What does a healthy relationship to shopping look like? What about a healthy relationship to our clothing? To our wardrobes? This might look different for everyone, but it’s a question worth exploring.
When we think about slow fashion, there’s a lot of tactical advice out there, like shop less, shop secondhand, shop small, swap, mend, repair, buy better, and so on.
And this is all important and vital to talk about, but I believe — as does today’s guest — that a long-term sustainable approach to conscious fashion goes beyond the actions we see at the surface and involves creating an entirely new mindset to consuming and to how we see the stuff that we own. It involves cultivating a healthier relationship to shopping and to our clothes.
In this episode, I am going to be chatting with slow fashion content creator Jessica Harumi. Jessica is a wealth of wisdom when it comes to conscious style and capsule wardrobes, so I’m excited to get into this conversation. We are going to be talking about:
- How we can identify when we have an unhealthy relationship to shopping
- And then how we can start to create a healthier relationship to shopping and fashion
- Plus, how we can still enjoy style and fashion, but without constant consumption
And if capsule wardrobes are something that you’ve been interested in exploring, you’re in for a treat because Jessica is also sharing if she thinks it’s possible to have a capsule wardrobe with a non-minimalist aesthetic, she’s talking all about the benefits of a capsule wardrobe, and how having a capsule wardrobe has changed her relationship to style and to shopping.
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- The Anna Edit
- Ep.24 The Fascinating Psychology Behind Fashion and Consumption with Shakaila Forbes-Bell
- Ep.7 How to Make the Most of Your Wardrobe with Jess Atkins
- Ep.17 More Creativity, Less Consumption: Sustainable Stylist Tips from Alyssa Beltempo
- Ep.34 What is the Power of Style? Style Coach Elyse Holladay Breaks it Down
Tune in to this episode of the Conscious Style Podcast below, or on your favorite podcast app
Read the Transcript From This Interview:
Hey everyone and welcome back to the show! I’m excited to be bringing you the first interview of season 4. And if you tuned in to the previous episode on fast fashion, you know that this season is all about what it will take to slow down the fashion industry — and we’re going to be approaching this topic in both a personal sense and also from a sort of an industry-wide perspective.
So today’s conversation, as you might have guessed from the title and intro, is more about the personal aspect. I am going to be chatting with slow fashion content creator Jessica Harumi.
Jessica is a wealth of wisdom when it comes to conscious style and capsule wardrobes, so I’m really excited to get into this conversation and share it with you because we talked about things like:
- How we can identify when we have an unhealthy relationship to shopping, because many of the signs are very normalized in society
- And then also how we can start to create a healthier relationship to shopping
- Plus, how we can still enjoy style and fashion, without constant consumption
And if capsule wardrobes are something that you’ve been interested in exploring, you are definitely in for a treat because Jessica is also sharing her thoughts on if it’s possible to have a capsule wardrobe without a minimalist aesthetic.
And she’s also sharing all the benefits of a capsule wardrobe, how you can start to dip your toes into capsule wardrobes, and how having a capsule wardrobe has changed her relationship to style and shopping, and how it impacted her life beyond fashion. Super interesting, I can’t wait for you to hear what Jessica has to say.
As always, the transcript and the links mentioned in this episode are going to be in the show notes on consciouslifeandstyle.com. And quick reminder to hit subscribe or follow on your favorite podcast app so that you do not miss any future episodes like this one.
Okay, now onto the show! Jessica is starting us off here talking about her journey into slow fashion.
So I fell in love with thrifting as a teenager, and I used to shop primarily secondhand like throughout college. And then when I graduated, I entered the workforce and I started sort of struggling to express my personal style in a professional environment.
And that’s when I started cycling through a lot of fast fashion pieces and spending an exorbitant amount of money on, you know, cheaply made clothing.
And then I, you know, kind of realized what I was doing and started looking into other options. And that’s when I learned about capsule wardrobes, through The Anna Edit on YouTube, and I just fell in love with the idea like it just clicked. And kind of a light bulb went off in my head like this makes so much sense for me.
And that’s when I started slowly investing in higher quality pieces and exploring a more classic or minimalist aesthetic in my personal style and just exploring my personal style in general.
And I actually started sharing my capsule wardrobe journey online, and you know, posting like outfit photos on Instagram, because they found this wonderful community online of like-minded people. And I just found so much support there. And through doing that, I was sort of introduced to the world of sustainable fashion, essentially, through Instagram influencers.
