By Olivia Youngs (bio below)
Conscious living, like everything else in life, takes a village. As much as we love creating fair trade products, we know that cultivating a community around the idea of sustainable living is even more important. As part of our Sustainable Influencer Series, we are excited to introduce our first Brand Ambassador, Holly Rose of Leotie Lovely.
Aside from inspiring others to live a more ethical and planet-friendly lifestyle through her blog, Holly truly “walks the talk” in her day to day life. Her laid back approach to sustainable living makes it accessible for anyone, even those who don’t call the romantic streets of Paris home.
Read her interview below to learn more about her and her style!
What does sustainable living look like on a day to day basis for you?
For me, sustainable living daily means being as mindful as possible throughout the day. Mindful about how I interact with people (and myself), mindful about the purchases I make, and mindful about the habits that I have. Last year I did a series called #GoneGreen2016 where I looked at each item I use daily and found sustainable switches for every single thing I use or own. Now that I’ve educated myself, I find myself more consciously aware about the circular story behind everything. I still make ‘mistakes’ here and there. Sometimes you’re in a situation in which you have no choice but to create waste, or eat something that doesn’t adhere to a green diet, but I’m conscious of it, which means it happens less as I’ve learned, for the most part, how to avoid it.
How do you think the ethical fashion movement, or even, revolution, is changing the fashion industry as a whole?
I think consumers have become more conscious of where their clothing comes from and the fast fashion industry has no choice but to respond to that. They want to make money after all. But there seems to be a lot of greenwashing going on, which is frustrating. That said, I think a lot of people are starting to understand portions of the wheel behind the circular story which exists in the creation of all things, so even if their focus is on ethics, or animal cruelty, or ecology, the seed is planted and it will undoubtedly grow to include the other prongs of that wheel. There are so many amazing small brands doing things right and frankly, I enjoy the process of shopping sustainably than I ever did before. It engages your heart so much more.
You’re currently living in Paris, what do you love about the city?
This place is such a beautiful city to live in. I don’t appreciate it enough daily, but coming from Canada where the oldest standing building was built in the 1700s, the ancient architecture here creates such a magical environment to dwell in. You can’t not feel the history here or imagine the lives lived. It’s a fairytale place in many ways. I also love how many of the traditions that are still lived epitomize the art of slow living. You don’t see people with to-go coffee here, or to-go food. It’s frowned upon because food is sacred. So people sit and enjoy what they consume and I think that makes this city, and the French in general, more mindful in many ways.
If you could say one thing to someone who is just starting to learn about ethical or fair trade clothing, what would you tell them?
Ask yourself if you’d prefer to wear something made with love, or made with pain. Once you answer that question ethical, fair trade and sustainable clothing is the only choice you can morally make.
How would you define your personal style?
Boho filthy is how I most recently described it. I’m definitely not Boho chic. I’m at an age now where I want to be comfortable and feel sexy, equally, but have my clothing feel practical overall, so I don’t want to wear anything that feels too precious. Living in Europe you walk and bike a lot, so heels and fancy gear doesn’t really fly with that kind of lifestyle. Before I moved to France I pictured the girls here in dresses and heels all the time but most wear a t-shirt, sneakers and jeans. It’s a look I’ve come to embrace and enjoy, and one I plan to keep.
Fashion is just a small piece of sustainable living, what, in your opinion, is a second important step someone can make towards living a more conscious, intentional life?
The way you eat. Avoiding meat or cutting it out entirely, eating organic, unpackaged, local, seasonal food helps the planet more than you could imagine. Also composting and not wasting food is huge. Lots of us have made most of those changes, but many of us are still wasting food or buying packaged goods which is counteractive. We need to learn to eat more holistically if we want to save the planet.
Do you have any style icons?
Yes. Edina Ronay, Willy Van Rooy, Anita Pallenberg, Talitha Getty, Ali MacGraw, Joni Mitchell, Sienna Miller, Elizabeth Olsen, Nicole Richie (after Paris), and my mama (who all my fav bits have been ‘borrowed’ from).
What are your dreams for the future of Leotie Lovely?
My husfriend and I are moving into a van / bus this spring, so I think for the next year I want to just concentrate on adjusting to that lifestyle, living in the present and creating away from the computer as much as possible. I want to adjust the way I currently create content to describe and share the experience of living a simple sustainable life rather than focusing on the ‘how to’ aspect. I love writing and I’d like to write a book. I am publishing a children’s book this winter, but I’d love to write one for adults as well. I try not to project my dreams beyond a year or so, so I don’t get too focused on one idea and miss the opportunity for another. But for the next 6 months, adjusting to ‘van life’ and finding a way to share that which is honest and helpful to myself and others will be my goal.
Make sure to follow Holly on Instagram to see how she incorporates our pieces into her “boho filthy” style, and embodies our #liveconsciously motto in real life.
Olivia Youngs is the founder and curator of Simply Liv & Co., an ethical lifestyle blog, where she hopes to inspire others to live simply and consciously. She’s also a guest collaborator on People of Leisure. When she’s not writing, you can find her, black coffee in hand, chasing her two toddlers or exploring the Colorado mountains she and her family call home. Follow her on Instagram.