a good quality piece. How much better is that instead of buying multiple cheap items that may only get a few wears before they are either out of trend or falling apart? I can buy one good quality piece made of natural fibres that will last for many years to come, be kind to my skin and break down in landfill safely.

There were a few staple pieces that I needed to replenish my post-detox wardrobe, and so I turned to Ecoture. These are a few of the outfits I put together from Ecoture, and you can see the full article about styling ethical activewear here.

Small & steady changes can have a big long-term impact

Amy wears NAJA tights and sports bra, ETIKO sneakers and GUNAS backpack, all from Ecoture
Amy wears NAJA tights and crop top, ETIKO sneakers and GUNAS backpack, all from Ecoture.

Though I don't have a completely organic, ethical and sustainable wardrobe or home YET, I am more aware and thoughtful when I pull my purse out then ever before. I am so thankful to have a trusted source such as Ecoture, that is simple and easy to shop, without having to worry about where my money is going or what negative effects it may have on myself, the lives of others, or the environment.

Small changes to my purchasing habits over time will have huge positive impacts in some of the big issues our world faces today.

Amy