But it was a concept that I had never even known really existed. I didn’t know it was an option. And yeah, it just really spoke to me sort of you know that there’s other ways that we can approach fashion and style that are not just completely degrading our planet.
Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And I always enjoy hearing about people’s journey to conscious style and slow fashion, and then how that sort of informs their approach to it. So can you speak to how your path, your journey informed the way that you speak about slow fashion on your platform today?
Yeah, so for me, it was a very gradual process. You know, creating capsule wardrobes eventually led to quitting fast fashion for me, but that was really over the course of a couple of years.
But before I took the time to sort of work through some of my bad habits around shopping, and sort of changed the way that I approach personal style, that was like a long process for me. And it’s something that I sort of gradually did through the process of creating capsule wardrobes, and kind of focusing my, my attention to a more positive creative sort of act in that way.
And I think, because I took my time with that I feel much more kind of firmly rooted in this new perspective that I have on style and my relationship with fashion. And yeah, it just, it feels like a lifestyle change that I can sustain more long term now, because I took my time getting into it.
And because that was my own journey with slow fashion, I really tried to stress to other people that we don’t need it to make it such a difficult process for ourselves. And we don’t need to, like restrict ourselves in ways that it just makes it harder, I think, to really commit to that kind of change long term.
I think this sort of attitude really, kind of prevents people from getting involved sometime because they feel like it’s all or nothing. And, you know, if you own a single H&M shirt, then you’re not allowed to participate in the conversation around sustainability.
But, you know, this kind of this shift in perspective is really what makes sense. Like, it has to make sense to you on an individual level. And I think it just takes time to explore why that is and how that connects to your, your personal values.
Yeah, that totally makes sense. And it reminds me of something a previous guest said, Elysse Holladay, about sometimes these very restrictive approaches to slow fashion or sustainable fashion feel like diet culture almost. Like don’t eat this, like cut out all carbs, cut out all fats, cut out all, you know, this kind of cycle and it’s not really sustainable. I mean, diet culture is notoriously unsustainable.
And so when we are thinking about our approach to sustainable fashion, slow fashion, like it also has to be personally sustainable. It’s, you know, it’s a marathon, it’s not a sprint. So I feel like that is a very common misconception of sustainable fashion that you have to do it like overnight. And just like purge your closet, then thrift or buy sustainable brands. And it’s just like this overnight thing.
And there’s so many layers and reasons of why that is not a sustainable approach, one: all the waste but also secondarily, it’s just, it’s not personally viable for the long term at least in my experience.
But what do you think that some of the most common misconceptions are with this transition to slower fashion, sustainable fashion? Like, what do you see like from your audience, or in the community that you find to be just myths?
Yeah, I think one of the biggest misconceptions is that, like, kind of what you were touching on that, you have to start over with your wardrobe completely. And this idea that you need to purge everything you have and start over with a clean slate.
And even bringing up diet culture, it’s interesting how much of the language is similar this like, between personal style and decluttering with the like purging and really interesting parallels there.
But yeah, just I would really encourage people to get away from that kind of extreme cycle, you know, getting rid of everything and replacing it just as quickly. Because it really, when we’re, like, tempted to replace things that quickly, we’re not taking the time to reflect on what we really need.
And, yeah, I just always tell people, you can’t make shop your way to a sustainable wardrobe. So taking some of the energy away from like, how I can shop, what I need to add to my wardrobe to make it more sustainable and focusing instead on what you have, and really thinking about, like your wardrobe as a whole, and how it represents you and your personal style. You know, that doesn’t require you to go out and shop.
Yeah, I love that. And, yeah, I often feel like it is one of these extremes. It’s either like, purge your whole closet, get all new stuff, or it’s like, don’t buy anything, ever. And it’s like, neither is really feasible. Because I feel like I went the other way, when I started my journey, I committed to like, basically not buying anything ever.
And then like, one day, I needed stuff. And I sort of binge shopped and it was so unsatisfying. I was like, okay, this is not, this is not like a long-term strategy to just like, not buy anything, and then feel like sort of deprived and buy a bunch of stuff, I have to get at it at a deeper level.
So from your perspective, what do you think is like a more holistically sustainable approach to getting started with slow fashion?
I think kind of what you mentioned, was like, dig deeper, you know, dig deeper than the act of shopping and really look at the relationship that you have with your clothing. And ask yourself, is it a positive one?
