Questions To Ask Yourself Before Buying New Clothes

Impulsive shopping. We all have been guilty of this. The marketing and social media worlds are really good for making us feel that we ‘need’ new clothes every week. We feel pressure to be on trend and with the fast fashion at its peak, it’s getting easy to buy a lot of clothes for little money. But these clothes end up in the closet, worn once and never again. The fashion industry is the second dirtiest in the world. This industry is responsible for big amounts of water consumption and CO2 emissions. The textile dyeing is a huge polluter of water due to the toxic chemicals that the production involves. Fashion is a complicated business involving long and varied supply chains of production, raw material, textile manufacture, clothing construction, shipping, retail, use and ultimate disposal of the garment

If you want to be more of a conscious fashion consumer, consider asking yourself these questions before buying anything new:

1. Can I find it second-hand?
Check your local second-hand stores and charity shops before you go to a fast fashion store. You might find just what you are looking for in a perfect condition.

2. Do I already have something similar in my closet?
If you already have something like this, there is no need to add it to your wardrobe.

3. Can I match it with my current wardrobe?
If you need more items to combine, consider if it’s really necessary. Buying something new should not mean that you need to buy a bunch of new things to go with it.

4. Will I wear it regularly?
I’m a big fan of Olivia Firth’s 30 Wears Campaign, which encourages people only to buy things you think you will wear at least 30 times. If you can’t see yourself wearing the item on a regular basis, rethink the purchase. The key is to look for clothes and shoes that blend into your wardrobe. This way, you’ll maximize your clothes and create a stylish and functional wardrobe.

5. Is the style one that will last?
Trends are very cruel. They make us believe we need them in our lives. But will that investment be on trend next spring? If not, skip it. Experience has shown us that these trendy pieces will end up a year later in the donate pile. Trends are manufactured by the fast fashion industry and change quickly.

6. What is this piece made of?
If the fabric is synthetic, rethink your purchase. If you really need that piece of clothes, try to look for a version with natural fabrics like cotton or hemp. Investing in higher-quality materials means a higher-quality experience wearing the garment and less guilt about its environmental toll.

7. Does it fit perfectly?
If you don’t feel comfortable right after you tried the piece on, there is a chance that you are not going to feel comfortable wearing that piece ever. If you are uncomfortable in the item or you don’t like it 100%, it’s not worth spending money on.

8. Do I really like it?
If after 10 minutes you are still debating whether you should buy an item it or not, it’s probably because you don’t really love, or need the item. The best is to leave it and walk away. When buying a new item, you should always be confident in your purchases.

Consider these questions next time you are going shopping. This way you will become more conscious of the purchases you make and won’t suffer from buyer’s remorse again.

With Love,

Alisson

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Sustainable Brand: Po-Zu

Fast fashion doesn’t only affect the clothing industry, but the accessories and footwear industry as well. Mass-production eats up resources and sends an average of three pairs of shoes per person to landfill every year. The quest for cheaper and faster production has encouraged the exploitation of workers through long hours, low payments and dangerous working conditions.

Luckily, there are some ethical footwear brands that are busy changing this situation. One of them is called Po-Zu. To them, the worker’s rights are very important. The shoes are made in factories where they are committed to the highest standards of ethical manufacturing, they have a strict non-toxic policy, and they recycle nearly all their waste products, including fabric off-cuts and water.

The materials of their shoes come from naturally renewable sources and are responsibly harvested. They don’t contain pesticides, bleaches or toxic dyes and are locally sourced wherever possible.

On these series of pictures, I am wearing the ‘low cut vegan lace-up’ shoes. They are made from organic cotton and fair trade rubber. The pictures were made in Amersfoort by photographer Marisa Elisa Photography.

Fair trade rubber shoesPo Zu shoesOrganic cotton canvas shoesEthically made shoes

What I´m wearing:
Shirt // Organic Basics Use this code to get 20% discount: OBxsimmonds20 Shop here
Leggings // Stronger
Jacket // Second-hand
Shoes // Po-Zu

With Love,
Alisson

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7 Beachwear Brands That Use Recycled Materials

Summer is just around the corner. It’s time to go to the beach, relax and sunbath. And of course, it’s time to show off your summer body. Whether you prefer a bikini or a swimsuit, let’s try to make this coming season a green one. How? By investing in sustainable swimwear brands.

I discovered some brands that use recycled polyester, organic cotton, lyocell and the latest trend: Econyl (made from recycled fishing nets). While all of the following swimwear brands still use nylon and polyester, these fibers are recycled from ghost fishing nets and plastic bottles. By recycling, we are not increasing the demand for new plastic and are helping to give new life to what otherwise would have end up in the trash.

