Sustainably Chic

Moth Oddities visited Charleston, South Carolina while on our USA road trip! During our stay we collaborated with Natalie Kay Smith, owner of Sustainably Chic. Sustainably Chic is a blog, boutique and community for the conscious consumer. We reached out to Natalie because we love that she is using her blog as a platform to educate people about shopping small, shopping smart, and shopping sustainably. At Moth Oddities we share similar ideals. It was great to get Natalie's perspective on sustainability in the fashion industry. Oh, and she's a great model! We had a blast shooting her in a few of our favorite pieces from Moth Oddities.

Natalie believes that we can all make a difference by what we decide to purchase AND what we decide NOT to purchase. We vote with our money! Fast fashion has created an environment of abundance, accessibility and cheap products. However, this affordability comes at a cost. The fashion industry has become the second highest source of pollution in the world, following closely in the footsteps of the oil industry. Individuals can make a difference by choosing NOT to purchase fast fashion items and by being advocates for brands that represent a different, more positive outlook. 

By shopping with our values in mind we can help positively influence the environment and local economy. As Moth Oddities, we contribute to this cause by embracing the second lives of vintage and recycled clothing. A few other sustainable trends that are making waves in the fashion industry are products and companies that are cruelty free, fair trade, handmade, up-cycled, and recyclable. It is important to educate ourselves on these trends, choose a route that coincides with our beliefs, and make conscious changes in our consumer experiences so that we can work towards a healthier Earth! What a head start? Check out a few of Natalie's favorite ethical brands on Sustainably Chic's Shopping page.

We really admire what Natalie is doing with Sustainably Chic. She taught us so much and inspired us to keep moving forward with our goals. Learn more about Natalie and read our Q+A below! 

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How do you incorporate sustainability into your life? Leave a comment with your thoughts.

Thanks for reading. Cheers!
- Ian


Q+A with Natalie Kay Smith of Sustainably Chic

Tell us how you started! How did you initially get involved with sustainability & slow fashion?
It was in college, when studying fashion, where I realized how awful the industry had become. The waste and unethical treatment was too much for me. I started researching on my own the benefits of fair trade, slow fashion and other related topics. I knew from that point on that the only way I could be a part of the industry was in a positive manner. After moving to Charleston, I found it difficult to find a job relating to my passion, so I created it! Sustainably Chic was my way to learn more and discuss the topic of sustainability.

How do you define Sustainability?
It's being aware and making decisions which have a positive effect on the future. Sustainability is all about sustaining the resources we have now, so others can use them later. There is a more ‘sustainable’ option for almost everything you do in life. There is a lot of subjectivity, and it will be different for everyone. It’s just knowing what works best for you, your community and the Earth.

How long have you been blogging as Sustainably Chic?
It will be two years in July! Went by so fast.

Can you tell our readers a few ways they can make more sustainable choices?
First things first, less is always better. This materialism crap has really got us all out of whack. A lot of us have put quantity over quality. Instead of buying ten t-shirts from Forever 21, buy a couple sustainably made shirts from a company that cares about what they are doing. The thing I’m getting real tired of is when I hear people say ‘well, college students can’t really afford a $40 shirt’. Now I’m not saying this is the case for everyone, but I find that to be total BS. Why do I see them in a new outfit every weekend? I worked at a consignment store before, and it was absolutely insane how many clothes {with tags attached} would be brought in day in and day out. Now with that being said, I realize this does not apply to everyone, it is just something I have seen often. I don’t think we should just stop buying. In order to be fully sustainable, we need a rockin’ economy. It is this overconsumption that is bothersome. My best tip: Whenever purchasing something, figure out who made it and what it is made from. If it seems as if someone or something is being taken advantage of {a cheap price is a red flag} then pass on it. Yes, you will be paying more for a sustainable product in the end - but t-shirts aren't supposed to be $5 ;)

What has been one of your favorite projects to work for your blog?
Honestly, I love any project where I get to take the photos. Editing and playing with scenes is one of my favorite parts of blogging. This year, I made it a point to do all my photography for the site. I’m working on a post for the Sustainable Traveler, and I’m pretty excited to release it this month!

Where are your favorite places to shop sustainably?
I’m not the biggest shopper myself, but I love a good thrift store. I’ve been fortunate enough to work with a few companies who have sent me clothing, which really helps my tiny wallet. I work at Marine Layer part time, and they make 85% of their clothing in California out of recycled beechwood and pima cottons. My discount is pretty nice there, so I have a little collection going at the moment. A few brands I’m obsessed with are LA Relaxed, Stormie Dreams & Braintree. They are on point with their designs, fabrics & construction.

Other than shopping, in what other ways do you incorporate sustainability into your life?
I will always live in a small space. I don’t need a ton of square footage to live my life, and prefer things mini sized. All my beauty products I use are natural. I hardly overindulge in food, and try to stick to plants mostly. However, cheese will always be in my life - maybe not a lot, but definitely still there. Meat is not something I crave, but I will not pass it up if someone cooks it for me. We are so fortunate to have the option of what we can and can not eat, and with almost 800 million people suffering from malnourishment I could never have it in me to associate with a certain diet or pass up food that has been put on the table. Other than food, I try to keep driving to a minimum, lights off, AC down and not too many showers. Ya know, the little things.. they all add up in the end.

What other hobbies or interests do you have?
My hands are always busy doing something - I like to crochet, tat, sew and play the ukulele. 

What and/or who inspires you?
People like Moth Oddities! I need others in my life who are on the go and always getting shit done. I don’t like stopping, and seeing others succeed makes me want to work harder.

What goals do you have for the future, either personally or for the blog?
For the blog, I’m kind of playing it day by day right now. I don’t have any huge plans, but I would like to work with as many brands as I run into. The more options I have for the conscious consumer, the better! Otherwise, I’m still trying to talk my boyfriend into a long road trip like Yana and Ian are doing!