And you can ask yourself, why you don’t like the clothes that you have? And what about them, is it that you don’t like? And really addressing your mindset around your personal style is going to lead to more long term change, I think.
So yeah. Just be honest with yourself about why you feel it’s important to make these changes because they’re really big changes, and they really impact a large part of your life, you know.
Just getting dressed and the way you, the way you go through your life, and the way you present yourself to the world, it’s like such an important large decision. I think that we often downplay the importance of like fashion in our lives, and how kind of impactful it can be.
So yeah, I think asking yourself like, how does this improve your life and your body image and your self-expression? And just really focusing on the positive aspects that this type of change can bring to you is going to be really helpful because you know fashion like it again, it shouldn’t be restricted, like those types of restrictive approaches just don’t last in my opinion.
Yeah, And then when we are digging deeper into our relationship with clothes and with shopping, how do you think we can identify if we have a “unhealthy” relationship to shopping?
Because I think it’s really hard to see it when we’re in the moment. I feel like this shopaholicism like we make jokes about it and oh, I had a bad day at work, I’m gonna go shopping. Like, it’s just so normalized in society. So like how can we start to identify if we do maybe have an unhealthy relationship to shopping?
Yeah, I think it’s important to just focus on the feelings, you know, that’s going to tell you the most about your relationship that you have with shopping. Like an unhealthy relationship with shopping, I think often feels like a lot of discontentment and frustration. And you never have enough, or you’d never find the right thing, you know.
And so paying attention to just the feeling that you have around when you think about your style, and the things that you own, and even just when you’re out looking and trying things on, like really, is it a positive experience?
And also paying attention to your shopping triggers, I think is really important. And you kind of touched on this, like, do you shop with you after you’ve had a really bad day at work? I definitely had that problem before.
So yeah, like, are you shopping when you’re feeling insecure or upset because of some other area of your life? And to just remind ourselves that there are much more productive things that we can do to make ourselves feel better when you know when those feelings arise.
And I think that a healthy relationship with shopping feels like contentment, right? So it’s like getting excited about the things that you own and, you know, wanting to wear the things that you have a lot because you just love how they feel when you put them on and just feeling really good about getting dressed every day. And feeling like the clothing that you’re wearing is an extension of yourself.
Yeah, yeah, it’s beautiful. And yeah, I totally experienced those triggers like I, when I was working like a nine to five job. My first job was on Michigan Avenue, which, so for anyone unfamiliar, that’s like the main shopping street in Chicago.
Temptation overload, right. And I literally walked like, down Michigan Avenue to get home and when I had a bad day, I would be like, oh, I’m just gonna walk through Nordstrom. And that’ll like, make me feel better.
And, but I also experienced some unhealthy relationships to shopping, even once I sort of made this switch, so to speak to sustainable fashion. Even once I started, getting into secondhand fashion and slow fashion, like I noticed that when I was having a down day or whatever, I would go on, like thredUP, or Poshmark or whatever, I would start to browse secondhand clothes, which is still an unhealthy relationship to shopping.
So yeah, it can manifest in different ways, I think.
Yeah, absolutely. That story that you said about walking through Nordstrom to like, pick yourself up after a hard day. It’s just such a common thing that I’ve heard from people I work with, and even from, like my mom and like women in my life.
It’s just, yeah, it’s it’s unfortunate, because if that feeling it just takes away from you I think. At the end of it, it doesn’t make you feel better, really. But it’s so hard to break that cycle sometimes.
Mm hmm. Once we sort of identify that we maybe have some unhealthy habits with shopping, what’s some advice that you would have for people and how we could start to create a healthier relationship with shopping and our clothes?
I think we should kind of take the focus away from the brands, and even if we’re shopping sustainable brands, and turn to look at our habits around consumption, because even shopping from sustainable brands, and from thrifting, as you mentioned, it can be done in a really unsustainable way.
So I always like to ask people, like, do you consider shopping a hobby? Because I think a lot of people would say, yes, you know?
I used to, yeah! Literally.
I did, too, right? Yeah. And it’s like, fashion, I understand that interest in fashion could be a hobby, or styling can be a hobby, but just the act of buying things like is that really something we should be considering a hobby, and there are so many more productive hobbies that just that give us more.
You know, whether it’s like learning new skills are just, you know, a sense of enjoyment in the activity that we’re doing. And shopping, I think, is one of those things, it just always takes from you.
