Hey, Green Junkie!
We’ve talked a lot about sustainable fashion on this podcast and today I wanted to take that one step further and dive deeper into finding your own personal style without the overconsumption.
I know fashion is a sense of self expression and is really important to so many of you. So I wanted to bring on a sustainable styling expert, Alex Standley, to help us all learn how to continue to have that unique personality with our clothing without harming the planet.
You won’t want to miss this episode where we discuss,
- How you can be confident and sustainable in your fashion choices
- The importance of paying attention to where your clothes are coming from
- Things to think about when you’re cleaning out your closet
- How to make your current wardrobe more sustainable
- Removing the stigma of thrifting your wardrobe
You’ll discover that and so much more in this episode.
If you love this podcast be sure to leave a review and share a screenshot of this episode to your IG stories. Tag @thisisstephaniemoram so I can shout you out and publicly say thanks.
Thanks for listening and being here.
Your green bestie,
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Produced by: Alecia Harris
Music By: Liz Fohle
TRANSCRIPT FOR EPISODE 46
Stephanie Moram 0:07
Hi, Green Junkie. I'm your host, Stephanie Moram and today I have the pleasure of speaking with Alex Standley, about sustainable fashion, and how defining your unique style and personality can help you reduce overconsumption and become a more conscious consumer. Alex is a personal stylist with 17 years of experience in the fashion industry. She works with busy professional women and moms who feel stuck in a style rut. She helps you adopt a more sustainable and individualized approach to fashion so that you can look and feel good about your style choices as opposed to just like everyone else. If you love hearing new ways you can reduce your impact on the environment, please subscribe to the Green Junkie podcast on whatever platform you get your podcasts. That way you never miss another green living episode. Hi, Alex, thank you so much for being here. I really appreciate it. I'm excited to dive in a little bit more on on sustainable fashion and being a personal stylist.
Alex Standley 1:15
Hi, Stephanie. Thanks so much for having me. I'm really excited to be here.
Stephanie Moram 1:19
So I guess my first question is, just tell me about yourself. When did you start living a more sustainable lifestyle? And you know, about yourself on a personal level? A little bit about your family?
Alex Standley 1:29
Yeah, sure. I live in the UK in a city called St. Albans, which is just outside of London. I am a mum to one little feisty three year old, who keeps me on my toes. And, and also a wife as well to a husband, that also keeps me on my toes. It's a busy life. And I think for me, I started to, I've always really cared about the environment. I think, growing up, I decided I wanted to be a vet, when I was really young, because I always, you know, cared about animals and about the planet and everything else. And then I soon realized that wasn't really my strength, and went down a completely different avenue into fashion. But for me, I really started to make some changes to my lifestyle. When I had my daughter when I was on maternity leave. I think having kids does that to you, it makes you reevaluate all of your values. And obviously, you start to consider how you want them to grow up in the world that you want to kind of leave behind for their children. And I had some quite questionable habits when it came to shopping in the fashion industry for such a long time. So for me, it's been quite a gradual process. And you know, I'm not an eco warrior, and I don't profess to know everything there is about, about living a sustainable lifestyle. But for me, it's about making really small changes that collectively, we'll hopefully make a really big impact.
Stephanie Moram 3:04
That's wonderful. I love it. I think I started my journey very similar to yours where I was pregnant, and I want I wanted to make changes. And you're absolutely right. I think a lot of people when they become parents, they start questioning so many things. And they're not only responsible for themselves anymore, there's another little human that they need to be responsible for. Right. So I think a lot of parents start questioning things when they have kids. So your daughter is three. So when you were pregnant is when you started diving into sustainability. And you've been a personal stylist for 17 years. So were you a personal stylist, and then along your journey started implementing sustainable practices into your business like with with style?
Alex Standley 3:49
Yeah, so I've actually I've only had my personal styling business for since my daughter was born. So kind of, about two and a half years, but I've worked in the fashion industry as a fashion buyer for the rest of that time. So I've kind of been in the thick of things, you know, working with some of the biggest high street retailers in the UK like Marx and Spencer, Amazon, and have really seen firsthand, you know, the detrimental impact that the fashion industry has on the environment. And I've traveled a lot, you know, traveled the world sourcing those products from the Far East and from Turkey and closer to home. And I think although I worked for businesses that had had an environmental or sustainable policy in place, you know, that was really important to me to work for businesses that had those kinds of credentials. I don't think anyone's doing a particularly amazing job on that front runner. And I think for me and starting my own business, it was obviously really important for me to consider my own values and I had to kind of been on my own journey with with this so I really wanted to share that with other women and And the more that I work in this role as a personal stylist, the more I realized that, you know, it's so much more than the clothes. And actually, a lot of it comes down to confidence. And a lot of it comes down to mindset. And that's where the foundations for being a more conscious consumer come from, and really identifying, like, what makes you tick and what works for you rather than being a slave to the trends.
