So excited to share the lovely Gillian with you this week! She’s chic, she’s consistent and she’s a great blogger to follow for inspiration and encouragement. Read on to be inspired!
Tell me a little about yourself? Who are you, where are you from / living, etc?
Hi, my name is Gillian and I write about sustainable style and mindful living at Uncomplicated Spaces. I was born and raised in Canada, and after a brief stint of living on the east coast, in Boston, I have settled in the midwestern United States. I am a wife, mom to 2 wonderful little humans and 3 fur babies. I love sweater weather, coffee, chocolate, and Outlander.
How did you first get into ethical / sustainable fashion?
My journey into ethical and sustainable fashion was a natural progression for me after discovering minimalism in 2015. I was a massive consumer at one point and I got fed up with all of the stuff we owned and decided to get rid of a lot of it. I spent a few moths decluttering our whole house. Once I had gotten rid of more than half of our belongings, I went on a quest for knowledge. I poured myself into blogs about minimalism and documentaries. My interest in minimalism documentaries eventually led me to a documentary called “The True Cost” which focused on the devastating effects of the fast fashion production world, and namely, the devastating Rana Plaza collapse, where 1,134 garment workers lost their lives. At that point, I vowed to learn more about the fast fashion industry and to stop buying fast fashion altogether. At first, I focused mostly on ethical clothing brands. I would save up to buy a piece of clothing that I really wanted. Then I started looking at fashion from an environmental aspect, which led me to rekindle my relationship with secondhand shopping. I had done a lot of it during my college days but had moved away from it during my (regretful) fast fashion days. And even though I still buy new clothes from ethical brands from time to time, or accept an occasional gifted item, the majority of my wardrobe additions are secondhand, which I am very happy about.
What’s something you really want other people to know about ethical / sustainable fashion?
I just want people to know that it’s so easy to make ethical / sustainable choices when it comes to buying clothing. There are so many companies out there now that care about their workers and treat them fairly. There are so many companies out there that care about the environment and who use sustainable materials and practices to produce clothes.
But I also realize that ethical clothing brands can be expensive! Trust me, I know! And if buying from an ethical brand isn’t feasible for you, shop secondhand! There are so many great resources out there, whether it’s your local thrift or consignment shop, or an online consignment shop. I am so proud that more than half of my wardrobe has come from the secondhand market because aside from using what you already have, shopping secondhand is the most sustainable option.
This also applies to almost anything else that you can buy, such as furniture and home décor. There is already so much amazing stuff out there in the secondhand market and it’s so much better for the environment and your wallet! I have found most of the furniture in my home, as well as decorations, either in antique, thrift or consignment shops. And the hunt for that perfect treasure is always so much fun!
Who are your inspirations (ethical fashion or otherwise)?
I am really inspired by the slow fashion community over on Instagram, where I spend a lot of my time. I think there are so many people who are promoting ethical and sustainable fashion, which is so great! Pinterest is another source of inspiration for me. Whenever I’m in a style rut, I turn to Pinterest to get me out of it!
I have to give a special shout out to Lee Vosburgh for introducing me to the idea of a capsule closet through her 10×10 challenge. I had no clue what I was doing for my first one but after doing a few of them, I was able to figure out how to pick a small number of items that would work together. It definitely ignited my interest in capsule wardrobes, which has not waned since!
Another one of my inspirations is Courtney Carver. I became aware of Courtney through my minimalism journey. As the creator of the capsule wardrobe called Project 333, I find her method of approaching her wardrobe fascinating. I have yet to successfully complete her method of capsuling for the entire 3 months, but maybe someday ;).
Do you have any ethical brands you’d recommend or tips for how to find great thrifted pieces?
Oh gosh, there are so many great ethical brands out there doing great work! One of my favorites is Elizabeth Suzann. She makes gorgeous clothing with beautiful fabrics that just drape every body so beautifully. She is size inclusive and honors diversity. I think she is leading the way in the ethical fashion world. Another personal favorite is Tradlands, which is a woman run company. They make great basics that have a menswear vibe and I am totally into that aesthetic. They use sustainable materials and their pieces are timeless classics. And I’m a big fan of Eileen Fisher as well. Her clothing is the first ethical brand that I was able to find locally. I love that she is very transparent about her clothing production and that she has a recycling plan for her clothing pieces when they are no longer wanted.
As great as all of these ethical brands are, honestly, my heart will always be in thrifting/ secondhand shopping. My favorite thing to do all through college was to go to the thrift shop with one of my best friends. I remember one of my first thrift store finds was this great tweed blazer with a pink satin lining. I wore the crap out of that piece and I wish that I still had it! And now, my favorite thing to do is to take my daughter to the thrift/consignment shop. She gets so excited and I know that she gets the sustainable value that secondhand shopping has for the planet!
I think the best thrifting tip is to make a list. Go though your wardrobe and find the holes and then write them down. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they get overwhelmed in a thrift/consignment shop and I think it really helps to know what you’re looking for so you can focus on those sections.
Pay attention to fabric! I think that you will appreciate clothing made from natural fibers more and love them for longer. There’s just something so special about finding a piece of clothing made from cotton, linen, wool or silk (just to name a few of my favorite materials).
Lastly, just get out there. You may feel intimidated, but just give it a try. There’s really nothing like the thrill of a good thrift hunt. You never know what treasure you’ll find!
What is one of your current favorite items of clothing you own?
I think my absolute favorite item of clothing that I own is a vintage plaid wool blazer that I bought off Etsy last fall. It is the perfect mix of deep autumnal colors and I cannot wait to wear it again all fall and winter!
By the way, Etsy is the best place to buy vintage if you don’t live in a place with a lot of vintage shops (which I don’t, unfortunately).
I also have 2 slip dresses that I am very excited to style this fall. A blush pink one from Eileen Fisher that I bought on sale at a department store and a grey silk Eileen Fisher one that I bought at a local consignment shop. I already have plans to wear them with all of my blazers, dusters and sweaters!!
What are you reading, listening to and/or watching right now?
The most recent book that I read was “Where the Crawdads Sing” and it was amazing! I could not put it down and I may have stayed up WAY too late one night to finish it! I am currently listening to anything by The Kings of Leon! I could put “Revelry”, “Cold Desert”, “Closer”, “Beautiful War” and “Walls” on repeat and never tire of any of them! I am just finished watching “Lucifer”, I’m currently watching “Versailles” (both on Netflix) and I’m always watching “Outlander” haha.
Where can we find you? Share your blog, social media, interviews, etc!
You can find me over at uncomplicatedspaces.com, where I write about sustainable style and mindful living. You can also find me @uncomplicatedspaces on Instagram where I post nearly daily outfit photos, featuring vintage, thrifted and ethical fashion, or on Pinterest @uncomplicatedspaces, where I pin a lot of the things that I find inspiring, especially in terms of clothing and home style.
Make sure you follow her on all her platforms! I can’t get enough of her stylish outfits!