Yeah, when you’re surrounded by so many new things, and just constantly bombarded by this, you know, this need to like, own new things and that just really, that can be quite draining. So I would say, yeah, focus on hobbies that are more productive, more creative, and just make you feel better.
And get really comfortable with the idea of shopping slowly. So I always like to give myself a few days or a week or a month before I decide to make a purchase. And just having that kind of buffer period really helps me, you know reassess why I’m buying those things and if I really need them. And I don’t know, I just I feel that having that time it’s just so helpful. It’s one of my main, kind of, strategies when I’m shopping.
Yeah, I love that sort of a waiting period. And are there any, like certain questions you ask yourself, like, during that waiting period? What’s going through your mind? And like, how do you determine if you really want that piece or not?
More recently, because I’ve decided to downsize and keep kind of a smaller number of clothing items in my wardrobe, it’s usually a question of, can I replace this with something else? Like, do I want this so much that I could take something else out that I already have? You know, one in one out sort of issue.
And usually, that’s a big deterrent for me, because I really love the pieces that I have right now. And you know, sometimes it makes sense if you have to replace things just because they’re getting a lot of wear, or they can’t be like mended or something.
Yeah, but also asking myself, like, can I see myself wearing this in a year? And or is it kind of a trendier piece? And I think that’s why aesthetically, I kind of lean towards more classic and simple pieces because I just know that I’ll still really enjoy it. And also, I lean towards more neutral pieces too, because I know myself I get quite bored with color after a while.
So I’m like, love this bright purple thing right now but in six months, not so sure. So I think it’s just really knowing kind of your own patterns and getting more comfortable with like your personal style too. And just realistically, knowing what you will be really excited to wear every day and what is more of just something that is kind of exciting in the moment to buy or, you know, trendy at the moment.
Yeah, yeah, I love that. I, ironically, also feel that way about prints. I’m like wearing a print right now. But I do often feel like I get tired of prints. So it’s good to have that self-awareness. I mean, I still occasionally buy prints, but I feel like once I realized that about myself, I bought less prints, so it’s really interesting.
So you touched on this with like shopping as a hobby and I had a question about that. Because I do feel like often it’s like if you love fashion, there’s this assumption you love to shop all the time.
If you want to have great style, if you value being stylish, then you have to stay on top of the latest trends and buy all the new stuff. How do you think that we can still enjoy fashion, love fashion, appreciate style, but not tie that to constant consumption?
Hmm. Yeah, I think instead of equating fashion with shopping, we can equate it with styling.
And I’d say just go into your wardrobe and start playing around with the things that you own and putting new outfit combinations together, because that’s a more kind of positive creative act, and a way to enjoy fashion that doesn’t involve buying new things. And the idea of shopping your closet, it’s such a popular kind of idea online right now. But it really helps, you know.
I think we just sometimes forget, like, how many wonderful things we already own, and how when we purchased those things, we probably felt really excited about them. And that excitement doesn’t go away just because we’ve had them for a little longer, like, we can still kind of reinvigorate that, that sort of feeling in ourselves as we learn to shop our closets and to style our things in different ways.
Yeah, I think that there’s lots of ways too that you can experiment with your personal style without shopping. So creating mood boards on Pinterest and sort of curating your Instagram feed. So that you’re seeing lots of people whose style you admire, is really another like kind of positive sort of productive, creative thing that you can do to enjoy fashion.
And one of my favorite things to do is to experiment with capsule wardrobe. So like 10 by 10s, or 30 by 30s. This is just such a fun experiment for me, like smaller capsule wardrobes in particular, and that’s where you wear like 10 pieces of clothing in 10 different outfits every 10 days. It’s really simple.
Yeah, and I’m actually doing it. I’m co-hosting a 10 by 10 challenge over on Instagram, right now.
Yeah, it’s called Parisian style 10 by 10, and I do it with my Instagram friend Bree Lamberson. And it’s become kind of this little community where lots of people get involved in the curating 10 pieces, and then they post the alpha pictures each day. And it’s just such a fun, like sense of community and like, lots of people coming together to enjoy fashion together.
So there’s lots of ways you can explore fashion and, you know, kind of incorporate it into your daily life without needing to shop all the time.
Yeah, and I love that really tangible idea of getting involved with these like 10 by 10s. And yeah, following you on Instagram listeners can follow you on Instagram, and, you know, get involved with things like that. I think that’s such a fun way.
