Jenna is the creative behind the Melbourne-based style blog, Ironic Minimalist.
She is passionate about creating awareness around issues relating to fast fashion and focusing on educating readers on how to become a more conscious shopper.
Jenna has some great tips about slow fashion and how we can all become more conscious shoppers.
Tell us about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
Hello! I’m Jenna, Aka the Ironic Minimalist. I am a stylist who focuses on all forms of slow fashion, be it op shopping, buying from ethical brands or swapping. I aim to educate people on the issues that surround fast fashion and show them a way to live and shop more sustainably.
What was your pathway to advocating slow fashion?
It just happened. When I was studying at Australian Style Institute in Melbourne, I had developed an interest in minimalism. That soon linked to zero waste living, sustainable fashion and veganism. When it came time to practice my learnings on real people, I reached out for clients via a Facebook group called ‘Rough Trade’ (a place where things and skills are traded for other things). I guess it was just the channel that I used to reach out, but I soon discovered that my clients had the same values of op shopping and sustainable brands too! As I grew my knowledge, I decided to take my Ironic Minimalist branding down the ethical fashion route and I then become The Slow Fashion Stylist.
What is your approach to buying fashion? Do you research the brands and ethics before buying?
I usually buy from a trusted brand, one that has ethical accreditations and is well known in the ethical fashion space. If it’s a new brand, I will ask a lot of questions. I love it when I get to meet the maker of my clothing. I do prefer to buy my clothing second hand, but sometimes there just isn’t what I am looking for at the time available. I am also vegan, and I find it hard to find good quality vegan leather shoes. So, I usually buy those new.
I use apps like ‘Good on you’ to find out how a brand rates, and then I will do some more research, including emailing the brand and asking where their clothes are made and if they have any eco accreditations. Most brands are usually happy to reply, but if something doesn’t make sense or looks fishy, I try to find an alternative.
What are the easiest steps a consumer can take to become a more conscious shopper?
Slow down your consumption is key. We buy way too much stuff now days, so its best for our pockets and the Earth if we buy less.
Search for it second hand before committing to buy brand new. There are so many textiles out there and we must try them before buying new. Even shop your wardrobe because most of the time we buy the same thing repeatedly without even realising. Its just human nature to do that.
If you need to buy new, ask questions. Ask who made my clothes and where? What dyes do you use> are your workers paid a living wage? When brands see that we want to know the answers to these questions they will become more transparent. If the answers seem generic or not specific enough find an alternative and tell the brand that you would like to see them improve on these issues.
Overall, we just need to change our habits
How do you help people find their individual style?
I have a process that helps me to understand what the client wants to achieve in a session with me. This step by step process takes me through the clients feeling towards themselves, their current lifestyle and their wardrobe. It addresses any issues they may have, where they are feeling stuck and what outcome they want to achieve. I then work with them to achieve that goal via a wardrobe session where we create outfits, determine any gaps or responsibly discard anything that doesn’t work.
If needed, we then take a little shopping trip where I help the client to fill these missing gaps with clothing that makes them feel amazing. I often take my client to op shops, consignment and vintage stores and other ethical fashion places. Together we create a wardrobe that not only fits my client’s lifestyle, makes them look amazing, but aligns with their values too.
How would you like to see the fashion industry evolve?
I would love to see more existing brands taking care of the waste they produce and finding more ways to reduce this. Whether it be cleaning the water from dyeing to reuse or even drink. Or using more recycled or less water intensive fibres in their garments. Up and coming designers are creating brands with sustainability at their core, which I love!
Overall, I think the larger brands need to pay their garment workers a living wage. There will always be those larger brands if people are still buying from them, so we need to advocate for those who have lost their voices
What is your favourite piece in your wardrobe at the moment and why?
Oh, there are so many it’s hard to pick! They are all like good friends!
I recently invested in a Kowtow cropped cardigan. I have been on the look out for a good cotton cropped knit and this one ticks all the boxes. Its not oversized so it doesn’t drown my figure, and it is a beautiful soft organic cotton. I bought it at the start of October thinking I would not wear it until Winter, but as Melbourne weather is so crazy. I have been able to wear it right into November!
To find out more about Jenna and to follow her please head to her website www.ironicminimalist.com or Instragram @ironicminimalist
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