Today I listed out my favorite beachwear brands for you:

1. Underprotection

Sustainable bikini underprotection
Picture from Underprotection’s website

Underprotection is a Danish brand based in Copenhagen. They make sustainable lingerie, loungewear, and swimwear. They only use organic cotton, recycled polyester, recycled wool, milk, and lyocell in their collection. Oh, and they only have two collections per year and care about a fair production.

2. Baiia

 

 

Baiia is an Australian swimwear brand. The pieces are made from industrial and post-consumer waste such as fishnets, carpets, plastic bottles, and textiles. The recycled fabrics are certified with the 100 by Oeko-Tex standard; the world’s leader in testing fabrics to regulate harmful substances. Their pieces are reversible making it a perfect piece for a minimalistic wardrobe.

3. Pura

 

 

Pura is a Swiss brand of swimwear. The name means pure, which refers to pure fabrics and a pure conscience. All the bikinis are handmade in Switzerland, using recycled fabrics or fabric that is certified with the OEKO STANDARD 100 which means that the fabric is tested for harmful substances and sustainability. Pura’s swimwear pieces are a limited edition, this way they avoid an overproduction.

4. Lemon Spicy

Lemon spicy sustainable swimwear
Picture from Lemon Spicy’s website

Lemon Spicy is an Australian swimwear brand. The pieces are made from 78% Econyl and 22% lycra. This mix makes the pieces more chlorine resistant than the average swimwear fabric. It also has UV protection and is sunscreen resistant.

5. Morena Jambo

 

 

Morena Jambo is a Portuguese brand with 10 years in the market. Their objective is to promote sustainability in fashion, from an ethical production. Their garments are made from 100% Econyl and their biggest inspiration is the nature.

6. Coco Frio

cocofriocollection
Picture from Coco Frio’s website

Coco Frio is a French brand based in Paris. Fashion, ethics, and eco-responsibility it’s at the core of this brand. All of their garments are ethically made in Italy. Using the fabric Econyl.

7. Anekdot boutique

Anekdot suit
Photography by Lauren See and Colette Pomerleau http://www.colettepomerleau.com

Anekdot is an upcycling brand based in Germany. They produce their collections with fabrics that are left behind in the fashion industry. They also use Econyl which is also made from post-consumer waste. The elastics of their garments were bought in London from a closing down factory in the UK.

I hope you get inspired and liked my list. I’m I missing any brand? Let me know in the comments below.

With Love,

Alisson

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Sustainable Brand: Paula Janz Maternity

Being pregnant and having a minimalistic wardrobe don’t go hand in hand. With a growing belly, it is likely to need new clothes. I tried to avoid getting new clothes as long as possible, but slowly the time came and the first thing I needed was a bigger jacket. The only thing I was sure about is that I didn’t want a jacket that I would only wear during the last months of the pregnancy. While searching I found the German brand ‘Paula Janz Maternity’. Paula is a fashion designer from Berlin. She makes maternity clothes for the modern mom. Combining urban, timeless and elegant looks, she makes pieces that are possible to wear during and after pregnancy. The pieces are made in Europe under fair conditions.

From her winter collection, I got the ‘Baby Love Parka’. The parka has a hoodie, two front pockets and it has an extra insert that you can adapt in the zipper. This extra insert is very practical for a growing belly. And later on, when the baby is born it’s also handy to have it because you can comfortably carry your baby in the coat.

On these series of pictures, I show you how I style the ‘Baby Love Parka’ from Paula Janz Maternity. The pictures were made by photographer Marisa Elisa Photography.


What I´m wearing:
Jacket // Paula Janz maternity
Leggings // Erlich textil
Shoes // Second-lifestyle Amersfoort (second-hand shop)
Backpack // JW PEI

With Love,
Alisson

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Sexy And Sustainable Made Undies

Cheap underwear is made from synthetic fabrics. Mostly polyester and nylon. These fabrics are loaded with chemicals that  are not bad for your health, ‘apparently’.  The garment workers who made such underwears are suffering and not getting paid enough to make our €2,- panties. We need to stop buying cheap undies. And whether it’s healthy or not we need to stop rubbing toxic chemicals on our most sensitive parts.

