Aislign is a 24 year old Entrepreneur and the co-founder of Nu Wardrobe. She’s studied music, has worked in media but gives all her time to her start up, which aims to change our version of what wearing something new means. While she enjoys musicals, a good cocktail and a chat about sustainable fashion she’s tired of the “awful feeling you get when you watch an interesting documentary about climate change and realise just how bad things have got.”
Aisling believes in swapping clothes over constantly buying new ones
“I love fashion, but I barely ever shop for brand new pieces. Most of the clothes I have come from swap shops or are borrowed from friends. I’ll go vintage or charity shopping if I need something specific. I’ve slowly started to collect sustainable or ethical pieces and it’s a case of saving up and really investing in those.”
She used to be a fast fashion fan
” I used to shop in a lot of fast-fashion outlets and really did not think about what I was doing. I would just run in and pick something up on the way home if I was heading somewhere that night. I’d never considered how many times I’d wear the piece or where it came from. When I started to learn more about the fast-fashion industry my view of garments totally changed.”
Becoming a conscious consumer was a journey
“At first, I felt guilty for buying cheap clothes, but I still did it on occasion, because I needed them or liked how they looked. Over time I became so interested in sustainable fashion that I would walk into a fast-fashion store and not even want anything in there. I began to see the cheap quality, how unlikely it was to last more than a few washes, and just how everything looked the same from shop to shop. Trends change so fast now that I don’t feel the high street helps people to show off their personal style anymore.”
So why did her habits change once and for all?
“It was a mix of not wanting to buy all these new clothes because of ethical reasons, realising that I simply didn’t need unnecessary pieces, and gaining a new sense of personal style for which I wanted to invest in pieces that I really loved and would last a long time. I think that I respect and love clothes a lot more now. I no longer choose or buy them for quick gratification, I buy or borrow them because of their beauty, their story, and what they represent.”
Aisling is now a sustainable brand enthusiast
“I love Veja, Patagonia, Stella McCartney, and Needle and Thread. I like to look at pieces online as it helps me to focus on what it is that I want and actually need to buy, but I also love the experience of trying on pieces in the store. More and more I will go online simply because some of my favourite brands are not available in Ireland or are only online.”
We asked Aisling to come along to the photoshoot in her favourite pieces that she’s been using for the #stiallchallenge
“I’m wearing a feather body con dress but using it as a top! Funny story with this one..I met a woman in the village with a bag with a feather hat sticking out and I just had to ask where she got it! She was on the way to the charity shop and said there were plenty more feathered items in there. Long story short she gave me the bag and the pieces were beautiful, including the dress/top I’m wearing today. The pieces that didn’t fit me went into the Nu swap shop and found lovely new homes. My skirt is from Topshop and my heels are from Schuh. I bought these before I totally turned my back on fast-fashion and have made sure to wear them far more than just 30 times, Which isn’t hard, because I love them. These fab socks I bought in a vintage store in Galway.”
So 30 days and 30 items for the #stiallchallenge, how was it for Aisling?
“I found it surprisingly easy, and also quite eye opening. When going through my wardrobe I could very easily pick out the 30 items I like the most and quickly realised how much of my wardrobe doesn’t get much wear. It was fun mixing and matching outfits and it forces you to be creative with what you have. It’s a really good lesson for future buying, being able to ask your self ‘will this match my current wardrobe?’. After this, I’d definitely consider building a capsule wardrobe of 30 items and borrow the rest rather than keep buying things that don’t get much wear.”
Aisling’s lesson learned from the #stiallchallenge
“Doing this challenge I found how easy it was to live for a month without wearing some of the pieces in my wardrobe. It was a bit sad… items I’ve kept for ages didn’t make it into the challenge, and I just had to think ‘when will I realistically wear that again?’ and ‘Can I give it to someone else?’.
I look back at how unsustainable my old shopping habits were that I feel quite motivated to keep 30 items 30 days as mentality when the challenge is over rather than it being a once off thing.
As a society, our consumption habits are just crazy and I think it is really important for everyone to think more about the clothes they buy, where they are from, and how many times they will be worn. 30 items give you a wonderful variety of pieces that can be carefully chosen, cared for and worn allowing you to be creative with your wardrobe without getting bored.”
The final say
“I think the Stiall challenge is a creative and engaging way to become more sustainable in your fashion choices. Often times we can feel so helpless when learning about the social and environmental impacts of the fast-fashion industry and it is hard to know where to start or what to do. Taking this simple challenge for just one month can make such a difference. Think about it, this way you won’t even buy anything new for one month which means you’re already saving approximately 7,100 litres of water and 15lbs of c02 that would have bee used in the production of just one new garment.”
Photography: David Gannon
With special thanks to The Radisson Blu Hotel, Golden Lane, Dublin