10 Questions with Lauren Engelke, The Sustainable Stylist
Posted on September 03 2019
10 QUESTIONS WITH LAUREN ENGELKE, THE SUSTAINABLE STYLIST
Building a sustainable wardrobe that you love is no easy task. From trying to understand the differences between terms like organic, fair trade and sustainable, to deciding which fashion trends flatter you- there is so much that goes into it!
Thankfully there are amazing fashion stylists like Lauren Engelke to help us all out. We were lucky to get a chance to interview her shortly after her return from the UK's number one trade fashion event, Pure London where she gave an industry talk on "The Wardrobe of the Future".
She regularly writes on her blog, The Sustainable Stylist about the latest sustainable fashion brands, sustainable city guides and her personal styling tips.
Lauren began working in the fashion industry as an on set tailor to help clothing brands adjust their clothing to fit the models during photoshoots. After steaming the wrinkles out of countless pieces of clothing, she began to wonder why they always had this horrible chemical smell. That curiosity turned into research and now years later she has become an expert in Sustainable Fashion.
Read on to go behind the scenes with Lauren.
CAN YOU TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF?
Before I was a sustainable stylist, I was an on-set tailor. I am all about the fit and quality of garments!
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO TAKE THIS PATH?
Everything in life lead me this way. My husband and I love sailing, and I am fascinated with how efficient and precise everything is on a sailboat - you never bring more than exactly what you need, because there isn't extra space. Also - sailing makes you hyper aware of how much water you consume, how much trash you create, and how our actions affect the environment.
Back on land, several of my friends introduced me to the minimalist movement when they sold their belongings and traveled the country in vans. Add to that, that I've been thrift shopping since I was a teen and that I'm a tailor, and it's the perfect storm. I'm not sure I could have ended up any other way.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
I have two modes - I am either working from home or a coworking space, or I am on the road at a conference. Either way, I start the day around 6. My younger dog, Fran, lays on my chest while I wake up, which is delightful. Then I pour a big cup of coffee and dive right in.
A regular day working from home - I've been working on a book, so I'll spend the first two hours of my day writing and editing. Then I might prep for a client session, which means that I'll look through the selfies and notes they've sent me and figure out what their wardrobe needs. I might go do a pull so that I have clothes to bring to our session.
Then I'll spend an hour or two working on my podcast, The Sustainable Style Podcast, planning upcoming topics and writing some dialogue. Right now, we're starting to plan spooky, macabre sustainability topics for October. Stay tuned!
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SUSTAINABLE FASHION?
I find it promising! The more mainstream and popular sustainability becomes, the more positive improvements are being made in the fashion industry.
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE MORE OF?
I love upcycling!! I want to see more clothes and homegoods made from existing fabrics - I want to see dresses made of quilts and blouses made from old sheets. I want to go full Scarlett O'Hara and wear a gown made from drapes!
WHAT IS SOMETHING YOU WOULD LIKE TO SEE LESS OF?
White tees. How the heck are companies still making new tee shirts? There are heaps of them in every thrift store - and already in everyone's closets. Cool it with the tees, please!!
WHAT IS A BRAND THAT YOU ADMIRE?
I love Elvis & Kresse. They're a London based brand that makes gorgeous structured handbags from spent fire hoses and parachute silk. They take a product that has lived a full life already and recreate it into something that will live many more lives. I can't say enough good things about them.
WHAT IS SOMETHING THAT IS SURPRISING ABOUT YOU?
I am very good at math. I studied engineering for 2.5 years in college before changing majors and finishing in finance.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVROITE ITEM IN YOUR JEWELRY BOX?
Hard choice!! I have a hand bracelet that I bought in Venice Beach a couple years ago that I adore.
WHAT IS YOUR #1 TIP FOR SUSTAINABLY UPDATING YOUR FALL WARDROBE?
My #1 tip when it comes to sustainable shopping is to slow down. Look through your closet first, and make yourself a shopping list! Treat clothing like groceries - just shop for the items on your list, and try to buy something that is a perfect fit for your lifestyle.