I admit it. My underwear drawer contains a lot of cheap H&M and Victoria’s Secrets panties. Those purchases were from before my conscious time. Now that I have been slowly replacing my wardrobe with ethical brands, the time has come to start having underwears from sustainable materials. I started my research and have been adding quality underwear to my drawer. While ethical and slow fashion is growing by the minute there are also new brands making ethical lingerie that do more than keep you comfy. I have gathered five of my favorite underwear companies for you:

1. Erlich Textil

Erlich is based in Cologne, Germany. They make timeless and sexy lingerie with responsible materials. They work with a family-owned textile manufacturer in Romania. The producers they work with use the GOTS standard (Global Organic Textile Standard), ÖkoTex100 certification and carries the BSCI seal of quality (Business Social Compliance Initiative). The BSCI is an organization that works to protect workers’ rights. The garments are made of organic cotton or modal.

2. Anekdot

Anekdot makes ethical underwear and beachwear. The boutique is based in Berlin. The complete process from sketch to finished garment is hand-craft in the studio in Berlin. In the process, they upcycle and use leftovers of fabric as much as possible. They only make the garments they can with the fabrics they have. That’s why the stock is very limited. Their designs are sexy and bold.

3. Troo

Slow and responsible fashion is at the core of the founders of Troo: Nic and Steff Fitzgerald.  For them it is very important to partner up with young designers that also share the same beliefs. Producing beautiful and sexy undies that are responsible as possible with the environment and with the garment workers. The brand of their bralettes is called: Nette Rose. Designed and produced by Megan Miller. All the pieces are handmade in Cape Town (from the same country where the founders of Troo are from). The boutique is based in Switzerland.

4. WORON

WORON is a Scandinavian Brand based in Copenhagen, founded by sisters Arina and Anya Woron. They make comfortable and timeless garments. The fabrics they use are all plant-based. A combination of European produced modal and organic cotton are in all of their pieces. The garments are made in a family owned factory in Hungary. The factory has the ÖkoTex and GOTS certifications. Hungary has a strict working regulations both in terms of minimum wages and working standards. The factory is mostly run by women, employing mainly women and they offer additional benefits for working mothers. (Yeah!)

5. Comazo

Comazo is a German family business. They only use organic cotton for their garments. All the labels as well, sewing threads, and the buttons meet the GOTS standard. Comazo understand bra’s. They know which cup size you can make with organic cotton and when more cup seams are needed for extra support. The straps are slightly wider so it won’t cut into the skin. Due to the soft materials and the careful production process, without chemicals, the Comazo underwear is suitable for people with allergies or sensitive skin.

Which one is your favorite?
Look at the whole list of sustainable underwear brands in my shopping guide.

With Love,
Alisson

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Stop Buying Cheap Bad Quality Clothes, Do This Instead

One year ago, I decided to stop buying clothes from fast fashion brands. At the time, I was already aware of all the problems fast fashion brings to the environment and to the garment workers. Still, I occasionally felt into temptation and bought some clothes from fast fashion brands. The last time I went to one of those stores and saw everything on sale made me feel so bad, that I promise myself to not buy new cheap clothes again.

Before my conscious time, like most consumers, I was unaware of the real impact of cheap clothing. They’re designed to be thrown away after a few washes. The fabrics are mostly synthetic, which isn’t sustainable in the long run when you consider the amount of water and chemicals used for the production. On top of that, when a garment is so cheap, it’s a sign that the person who made it was not paid a living wage for their work.

This last issue is the one that bothers me the most. The majority of the garment workers are women under the age of 25. They come from poor regions and have no other choice than work for a low price in horrendous conditions. The more I read about this issue, the more I feel that I can not support unethical brands anymore.

As a fashion lover, it was hard for me to make the decision to stop buying clothes from cheap brands and instead to look for ethical brands. But I decided it was the right thing to do for our planet and for all those women out there who didn’t have the “luck” to be born in a middle-class family like me.

As an Instagrammer, I have a constant change in my wardrobe. But now I change it in a conscious way. Instead of buying cheap clothes, I do other things:

1. Second-hand shopping.
When I “need” a new piece of clothing, I first search all the second-hand and charity shops around my city. My tip: Be patience. With that, I always find what I need. By doing this, I save money and I reduce the production of new garments.

2. Care more for the clothes you own.
Now that I buy fewer clothes, I take better care of the ones I have. I learned to wash less and air them more often. At the end of the day, I hang the clothes that I used on an open space instead of leaving them on the floor. This helps me to keep my clothes in good condition. As for my jeans, I wear them more than 5 times before throwing them in the laundry. I wash my laundry in the washing machine in the 30° degrees setting. I use a little bit of detergent or washing nuts from Seepje. And I add some vinegar in the softener space.

