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Fashion stylist Andrea Wong who brings with her over 15 years of fashion and styling experience, wants us to sit up, smarten up and take notice of our buying habits. Wong, who worked as a stylist and consultant on Hollywood’s Crazy Rich Asians, is the best person I can talk to when it comes to getting her advice on shopping, fashion and sustainability. She’s also previously acted as an editor-in-chief for Elle Malaysia and a fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar Malaysia.
So here are some of her best quotes in rewiring the way we shop and how we define our personal style.
Being conscious of what you buy
“When I was like young, impressionable and sort of still experimenting with my style, I tried all the trends and, oh my gosh, there were so many fashion faux pas. I wasn't aware of the environmental impacts. I think now, with a more mature and confident sense of personal style, coupled with more conscientious, buying and spending habits – I like to think that I am in a much better place to practise sustainability and follow the mantra ‘buy less, as well as things that last.’”
Go for a fashion uniform look
“I've been starting to embrace this idea of a fashion uniform. It's this idea of a signature style that encapsulates my personality, lifestyle, personal style and functionality. It’s about getting all those things right, and it's not about wearing the same look every day; like having 20 identical pieces in your wardrobe,” says Wong.
Wong recognises that purchasing new items is not sustainable. Working with what you have and rotating it works. “You can have several different uniforms, you know, for different locations, depending on your mood, but I think once you identify the styles that work for you, then you have a really strong foundation to kind of build off, and cultivate,” she says.
It’s what she calls, a hardworking wardrobe, where you can pull out the pieces you have over and over again, and matching them organically together, to gear towards the theme of longevity.
“My personal look is skinny jeans and a tank top. I really like layering, so I’ll throw on an oversized blazer or jacket. If I want to wear something more feminine, I’ll wear a floral or slip dress, but that’s something I like,” she adds.
Check your labels
It takes great practice to check our labels and find out what materials we are wearing. There are many new sustainable materials in the market out there which are becoming the real possibilities in the future.
“Synthetic fabrics, which you know, like polyester and acrylic are really detrimental to the environment. Prada’s campaign recently used regenerated nylon in their fashion collection, which is made of recyclable material with zero loss. There's another material called orange fibre, I think it’s made from orange peels. And Salvatore Ferragamo used it in their capsule collection in 2017. Just last year, fast fashion H&M used it in their conscious collection which is their signature sustainable collection. So, yeah, that's what gets me really excited,” she adds.
Get into circular fashion
Wong says if we still want to buy something new but that it costs months of our salaries, she suggests going for secondhand items that are still mink in condition.
“Resale market is a great way for you to get bits of pieces that you know you might not use anymore. Again, because it's all in service of extending the lifespan, or the lifespan of the product. At the same time, it’s giving yourself the peace of mind as a great way for you to find your next love (in fashion),” she says.
To shop for sustainable clothing:
Shop Vestiaire Collective
Shop Artknit Studios x Yoox collection for their eco-friendly knitwear.