Sustainability and me
When I was growing up in Transylvania there was minimal choice for off-the-peg fashion.
However, women simply didn’t leave home unless they looked presentable. One either went to the tailor or made one’s own clothes; anything in between was mostly ignored within my own family. Whatever the limitations, parents dressed their children with respect for their heritage, aesthetics and with natural, good quality materials. In many ways, life was slower than today, but dressing elegantly was very important and came with a sense of urgency and pride: it was a matter of self-respect and not one iota of material was wasted.
Inevitably, I have always been a considerate shopper and continue to value every single item in my wardrobe; my interest in dressing well has been constant, as has my love of colour and natural fabrics which are a conduit to my self-expression.
Setting up a technology business, living in Cambridge and travelling world-wide since the ‘90s have made a dent in my ‘fabric’. Coming to understand convenience and choice has augmented my style without erasing early memories and altering my core behaviour. I still don’t wear black during the day and, right now, I’m envisaging what I will wear for my next birthday in the heat of summer.
At a recent count, I have a good amount of pieces in my wardrobe but only 39 of them are what I would call ‘key pieces’. These are mainly bold, earthy, multi-coloured, feminine dresses which I value immensely and, although I have bought fashion from around the world, over 40% of my wardrobe comes from just three UK brands.
I have been building my own Image Mirror – my digital wardrobe – as a smart database which helps me with decisions and keeps me on the track of sustainability with simple me-driven algorithms: it helps me save money, time, and, most importantly, it’s fun. I can now curate what I have – and, by the day, my Image Mirror is becoming a great assistant – almost like a full-time mentor, coach and stylist, all in one and personal. It helps me answer key questions every day: who are you today, what do you wish to achieve, and, most importantly, how do you need to feel to do so? In the not-too-distant future, it will also talk, and inevitably interact with other, similar Image Mirrors. Imagine the collective strength and insight we will have when that happens!
Numbers, fabrics, patterns, data science and continuous wardrobe learnings are helping me to become an even more considerate consumer. It feels natural and empowering as I am driving positive technology (call them ‘rules’) based on the way I behave. Starting with what I have, I make the most of it; I wear it well; I add new fashion when I need to do so; I embrace trends which touch me – while not letting myself being sold new stuff all time. My self-imposed digital discipline is already feeding the circular economy as I am being guided to what pieces could be gifted, re-purposed or discarded – and all driven from my laptop! I now score myself for performance (‘goodness’), and it feels so good – it ihelps me build my image capability, and not a dependency – hence our company name ‘Image Ability’.
I predict better times for my contribution to sustainability thanks to my digital wardrobe: it has a positive impact on how I optimise and proactively ‘de-grow’ while keeping those core pieces that have sentimental value intact. Again, think of what this could do for more women, too.
We all look forward to a more elegant year than we had in 2020, in so many respects – not only in terms of clothing. But starting there it is always good sharing joyful lessons on how, collectively, we can make the best of our image while also using our existing wardrobes. Naturally, in addition, with occasional, more mindful and relevant additions from brands which make each of us feel good – especially those with shared values of sustainability. I am looking forward to more fun from unexpected combinations based on what we already have and, ultimately, we will waste less and live that much closer to our better versions of ourselves.
In passing, my Image Mirror has come back with two possible combinations for my birthday – one seems rather odd but I can see it taking me back to the ‘90s, and it would look right in a less frantic time. It could be that extra boost of optimism.
We all have the base for the looks we love whatever we wish to achieve.
Those with a curious disposition may wish to reflect on their existing wardrobes; all our wardrobes ‘talk’ and we can use that to promote more considerate fashion consumerism – also to re-energise our sense of personal responsibility, connection, fun and action. Stay in touch.