3. Search for outfit inspiration on Pinterest.
There’s a big chance that your closet is full of clothes that are not being used to their best potential. If so, try to pick one item and look for outfits inspiration on Pinterest. Write down, for example: ‘red sweater outfit ideas’, ‘green pants outfit ideas’… This trick helped me to wear the clothes I already have in different styles and made me feel as if I got new clothes.

4. Shop less, choose well.
To do this, it’s important to be more organized with the clothes you own. Sell or give away all the clothes that you don’t like anymore. Keep only the clothes that you love. This helped me to have an overview of my clothes. It makes it easier to check if I really need a new piece in my closet.
But when I do buy a new piece of clothing or accessory, I make sure it’s an ethical brand. To find out, I search information about where the garment is made and from which materials it’s produced. If it’s not on the brand’s website I email my questions to them. If their answers feel good, I proceed with getting new clothes. Buying like this, helps me to choose well when I want to buy something new. I have learned to take my time when I search for a new piece. If you don’t have the time to do the search, you can check this list: “sustainable shops guide”. I have collected those names since I started my journey. Sustainable fashion brands are a little bit more expensive than fast fashion brands, which helps to buy only the garments that you really need.

5. Lend clothes from friends and family.
Do you have a wedding/party/gala coming up? Before looking for something new, ask your girlfriends or sister/cousins to lend you clothes for special events. It’s very common to own fancy dresses but only wear them once. Probably your friends have this kind of dresses as well. By lending a piece you will be saving money and no more clothes will need to be produced.

To leave you some inspiration, here are some of my outfits from last year. All from second-hand or ethically made clothes.

Dungarees and sweater from a second-hand shop in Amersfoort, shoes from Nae and beanie from a vintage shop in Paris. Picture by: Mitchel Lensink
Dress from Jan n’ June and bag Matt & Nat. Picture by: Mitchel Lensink
Dress from Studio Yunit, bag from Matt & Nat, second-hand and boots from The Next Closet. Picture by: Jacco Oskam
Pre-own shirt from a friend, skirt from a flea market, bag from a charity shop and shoes from a second-hand shop in Amersfoort. Picture by: Marisa Elisa Photography
Second-hand jacket and trousers from a charity shop and pre owned shoes from a friend. I got them via a swap party. Picture by: Marisa Elisa Photography

With Love,
Alisson

Read more about fast fashion:
5 Truths the fast fashion industry doesn’t want you to know
The high cost of our cheap fashion
Fast fashion, cheap fashion
Why I stopped shopping at H&M
What H&M doesn’t want you to be ‘conscious’ about

SUSTAINABLE GIFT GUIDE

Christmas is just around the corner. This is the most joyous season filled with family, friends, and food. And let’s not forget about: presents! Shopping for presents can be a hard job. Even harder if you want to give something ethically made, organic or vegan which doesn’t break your bank account.

On my Pinterest account, I have gathered 50+ ideas for sustainable presents. From wooden watches to DIY whisky bottles. They are not only eco-friendly but also mainly chosen to suit both men and women. This makes your holiday giving a little bit easier.

 

 

Check the whole gift guide here:
https://nl.pinterest.com/alissonsimmonds/sustainable-gift-guide/

With Love,

Alisson

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Sustainable Brand: Troo

Ethically made lingerie has the bad reputation of being boring and basic. It took me some time until I found this sexy badass lingerie brand: Nette Rose that I discovered through Troo. A webshop that sells only ethically made pieces.

Slow and responsible fashion is at the core of the founders of Troo: Nic and Steff Fitzgerald.  For them is very important to partner up with young designers that also share the same beliefs. Producing beautiful and sexy clothes that are responsible as possible with the environment and with the garment workers.

On these series of pictures, I´m wearing the bralettes from the brand Nette Rose that I got through Troo. This is a brand of intimates designed and produced by Megan Miller. The pieces are handmade in Cape Town (from the same country where the founders of Troo are from).
The pictures were made in my home by the talented photographer Marisa Broekhuizen Check her work HERE.