Because you might feel this craving for novelty, like that’s a very human desire, we learned that in the episode was Shakaila Forbes Bell, who is a fashion psychologist that we do have this like desire for novelty. But the desire for novelty doesn’t always have to be met with new stuff.
It can be a new outfit combination with existing clothes, it can be tying the shirt a little bit differently, or reversing it or like just doing something clever. You know wearing a different pair of shoes with the same outfit that you love. Like, there’s different approaches to novelty than by shopping.
So yeah, absolutely.
So you are an advocate for capsule wardrobes. And personally, I’ve always loved this concept in theory, but I always struggled with the implementation.
So what advice do you have for building a capsule wardrobe in a sustainable way?
Yeah, I think it’s important to remember that like, the wardrobe you already own is the most sustainable wardrobe you can have. So really, starting with what you have and exploring it as much as possible.
And I often think people see their wardrobe and think like, oh, it doesn’t represent me. I don’t like anything that I go on, I need to start over again. But really, the pieces you already own can tell you so much about your personal style like it’s in there. You just have to kind of pull it out sometimes and you know, maybe it’s the addition of like a few key wardrobe staples that will make all the other pieces in your wardrobe more wearable.
Yeah, I think most of us think that our wardrobe is not like wearable in some way. And that’s, it’s not always the case. And we all have different lifestyle needs, and so our wardrobe staples kind of need to reflect that, you know, the needs of each person. So it’s really individualized kind of approach.
And it’s up to us to sort of define, like, what our personal style is and how our personal style kind of feeds into our lifestyle and the things that we do throughout the days. And it just kind of reflects both like the practical side of our lives, and also the creative sort of self-expression aspect of it.
Yeah, and when you do finally identify some of those key pieces that you’re missing, I would just suggest focusing on finding really well-made and timeless pieces that you can take care of, and that will last you a long time.
Yeah, I love that. And I didn’t even think about this before, but like, I think it was last year or two years ago, I got a denim jacket like hand me down from my mom. And it has pulled together so many outfits.
It’s been like, I can wear so many more of the pieces that I have. And it pulls together different combinations. And it’s just like this one simple, basic, or classic piece sort of has tied together like dozens of outfits for me. So that’s really interesting that you pointed that out?
Yeah, it’s actually funny because one of the realizations I had when I first started my kind of experimenting with capsule wardrobes is that I didn’t own a plain white t-shirt. And it just made my wardrobe so much harder to style. And now I’m such an advocate of just like wardrobe staples. They’re the best!
Yeah. So I think that one of the most common questions that comes up with capsule wardrobes or minimal wardrobes is like, is that tied with also a minimalist aesthetic? Like, does your style have to be neutrals and minimal in order to have a capsule wardrobe? Do you have to have that aesthetic to make it work for you?
Hmm. Yeah, I’m really glad that you brought this up, because I think that it’s a huge deterrent for people who really love to wear color. But, you know, they see all of these neutral capsule wardrobes and they think that the idea is not for them or that it’s too restrictive, aesthetically speaking, you know.
But I think that what most importantly defines a capsule wardrobe is really like the smaller number of pieces, and not the overall aesthetic of it.
Yeah, my capsule wardrobe is like full of neutrals, because wearing them makes me feel more calm and just comfortable. And I just really love a neutral palette. But that’s not to say that it’s the right way for everyone.
And, you know, I think a capsule wardrobe can be really a powerful tool for just exploring your personal style. So it should just be really reflective of the individual. So I do think that there’s a lot of flexibility that we have in this concept of a capsule wardrobe that they don’t all have to look the same way.
Yeah, I find these beautiful neutral capsule wardrobes very appealing from afar, but it’s not very relatable to me, like I know that I often reach for colors in my wardrobe, especially spring and summer,
But I love that you’re busting that myth because I do think that is a barrier, as you talked about.
So from your experience, what are the benefits of having a capsule wardrobe?
Hmm, there are so many really. But I think you know, it’s kind of amazing how much mental energy we put into just creating outfits each day and getting dressed. It becomes this really kind of emotional act and it can be a very emotionally exhausting act to you.
But there’s so much power really to be found in the way that we present ourselves to the world each day. And if we can make that act of getting dressed in an empowering one, you know, it’s just going to transform our lives and how we go about our day. And just everything really.
