By Chere Di Boscio
Perhaps because they live with climatic extremes, Australians seem to be big into sustainability, and demand for eco-products is on the rise in that country almost more than anywhere else. Eco Warrior Princess , the popular green lifestyle blog of Fashion Business graduate Jennifer Nini, is one of Australia’s go-to information portals for knowing where to shop and live more sustainably. Here, Ms. Nini tells Eluxe about why going off the grid, buying less and being nice are her priorities.
Why did you decide to have a ‘green’ focus for your work?
After starting this blog with the purpose of sharing my political, environmental and personal views, unexpected life events propelled my partner and I to move from the city to a regional community. Having lived in one of Australia’s largest metropolises my whole life, the move to a rural setting was a big adjustment. However, it was and still is a defining moment in my life. The change taught me to live off the grid and become self-sufficient. We grew our own organic vegetables, had rain water tanks and a nearby creek that provided much of our water needs and on the whole, I learned to live simply and reduce purchasing things that I didn’t need. Of course, as a woman and one who also studied Fashion Business, I love fashion, but I didn’t want to compromise my values and beliefs in the pursuit of style. My blog allows me to promote and celebrate green fashion but more importantly, a green lifestyle.
Why do you think bloggers are becoming increasingly trusted in the publishing world?
Independent bloggers, unlike journalists, are not bound by the restrictions and expectations of the editor or the media company in which they work and are free to write content that expresses their personal opinions and views. As a result, these bloggers gain a kind of credibility and respect from their readers not often given to journalists. An independent blogger is often seen as David and traditional media as Goliath. And bloggers can come from a range of different backgrounds, ages and sizes. There doesn’t appear to be such a thing as the archetypal blogger. Mind you, I am referring to independent bloggers as I am aware that there are bloggers that ‘sell out’ their values and become puppets for traditional PR and marketing firms and other businesses.
Which green fashion labels are currently in your top 5 lust-list?
This is a hard one given that my new years’ resolution is to buy nothing new for my wardrobe as I wanted to put my green values to the test. This means purchasing only vintage and second hand items and creating outfits with existing pieces in my wardrobe. However if I had to choose, they would be: Anne Gorke GMBH, Honest by, Mina + Olya, Henrietta Ludgate and Maxjenny.
How do you merge ethical and non-ethical brands in your wardrobe?
I believe in wearing versatile trans-seasonal pieces that take me from season to season. Those pieces are often eco-friendly and ethically made. The non-ethical brands I wear to modernize my wardrobe are often purchased second-hand in thrift or charity shops. As I continue to work towards a more sustainable life, I no doubt will end up with a sustainable and ethical wardrobe. Until then, I make full use of the wardrobe pieces I currently have and take great care to ensure their longevity.
Which new green labels do you see as up and coming?
I am a fan of Kowtow Clothing from New Zealand and Organic by John Patrick from the USA, ethically produced and committed to organic sustainable material, and both have a minimalistic flair in their design which I admire. I love Shawna Robinson and Natalie Sydoruk’s clothing line called Label, as they do not inherently promote themselves as green but are still committed to sustainable practices, and try to use organic, renewable or reclaimed materials where possible and their clothing is ethically produced in Canada. The clothing is in line with my aesthetic, a lot of versatile, staple, trans-seasonal pieces with great colourful stylish ones thrown in.
Which is better: buying green, or buying vintage?
This is a really tough question. Given that I am trying not to purchase anything ‘new’ for my wardrobe this year, my first impulse is to say buying vintage. But of course this means purchasing vintage items locally and then being mindful of how you care for the items. So I would say either is fine so long as you are making a concerted effort to restrict your impact on our environment not just through fashion but through all areas of life.
What’s your position on leather? Fur?
I am a semi-vegetarian (I eat seafood) and this is a personal choice. I don’t impose that people stop wearing leather or fur given that animals are slaughtered every day for consumption and much of our modern medicines, pharmaceuticals and beauty products are being tested on animals. I do advocate being informed of where the leather and fur came from if you do decide to purchase products made from these materials.
Do you use any green beauty products?
I have been using Sukin Australian Natural Skincare now for several years, which is Australian made and owned, cruelty-free, paraben-free, vegan and 100% carbon neutral. I use their cleanser, facial scrub, shampoo, conditioner and deodorant. The other beauty products that I really like and have only recently discovered is Adorn Mineral Cosmetics as their cosmetics are also Australian made and owned, cruelty-free, paraben-free, palm-oil free and vegan.
Which shopping habits do you think are the most important ones consumers need to change?
Vivienne Westwood said it best when she said: “Buy Less, Choose Well and Make it Last.” This is a good motto to live by.
Any last words?
As stewards of the Earth, we humans have a responsibility to look after it as well as each other. Making a difference through fashion is just the beginning. I encourage people to find their own ways to create positive change and contribute to making this world a better, kinder and happier place.
All images: Jennifer Nini. Brand images: Kowtow and Adorn Cosmetics