Yes, you can be an influencer and be sustainable. It may seem unlikely, but there are droves of amazing individuals leading the change on Instagram. Among them is Nadine Banks, a Dutch Kiwi who now resides in London. Banks blogs at iamarchive.com and is passionate about sustainable, ethical and slow fashion – a mantra that we are firmly behind.
After launching her blog in 2014, Banks soon overhauled her approach to fashion after watching the eye-opening documentary The True Cost which looked at the human and environmental impact of fast fashion. Today, the influencer is strict on collaborating with brands that are fully transparent about their supply chain.
Proving that promoting positive change within the fashion industry does not mean sacrificing on style, one quick scroll of Banks’ Instagram feed sees street style snaps interspersed with stylistic shots of architecture and art. Aside from the recurring inspirational quotes pertaining to sustainable fashion, Banks appears like any other influencer with a penchant for minimal dressing.
The influencer has curated a stylish feed that carries over onto her blog where she often writes about the fashion industry’s pressing issues and compiles a monthly conscious wish list. If you’re sartorial senses are swayed by effortless, paired back style then Nadine Banks is your perfect muse.
We chatted to the influencer about all things sustainable and ethical fashion and her advice for trying to shop more sustainably because let’s face it, she makes it look so easy.
Instagram is rife with fast fashion and influencers promoting fast fashion clothing, how do you navigate this?
Nadine: I tend to only follow brands, bloggers and organisations who promote but also live a day to day life filled with sustainable values. It’s important for me to feel inspired and be learning every day and if I’m looking through Instagram, I want to see posts with love and meaning –I’m not on social media just for aesthetics reasons anymore.
What spurred you to become a sustainable shopper?
Nadine: After I watched The True Cost documentary that was an automatic switch for me. I learnt a lot of terrifying facts about the industry in just one hour, I couldn’t step away from the film and keep shopping and blogging how I used to. It just felt right to start my sustainable journey there and then.
Is it hard to be an influencer and be sustainable?
Nadine: It’s impossible to be a traditional influencer – you can’t accept clothing and collaborations from any or all brands. You can’t have that ‘influencer’ mentality of promoting multiple new pieces a day – that’s just not sustainable. However, being a sustainable influencer is very rewarding which makes it easier as you have something to strive for every day – that is to make a difference in the world.
What advice would you give to people trying to be make more sustainable fashion choices?
Nadine: Love the clothes you already have! There is nothing more sustainable than the clothes you already own. If you must go out and buy something try out your local second hand store or if you want a new item there are loads of brands out there who are sustainable and ethical. Just make sure to do your research first to see if the brand is transparent in how they treat the workers and how the clothes are made.
Are fashion brands mindful of the fact that you’re a sustainable influencer?
Nadine: Most brands who contact me now are either sustainable, ethical or both which is great. If a brand wants to collaborate with me but they aren’t transparent with where, who or how its clothes are made, I’m just not interested anymore – no matter how big that brand is or how much they’re willing to pay me.
What does sustainability mean to you?
Nadine: Sustainability to me means living a day to day life that is maintained in a very simple and clean manner and being as thoughtful as I can. Whether this be re-wearing clothing I have worn that week, never letting food go to waste, walking home from work instead of catching the bus and just having a routine in general. I’m also now a vegetarian as I think if I’m going to be purchasing sustainable clothing, I should be sustainable in what I eat too.
What are your favourite sustainable and ethical fashion brands?
Nadine: Mother of Pearl, Birdsong, Good Studios, Maggie Marilyn, Riley Studios. I wish I could name them all.