So I think one of the biggest benefits of a capsule wardrobe for me is to just get a lot more comfortable in the way I present myself to the world, and having it be more of like an honest reflection of my personal style and my creativity.
And I think just, yeah, we learned how to kind of let this act of getting dressed like feed us and, you know, make it a positive experience, rather than it being a really difficult thing that we struggle with. And that, you know, it’s like, creates rooms for all of these insecurities that we have around our body image can be really such a positive and powerful thing.
Yeah, I think it was Jess Atkins of the Stylebook app on the show, where she said, when you feel like you have nothing to wear, instead of adding to your closet, consider taking something out.
Because sometimes there’s this decision fatigue.I do feel like that happens to me, sometimes I’m like, so overwhelmed by my closet, I’ll just like wear my loungewear sweatsuit. Because it’s like, almost too many choices.
Yeah, I totally feel like that. I’ve had that decision fatigue before where it’s like, you stand in front of your closet in the morning, and you’re like, it’s too early, I can’t deal with this.
Yeah, yeah. And something I’ve seen, I don’t know if you do this, but something I mean, you’re traveling now, but something I’ve seen people do is they have this like clothing rack that they have like in their bedroom, or wherever it is, in their office. And they just set out, I don’t know, 10,15 pieces, like maybe they’re doing a short-term capsule wardrobe or something like that.
And that week or that month they’re just like, sort of picking from those pieces? Have you ever done something like that? I mean, I guess a 10 by 10 is a version of that, like, even if you’re not ready to like, figure out which pieces you want to rehome you can still sort of do a short-term capsule?
Yeah, absolutely. I do think it helps to actually physically, like, separate your clothing sometimes. And to kind of focus on like 10 pieces. And oddly enough, like kind of restrict yourself with the number of items that you can wear over a certain period of time. It gives you so much more appreciation for all the other things you own.
Because you start to think like, yeah, I have plenty of outfit options here. And I’m really enjoying these 10 pieces and getting a lot of wear out of them. But then, oh, like I’m really excited to wear this other thing again. And then you go back into, you know, looking at the rest of the clothing that you own and you see it with new eyes really.
Yeah. Oh, that’s lovely. I love that. So how has your capsule wardrobe journey and slow fashion journey impacted your life? Like beyond fashion, beyond your closet?
Yeah, I think it’s kind of created this ripple effect in my life. And has kind of, I’ve started to look at sustainability and minimalism in other areas of my life too. And I genuinely have like, a desire to just own fewer things now, and I don’t like connect a lot of my personal security with the things that I own anymore, which has been really transformational for me, I would say.
And again, this was a really gradual process for me too. I cannot stress that enough. But very recently, I’ve started to downsize a lot and so that everything that I own can now fit in a suitcase. And that’s been an interesting experience with like, the type of work that I do.
Because it is kind of hard to maintain that just, you know, partnering with brands and stuff. But I really value the freedom that it gives me really; like the freedom to move around. That minimalism has allowed me and I have all of that from just experimenting with capsule wardrobe was like I could have never imagined really, that I would have this like kind of big lifestyle or like mindset shift because you know, a couple of years ago, I didn’t know what to wear to work.
So yeah, it’s, it’s really been a wonderful tool to help me explore minimalism and other areas of my life too.
Yeah, yeah, it’s so interesting. And I totally relate to that. Like, I feel like when I slow down my consumption, my shopping with fashion, it really sort of overflowed rippled, you know, into other areas of my life. And I felt like I was more intentional about shopping, overall, for all sorts of things, beauty products, home stuff, just miscellaneous things.
And I would be a lot more intentional, because I sort of had developed those habits, those practices of like, yeah, waiting a period before hitting buy and asking some questions about, do I feel good about supporting this brand? Do I feel good about where this product comes from? Will it last for a really long time? Will I still be excited about it years later? Or is it just this fad item that I just want right now? And it really applies to so many things like just can start with fashion, but just expand so much broader.
And then you mentioned something that I wanted to follow up on, which was that it’s a bit of a challenge, sometimes working with brands, I wanted to ask you, what has it been like being like a slow fashion content creator where like, part of your business is working with brands? Like how do you balance that with trying to have a minimal wardrobe?
This is something I’m really struggling with at the moment, actually.
Yeah, because on the one hand, I want to be able to support brands, who I think are doing really great things. And I know, it’s not easy for brands to go through all these steps to become more sustainable and more transparent about how they make everything.
