Photo Diary + A Chat about Inclusivity in Sustainable Fashion

This was originally supposed to be a post on my favorite denim shorts (I’ll post it next week don’t worry!), BUT I’m feeling like I need to have a chat about some changes you may be seeing here on Karin Emily going forward before I put out any more style content.

PLUS we found the dreamiest spot by the river that’s a 10 minute walk from our house, and so we packed up a picnic and headed down there a couple of nights ago right as the Golden Hour was taking over, and… magic.

I wanted to share these photos just so I could have them online to look back on in 15 years when my kids are older and I need to be reminded that they used to catch toads, and make sand angels, and had chubby hands and cheeks.

Keep scrolling through because after the photos, I’ll share some recent thoughts I’ve been having on inclusivity in sustainable fashion and how they’ll relate to content going forward.

My Outfit Details (Some Affiliate Links):

Babaa Cardigan No16 Natural
Aurate Gold Twist Huggie Earrings
Birkenstock Arizona Sandals
Red Cherry Blvd Roman Clock Necklace
ABLE Chain Necklace
Everlane the Denim Short
Babaa Cardigan No16 Natural
Aurate Gold Twist Huggie Earrings
Birkenstock Arizona Sandals
Red Cherry Blvd Roman Clock Necklace
ABLE Chain Necklace
Everlane the Denim Short
Babaa Cardigan No16 Natural
Aurate Gold Twist Huggie Earrings
Birkenstock Arizona Sandals
Red Cherry Blvd Roman Clock Necklace
ABLE Chain Necklace
Everlane the Denim Short

Shorts (review here), Earrings, and Chain Necklace were gifted

Cardigan is currently on sale, but a more affordable alternative for the cardigan can be found here

The girls clothes are all no longer available or secondhand, but their jellies are from Hubble & Duke, and the sandals are Saltwater. The picnic mat we’re using was a gift from Gathre (medium size).

I wanted to have a quick chat with you about something I brought up in my stories on Instagram last week:

It’s something I’ve really been reflecting on lately, and how it ties into my space here on the Internet.

While I’ve never claimed to be exclusively a sustainable style blogger, I have made an effort in my own personal life to shop almost exclusively from more sustainable brands.

But lately I’ve been really re-considering that for a couple of reasons:

Lately I’ve seen an arrogance and viciousness in the ethical fashion community that I honestly don’t want to have anything to do with (to be clear: I’m not talking about recent chatter about the Black Lives Matter movement and how it relates to sustainable fashion… that’s a necessary conversation I’m glad we’re having). I have seen people ripped to shreds for not doing a “good enough” job. I have seen people shamed for tagging a fast fashion brand that they already owned… and honestly a lot more that I don’t really feel like bringing up here in this space. It’s not pretty, and it’s the number one reason I want to distance myself.

I’ve increasingly become aware that you guys really take my recommendations seriously. And while I’ve always only shown you things I love (if it seems like I LOVE everything I show you it’s because the pieces I show you have been through a rigorous vetting process to get to you), I’m becoming more aware that a lot of the items I show are from brands that are not size inclusive, and/or price inclusive.

So the question I’m left with is: is it possible to be a blogger who cares about sustainability while also not excluding a large chunk of my viewers?

I think it’s possible… if you’re willing to re-frame your ideas of what it means to be a sustainable shopper.

David and I were actually talking about this a few days ago… about how it’s basically impossible to be a perfectly sustainable brand in the world we live in. Even Myssifarmi (a brand I worked with on Instagram), who I consider to be one of the most sustainable brands I’ve seen (they keep their own sheep for the wool they use for goodness sakes!), is not an entirely sustainable brand because they ship their products around the world.

So it’s literally impossible to be a perfect sustainable shopper unless you are raising your own flax, cotton, and sheep which you are then turning into fabric on your own and sewing into your own clothing while then using all of the scraps for other projects until you’ve created the perfect zero waste cycle. Oh and you’ll need to be within walking distance to your sewing store so you can get your needles and other odds and ends without having to drive there.

You get my point?

BUT. BUT! This shouldn’t make you feel bad, or feel like you should just give up because you can’t attain that standard.

And you definitely shouldn’t allow those feeling of inadequacy to present themselves in turning everyone else into a measuring stick.

That’s just not helpful.

Here’s what I think:

We are each unique people. We each have unique situations with unique constraints. We can all be more sustainable shoppers.

See how much we all have in common despite our differences?

Rather than tear others down for not doing things on the same level that we are, we should be encouraging and inviting others into the process of becoming a more sustainable shopper no matter how small the effort.

Not everyone can afford the prices of shopping solely from small, sustainable brands. Not everyone is able to purchase clothing online. Not everyone can easily purchase secondhand clothing.

So here’s the thing. If you can, I encourage you to do so. But if you can’t, that doesn’t mean you can’t be a sustainable shopper.

If you aren’t able to afford high price tags or find secondhand shopping difficult then it’s okay to simply be more mindful of the purchases you are making.

Don’t shop on impulse, only purchase pieces that you love, buy the highest quality you can so your pieces will last, and avoid buying items simply because they’re trendy.

If you do those things, then you are doing a great job as a sustainable shopper.

So back to my original point of thinking about inclusivity, and how it will change my content:

First, I will continue to support small brands because I am able to, and I love the connection I have with those small brands.

Second, I will broaden the range of places I shop at so I can find you guys high quality items from a variety of different price tags.

I may share more affordable options to pieces I’m purchasing if I can find alternatives at brands I trust to have high quality, but I do prefer to just show you what I’m actually wearing and using (that won’t change).

My hope is that I can do the work of discovering the quality pieces so that it’s easy for you to make good purchasing decisions.

And because I plan to show you smaller shops AND select high quality “fast fashion” pieces you can make the choice on which pieces to invest in based on your own personal budget.

I also hope to show you more pieces from companies that offer a wider size range so that everyone can feel included.

Okay so that was a bit long winded.

BUT you guys have walked through this whole process with me. You started with me when I did capsule wardrobes, you watched me try to do ethical fashion perfectly, you saw me struggle, and you’ve stuck with me as I’ve figured out that I can’t do it perfectly and realized that’s okay. I hope my journey has inspired you to let go of the need for perfection as well, and to embrace what you are able to do.

Most of all, I hope that you’ll be inspired to seek out other’s stories, and to give people grace to do things in a way that is sustainable for their situation.

Okay that’s all I’ve got!

Now let’s hear from you: do you consider sustainability when you look for clothing? Where have you struggled or been successful? Let’s chat about it in the comments.

Until next time,

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  1. 7.17.20
    Alex said:

    Honestly love the heart of this post! I wish more people in the slow/ethical/sustainable fashion space gave this much nuance to their content. Personally, I came to terms with my budget a long time ago. I shop only when necessary, buy the best quality I can at the time I do shop and keep my clothes an absurdly long time (oldest piece is probably like 15 years old). My closet isn’t full of small or sustainable brands but it is curated and well-loved. Looking forward to the more inclusive content! 💚

    • 7.17.20
      Karin said:

      I love that Alex! And that’s a perfect example of a “slow” approach. I think there needs to less of a focus on “how I measure up to others,” and more of a “how do I measure up to my own unique situation.”

  2. 7.25.20
    Rachael said:

    I appreciated this post so much. I agree with everything you said and appreciate you taking the time to think through this.

    • 7.26.20
      Karin said:

      I’m so glad it resonated Rachael ♥️

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