Irina Lakicevic: “You don’t have to give up luxury or quality for the sake of sustainability”
We ask our favorite people to answer 10 questions about style and sustainability. This time we picked the brain of Irina Lakicevic, a Norwegian-based children’s dentist turned street style star, fashion journalist and editor in chief of MINT Magazine.
How would you describe your style?
– I feel that it’s quite an eclectic mix; I borrow a little bit of this and a little bit of that. However, there’re aspects of my style that never change: there’s still a quite strong rock-chic vibe, and I depend on good wardrobe staples like black crew necks and light blue jeans.
What’s your shopping philosophy?
– I believe that the way we shop is a part of a bigger picture that reflects our values and thoughts. For me it’s never about splurging and mindless purchases—I believe the “splurge” should reflect the value of the investment. I mostly buy things second hand at sites like eBay, Vestiaire and TheRealReal. I like to think that clothes reflect who we are, which is why I like to wear pieces that reflect me as a women, rather than just showcase my interest in fashion.
How do you define sustainable fashion?
– I don’t think something as banal as clothes should be made on the cost of our ethical values or people’s wellbeing, and we all have a roll to play in this. Sustainability comes first and foremost from lowering the production of garments that are made for one time usage. Disposing of such pieces is equally as polluting and harmful as it is to make them, so as consumers, we have a huge responsibility to voice that we don’t want to be a part of that system. To me, sustainability is also a closed loop cycle. This means that consumers, press and manufacturers all have equally important roles in educating and taking a stand. A lot of luxury garments are easily found in great condition on the second hand market, so you don’t have to give up luxury or quality for the sake of sustainability.
Do you have any favorite eco-friendly, ethical or sustainable fashion brands?
– I guess that depends on the definition. I believe that every brand that has a closed production cycle and doesn’t saturate the market or create more waste is sustainable. Of course, there are many factors that can define a label as eco-friendly, like if it’s organic, the water usage per garment or if it’s recycled.
– I’m a big fan of Lillian Von Trap’s jewelry. She collects and re-melts gold, which is good since sourcing gold is highly polluting for the local environment. Danish Aiayu is also great, with beautiful beddings and great basics.
In what ways are you trying to make greener choices in your everyday life?
– I think that over-consuming clothing is very unsexy, so I limit the amount of purchases—especially when it comes to investing in new garments. Using detergents that are environmentally friendly, being conscious about electricity, investing in local products and businesses are all things we as consumers need to think about. And we need to ask the question “do I really need this” more often.
What’s your most memorable fashion moment?
– I guess it’s the first time I appeared on Style.com, ages ago, captured by Tommy Ton in Proenza Schouler. I remember it was so far from my life back than, it almost felt unreal.
What’s your relationship to second hand and vintage fashion?
– I have the eBay app and do regular searches on Vestiaire and TheRealalReal. I really love sourcing pieces from older seasons that are still relevant, as well as stumbling upon unique pieces. And I love the thrill of making a bargain.
Do you have a favorite natural or organic beauty product?
– RMS and Rahua are two beauty favorites.
How do you make your garments last?
– I think the best thing is to take care of them in an appropriate way, for example by using fabric fresheners and letting the garments breathe a bit before putting them back in the closet.
How do you hope the fashion industry will change for the future?
– I hope we’ll stop over-saturating the planet with clothes and stuff in general. We need to be more conscious about the entire life cycle of a garment, including how we dispose of it, just like we’re currently considering production. I hope bigger companies will rethink their manufacturing processes, ‘cause more environmentally friendly changes can easily be made. I also hope that we who are part of the press will reach out and try to educate our readers on a bigger scale that goes beyond the latest trends, as I believe that big changes come from relevant information delivered by the rights sources.
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