Giving Up Fast Fashion with Elsa of Sustainable Sartorial

Elsa in an old  May The Label  dress. Ears not included.

Elsa in an old May The Label dress. Ears not included.

Elsa isn’t afraid to admit she worked in fast fashion. “I believe in the importance of getting experience across the industry because you can't change the industry without understanding the actual industry first.”

You can now find her volunteering for Good On You App to evaluate sustainable and ethical brands and writing about sustainability on her blog Sustainable Sartorial.

Read on for her journey and tips going from fast fashion brand manager to sustainable clothing expert.

So, who are you? :) 

I'm Elsa! I got involved in sustainable fashion during university and worked with Undress Runways as the Designer Liaison, which provided me a lot of time to understand and discover new labels and brands. I started my blog, Sustainable Sartorial, to tell a bit about my story living in Europe, New York, and Australia, and exploring different sustainability topics. Traveling is a big part of my life and an important tool for understanding the global supply chain and the fashion industry around the world.

What sparked your interest in sustainability?

I found out about sustainable fashion by accident at university. I took a class on sustainable fashion without fully understanding what it meant and it completely changed my point of view. It also introduced me to the movie about The True Cost and that definitely opened my eyes. 

I had already worked a few years in fashion wholesale and retail and I continued to work in fast fashion even after I opened my eyes to where there were huge holes in the industry. I was a Brand Manager working in fast fashion. I believe in the importance of getting experience across the industry because you can't change the industry without understanding the actual industry first.

Seriously chic. Made to measure jacket from Bali and top and bottoms from KOOKAÏ.

Seriously chic. Made to measure jacket from Bali and top and bottoms from KOOKAÏ.

How did your career path change after this? 

I pretty much realized that sustainability in fashion was the new frontier. It was the next design challenge in fashion and I wanted to be involved. As Ellen MacArthur said, waste is a design flaw.

How do you describe your own style? 

Understated, classic, and fitted. If you know what you are looking at you will usually pick up the workmanship and subtle details in my outfits and clothes. I don't love to wear color. I spent a minute in bespoke suiting, so give me amazing tailoring and an item of clothing that knows the lines of the body and I am sold. 

The small details. Shirt from  n i . n ê h,  handmade in India, and pants from  ADAY.

The small details. Shirt from n i . n ê h, handmade in India, and pants from ADAY.

What's a piece/outfit in your closet you wear to make more of a statement? 

I wear accessories as statement pieces from scarves to bags to shoes to leather jackets to my tattoos. I used to have a shaved head with platinum hair and tattoos. I always let the other elements do some of the talking since my style is more understated and classic.

Admiring epic art at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, in  Reformation .

Admiring epic art at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, in Reformation.

What brands and stores do you love? 

KITX and TheRealReal. I can't really afford KITX but I have a few of her pieces and I love her interesting design. Since I can't afford KITX and most other sustainable brands I support secondhand and vintage stores like TheRealReal, doing my part giving clothes a second life.

What's your advice for someone who wants to bring more sustainability into his/her wardrobe but doesn't know where to start? 

Honestly, the most sustainable option is to wear the clothes we already have. Most of my clothes in my closet I have had for years and I have no problem wearing them and re-wearing them on Instagram.

Mindful in Maldives. Elsa wear an old American Apparel swimsuit with GOTS certified cotton  Bon Label  tee.

Mindful in Maldives. Elsa wear an old American Apparel swimsuit with GOTS certified cotton Bon Label tee.

Thanks, Elsa!