One of the few Arab fashion influencers to champion sustainability, Hannah Rasekh, who comes from a retail background, is known for her timeless style. Says the sustainable fashion advisor, “It saddens me to know that I am one of the only Arab fashion influencers dedicating my platform to the issue. The idea that Arabs do not care about sustainability is a popular misconception.” She believes that the Middle East has a natural tradition of circular fashion, as “hand me downs” are something of a way of life in Arab households. “It is very disheartening to see throwaway culture take the place of circular practice,” says Rasekh, who lives between London and Dubai, “I’ve taken to my platform to make it my mission to become more of a fashion activist and use my platform for good by promoting mindful consumption and investing in quality and longevity.”
As the fashion season starts and we, of course, have the urge to shop, Rasekh shares her conscious fashion mantras.
1. Shop Quality
Ever since I began building my capsule wardrobe, I’ve learnt first-hand the importance of quality. The fast fashion bits from a decade ago are long gone, whereas the quality pieces I’ve spent a little more on are still hanging around. Buying better quality means you’re also buying for longevity and have no need to replace garments, which means less shopping, and consequently less spending.
2. Shop Sustainable
Supporting designers who are promoting sustainable practices means you’re doing your part. There are thousands of incredible fashion brands that are upcycling and recycling textiles. Upcycled denim is a great place to start as denim production is water-intensive. Check out Boyish jeans & Re/Done!
3. Shop Vintage
With vintage pieces now increasingly accessible thanks to sites such as the Luxury Closet, Vestiare Collective and the Real Real, buying pre-loved items can add a retro flair to your wardrobe. Reclaimed fashion is opening up a new sense of individuality and self-expression. Have fun with it!
4. Shop Non-Toxic
Understanding the impact of materials is crucial when it comes to adopting a more sustainable fashion lifestyle. Avoid virgin synthetics such as polyester, which makes up 55% of clothes globally, as these are derived from fossil fuels and aren’t biodegradable. Keep in mind that not all natural materials are made equal: organic cotton, for example, uses significantly less water than conventional cotton.
5. Shop Smart
Try to steer clear from buying seasonal pieces you know you are only going to wear for one occasion, and instead invest in something with more longevity. Pick more versatile pieces that can be styled and restyled over and over. I recently made a video on how I styled a simple slip dress in 13 different ways.