Of the 3 Rs, Recycling typically gets the most attention in the media and daily life. Tyler Chanel, an ethical blogger and ethical fashion model, proves that Reducing and Reusing have their own important roles in sustainability.
“Once you figure out what you can do to be more sustainable, you just start to incorporate it as much as possible into your life.”
Tyler originally started her blog Thrifts and Tangles in 2012 to share her love of thrifting and natural hair. It has since become a platform to inspire young women to live sustainably and love their natural selves.
Over the years, Tyler’s blog about her natural hair journey has become a way for her to advocate for sustainable living. Through blogging, Tyler shares tips and experiences with young women to help them come to enjoy thrifting and embrace their natural hair as well. She has had a big impact on helping young women to have a low impact on the environment.
“Living a sustainable lifestyle does not have to fit into the picture perfect idea that the media portrays. At one point I thought being sustainable meant buying new bamboo products and buying clothes from expensive ethical brands. I soon realized that sustainability does not have to fit that mold. To me, being sustainable is using what I already own and shopping secondhand.”
Although Tyler has had her fair share of fast fashion, once she began thrifting she quickly became passionate about it. Not only was thrifting more affordable for a college student, it was also a way to find great clothes that would last longer than the items you might typically find in fast fashion.
When Tyler started modeling in 2010, she was working with fast fashion brands that didn’t necessarily align with her values. As Tyler became more passionate about lowering her impact on the environment and advocating for others to do the same, it became harder for her to work with brands she didn’t support.
Now, Tyler is represented by Role Models Management, an ethical modeling agency that gives models the ability to support what they believe in and emphasizes sustainability, environmentalism, social justice, and ethics.
At Role Models, Tyler is able to work with brands that care for the people and planet and align with her own passions and mission. Tyler is glad to have found an ethical agency that allows her to continue modeling without having to sacrifice her passion for sustainability, by avoiding fast fashion.
“There’s no need to buy new clothes. The amount of resources it takes to make new clothes is ridiculous. The harms that it causes to the environment, the pollution, it’s something that can be avoided.”
With thrift stores, Tyler was able to afford better quality clothing than she would have been able to buy new. People were quickly impressed with how Tyler could assemble an entire outfit made entirely of thrifted clothes and she used this interest to inform them about how fashion industry practices can be improved.
Thrifting started out as a more affordable way to find amazing clothes, but once Tyler started learning about the unethical practices of fast fashion companies, she started to advocate for an alternative to buying new clothes and stopping the support of these brands. The more Tyler learned about sustainability in the fashion industry, the more she wanted to share the importance of reusing and reducing items instead of contributing to wasteful fashion practices.
There are many ways that fast fashion is unsustainable.
> The clothes aren’t meant to last long, so consumers are left to continue buying more items once an article of clothing becomes worn out or damaged.
> Fast fashion clothing ends up in landfills because of how quickly trends change.
> The fast fashion industry is polluting the environment.
“I didn’t have to buy brand new things to become sustainable. Using things you already own is the most sustainable thing that you can do.”
For Tyler, the biggest piece of advice when it comes to sustainability is to do it your own way and not fall into the trap of what sustainability marketing says you should do. Tyler’s advice to anyone looking to be more sustainable but overwhelmed with how much there is to do is simple – take it one step at a time. There are many ways to cut down on your impact and it’s okay that it takes time. Real change comes from committing to being more sustainable and as long as you’re putting in effort, you’re moving in the right direction.
“For anyone who is just starting in sustainability, don’t be too hard on yourself. We all make mistakes. To be completely zero waste is very difficult. Anything you do to make an effort to be more sustainable is a win. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t fall for the marketing tactics that say you have to buy this or that. Use what you already own.”
Hear more from Tyler in the Trash Talking podcast!