Economist, business consultant, and vintage fashion lover, Yarina Valverde has turned her passion for the environment into a blog for the non-average reader. Fashionhedge is a gateway to debate about what has been called “ethical fashion,” and has a particular focus on the business of fashion and fashion sourcing.
Here, Yarina talks blogging, shopping and the keys to happiness.
How would you describe the focus of your blog?
Fashionhedge is an attempt to inform and explain concepts about what has been called “ethical fashion”, “sustainable fashion” and “slow fashion”. Instead of focusing on the issues in the garment industry, I try to focus on the new ideas and products that combine good design and environmental criteria. I interview apparel company owners and talk about new products and ideas in this space trying to be more objective rather than favoring them just because they are “sustainable”. I have been a strong critic of the marketing techniques some labels have used, focusing on the ethical qualities of their product while putting out there something without a true aesthetic value. I believe many things have to change in the fashion industry, but making undesirable products is not the way to start the consumers perspective shift. I also talk about lifestyle topics, beauty and health. I try to stay away from the “outfit of the day” style posts, I have done a few, but there is too much of that online already and instead try to focus in the content and analysis aspect of fashion.
Which other blogs have inspired you?
Really, what inspired me was the lack of a blog like this. There are countless girls posing for outfit photos everywhere and there are some focused on writing, talking about sustainability and healthy lifestyle choices. But the two styles rarely coexist. I think the image of women in the media, whether it is TV, music or personal blogs, has been reduced to a few cliches and that’s how people decide to market themselves. My insatisfaction with this image led me to show that you can pose for photos every once in a while but you can be much more than that and have your own opinions, do business and craft a career through your personal brand without getting reduced to a stereotype.
What are your favourite beauty and fashion brands?
My favorite fashion brand is Reformation. They developed a more sustainable line of products exactly the way you are supposed to, focusing on the product’s great design and marketing it to the right consumer at the right price point. They use deadstock fabrics for most pieces and run an eco friendly office; such features are mentioned, but they do it in a fun way, not trying to make you feel evil for liking fast fashion or like an irrational tree hugger. Other eco brands that I really enjoy are Amour Vert for clothes, Sydney Brown for shoes and Freedom of Animals for handbags. Everlane is also a classic favorite.
For beauty products, I am a minimalist, so I try to wear very little makeup, but I love mascara and the Black Argan Oil Mascara from Josie Maran is my latest discovery and it made me switch from my previous brand. For the lips, I wear eos lip balm, I try to stay away from strong colors and I do not wear any primers or concealers, just a light moisturizer and suntan lotion ALWAYS, even if it’s not very sunny, I hide my face from the sun as much as I can and wear hats when convenient.
Which high profile person trying to make a difference do you most admire, and why?
People tend to admire activists and civil groups leaders, but I believe the biggest changes in the world are achieved by entrepreneurs. You can talk all you want, but if you don’t have an idea or a product that can truly solve a world’s problem, you don’t have anything. I am constantly reading about business, stock markets and startups and I am fascinated with innovation and product development. Currently, I admire innovators such as Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, who have made their names a brand and trademark for excellence.
Which environmental issues are most important to you?
Inefficient use of resources. We spend a lot of time and money producing and acquiring products that aren’t really necessary and that have a very short lifespan, becoming dangerous waste shortly after we purchase them. In rich countries, the high level of disposable income and the ability to get extremely cheap mass produced goods had led to an ungodly accumulation of junk that people consider a part of life. We are addicted to stuff.
Why do you think bloggers are becoming increasingly important in the publishing world?
The incentives in the advertising and mass media world have made some readers to doubt once trusted media outlets, that, along with the democratization of the web have created a market for regular, supposedly unbiased individuals to speak out their minds, offering a new world of information where anybody can become an influencer and a small internet celebrity. In this space, early adopters who caught the wave early (about 7-10 years ago) had a chance to rise and become an authority in their field and cultivate a healthy following
Which is better: buying green, or buying vintage?
My position is that you can buy anything you want as long as it is something useful that you plan to wear for a long time, that fits well and also fits the rest of your wardrobe. I go for timeless cuts and black, lots and lots of black.
Which shopping habits do you think are the most important ones consumers need to change?
Shopping as a hobby and not as a calculated process to acquire things you really need. I see it a lot here in California, people (a lot of them young moms) just go out every now and then to what I consider terrible stores where nothing is really all that good or useful and fill up a full cart. Crazy.
How are you adding to a ‘greener’ world?
I basically stopped buying things I don’t need. Once you start questioning yourself “what if every time I buy something a puppy dies?” things get a lot easier. Since then, I put quality in front of quantity, the mindless shopping dates have pretty much ended and I allow myself to spend more on a piece of clothing, but I make sure it’s timeless and fits perfectly before I pull out the credit card.
When and where are you happiest?
Right here, right now.
Any last words?
Clothes and products are only a very small part of the equation of living a fulfilling and happy life. Your happiness does not depend on what brands or how much makeup you wear, understanding you are beautiful and doing the things you love will have a bigger impact in your happiness and how others perceive you.
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