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We’ve asked some of our favorite people to answer 10 questions about style and sustainability. This time we pick the brain of Babba Canales—brand marketing professional and founder of New York based agency By Babba.

How would you describe your style?

– My style is definitely laid back first and foremost. I grew up in Sweden, so I’m of course influenced by Scandinavian fashion. But since moving to NYC a few years ago, I have incorporated a more colorful and playful touch into my personal style. I really appreciate emerging designers and have a big passion for both Scandinavian and NY brands.

What’s your shopping philosophy?

– My best advice is to buy fewer items of quality that last, and to swap clothes with friends or rent for special occasions!

How do you define sustainable fashion?

– Sustainable fashion to me means that we as consumers have an active choice in what we support. Regardless of budget, there are many ways we can try to be more sustainable in our fashion habits. For example: I love swapping clothes with friends, and that’s completely free! Sustainable fashion to me really means being conscious and realizing that we can all do something to contribute, regardless of our position.

Do you have any favorite eco-friendly, ethical or sustainable fashion brands?

– Reformation and Brother Vellies. They are amongst my favorites because they make ethical and sustainable items that don’t necessarily scream “sustainability”. Sometimes I feel as though eco-friendly brands go overboard with their eco focus and let it take over their design and brand identity. At the end of the day, people will buy items that make them feel cute. We don’t all want to walk around in beige linen clothes, just to prove an eco point. I also don’t think it’s a healthy decision for the brand’s identity to rely 100% on sustainability.

In what ways are you trying to make greener choices in your everyday life?

– I shop less and borrow or rent more. I also gift my clothes to friends and family to ensure they’re in constant rotation and use. I don’t want a closet that isn’t in use. I don’t own my wedding dress, for example. I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of buying a dress for a one-time occasion and later have it sit in storage somewhere. That tradition has to go.

What was your latest “aha-moment” when it comes to matters of sustainability?

– My latest “aha-moment” was actually at Sundays Nail Studio. They practice a non-toxic, vegan lifestyle that translates into the nail salon in the sense that all of their products are self-made in the most natural way, without harmful toxins. I try to lead a very green lifestyle in many areas of my life—from skincare, to beauty and diet—and it had never occurred to me until that moment, to consider my nails as well.

What’s your relationship to secondhand and vintage fashion?

– I feel like renting is quite sustainable in its own way, as well as swapping clothes with friends. I really love What Goes Around Comes Around for unique vintage pieces, but I’m not a huge fan of walking for hours to score a vintage find; these days I much rather spend my time on something else. That’s why I love What Goes Around Comes Around, as they have an unreal selection and an amazing staff. It’s a premium vintage store with a higher price tag for sure, but I would much rather buy a Chanel bag from there, than a brand new version in a regular store. They also have items that you can no longer find, basically in new condition.

Do you have a favorite natural or organic beauty product?

– I love Tata Harper’s line. The products are all natural and non-toxic. I especially love Tata Harper’s face wash, serum, face oil and rich moisturizing cream.

How do you make your garments last?

– I simply try to buy fewer items of quality that lasts longer. I also use a detergent spray in between washes, and when washing, I use eco-friendly detergent. I also air and steam my clothes, instead of always throwing them in the washing machine.

How do you hope the fashion industry will change for the future?

– I would love to see more brands like Reformation and Brother Vellies that offer great designs that just happen to also be ethical and sustainable. I truly can’t wait for the day when sustainability is second nature and not a badge of honor.


Follow Babba Canales on Instagram for more style and life inspiration!

Photos by David Lou.

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