How to Use Your Consumer Superpowers with Sustainable Fashion Blogger, Csilla, of The Pretty Planeteer
Csilla likes ethical and sustainable fashion, minimalism, cruelty-free and vegan makeup, and the 90s cartoon “Captain Planet and the Planeteers”. She named her blog, The Pretty Planeteer, after the five Planeteers in the cartoon.
“A Planeteer is someone whose mission is to save the planet. Everyone can be a Planeteer. Even though as individuals we are small and don’t have much power, by our powers combined, we can save the earth from this huge environmental destruction and climate change we’re facing right now.”
See what steps Csilla takes to unleash her sustainable superpowers.
So, who are you? :)
My name is Csilla. I’m from Budapest, Hungary and I’m currently living in Lausanne, Switzerland. I moved here about two and a half years ago. My boyfriend had started a Ph.D. here and we were in a long distance relationship for a year before I decided to follow him.
At the time I was struggling with my architecture studies, so I thought of doing an internship and that getting some experience in the field would give me the motivation to finish my degree. Well, it didn’t turn out that way. I hated every single minute of the internship. I quit after 6 months (even though I had a 1-year contract), and I never went back to finish my studies.
So I took some time off to try to figure out who I really am and what kind of life do I want to create for myself. It was 3 months of intense self-discovery and personal development. That’s when I realized that I want to become my own boss, I want to contribute to society in a meaningful way, and I want my job to be fashion related (because it was something I really enjoy doing and I’m not that terrible at it either).
It was around that same time when I heard about ethical fashion for the first time. And at that moment, everything just fell into place and that’s how my blog, The Pretty Planeteer started in August of 2017.
It’s been one and a half years already and I feel like I’ve learned so much about the industry, about my style, about blogging in general. However, there's always so much more to learn and improve—which is quite challenging and motivating at the same time.
What I love about being a sustainable fashion influencer is that I can explore both the fun and the ugly part of the industry. I enjoy experimenting with style and I get to do it in a way that makes a difference.
How do you describe your style?
That’s a tough question. Last year I was mainly purchasing high-quality basics to a point where I got really bored with my wardrobe. It is very functional and comfy right now, I would say an edgy minimalist style. But it definitely needs more glam to it.
There are two very different styles I really like: the classy Parisian and not so classy grunge. So you’re going to see more of these on my feed in the future while I’m trying to create my dream style: the grungy Parisian.
Unfortunately, it is going to be a long transition. As a sustainable blogger, I can’t just pop into the closest fast fashion store and buy a completely new wardrobe. I have strict rules for limiting my purchases. It prevents me to spend too much money, to overfill my closet, and most importantly, it keeps my environmental footprint low.
What is a Planeteer? How can we all be one?
The name Planeteer came from the 90s cartoon, “Captain Planet and the Planeteers”. It was the best cartoon ever made. It taught us who the bad guys actually were: the big corporations who destroy our planet.
In the show, there were five Planeteers each representing one continent. They had to combine their powers against the bad guys in order to summon Captain Planet who would eventually save the Earth.
And this is exactly what we need to do! A Planeteer is someone whose mission is to save the planet. Everyone can be a Planeteer. Even though as individuals we are small and don’t have much power, by our powers combined, we can save the Earth from this huge environmental destruction and climate change we’re facing right now.
As consumers, we have a certain superpower I hadn’t realized before. Every time we purchase something, we give money to a company—which seems like such a trivial thing we don’t even think about it consciously, but it is actually our superpower. If you buy a top at Zara (or any other fast fashion brand) for $30 for example, you give $10 directly to one of the top 100 richest people of the earth who got rich by exploiting people and the planet. While if you spend the same amount of money on an ethical fashion item, you give that $10 to people (mostly women) who have to work hard to support their families. And you also support practices which are less harmful to the environment. The choice is yours to make every time you buy something.
What is your go-to look?
For a long time, all black everything was my go-to. It is simple, it always looks good, and black is a color I feel the most comfortable in.
However, I just bought a pair of white jeans from Everlane at the end of last year, and it was a game-changer. Even though white probably looks less flattering on me than black, it looks way more interesting and unique. So if you’re stuck with an all-black wardrobe and you want to try out something new without taking big risks, adding some white is something I would recommend.
The sweater I’m wearing here is a very basic second-hand piece. The coat is from Printa, a very small brand from Budapest, and it is made of 100% upcycled cotton. Lastly, my vegan leather shoes are from Bahatika, also a small brand from Germany.
What's a piece in your closet you wear to make more of a statement?
Skirts! Since we wear jeans/pants most of the time, when you put on a skirt, you instantly become more interesting. Lately, I like to pair my mini skirt with a basic crewneck sweater and add a pair of statement earrings. However, I rarely wear my skirts with high heels. To me, it feels like trying too much, and I prefer the effortless look.
For the outfit pictured here, I went for something in the middle. I added a very feminine top and some very basic accessories.
To be honest, I have only two skirts in my wardrobe but both of them are second-hand. I find it very easy to buy pretty skirts second-hand. I guess it’s because people often don’t have the courage or confidence to wear them out in public so they end up donating them.
What brands do you love?
I think I like Armedangels the most. It’s a German brand with a very casual style and a nice price range. They have some bolder items too which makes them a perfect alternative to fast fashion.
I also like Everlane, you can buy great basics from them for a very fair price. I’m very impressed by the quality of their clothes.
I also like to buy vintage or second-hand on ASOS Marketplace or local stores.
And then there’s The RealReal of which I read in one of your interviews the very first time. I haven’t bought anything from this site just yet, but it is a goldmine of preloved designer clothes. I’m afraid if I dip my toe into this world, it’s going to be very hard to stop shopping.
Additionally, I’d like to mention the brand I’d buy if I had an infinite amount of money: Stella McCartney. I admire her commitment to sustainability and all the work she does to try to improve this toxic industry. Not to mention that she’s achieving it by creating clothes that are classy AF.
What's your advice on finding a style and building a closet you love?
First of all, get to know yourself. What do you like and dislike, in what do you feel comfortable, what is your lifestyle, what colors do you like, etc...?
Then get to know your wardrobe. The truth is you probably already know your personal style unconsciously. That’s what you’re attracted to when you’re shopping. But we tend to buy a lot of other clothes as well because of advertisements or because we want to feel a certain way. Those clothes are what makes our closet chaotic.
If you have a free hour, take out all of your clothes from your closet, and put aside the 20% you adore and wear regularly. That pile, my friend, is your personal style!
Another thing I can recommend to people who are struggling with their personal style is the seasonal capsule wardrobe method. I started using it in December (so this spring wardrobe is going to be my second capsule so far) and it works so well for me so far.
If you haven’t heard of it yet, a capsule wardrobe is a mini collection of around 30 items which you can create with your existing clothes. They should all go well together because during that season you only wear that capsule and you put away all your other pieces. It is great because it forces you to get creative with your small capsule wardrobe and you force yourself to create interesting new outfit combinations for yourself.