Looking for a sustainable lifestyle
Would you like to live a bit more consciously, but don’t know how? And rather not put too much time, money or effort into it? Then ‘This is a Good Guide – for a sustainable lifestyle’ is a book for you. It’s filled with practical and positive tips regarding fashion, beauty, food, home, work and leisure, and shows that stylish and sustainable go very well together. And that it’s about good, not perfect - about smart choices, doing what you can and what suits you. An edited excerpt from Marieke Eyskoot’s new book.
That something is cheap doesn’t mean that it doesn’t cost much, but that someone other than you is paying the price. Sustainable products are not expensive, regular ones are too cheap. Fortunately, conscious, good-quality products generally last longer, making the ‘price per use’ lower, so that we’re actually better off in the long-term. If you choose a bargain you subsequently can only wear a few times, you need to keep buying, ultimately spending more. This is how we’ve become programmed. Shaking off that short-term way of thinking has so many benefits. Sustainable living is like chocolate in that respect. However much I want to devour an entire bar in one go, I always seem to enjoy it more when I choose to eat it more slowly and with a bit of attention.
We determine the world. We can choose how we want to live, who we want to be, what we like and don’t like. Every time you buy something, you’re actually saying to the brand or the store: ‘I love what you’re doing, please, take my money to continue doing it.’ You support a particular development, and so can steer it too. Especially when we do it together. Collectively, we have tremendous power and strength, if we choose to use it.
You probably already knew this. Just as you probably know how necessary it is. People are suffering to facilitate our lifestyle. Not cool, but true. And the earth is too. We need to make changes. Now. Also true, but actually cool: this doesn’t mean your life should suffer, become sparse or boring. On the contrary, I’m convinced that it can be better, more interesting, and more varied once you stop automatically choosing the easiest and most familiar path.
For now, there will still be ridiculous choices to make. Between people and the environment, animals and style; impossible. You can ask yourself all sorts of questions. Vegan shoes are better, because no animals are used to make them. But aren’t alternatives to leather often made of plastic, which comes from oil? Should I buy local to reduce emissions, or fair trade from a developing country to support the people there? All paramount issues, but don’t let them drive you crazy.
And most of all, don’t let them stand in your way. There isn’t yet an answer to everything. That’s fine. Choose what you feel is best and what’s within your capabilities. That’s all you can do. Every step you do take, is one you wouldn’t have taken before. Of course, the more, the better – but trust me, this will happen naturally. And it’s not just about buying, but also about how we interact with the world and each other. About equality, diversity, body image and inclusion. Freedom for everyone, regardless of background, preferences or appearance. About what you do, not what you say. And about trying, sometimes stumbling/failing, but always doing your utmost with the best of intentions.
Sustainable living is modern living: in amazing style, with respect for people and our environment. Modern, because it both looks to the future and is very much in the here and now. Life is to be celebrated (by everyone), not to be tossed away or wasted with stuff that’s actually not good enough for us anyway.
‘This is a Good Guide – for a sustainable lifestyle’ includes international stores and brands, hands on do’s and don’ts and interviews with leading pioneers. It’s available worldwide now, published by BIS Publishers (bispublishers.com). You can also try Dress [with] Sense, Redress’ guide to a conscious wardrobe.
Marieke Eyskoot is a sustainable fashion and lifestyle expert, author and consultant. She is Regional Judge of the Redress Design Award 2018.
This article originally appeared in the Redress Design Award 2018 Magazine.