Stephanie Moram 5:25
Right, and so you're in the fashion industry for 17 years, and then you transition to personal stylist, what what triggered you to decide that the life in the fashion industry, you know, that you talked about to now I'm going to work for myself, and I'm going to be a personal stylist, and I'm going to be able to decide how I want to run the show. And I want to be more sustainable in that process. Like what triggered that for you?
Alex Standley 5:52
So I always had a kind of long term ambition to have my own business. And for me, being a personal stylist kind of married two key like purposes for me. So, you know, I am still very passionate about fashion. And I think it's amazing how you can kind of transform your confidence with getting to know what works for you personally. And I think becoming a Mum can give you a crisis of confidence, and you can kind of lose your identity. And I felt really passionate that the piece that was missing for me from working in the industry as a buyer was being able to help other women and help other people to feel good about themselves and to feel like I was making a difference. And I think everyone has this conception of fashion that it you know, it's really frivolous and really materialistic. But I think there's so much more to it. And that, and then the sustainability piece, obviously came into it. Because I was reevaluating what was really important to me.
Stephanie Moram 6:57
And what do you in your own words define a sustainable fashion? Because I mean, there's a gazillion, you know, ways to define it. I have my way of defining. And I'm just wondering, how do you define sustainable fashion? And how do you look at it?
Alex Standley 7:12
I think for me, it's just having more consideration for people and planet. And really, from a business perspective, and for, you know, fashion brands, it's about them having the right intentions, because, you know, the fashion industry as a whole is not is not sustainable. You know, it's not a business model that is ever going to be sustainable. But I think it's just about having those, those intentions and about considering people and planet because, you know, if we carry on as we are, then we're not going to, you know, we're not going to survive. And so I think that that's the crux of it for me.
Stephanie Moram 7:51
And so as a stylist, and you know, being passionate about the environment and the planet. How do you marry those those two things together when it comes to your business? So when you are styling somebody, are you recommending? Like let's say secondhand clothing that might fit their style? And are you recommending maybe sustainable brands that you like you said are better for people better for the planet that are ethical, that you know are not that are not unethical, that are ethical brands? Is that how you bring in that sustainable peace into your business?
Alex Standley 8:23
Yes, definitely. That's a big part of it. But I think the most important part of it is maximizing what you've already got in your existing wardrobe. Okay, I think there's a common misconception that a personal stylist is going to come into your house and tell you to like completely start all over again, and like throw out all of your clothes that you've got. And for me, at least, that couldn't be further from the truth. And I think the most important part of the kind of foundation of how I work with my clients is really getting to grips with what their style personality is, and what works for their body shape and what colors work for them. And then we kind of feed that into their existing wardrobe. So we really make sure that we're creating as many outfits as we possibly can from what they've already got in their wardrobe. And then we create a wish list of pieces that I feel will help them to, again, maximize what they've already got, and just pull it all together. And for those pieces from that wish list. I would absolutely start with recommending you know pre loved and secondhand sources and also brands that I deemed to be ethical and sustainable in their nature.
Stephanie Moram 9:33
And are you also like mix matching. So like let's say, I'm not a big stylist, to be honest. I'm a leggings person right now. But let's say they have like a really nice shirt and they have like a couple of pair pants. Do you show them different ways that they can incorporate that shirt with those with that skirt with those pants. So they're making multiple kinds of outfits versus this shirt goes with these pants. Then this shirt goes with this skirt. Are you going to like mix matching as well? cuz I mean, that would come more, as well as like, volunteer, I would think personally would fall more into that sustainable fashion, because you're not just limiting yourself to, I can only wear this shirt with those pants where you're really trying to mix match.
