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Rethinking sustainable styling with Amelia Levin-Sheffield

words by Clotilde Moullec

April 2, 2021

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Amelia Levin-Sheffield is a final year student at Central Saint Martins and an assistant stylist interweaving environmental studies with her job. As part of our new sustainable styling series, we have asked Amelia how she pictures this topic, how she uses Save Your Wardrobe to meet her goals and her different tips and tricks for a responsible, fun and stylish wardrobe.

A change of mindset

Amelia’s approach to sustainability and fashion changed through Kate Fletcher and Mathilda Tham’s Earth Logic Fashion Action Research Plan, “It really brought me to where I am today. Earth Logic provides a radical framework that puts the earth before profit. The goal is to fundamentally transform the fashion industry as we know it.”

Amelia believes that “Within an Earth Logic framework we should have a mindset where we aren’t buying new at all, only upcycling, recycling and mending.” Of course, this isn’t easy but she believes there are ways to do it. She tells us that a great way to start your transition to a more mindful relationship with fashion is to take advantage of all of the wonderful resources out there like The Lissome, The Wardrobe Crisis podcasts, The Sustainable Fashion Forum and more!

The balance between sustainability and fashion styling

Amelia has been trying to link sustainability to red carpet styling in her studies and work for the past couple of years. In her ideal world, sustainable styling would be, “Finding creative fulfillment and happiness by playing with all of the incredible garments that already exist in the world. For example, celebrating the life cycle of a garment by wearing a dress on the red carpet that shows visible mending.” 

She does add that there has been an exciting increase in eco-friendly styling on the red carpet over the last few years, “Emma Watson, did the green carpet challenge for the Met Gala a few years ago and that was a huge inspiration for me. Her dress was made out of plastic bottles and showed that there are different ways to wear and create red carpet clothes.” She also mentions Jane Fonda, Cate Blanchett and Joaquin Phoenix who have shown real commitment to re-wearing their outfits on the red carpet.

Pushing for more environmental consciousness in styling

So why is sustainable styling important? “In my opinion, stylists have a responsibility to understand the influence that their clients have and to steer them in a direction that isn’t contributing to a harmful, consumer-driven mindset.” When you see a celebrity re-wearing an outfit or styling something they love differently, it can help you realise, “Wait, you don’t have to constantly buy new things to have fun with fashion! Reusing your own clothes is cool!”

“Styling is so creative, but it doesn’t mean you have to constantly generate new. I love to look at a single garment and imagine all of the different ways I can wear it. There is so much creativity in learning to have fun with what you already own.”

Amelia Levin-Sheffield

She mentions this is one of the ways Save Your Wardrobe has helped her continue her conscious styling approach as she loves to use the outfit builder to combine garments she might not have thought of pairing together.

One of Amelia’s outfits in SYW’s outfit builder

Tell us more, how do you integrate Save Your Wardrobe into your life? 

This is not Amelia’s first rodeo, while working in the industry she has tested different softwares and outfit planning apps, but ours is different, “I think SYW is really wonderful because it has such a strong emphasis on sustainability. With a lot of other apps, I’ve found it’s more of a “what is your wardrobe missing?” approach, rather than bringing us closer to the clothes we already have and helping us to take care of them.” 

Amelia thinks that caring for your clothes is one of the keys to having a sustainable wardrobe. To do this, she uses different services in the Save Your Wardrobe app, like sending her clothes to our eco-friendly dry cleaners, and once able to go out and about post-covid, she is excited to use the mending and alteration features.

Tips and tricks for sustainable styling

So, how can I style my wardrobe sustainably? Here are a few of Amelia’s top tips:

1. Be playful with your clothes. Think of the different ways you can pair your items together, using the outfit builder in Save Your Wardrobe, challenge yourself to create ten different looks with the same pair of jeans. Fashion can be fun and perhaps even more fulfilling once you take consumerism out of the equation. Allow yourself to be inspired by anything and everything! There is nothing more exciting than someone who has a strong sense of personal style, and that will never go out of fashion. 

Another one of Amelia’s outfits, created with the same jeans

2. If one of your well-loved items has a stain, needs to be repaired or resized, learn to do it yourself or send it to professionals through SYW’s ecosystem of services. Remember, bodies change and that’s ok! Clothes don’t need to be constraining and your body won’t always be the same size. Your clothes should fit you, not the other way around: celebrate letting out or taking in a pair of jeans multiple times. 

3. Don’t buy new clothes, full stop. Use earth logic and take a step back from the constant cycle of consumption. If you feel tempted, pull out a loved garment and remind yourself of all of the wonderful memories you have made with it, and imagine all the places you’ll wear it in the future.

4. If you do need to buy something, find it secondhand and take a thoughtful approach. Ask yourself if this is something you really need, and if so, can you see yourself wearing it in ten years? In twenty years? Look at your digital wardrobe first to make sure you don’t already own something similar. Stay away from trends, they will go out of fashion fast, especially as the fast fashion cycle gets quicker and quicker. Look for clothes on websites like The Real Real, Ebay, Vestiaire Collective, Thrift+, secondhand Instagram sellers (like Dress For Less London, Doen Secondhand, Jerome Vintage, Scout LA), Depop, Poshmark, there are so many options!

We hope you have a clearer idea of how you can look creative and feel great while staying sustainable. To help you start out (or continue) on this sustainable fashion path, we also created a step-by-step guide to help you declutter your wardrobe, the first step to sustainable wardrobe nirvana! 

Find Amelia on instagram here: @amelia_lls

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