I’m so excited to share our featured lady with you today—the iconic Sara of @petraalexandra! I’ve admired her style, her approach to ethical fashion and her responsible use of her platform since I started my ethical fashion journey earlier this year. I hope you’re as encouraged as I was by her interview!
Tell me a little about yourself? Who are you, where are you from / living, etc?
My name is Sara, and I create content focused on conscious fashion and low-waste living, with some home decor peppered in there! It’s a long story how I ended up with the nickname PetraAlexandra (my Instagram handle and name of my blog), but it happened and it stuck and it feels just as much like me as my real name!
I live in a steel port city on Lake Ontario in my 1926 house, and I take the train to Toronto for work at my non-profit marketing job every day!
How did you first get into ethical / sustainable fashion?
To me, ethics and sustainability are two distinct journeys. My Italian family has always been sustainably minded, re-using ricotta containers for leftovers, gardening and shopping local, sewing our own pillows and aprons, and only buying new if we couldn’t borrow from anyone we knew.
I got into ethical fashion probably because of my line of work. I’d always loved knowing the story behind what I wore, but when I started working in marketing for a conscious gift brand, I began questioning where the rest of my things came from. The turning point was when I travelled to stay with (and interview) the artisans we partner with. After that, I committed to always knowing the supply chain of what I bought. It was a slow change, slow and steady like it should be.
What’s something you really want other people to know about ethical / sustainable fashion?
It doesn’t have to look like purging out closets and buying everything new and shiny and ethically made. The best thing we can do is wear the pieces we have over and over. To love them and to be proud of them until the year they finally need to be retired. I still have some gems in my wardrobe that I bought before I decided I’d only purchase secondhand or consciously made – and I love wearing them! It’s a gentler way to approach this way of life. It can be so easy to get swept up in seeing people on social media with all-ethical wardrobes, but what we don’t see is how long it took them to get there, or the fast fashion pieces they may still love and wear. Ethics and sustainability looks different for everyone! I’m in such a weird uncomfortable place now, having been creating content in this corner of the internet for so long that I DO have more gifted pieces than I’d have been able to afford in real time. I’m selective about which brands I support, but I do think it can still perpetuate an unrealistic idea of how quickly you can or cannot afford to invest. Outside of my blog work, I tend to allow myself one special ethical purchase per season, and that’s my financial cap! Thrifting is the best, really, and I love pairing vintage with new.
Who are your inspirations (ethical fashion or otherwise)?
Ooh! What a difficult question! I love what The Good Trade is doing in this space. They focus not just on being a resource for ethical fashion, but a community that encourages mindfulness, having “taboo” conversations, sources of inspiration, and building your friendships and careers. And they do it all with such joy.
Do you have any ethical brands you’d recommend or tips for how to find great thrifted pieces?
Kotn is my all-time favourite go-to for basics. They’re based in Toronto, but have international acclaim from Vogue and GQ which is like…WHAAA amazing. Their supply chain is 100% transparent and their garments also help fund the building of schools in the areas where their cotton farmers work.
For vintage, I shop locally to minimize my carbon footprint! Top tip is to not get caught up by how pretty something is – always pay close attention to quality before letting yourself fall in love with it. There have been too many times I’ve taken home a gem to find out later it wasn’t in as good of condition as I thought!
What is one of your current favorite items of clothing you own?
Man, you really ask good questions! I want to choose everything, including an old fast fashion piece that’s been with me for at least 10 years! But okay, I’ll narrow down. I think it’s a 3-way tie between my Sotela Playa Shorts, which were my one personal purchase of the season, my The Lèi slides, and my Amanda Moss Penny Tank. All three are so easy to wear, pair with almost anything, and most importantly: are SO COMFORTABLE. I don’t know when I got the illusion that fashion comes with discomfort, but I’m learning to let go of that and choose better pieces that are comfy and will last longer! Wait…can I choose my locally made belt, too?
What are you reading, listening to and/or watching right now?
Watching Mindhunter Season 2! That show messes up my sleep, but I can’t help marathoning it right before bed (and keeping my cast iron skillet by the bed for posterity). Reminds me of the vibe of Hannibal, which I really miss! Such a great slow burn.
I’m currently getting back into Fleetwood Mac’s album Tusk and have it on repeat while I’m in the kitchen (also, totally random side note, but everyone go listen to the title track again and try to tell me the backing vocals don’t sound like the Minions from Despicable Me)
Chillhop is my go-to for focus music at work, and the Harry Potter and the Sacred Text podcast is what I listen to on the drive to and from the train station! I really enjoy podcasts that incorporate narrative and debate different points of view.
Where can we find you? Share your blog, social media, interviews, etc!
Also, check out my Week of Outfits on The Good Trade here!
Please check out Sara–you’ll definitely be inspired and want to steal every single one of her outfits too!