Alex Standley 10:13
Yeah, exactly. So I think one of the biggest pieces of advice that I give to my clients, and everybody that's in my Facebook group and on my social media is really, to not restrict yourself and say, like, you know, this item is my is for my wardrobe wardrobe. And this item is for my casual wardrobe. And I'm saving this for banquets, I just encourage clients to completely throw that notion out of the window. And to think, you know, instead, this is my wardrobe. And I really encourage them to mix and match those items. So for example, a lot of people would think of blazer as like a really formal piece. And that can only be worn for the office or for you know, very formal settings. And I always encourage my clients, actually, no, this is a great, you know, really versatile piece that you can wear with your distressed boyfriend jeans, and you can dress up your casual dresses, and you know, all of these kinds of things. So it's just really thinking about your lifestyle and how you need your wardrobe, to work for you and to serve you rather than the other way around.
Stephanie Moram 11:18
And then when it comes to like, say somebody, you're dealing with a client, and they have like, a lot of clothes, let's say, and they want to have more of a minimalist closet, and I'm assuming that's kind of maybe something you do encourage a little bit because I think people get overwhelmed with the amount of clothing they have. And then they don't know what to wear. And I could be wrong. Like I think that's how a lot of people are, when there's too many options, they just kind of are deer in the headlights, right? So do you also kind of minimize their wardrobe a little bit kind of like you don't need this many T shirts, unless it's like your pajamas, or hey, how about we try to maybe eliminate this from your wardrobe and not have as many options. So then, when you do put something on, you do feel good in what you're wearing.
Alex Standley 12:05
I think it's a fine balance. Because I think I'm also mindful of, you know, the amount of clothing that ends up in landfill. So I do. And, you know, like you said, you can't see the wood for the trees if you've got too much in your wardrobe. But I think I fight to get more from do you wear this? Are you going to wear this does this fit you, rather than thinking like, you've got 10 T shirts, and really, you only need five, just to be mindful of the fact that you know, if you are still wearing that, or you know, something that you think you will wear in the future? Or how can we incorporate that into your wardrobe if you're not wearing it? And kind of using that as a starting point. And then absolutely, we do have a couple of things which no longer serve the client, because of fit or because of various other reasons. And then we'll think about what's the best way to then extend the life cycle of those clothes. So it might be alterations that might be taking them to the charity shop, it might be selling them on resale platforms like eBay and that kind of thing. So I always try and make sure that it's really considered.
Stephanie Moram 13:15
And I love that because I think people sometimes have this notion that when they put something like in the trash, it's like, it's a way and always like, where do you think that away is? Do you think that actually goes it doesn't just like disappear. So I think I love that balance that you have where it's yes. Having a big wardrobe probably isn't amazing, maybe for your mental health. But then finding that balance of like, how can we still keep the clothing you have but then maybe there's some stuff you don't want. Like if someone has 10 T shirts and they're legit wearing those 10 T shirts all the time? Well, of course keep it but if you're not wearing them and they're hanging in your closet, is there some someone out there that might benefit from this? And like you said donations and reselling and I think that's a really important component of fashion is the donation and then the reselling. And so for you, I have my opinions about donation, donate donating stuff, and then reselling Do you Do you feel that reselling an item? How do I word this? Do you feel that reselling an item, you know, to somebody is better than donating? And what I mean by that is because often when you donate stuff, people don't donate stuff that's in great condition. So then it ends up in the landfill anyway, and I don't think people realize that, but when you're reselling somebody is taking the the action of I want this shirt for $10
Alex Standley 14:43
Yeah, I definitely get your viewpoint on that. I mean, I I work very closely with charities that are local to me. And it's a it's like an a really important part of my purpose to support those charities but be I also really I want to encourage people not just to donate to actually go and shop as well, because it's all very well like donating. But if you're not shopping as well, then like you say, it's going to end up in landfill anyway. So I think a big part of my, what I see as my purpose, and what I see as my role is to encourage people and show them like, these are the kinds of amazing pieces that you can find in your local charity shop. And I've done quite a lot of pre loved fashion events where I've talked about the trends for the season, but instead of sourcing products from new, like from the High Street, and that kind of thing, then I've got all of the products from my local charity shop. And I've said to them, like, you know, look at these amazing things that you can find that that fit those current trends. And they're a fraction of the retail price of something that you'd buy new, but you're also extending the life cycle, and you're supporting the charity, at the same time as well. So I think a lot of it is also about changing the misconception, if you like of, of what a charity shop offers, and what you can find there. And I think that stigma is definitely changing, at least in the UK. And people are a lot more excited about shopping and charity shops and the bargains that you can find. But I think there is still an element of snobbery around, you know, that's not for me, and you know, it's for old people or, you know, that kind of thing.
