Meet the blogger who proves that “sustainable fashion” isn’t an oxymoron.

March 31, 2017

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This week, we had the pleasure of interviewing Natalie Smith! She’s the creator of Sustainably Chic, a conscious consumer blog and community. With her simple mantra of “shop positive, shop small, shop sustainably”, her work inspires and guides her readers to make the best ethical and eco-friendly buying choices...while looking smashing at the same time.

Natalie gave us the scoop on what sustainable fashion means to her, the challenges within the industry, and even the types of products she gets most excited about reviewing. Read on to find out!

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MABLE: You say you created sustainably-chic.com because fashion can exist responsibly. What was your “aha” moment, if any, that brought about that belief?

NATALIE: I was a fashion major in college, so most of my days were spent learning the ins-and-outs of the industry. I couldn’t believe the amount of waste and unethical treatment. It took a few years for me to realize something was very wrong, and I couldn’t wait for it to be fixed on its own. Unfortunately, there weren’t Netflix documentaries or social media influencers showing me the way. It’s been 7 years of figuring things out on my own - but the last 3 have really shown me fashion can be responsible, and many more people care to make this possible.

M: You believe a sustainable community requires society, economics, and the environment to exist in harmony. What have you learned about how these pillars do and don’t work well together?

N: This is the tricky part! All three of them can contradict each other easily - one product may create a lot of jobs but at the expense of the environment, or some traditional craft may not be bringing in a sustainable amount of income to support a family. It takes more time to figure out a balance between the three {especially with the concept being quite subjective}, but it’s possible.

M: How does the need for this balance create challenges for the sustainable fashion industry?

N: Some of the smaller brands I work with face this challenge because of money or resources, but knowing they are making the effort to become more sustainable is encouraging. We need to support the ones who are at least trying and have a goal. This concept hasn’t been trending for long, and at this point it’s all about the baby steps.

M: You probably get a lot of requests for product reviews, right?

N: Yes! I probably receive about 5-10 new requests a day so I have a great amount to choose from at the end of the week.

M: What are some of the main criteria you’re looking for when deciding?

N: Because I receive so many, their aesthetic really has to grab my attention. If it’s something I would wear, then I start digging. Who makes it? What’s it made of? Is the price point okay? I can’t sign on an eco product that isn’t made ethically or an ethically-produced product made with toxic dyes.

M: What does it take to get you excited about a product?  

N: Finding a good looking product encompassing every single aspect of sustainability is what makes me excited. I think our society has gotten stuck into believing sustainable fashion {or what some call ‘eco’ fashion} is not aesthetically pleasing. I love when I can prove them wrong.

M: What kinds of products seem to be doing well in the sustainability arena?

N: Some of the products doing the best are the ones you would never guess were ‘sustainable’. They look like what you find out of a magazine or your local mall. People don’t want to change their style so why make sustainable fashion look any different?

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M: Some people may believe that in order to be eco-friendly, you must sacrifice indulgences, like luxury and style. Your mission is to prove otherwise. Why do you believe it’s so important to be able to have a fashionable and chic lifestyle, while still being environmentally responsible?

N: Life seems pretty boring without art, right? This is how I feel about fashion - it’s art and I value it. I think the idea of having all or nothing is too simple. Life is about balance, and being able to enjoy what you are drawn to is a part of that balance. At this time, it’s about spreading the message that we can enjoy the things we like; we just need to be mindful of the cost it has on the planet.

M: What goes through your mind when you look good, feel good, and know you’re helping keep the planet healthy all at the same time?

N: When you slow down and really think about the things you value, you start to form a greater appreciation for them. So looking good, feeling good and keeping the planet healthy is balance for me, and I can’t imagine my life without it.

Thank you, Natalie, for sharing with us your sustainable fashion expertise, and offering a glimpse into your world!


See all of Natalie’s great advice and product reviews at sustainably-chic.com.



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