why switch to natural materials?

Writer: Ona Rihu
Pictures: Catarina Böckerman

My journey away from fast fashion has had many nuances to it over the years - but I’d say this one feels the most sustainable. Quitting fast fashion and being vegan for me meant that I didn’t buy anything made of animal materials - even thrifted. That made second hand shopping a bit difficult sometimes, and after reading about microplastics and all the other downsides of synthetic materials, I knew I didn’t want to support that either.

second hand cashmere sweater : 12€ from Fida

So, what’s left? I came to the conclusion that if i truly wanted to be ethical and ecological, second hand natural materials are the way to go. They’re long lasting, require less washing and don’t release microplastics into our oceans. My favorite materials for the summertime are cotton, silk and linen, and in the wintertime I try to find wool and cashmere. I do own quite a few pairs of vintage leather boots from the 80’s-90’s, mom style is my favorite! Second hand shopping for natural materials works for me because it’s affordable, the clothes are long-lasting and you’re not directly supporting the industry.

a few tips to thrifting natural materials:

  • Look at the tag. This might be a bit obvious, but when I see a piece I like the first thing I check is the tag, and material. I try to avoid non-biodegradeable materials like nylon and polyester.

  • Smell it. Natural materials, especially wool has a spesific scent. It can also collect smells so it’s good to check before buying.

  • Care: Don’t wash sweaters and other thick items of clothing too often. I like to have t-shirts under my knits, so I only have to wash the t-shirt and I can just air out the knits, or wash them once a month.

  • Air it out! The best thing about cold weather is airing out your clothes. It kills bacteria and makes your clothes smell fresh and clean.

  • Hangers - I try to hang all of my precious items - like cashmere sweaters and wool pants. That way you’ll guarantee a longer lifespan and they wont get wrinkled.

  • Get minimalistic - you really don’t need 10 different sweaters, having a few trusty ones in rotation is well enough. Less is more!