Danish native Katrine Carstens is a writer for Sublime Magazine, and runs a blog called SusDane where she writes about the treasures of a sustainable and socially aware world. Katrine also lends her thoughts to articles in other outlets, including the Positive News, which highlights the good news rather than focusing on scaremongering.
Here, she tells Eluxe about fashion realism, eco-responsibility and unsexy reputations.
Why did you decide to have a ‘green’ focus for your work?
I’m Danish and in Denmark being green is just a way of life. I remember doing recycling when I was a little kid. So I’ve grown up with sustainability, even if I didn’t know that it was called that.
Although I left Denmark to live abroad and travel at 16 years old, those values were inherent in me by then. Saying that, I only started explicitly focusing on sustainability in my work a few years ago when I did a Masters in International Development, closely followed by a diploma in journalism. I felt like my head had been flipped open and into it was poured an acute awareness of just how out of sync we are with the planet and each other. It was pretty hard to ignore after that!
I’m particularly passionate about seeing the world and often write about responsible/ethical/eco/sustainable travel. There are many (eco) labels, but their aims are essentially the same: To make travel a force for good and stop the exploitation of destinations, both in terms of the people who live there and the environment. It quite simply comes down to creating better places for people to live, which in turn become better places to visit. Everything is interconnected, right? I think travel with a conscience is slowly becoming the new luxury and I love exploring and writing about the excellent initiatives that are increasingly emerging all over the world.
Why do you think bloggers are becoming increasingly important in the publishing world?
The power of personal narrative is incredibly strong. I think people like the personal touch and the nature of a blog allows you to put more of yourself into the story than you would be able to in traditional journalism. The relationship with readers is much more engaged and over time they get to know your style and little quirks and start to trust you. There’s a lot of distrust in the mainstream media these days, some of it deserved, a lot of it not. But I think this is where blogs are becoming a bigger part of people’s reading habits.
Do you use any green beauty products?
I make my own face oil using organic ingredients, so yes. For things like facewash and moisturiser I use Lavera. As skin regimes go, that is about as wild as it gets! It’s cost effective and works brilliantly with my skin so I’m not complaining.
Which is better: buying green, or buying vintage?
Both are good, but if I had to choose I would go for vintage as the product has already been made and repurposing it keeps it from ending up in a landfill along with so many other textiles. Saying that, buying green is also great – mix it up! A large percentage of my wardrobe is from charity shops, so whereas these items weren’t necessarily made ethically, I am using them and keeping them from being thrown out.
What’s your position on leather? Fur?
I’m not keen on a lot of the methods used to produce these items. Working towards better conditions for animals used for human consumption, be it for fashion or for eating, is definitely important. Essentially, I suppose I don’t see wearing fur or leather as that different from eating meat. I do eat meat sometimes (although not that often) but I don’t own anything made of fur. However, if I lived in a very cold place I wouldn’t rule it out.
Ultimately, I’m a realist and think that if you’re going to kill an animal, at least give it a decent life first and then use as many parts of it as possible and don’t waste anything unnecessarily.
Which shopping habits do you think are the most important ones consumers need to change?
I think our addiction to throw away electronic equipment that is automatically upgraded after a year or two is frightening. There is a project in the UK that I’m a big fan of called the Restart Project. They set up events where you can bring your faulty electronic gadgets to be fixed. I’m going to one of their parties (yes, they call them that!) in a couple of weeks with a few items and will be writing about it, so keep an eye on my blog.
How are you adding to a ‘greener’ world?
I think that sustainability has ended up with a very serious and unsexy reputation. It doesn’t have to be really earnest and all about cutting back – it can be stylish and fun! In my opinion, it’s about doing things differently, not less. I hope that through writing about people and places making a positive difference I can, in my own small way, show people this and inspire them to be more curious about what they can do.