We talked about sustainable fashion with Anna Blom, a journalist and speaker with a passion for fashion and sustainability.
Anna’s interest in sustainable fashion started many years ago, with a major turning point during a press trip she took to Shanghai in 2016 to write about a sustainability award.
“That the fashion industry is such a major climate culprit had been unknown to me, as a fashion journalist, until then – and the trip was an eye-opener to say the least. I was both enlightened and devastated. How could all these wonderful things cause SO much harm?”
“We can help save the world through our clothes”
“Our consumption of clothes and textiles causes 4% of the total greenhouse gas emissions in Sweden, and clothes and shoes cause about 2-8% globally. So somewhere around 2-8% of our emissions come from textiles – and partly from our wardrobes. One can feel helpless, even apathetic, in the planetary emergency we find ourselves in. What does it matter what I do?”
“BUT I believe that it does matter! We CAN all help to save the world through how we look after our clothes! It may sound silly, but that spirit is important to me. I believe that you and I can make a difference. We make choices every day and how we ‘vote with our wallets’ – what we spend our money on – has a global impact.”
“I admit, that sometimes I lose interest and feel ridiculous dragging another bag of odd socks to the textile collection. What does it matter what I do? How do I know that my old socks won’t end up in a landfill in Ghana?”
“Navigating the jungle of different sustainability messages is difficult. And it’s difficult, if not impossible, to decipher the sustainability promises brands make to us. But I have learned to stop listening to that inner critical voice. Doing something is better than doing nothing.”
Believes in sustainable development
On her own approach to fashion and consumption, Anna is making it clear that she is far from perfect herself.
“I buy new clothes. I fly. I believe that economic growth and environmental issues can be combined in sustainable development. But it’s HOW we do it… Today I buy fewer garments and have a dream of a small but useful capsule wardrobe where everything can be combined. I’m not there yet, but I’m on my way. I also shop much more secondhand nowadays.”
“To understand how and where I can make the biggest difference and whether it matters if I buy those ballerina shoes this fall or not, is key. On the whole, of course, it does not matter, but to link back to what I said earlier, I think it is more about adopting a mindset. It all adds up.”
Anna’s best tips to enjoy fashion more sustainably
“Use the clothes you already have in your closet. If you need to buy something new, think about how many times you will use it. When shopping, choose second-hand over new purchases. To save climate impact when shopping second-hand, you need to replace a planned new purchase. Compare this to, for example, when you ‘save’ money by buying on sale. You don’t, of course, because you spend money if you buy a jacket on sale.”
“But if you replace buying a jacket at full price, then you actually save money if you find it at half price. This is important to say as second-hand has somehow come to be seen as a write off, seen as you’re doing something good without thinking the whole process through. We must replace a planned new purchase in order for it to have a positive climate impact.”
What do you wish everyone knew about sustainable fashion?
“That the biggest negative climate impact of a garment is in its production (80%). If you use a garment for twice as long, you reduce its negative climate impact by about half.”
“My feed gives you tips on how to be more stylish without being a professor of sustainability. My driving force on Instagram is to make difficult facts simple and usable. If I can inspire someone along the way, that’s a bonus.”