The Desire for a Sustainable Lifestyle

I talk about many things. One topic that I am quite fond of, is that of sustainability. Food sustainability, sustainability in production, making better purchasing decisions, sustainable fashion…..sustainable living.

Obviously, the reason I write about this topic so often is because it is of high importance to me. (That sounded quite selfish….)  I very much enjoy introducing companies I have found that are doing good things, I like having open conversation with you, my readers, about the challenges in achieving sustainability in its different forms. I think that I also write quite often about this, because I am learning about it myself all the time. Also, maybe somewhere in my head, I do desire to help create change – even if it is only by having a dialogue.

The Cambridge dictionary defines Sustainability (environment) as ‘The quality of causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time.’ The way we (those of us not dictionaries) see sustainability encompasses more than the basis for causing no harm and making it last.  Sustainability outside of this definition, can be anything from sustainable food practices (buying organic, eating locally, reducing meat intake…), sustainable travel & tourism (minimising the negative effects of tourism, create benefit to the areas…), Sustainable gifts, even sustainable business practices (considering affect on society, treating employees better, long term strategy). In my mind, this makes sustainability more a way of making better decisions. The short-term immediate gratification of the 1980’s introduced a ‘winner take all’ mindset in which people seemed to somehow lose the importance of long-term thinking. After 30+ years of this kind of ‘now now now’ immediate-gratification thinking (like a world of infants), we find ourselves at this moment. A time where we must slow it down. All of it. We need to think about what we are doing, the effects it will have and what options we may have to the obvious questions.

No matter how you see the boundaries of the word ‘sustainability’, it is a very important word for us to keep not only in our vocabulary, but also in our decision making process. Now more than ever, it seems. Especially since the UN Climate Change Summit this year has left the world with little doubt that something MUST be done. Now, not 15th day.

I would like to make better, more sustainable decisions in my every day life. It seems like it would be easy, but it is not. You see, I have a problem…I am spoiled. I’m spoiled by the easy access to foods that shouldn’t be available outside of season. I’m spoiled by how I feel in soft fabrics from high-end stores. I’m spoiled by cheap and trendy clothing options – I can have an entire new look for 20€. I’m spoiled by never having to consider the labour behind my purchases. I’m spoiled because I live in a time where the only thing we have to think about, is ourselves. And SO ARE YOU! We all are, no? So the question is then, how do we bring ourselves off our clouds of cotton and realise that it is up to us to make the change to sustainability?  That WE have to do the work. Especially if we expect corporations to make big changes. After all, businesses follow the money. Our money. As consumers, this is our power.

There have been efforts here.

Remember the sustainable food experiment? Eating only local or what I could cook myself (actual food making with only actual ingredients). That did not last so long as I hoped for. What resulted was me learning to make tortillas (easiest bread possible), muffins with fresh berries I picked and eating buckets full of berries, summer squash and mushrooms. I was not well prepared for that experiment. However, since that experiment, I have found myself eating more local produce, eating in season fruit/veg  and not craving so much the ready food at the food store.  I have not been baking. I don’t love baking… But I should be baking.  The challenge with eating more sustainably is that its difficult. We like easy. I will inform you if I discover the secret to success with this.

I have also tried saving my money to invest in more sustainable, higher quality, possible hand made options. (Pro tip: Saving money is much easier if you actually have money. So, saving was a fail.) I did stop shopping. My new plan for this (because a lady has to have something nice sometimes) is to find a couple best options in my colour (if its a handmade leather bag) or in my size (if its clothing) or my favourite design (if its something else) and save those items and when people ask what I want for my birthday, or holidays. I can suggest that people put what money they would have spent towards one of those items (or a gift card for that store – if they offer gift cards). Holidays are quite often and I have found that my loved ones are usually happier if I give them an idea instead of them spending forever searching for the ‘perfect gift’.  But only if they ask. Otherwise, I love personal selected gifts! *If you do this, please don’t go weird with it. I’ve had people insist I only give some or another thing and it really takes the fun out of gift giving.

Also, when you find yourself with only a few new items in a year, you appreciate that item so much more. I don’t quite understand how that works, but it does seem like the more often new things come to us – the less we appreciate them. Sustainable items do come with a higher price than we have been paying (average). Of course it does! That price displays that the workers are being paid a living wage, perhaps the logistic transport was also a green/slow method, and the items are made by craftsmen and sold by a company that pays attention to the details across the growth – production – logistical – labour – business processes. Quality items cost money. Quality items also last soooooooo much longer than the rubbish we are buying now. This is why QUALITY BASICS are a thing. Basics never go out of style (now that I’ve said that, all of my basics will be out of style next week) and quality lasts. Win-win. The challenge here, I would say, is that we must relearn how to shop as conscious consumers. Our current processes will not work with the new sustainable system.

As a luxury-loving convenience monster myself, I know that the change into a more sustainable lifestyle will be slow. But slow is a sustainability keyword, so maybe its a good thing.

How is sustainability changing your decisions?

