In 2014, after years of working in other sectors of the fashion industry, Natalie Kay Costello created her blog, Sustainably Chic. Her website is now outfitted with deep-dive articles, brand recommendations, and general education to inform her growing audience about sustainability in fashion, beauty, and the home. During this interview, Natalie shares what drove her to embrace sustainability and what she hopes to see from the fashion industry in the future. Check out the Sustainably Chic website here.
FH: You worked in the fashion industry before finding a drive to make the business more sustainable and creating your blog, Sustainably Chic. What drove you to become interested in sustainable fashion specifically?
NKC: With my mother owning a sewing machine and fabric shop, I grew up around the industry. I learned how to sew at a young age and knew I’d love to study fashion once I went to college. Closer to the end of my studies, I realized I didn’t love the industry. I thought it was wasteful and unethical, making it very hard for me to want to be a part of it. In my last year of school, I focused all my projects on sustainability within the fashion industry. This was many, many years ago, and it’s taken about a decade to get where I am today.
FH: How have seven years of blogging changed your view of the fashion industry?
NKC: I was super hopeful a few years ago that change was finally happening. But then you get on TikTok and see all these fast fashion hauls and realize there is so much more work to be done. This industry really hasn’t gotten much better, BUT there are way more sustainable choices than what we had 5, 10, 15 years ago.
FH: How has becoming a mother impacted your view of fashion and sustainability?
NKC: I knew I was in a place of privilege when I didn’t have a child, and I had all the time in the world to focus on sustainability since it was my career. However, becoming a mom, you face new challenges, and it brings you back to reality and the understanding of why most people can’t live the way you do. Also, when you have a child, you want to do more to make sure their future is bright; however, I now see it isn’t an individual issue, rather a corporation problem. I want more accountability from the big businesses creating the majority of the waste – not the people who are just trying to feed their families.
FH: As you have researched brands and built your Sustainable Brand Directory, what do you see as the most important issues for companies to address to become more sustainable?
NKC: Overproduction is probably the most important. Brands create too much stuff, and most of it is out of fabrics made from virgin plastics. Sustainability is such a balanced concept, and they must look at every aspect of the business, but first, they just need to sllooowww down!
FH: Outside of fashion, what is a lifestyle or beauty brand that you can’t stop talking up?
NKC: Under the Canopy for home because they are more affordable while still using super soft, organic cotton. For beauty, I love Osea skincare products and Vapour for makeup! Both are very clean brands that only use the healthiest ingredients.