And I always try to see my platform as sort of a resource for people who, when they’re ready to buy something, they can make better choices, because they know that all these brands exist, that they have lots of options.
That’s something that I really struggled with, too, when I first decided to stop shopping fast fashion was that I felt like oh, I can’t find the aesthetic that I’m going for, from sustainable brands, because I thought they all looked a certain way. And or that like, oh, I have, I have so few options, I don’t even know where to buy like a basic pair of jeans sustainably if I needed them.
And now, you know, working in this kind of like slow fashion space, I’ve learned about so many brands, I really said, there’s so many options out there that fit all types of aesthetics and also likes all of the wonderful options that we have to shop secondhand too.
But yeah, just keeping the number of pieces low or smaller is really difficult for me. And I’ve kind of just started to be a lot more selective with the brands that I’m partnering with and exploring like other types of partnerships too, that don’t revolve around me like holding up a shirt.
And I just always try to bring other types of value to the content that I’m creating around styling and you know, like conversations on capsule wardrobes and things to let people know that there are other ways to explore sustainable fashion that aren’t just through working or through supporting certain brands.
Yeah, totally. I always wished when I was more doing like the photography and the influencer stuff, I always wish that I could just like rent it from a brand or like borrow from a brand for the photos and give it back. Like I felt like that would have been a really nice way because also part of the problem is sometimes they want like the content with a product or whatever.
And then you like, typically have to keep it which I often liked the style of the pieces. It just got to be too much. It’s a really hard balance. I don’t think there’s really an answer.
What you’re doing and that, you know, content creation space is so different from like this sort of typical influencer model of like shopping hauls and discount codes constantly every day, sharing the new latest launches about all these brands and stuff like that. So it’s it’s a lot to navigate, but I think you’re doing a beautiful job with it.
Thank you. I appreciate that. Yeah, there’s a lot of it’s just kind of contradictory to be a sustainable fashion influencer sometimes but yeah, I still see the value in what these brands are doing. So I’m excited to be able to partner them and to promote them in some way.
Yeah, I feel the same. It’s just I think about being like intentional about it and it goes back to this like — the unsustainability of like a restriction mindset. Like you can’t say no to everything. Like there is still something to celebrate. And I don’t think there’s something wrong with picking a few brands to really intentionally promote or, to buy some pieces that are really intentional.
It’s just about creating that healthier relationship to shopping and with clothes.
So where can listeners follow you and learn more from you?
So I have a website. It’s JessicaHarumi.com and I’m on Instagram and occasionally TikTok @jessica.harumi then also on YouTube too.
Perfect. And we will drop those links in the show notes so that you can check them out.
And then Jessica, thank you so much for your time today. I do have one final question for you that I ask all guests that come on the show. And that is what would a better future for fashion look like to you?
To me, I think it looks like more people wearing what they love and using fashion as this incredible tool of expression and transformation that it really is. And also as seeing the fashion industry as you know leading the conversation in sustainability.
And that’s a wrap for this episode with Jessica. If you liked this episode and think someone in your life would find it useful, take a screenshot or grab the share link and send this episode their way. If you want to share on Instagram, you can find this podcast @consciousstyle and Jessica @jessica.harumi.
And if you’re looking for more episodes similar to this one, I recommend Episode 7: How to Make the Most Out of Your Wardrobe with Jess Atkins, Episode 17: More Creativity, Less Consumption with Alyssa Beltempo, and Episode 34: The Power of Style with Elyse Holladay.
And then of course we’ll be back with another episode of the podcast next Tuesday. That is also going to be on this theme of slowing down fashion and degrowth or post-growth in fashion. Next week’s episode is more of an industry perspective rather than a personal one, although of course, it’s all connected.
And if you want even more sustainable fashion content, definitely subscribe to my free weekly newsletter The Conscious Edit, you can find that at consciouslifeandstyle.com/edit. In these newsletters, I share articles I’m reading, podcasts I’m listening to, campaigns I’m supporting, brands I’m browsing, and all that kind of good stuff.
Alright, everybody, that is all I have for you today. I’ll see you again next Tuesday. Or I’ll see you in your inbox on Saturday if you subscribe to the newsletter.
Jessica Harumi is a sustainable fashion blogger & YouTuber, based in Seattle, WA. On her platforms she shares her favorite ethical and sustainable brands, tips on building a capsule wardrobe each season and other lifestyle and slow travel musings. She believes that personal style can inform a more conscious lifestyle.