Stephanie Moram 16:26
And I agree 100% Agree. So to give you an example, my daughter has a friend and we go thrifting. And my daughter loves thrifting because she can get more for her money, right? She's 11. And she's realized that I can get maybe a couple of shirts. And instead of just one, right, do buy stuff, it's always from ethical brands and sustainable brands. So it is gonna cost more. With that said, she can't always try everything on because where we thrift they kind of took away changing rooms about two years ago, when the whole pandemic hits, and they have not put them back yet. So she can't necessarily try anything on. So it's always kind of like a hit or miss. And we kind of looked at the closing like, do we really think this is gonna fit? Is this the style you really are looking for? And we're doing a pretty good job at it. I must say, Well, we are thrifting. But she bought this dress that was so cute. But she's built like me with a really wide back. And so it just didn't fit her. And so she had a friend over and I said hey, this dress is so cute. Like, if you want it, take it, it doesn't fit EJ and you know, she loves the dress. And it would probably fit you because you're like, like little you're tiny. And so she took it and she really liked it. But she gave it back because her parents were like, no, no, we're not. We're not taking that. So I don't know if it was they thought it was a charity that I was just like, here's our old clothing. Or if it was we don't take secondhand clothing, we only buy new. So there definitely is that element of people, you know, the stigma to secondhand clothing like it's gross. And you know, I've had other people tell me, their friends are like no, no, I could never wear clothing that someone else warned, I'm like You do realize the clothing that you try on in the store somebody had on and some it's like not brand new. So I do agree there is still that stigma of like, who grows. But then there's so many luxury resale sites out there. Like if you love Chanel, or you love those top brands, you can buy that stuff at like a fraction of the price. And it's insane. They're in good condition. And you get to wear your Gucci and all that kind of stuff. But you're not, you're not having, you're not putting the demand on the fashion industry by buying new all the time, right. So the less that we buy new, the less that's going to hopefully be produced in the long run. So that was a long winded story. But I 100% agree with you that it's changing that mindset for people and saying like, Hey, you can get some really cool stuff, and unique stuff, and high end stuff and not have to have that big price tag on it.
Alex Standley 18:58
Definitely. And I think that's such an important point as well around being unique. Because certainly the clients that I work with, they don't want to look like everybody else. And I think you know, everyone that shops particularly in like, I don't know if it's the same way you are but in the UK, like everybody shops in Zara and everyone shops, and everyone looks the same, everyone looks like a carbon copy of each other. And a lot of clients that I work with, they don't want that they want to look like them. And you know, they want to find what their unique stylists and that's the amazing thing about pre love because you're very unlikely to turn up in the same dress as somebody else that or wedding or at the office or whatever if you've found it secondhand, you know, in a charity shop or on pre love site or that kind of thing. And you can really start to create your own unique style. And I think that's really empowering for a lot of women as well.
Stephanie Moram 19:54
And one more question I have is do when you start working with a client when you start working with a woman Men about their style. Do you let them know that, hey, this is how I work, I'm going to, you know, recommend like pre loved and secondhand clothing, sustainable fashion brands, if this is not something that you're interested in, we might not be a good partnership. Is that like something you talk about before they start the journey with you just for like full transparency? Because like we talked about, some people might be like, oh, yeah, this is great. Everything you're telling me and now I have to go thrifting. And like buy, like pre loved clothing? Like that might not be for them?
Alex Standley 20:31
Yeah, definitely. I mean, I'm in everything that I talk about. It's the foundation, kind of to my business. So I think anybody that chooses to work with me would be, you know, quite well aware that that's my focus. But I think, as an aside to that, I'm also realistic as well. And I also am happy to help people to start where they're at. So if people aren't yet comfortable with second hand, for example, then I'll show them like what they can find. But if they're still not comfortable with that, at the point that I'm working with them, then I'll instead, you know, focus on sustainable fashion brands that you know, for newness, if you like, and then maybe look at more premium, pre love sellers, where things tend to be like new with tags and things like that. So you're gradually helping people to adjust their habits rather than having to go all in and kind of take them to a charity shop, which is kind of the other extreme. So I think you do have to meet people where they're at. And like I said, at the beginning, I'm a such a huge believer that just a few small changes will make a huge difference. So even just the very nature of working with me and starting to learn what works for them and just being more considered. So they're not going out every weekend, buying into newness that they really don't need and that really doesn't work for them. That's a huge change in my eyes, and that will help to reduce, you know, overconsumption and those kinds of things.
Stephanie Moram 22:04
And it's part of your like mission, and part of what you do, to go with the women to show them what they can get at like a secondhand store thrift store, you go with them to pick their clothing, or is it really, this is what I recommend. Now you kind of go and do it yourself.