-Mliae

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Sustainable Clothing Spotlight: Love Justly

I am really excited to publish a feature sustainable company spotlight on Love Justly! As you well know, if you’ve been following the blog for awhile, I am a firm believer in voting with our wallets. By that I mean, that by each of us making conscientious purchasing decisions, we do hold the power to create change. We are, after all, the driving force in consumerism/consumption. If our purchasing decisions were not at all important, companies would not spend such insane amounts of money trying to make us believe we need their items. The mantra ‘purchase better, purchase less’ is something I truly believe in. If we begin a paradigm shift with this mantra in mind, the fashion industry will follow. This is why I have chosen Love Justly to write a feature on. Their items are beautiful, fashion-forward, ethically sourced and made to last! In my mind, that checks every box I need in order to make a positive, guilt-free purchasing decision. I know that many of my awesome friends and readers feel the same way, and so I am happy to share a great place to bookmark and revisit again and again. 🙂

I did have a few questions:

Q- The fashion industry is severely competitive and there seems to be a lingering mistrust of good-hearted ethical companies due to the ‘green-washing’ phenom. What made you want to go into the sustainable fashion business?

A- I started Love Justly because I always wanted a place where I could go and get a good deal, but know that people on the other end of that product didn’t suffer. Often items are less expensive because people are paid poorly and treated harshly.

I partner with companies and buy excess stock or past season items at a discount and then sell those items at a discount. The companies I partner with are doing amazing work around the world, so when you buy from Love Justly you know your purchases truly make a difference!

 

Q- How long has Love Justly been in business?

A- A little more than 2 years.

 

Q- How does Love Justly define ethical fashion, as it relates to you?

A- For Love Justly, ethical fashion means the people who made the item are paid a living wage and treated fairly. All too often in fashion, this doesn’t happen.

 

Q- Sustainable/ethical fashion can mean a great many things to a great many people. What is Love Justly’s main focus? (Fair employment, creating little waste – if any, sustainable materials, long-lasting items, using sustainable shipping methods, et al)

A- Love Justly partners with a variety of companies and each of those has a different mission, but the heart behind all of them is a desire to provide hope and economic opportunity to people by giving them reliable income.

 

Q- How do you select the items you sell on your site?

A- The companies I partner with often will let me know what they have to sell and then I select from that. I also take feedback from customers and buy based on what they want to see on the site!

 

Q- Fast-fashion driven consumption has forced the fashion industry to go from 2 seasons per year to 12-52 seasons per year. This seems to me to be absurd. No entity can crank out reliable, sustainable fashion that is long wearing and fair at that pace. How many seasons (or seasonal updates) does Love Justly add per annum?

A- Love Justly doesn’t follow a set seasonal update. We just added many new products before the holidays and add more based on customer demand and areas we’re starting to run low.

 

Q- More often than not, ethical fashion can understandably be quite expensive when compared to fast-fashion prices. I think this why so many people hesitate to purchase ethically made items. How do you manage to offer such fair prices on your site?

A- I typically buy items at a discount from companies, which then allows me to sell them at a discount. Due to this structure, I have a more limited selection to choose from, but it helps introduce more people to ethical fashion, where price may have been a barrier before.

 

Q- How do you ensure the manufacturing standards of those companies whose items are sold on Love Justly?

A- I do research on each of the companies based on what is available on their site and through conversations with them and then go from there in determining whether they would make a good partner for Love Justly.

 

Q- We have all heard horror stories of companies who destroy their remaining merchandise and send it to the rubbish heap. What do you do with any un-sold merchandise? Or do you order low quantities and keep them for sale until they are sold?

A- We order low quantities at Love Justly, so things are more likely to sell out quicker than they would with other companies.

 

Q- If a beloved item is sold out, do you offer any way that a person could be placed on a waiting list for that item? Or is it gone forever once it is sold out?

A- Some items we can reorder and if an item is sold out there is a spot where people can enter their email. If that item can be re-ordered we typically will, but sometimes we’ve taken the last items and the company we bought it from may be sold out as well.

 

Q- I have noticed that you offer international shipping (Yay!). Does Love Justly offer the possibility of basic shipping in order to keep the postal price low?

A- International shipping isn’t realistic for most people, so this is very limited. Since Love Justly is a discount site the high shipping costs of international shipping often don’t make sense. We’re happy to ship internationally, but the shipping costs often make it prohibitive.

Some of my fave products:

holiday giving plate love justly

This incredible Holiday Plate that’s perfect for sharing leftovers and holiday goodies with those you love!

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Gold Cashmere Scarf by Komodo.

LJ home-candy-cane-soap-1_600x

For the person that loves all things peppermint-y (uh-hum, me.) this handcrafted candy cane soap is the perfect stocking stuffer!

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Kimono Sleeve V-Neck Dress by Liz Alig.  This cool and comfy looking dress is made from 100% recycled T-shirts!

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Mini clutch from woven buriti palm fibre.

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Peacock Party Dress by Symbology. Beautiful and 100% cotton!

See? I told you they have pretty items! And yes, to answer your question – I would never promote a company that I wouldn’t use myself. I purchased the following gorgeous Liz Alig cotton maxi dress from Love Justly that I love:

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If you are interested, each item tells in the description which company it is from and what good things that company is doing with your purchase. Love that!

Get 15% off any order now!

-Mliae
Trendy Ethical Styles

*Photos sourced with full permissions via Love Justly