Meet Kitty, she grew up in Hong Kong and went overseas for her higher education. After University, she stayed in the Peruvian Amazon rainforest studying the value of regenerating forest for almost a year with a NGO. That experience opened her eyes to biodiversity and realise that “ the future of our planet is literally in our own hands, we have a huge collective responsibility to protect and conserve nature and its wildlife”, she said.
At the same time Kitty loves fashion, she enjoys to express her moods through her outfits.
“I was thinking why not doing good and looking good at the same time? Thus, sustainable fashion is the way forward for me. It is my ikigai”, she said.
So in 2020, she started her Instagram @kittyunofficial with a goal of “making sustainability fun and sexy, and with vision of a circular economy and conscious consumerism world”.
Kitty shared with us her thoughts about the fashion industry and sustainable and ethical clothing.
Have you always been a conscious consumer or was there a moment when the switch flipped and you started to think more about the way you buy?
To be honest, I have not always been a conscious consumer. As a student, I used to shop at high street fast fashion brands. I would say it was a gradual change for me, from buying high street brands, to only buying good quality clothing, to only buying sustainable materials, to only buying from brands that are fair to their workers. It is factual information on social media that changed the way I see the fashion industry.
How would you define sustainable dressing?
It does no harm to both nature and people. The even better one (more sustainable) is bringing positive impact to both nature and people.
What do you think are the main necessary changes in the fast fashion industry?
The whole system has to change: Circular, Agile, Smart and Holistic. I call it CASH.
Circular, we have to produce less, buy less buy better and wear for years, reuse and recycle.
Agile, brands must understand their relationship with biodiversity loss and climate crisis if they want to sustain their business.
Smart, the brand has to be transparent and show the consumer more data behind their business.
Holistic, there must be a holistic goal behind the business, for the good of both people and the planet, such as “Nature Positive”, “Climate Positive” and “Happy workers”.
How can the fashion industry help to fight the climate crisis?
First, energy efficiency, it means smarter use of energy across the supply chain (not just the head office, please.)
Second, use sustainable and renewable energy. We must bare in mind that renewable does not necessarily mean “sustainable”, e.g. forest biomass is bad for both climate and biodiversity (Read more here).
Third, avoid habitat destruction across the supply chain and restore natural habitat for carbon sequestration, e.g. forest, mangrove, and coral restoration.
In a world where fast fashion still is predominant. How could society reduce consumption?
Government policy has to step in for a system change, and make sure everybody is on the same page.
What do you think about the label “greenwashing” that some big brands cover themselves behind?
A system change is needed for a transparent and truly sustainable business environment.
What is the biggest challenge when changing from fast fashion to ethical and sustainable clothing?
It is all about money and profit. At the end of the day, sustainability is somehow redistributing profits across the supply chain and doing good for the environment, rather than a few hands at the top.
What are the main challenges for sustainable and ethical brands nowadays?
To be profitable while remaining true to your ethos.
Do you have any top tips for others wishing to shop more responsibly?
Overconsumption: Buy less buy better. Only buy a few quality items rather than buying a lot of poor quality items. Buy capsule items mostly. Think before you buy, do you really need it? Always check your wardrobe before buying anything new (even when it is on sale).
People element: Think about the people behind the clothes, are they getting paid fairly?
Nature: Is the material bad for the environment? For example, avoid buying stuff made of virgin plastic. Buy natural materials if possible.