Alex Standley 22:20
It's definitely part of what I do. So I've actually taken a lot of my stuff online, because of COVID. And because of the restrictions that we had, and then I'm gradually starting to go back out to the shops with people as well. But I think where people have quite busy lifestyles, often they will choose to do like an online shopping experience versus uninstall. So in those instances, I will shop the charities online, or I'll use eBay or Depop, or Vinted. And you know, all of those great resell platforms. And then I've got a brand directory full of like Instagram, pre love sellers and people like that where I can recommend. And I basically do the shop for them online, and I create lookbooks for them using secondhand pieces. So they're definitely not kind of left to their own devices. In one way or another. I help them like on that journey.
Stephanie Moram 23:17
And my last question for you is what is one tip for someone that's listening that might not really thrift might not really be into sustainable fashion yet? What is one tip to help them kind of move that needle to start on that journey? What is one thing that they could do today?
Alex Standley 23:36
Great question. I've got so many. I mean, I think the whole concept of of starting with your wardrobe first is is really important. And at the beginning of the season, when we all get carried away with the new trends, and we're, you know, enticed by social media and all of these other influences. I think it's always shopping your wardrobe first and quite often. No, no, I've certainly found it working in in the industry for the amount of time that I have that those trends are so cyclical, and they just come back around, and they're just slightly re engineered each year. So I think taking that inspiration from wherever you get your inspiration like Pinterest, or Instagram or whatever it is, and looking at your own wardrobe first and seeing if you can pull together that kind of look from what you've already got. And then if you haven't got those pieces, creating a bit of a wish list for that season, and then using that to inform your shopping, whether that's new or whether that's secondhand or rental or that kind of thing. Just having that more intentional process with your shopping and with your style, I think is a really great place to start and then you can start setting up alerts on eBay and places like that for those pieces that you know, you are actually missing from your wardrobe and start kind of gradually By implementing some more pre love pieces.
Stephanie Moram 25:03
That's great. Alex, thank you so much for coming on. So where can people find you? And I know you have something you wanted to offer to talk about with the audience, but like, where can they find you? Where can they on social media, your website and all that fun stuff.
Alex Standley 25:19
So my business is called Lux Leopard Lifestyle, which is a bit of a mouthful. So that's my handle on Instagram. And I also have a private Facebook group, which I absolutely love. It's like such a supportive community of women who are all on their journey with their style and with sustainability. And we all share our experiences and our tips and our outfits. And it's really fun. And we do like style challenges and stuff like that. So you can find that on Facebook, in the groups, and it's style confidence with Lux leopard lifestyle. And then I also have a website where you can find out more about me as well. And that's luxleapordlifestyle.co.uk. So they're the main places where you'll find me,
Stephanie Moram 26:05
I'm gonna put everything in the show notes, if you're listening, and you're driving, or whatever that is, and you can't write everything down. Everything will be in the show notes. So you can go click and find Alex on the internet and follow along on our journey. I love this conversation. It was really, really great. Thank you so much for coming on. I appreciate it. And yeah, we're gonna have to have you on again, we shouldn't you wouldn't be really cool is like if we did like a live recording of you like helping me with my wardrobe or something.
Alex Standley 26:31
That would be amazing.
Stephanie Moram 26:34
That can be like a cool experience, just like a tidbit of what what it's like to you know, fix up your wardrobe a little bit that can be super fun. So thank you again for coming. Alex.
Alex Standley 26:44
Thank you so much for having me. It's been great.
Stephanie Moram 26:47
So if you want to stay connected with me on Instagram, you can follow me at the green junkie podcast, or at this is Stephanie moram. And don't forget to subscribe to the green junkie podcast on whatever, whatever platform you're listening on. For more green living inspiration, you can check out a couple of other episodes, number 38, sustainable fashion, etc. With Carly Heiser number 33 creating sustainable business where Sarah built in birder episode number 30. Changing the fashion game with Camille Lee and finally a solo episode number 20. Street closet cleanup. If you're curious about reducing your environmental impacts as an individual or as a business, I've got you covered. For direct access to me your sustainability consultant and green living expert. You can click the link in the show notes where you can ask me a question and get a customized plan on how you can live a more green lifestyle as an individual or how to implement sustainable strategies into your business for positive climate. Hop on a one on one call with me or ask me your questions via email. Zoom is not your thing. Thank you for listening, and I'll see you next Tuesday Green Junkie