Belynda (or Bel) is an Australian sustainable queen, the inventor of the #sustainapril challenge that I participated in earlier this year (see her full interview with my very first interview Alissa, linked on the bottom!) and just an all around encouraging and beautiful world changer. Read on to learn more about how she navigates the ethical fashion world and be inspired!
Tell me a little about yourself? Who are you, where are you from / living, etc?
“Hey! My name is Belynda, but most people call me Bel. I’m grew up in Queensland, Australia then after school spent a bit of time in London, and now I live in Melbourne, where I’ve been for 8 years. I love the city, but I definitely feel more relaxed when I get out of it, and I love to go home to Queensland for a relaxing holiday. I’m studying my Masters of Teaching, and I work with children with additional needs. And when I find the time you’ll find me on @Sustaina.bel – my Instagram page celebrating my secondhand finds, and some tricks and tips on living a sustainable life.”
How did you first get into ethical / sustainable fashion?
“I’ve always loved opshopping, but I was definitely also hooked on always wearing something new which resulted in me buying fast fashion. There was a turning point when I realised I was buying something and it was going out of fashion pretty much as soon as I wore it. I started to realise that I was getting no satisfaction out of buying brand new, but I felt something completely different when buying secondhand. I guess it stemmed from that moment, and suddenly I wasn’t buying anything new, and only shopping secondhand, and I’m so glad I made the switch. Everyone wants a bargain – shopping secondhand is cheap, and damn satisfying! Shopping chains make me cringe these days.”
What’s something you really want other people to know about ethical / sustainable fashion?
“Do you care about the environment, people’s wellbeing, safety stands? Then shop ethically, and sustainably, and you’ll feel better for it, and you’ll be hooked. We shouldn’t be wearing fashion at the cost of people’s lives. We need to look at the big picture and not just what’s hanging in our wardrobes.”
Who are your inspirations (ethical fashion or otherwise)?
“You! Alissa, other amazing, thoughtful, caring individuals whom I’ve met on Instagram. Just the everyday people who are doing amazing things, you’re the ones who inspire me.”
Do you have any ethical brands you’d recommend or tips for how to find great thrifted pieces?
“I like Nobody Denim for their transparency. They have a factory in Melbourne they look after their staff, and have ethical principals. Jeans are basically the most screwed up of all clothing items to make. The amount of water that goes into making a pair of jeans is ridiculous. But people are always going to buy them, so it’s nice to see a ethical denim company company. I still say to always try and find denim secondhand, but if you can’t, Nobody is a great option.
In terms of finding great thrifted pieces, in opshops, look at every rack, try on every size. Fashion labels come in a large range of sizes, I’m generally a size 8, but I have items at home which range from a 6 to a 14, so don’t disregard something because of it’s size. I also always have a list of what I’m looking for on my phone, to give me more direction. If I see something I like but am unsure how to style it, I quickly go onto Pinterest, as search that item for inspiration. Also try Facebook Marketplace, Ebay, Gumtree – they are the places to look when you want a particular item.”
What is one of your current favourite items of clothing you own?
“Definitely A pair of Marcs and Spencer black pants, which I bought for from an opshop for $12. They are high wasted and have such a nice cut. They are so versatile, I can wear them to work, or out on the town. I even wore them to a wedding last week – something I thought I’d never do, but they were perfect!”
What are you reading, listening to and/or watching right now?
“When I’m not studying, I’m usually watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine, or watching a crime show or listening to a podcast. I actually just finished Veep, and of course Game of Thrones!”
Where can we find you?
Please check out her Instagram and her interview with Alissa! I absolutely love following her and seeing her ideas for sustainability.