At the time when COVID-19 started spreading across Europe, it was Fashion Week in Milan and then Paris. Despite the pace at which the virus was moving and the warning signs from China, I remember most of the fashion crowd moved without hesitation from Milan to Paris, pretending that nothing was really going on. I’m not here to shame anyone, especially when I’m one of those who frequently visits designer’s fashion shows during Milan Fashion Week. However, the whole situation massively reinforced the question: Do we need so many Fashion Weeks and so many people flying around the world for a couple of days to only see one designer’s show?
The answer is that we may indeed not need so many Fashion Weeks and so many fashion collections in one year. But this would also mean less money spent on airplane tickets and in the restaurants, bars, cafes and hotels, which also means less people employed and less income for everyone…and that’s the point at which a lot of people give up! It’s easier to either NOT change the system, or just park the thinking required for a later date.
The thing that we need to realise though is that COVID-19 came to remind us of the stark reality that we may not have much time left! In fact, we can never know how much time we have, but that’s exactly why we need to start living and being more responsible right now!
So, where do we start with sustainable and responsible living? Recycling may be one step in the right direction but is it enough? What more can we do for the environment and our health?
I personally turned to rethinking my spending habits, my consumer choices and my way of living. During lockdown I had the time to reorganise my home and specifically how conscious my wardrobe is. I felt this inner desire to live with less and dress more simply, but more authentically. I asked myself, “Can I buy only sustainable – what’s out there at the moment and what can I afford? How much should I buy in the future? Do I need so many clothes, shoes and accessories?”.
With a head full of questions and a heart desiring answers, I reached out for some help and mentoring from someone I’ve secretly admired and been following on Instagram for several years. Virginie Peny used to be a fellow blogger in the fashion world who seems to have mastered a conscious wardrobe. She’s a writer and creative who has often shone the spotlight on the subject of sustainability, even before it became popular on Instagram.
She used to blog on her former blog virginiepeny.com about “Do it Yourself” (DIY), which in some way also means sustainable living, because it’s about self-sufficiency. She’s demonstrated all sorts of things like how to alter pieces in our wardrobes that don’t fit anymore or that we feel bored with. Virginie has worked with The Fashion Revolution Switzerland, whose mission is to hold brands accountable and encourage citizens to become aware of the complex topics that define today’s fashion industry. Virginie has also been a contributing writer for Annabelle.
When I called Virginie, it turned out she was finishing a brand new project, namely writing a book about her personal story with health. On her journey with sharing experiences and knowledge about living better with less, fashion still has its place in her new project.
I know that Virginie has a lot to say on the topic of sustainability, and here’s what we discussed: