We are so excited to start series of interviews with sustainable living advocates. Sustainable living is a choice and is a journey. Come along with us to discover sustainable living insights and tips from women just like us. Let`s celebrate every woman who is changing the world one step at a time! Today, we are interviewing Talitha Hewko, on trend sustainable fashion advocate from Calgary.
Why did you become an advocate for sustainable living?
I’ve always been an avid deal hunter and love asking my friends to guess how much I bought items for. Dolce & Gabbana at $8 IS possible! I began sharing more information with friends about the savings on your wallet, but then started to look more into the impact on the environment.
The textile industry contributes to 3.8 billion pounds of waste each year! 95% of which could be recycled, yet only 15% of it is actually being recycled. I wanted to showcase to people that you can recycle your items or make money on pre-loved items by selling them or donating them and STILL look fabulous and on trend! I started to realize how small changes overtime can truly have a big impact. I wanted to encourage others to be more aware of the impact fast fashion has on our environment over time.
What would you say is the biggest obstacle with sustainable living and how do you work towards overcoming it?
I would say the biggest obstacle to overcome for me was feeling like I had to be completely sustainable and NOW! In reality, its the small changes overtime that really add up. Don’t try to clear out your entire closet or avoid malls altogether. It;’s ok to still buy items from regular shops, just try to choose sustainable fashion more and more overtime. You’re not going to enjoy a sustainable lifestyle if you feel that you’re so restricted. Start small and be proud of the little differences you’re making!
What are the biggest myths about living sustainably?
I think the biggest myth about living sustainably is that it’s only about walking to your destinations or recycling and composting. Those things are all so important, but there are more ways in our every day that we can make a conscious decision to be more sustainable, and for me, I’ve seen that the fashion industry is an area that needs some serious work! Much more awareness needs to be raised on how simple switches are and the negative impact that fast fashion has on our environment and the livelihood of those making these items.
In a nutshell, what do you do to live a sustainable lifestyle?
I always try to shop second hand for my clothing, whether through thrift, consignment or facebook marketplace. Second hand doesn’t always mean used or outdated. I regularly find brand new items with tags on and in current season. I also either donate or consign my pre-loved items that I’m no longer wearing. If there are items that are poor quality, stained or really old, I put them in a separate bag and still bring them to the donation centre so that they can recycle them on my behalf. Every little bit makes a difference!
What was the first actionable step you can recall towards living a more sustainable lifestyle?
I really try to limit shopping at the mall or big name stores and rather purchase second hand. Of course there are certain brands that I will treat myself to, but most of the time I can still find those brands at the consignment stores.
What is the biggest impact/improvement you have noticed through living more sustainably?
I’ve had a lot of friends and people who follow my Instagram page share the different items they’ve found at thrift stores and be so excited about it! I absolutely love knowing that the changes I’ve made in my life encourages others to explore different ways to have a positive impact on our environment and their wallet! I’ve also found I’m more creative with my fashion when shopping second hand, I’m more likely to try out a new style that’s half the price than if I were to purchase it full price at a regular store.
What is your advice for small, actionable steps people can take towards living a most sustainable lifestyle. Why should it matter to them?
Watch “The True Cost” on Netflix. Just bring more awareness into your every day life, You don’t need to change everything right now. Just be more aware and make a conscious effort to donate your clothing instead of throwing it out. Even organizing an thrift shopping event with friends where everyone has a budget of $30 and then later go out for drinks showcasing your new finds! Make it fun!
Ultimately its the small things that add up to make a big difference. So if we’re being careless about our choices and the impact it has on the environment, then overtime we will reap those negative consequences in lack of resources. But if we can make small changes and become more aware of our choices, we can truly make a positive impact on this beautiful earth we live on!