 

7 DSC_8778
Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

 

 

 

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Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

 

What I´m wearing:
Bralette // FREYA size S in burgundy from Nette Rose via Troo (Get it here)
Pants // Sideswept dhoti from Matter (Get it here)
Lipstick // Boho lipstick “figue” 309 via Blossom Up natuurlijke verzorging (Get it here)

 

DSC_8878
Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

 

 

 

DSC_8919
Picture by Marisa Elisa Photography

What I´m wearing:
Bralette // ANNA size L from Nette Rose via Troo (Get it here)
Skirt // Lievevrouw snuffelmarkt Amersfoort
Lipstick // Boho lipstick figue 309 via Blossom Up natuurlijke verzorging (Get it here)

 

With Love,
Alisson

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10 TIPS FOR MASTERING SECONDHAND SHOPPING

It´s been now more than 5 years since I started buying second-hand clothes. I have to admit that at the very beginning I was skeptical and didn’t like the idea of buying clothes previously worn by someone I don’t know. That feeling went away as soon as I found clothes that look as good as new and from brands that I would normally also buy new.

Buying used clothes, it´s a more sustainable way to shop because it saves the resources needed to produce an entirely new item. Purchasing used clothing is an easy way to reduce your impact on the environment.

I know that walking into a second-hand or charity shop can be totally overwhelming. Racks overflow with t-shirts, dresses, jackets, shoes, that you don´t even know where to start, I’ve been there too. But practice makes the master, and in the past years, I’ve picked up some tricks for managing the chaos.

Here are my ten tips to help you become a successful second-hand shopper just like me.

1. Do a little research and google the second-hand and charity shops that are around the area you want to go. Once you know where they are, make a little route of where are you going to go first. I save the places as favorite on my phone in the google maps app and the best route will show. 

Picture: Gert Zomer

2. The best is to go with a friend and to make a date out of it. It can be fun to help each other out and you can finish it with a coffee and cake in a nice place ;).

3. Go with a blank idea of what you want to find. Second-hand shops are constantly changing and you will never know what you might find.

Picture: Gert Zomer

4. Once you are in the shop, walk around the entire store and grab everything that catches your attention, even if you are not sure about it and if it´s not your size. You can go through your selection later and decide what to keep.

5. Try on the clothes that you are not sure if they fit you. Then you might decide what to buy and what to leave behind. Please note: Buy only items that fit. Even if it´s something you are looking for. If it doesn’t fit, it is going to end up in your closet doing nothing.

6. Be aware of stains, and clothes that are damaged. The best is to check before you buy them. On all second-hand and charity shops I go, they have a no-return policy.

Picture: Gert Zomer

8. Save your energy and just try the clothes you chose during the first round. Once you tried on and decide what to buy,  pay for your clothes and move on to the next shop.

I go to the closest charity shop at least twice per month. I quickly go through racks waiting for something to catch my attention. Every visit is short and since a lot of the merchandise, I’ve seen before it makes it easy for me to spot what’s new and worthy.

Picture: Gert Zomer

9. Don’t Be Disappointed if you go back home empty handed. Having an all second-hand wardrobe takes time and a couple of visits to the shops. Lots of the time, I go back home without anything, if there’s nothing I like on the racks, I just leave it and save my money for the next visit.

10. If you do find amazing items, as soon as you get home, make sure you put all your new clothes directly into your washing basket and wash them as soon as possible so you can start wearing them.

I hope you like these tips and get inspired to go second-hand shopping. Do you miss any tip? Let me know in the comments below.

With Love,

Alisson
P.S.: All my outfits from this post are second-hand.

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SOME TRUTHS ABOUT THE PROJECT 333

Almost two months have passed since I started the project 333. I keep on repeating outfits and for most of the time I love it, but some days I get tired of it…
These are my outfits from the past 3 weeks.

 

During the 5th week, I replaced a basic white v-neck t-shirt for a blue and white striped top. I didn’t like the feeling I got when I wore the basic white tee so that´s why I decided to replace it.

 Some truths about this challenge: 
I feel good about my clothes and about this challenge, but some days when I go out of the house and see people wearing new clothes, I get caught looking at the latest trends and start feeling that I am left out. This doesn’t happen so often, but somehow I do get influenced by the trends and in the “must-have” feeling.

Checking social media too much can be dangerous. More specific: Instagram. This channel is a constant reminder that your life is not as good as the life of an Instagrammer. They wear the coolest clothes and the latest trends. This can be discouraging while doing the challenge. I have to admit that sometimes I do get bad feelings and have to remind myself why do I do this challenge.

Some days I do feel a little bit bored of my clothes. I chose for basic colors because of convenience, but I do miss some colors and patterns. I might add some items if the feeling stays.

 

Until now, the item that I wear the most is the black ripped jeans, and the one that I wear the least is the denim skirt.

Are you also trying this challenge? Do you come across similar issues? Let me know in the comments below.

With Love,

Alisson

 

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