Cassandra styles the Mardu NYC ethical leather belts.
Mardu's Elion belt.
Running a Sustainably Driven Styling Service with Cassandra Dittmer
We chat to the lovely Cassandra Dittmer all about the ethos behind her sustainability driven styling service and navigating personal style in the most considered way possible.
Cassandra has kindly offered an exclusive 20% discount off her styling consultations for our REV community! Use the code REV20.
“If companies and individuals took a step back to think about their impact, they would realize that a lot of sustainability is rooted in common sense and overall consciousness.”
We are such huge fans of your sustainable ethos within your styling services…have you always been in ethical fashion or is this something that has evolved for you?
This is definitely something that has evolved over the years. When I started my own styling business about 4 years ago, it took a while to figure out exactly what I wanted my personal brand to stand for. Over time this became clear to me that I wanted to help align my clients personal values and ethos to their wardrobe choices. I felt like the conversation around sustainability and fashion wasn’t happening in the red carpet space as much as necessary. I feel like we weren’t talking enough about what the brands actually stood for and only focussed on aesthetics, and I want to bring the conversation of ethos to the front.
How have you formulated the sustainable ethos of your services?
Over time I have defined my version of sustainability as how to consider the three e’s – ethics, economics, and environment in every project or client I work with. This helps me maintain awareness in the sense that working in fashion can be a very wasteful role and centering these values in every project makes sure I am maintaining alignment with where we want to go. We have recently developed a scale system that helps us understand where brands fall on the sustainability scale to guide ourselves and clients to make educated choices. Sustainability is very complex and I work to unpack why brands do what they do, what they are doing well and areas where they could improve, with the overall goal of full transparency from start to finish.
Are you finding that clients are naturally asking more for sustainable fashion or is this something you are still having to sell in?
I think it’s about 50/50 right now. Some clients are coming to me specifically for sustainable solutions, but the other half still needs convincing and more content on why to prioritize sustainability.
Have you found that covid19 has affected the way that people are thinking about dressing?
Covid19 really changed the industry and the way people approach fashion. Lots of people are making more practical decisions and thinking about slow fashion in relation to the environment and their personal impact. People are also simply going out less and therefore looking to purchase less and putting a microscope to what they are purchasing.
Do you think that fashion is fundamentally changing to be more ethical in this time?
Yes. I think people are really waking up to the climate crisis and realizing that we are running out of options if we don’t make major changes. Brands are becoming increasingly more conscious and aware of their impact. However, we still need to work to change from a policy level, we can’t just count on every brand to design with ethos in mind in a capitalist society.
Any top tips for more sustainable dressing for anyone trying to be more conscious with their dressing?
Avoid fast fashion at all costs. Slow down and work within your existing wardrobe as a first step. Re-wearing and mending or upcycling your current wardrobe is a great place to start. At the beginning of every season I make a list of items I am looking for, but don’t purchase anything right away. Items that I constantly think about purchasing get put to the top of the list. Work to avoid impulse shopping as well. Treat your clothing like you would a larger purchase and consider what the brands stand for that you are purchasing from and work towards a more holistic approach.
“We still need to work to change from a policy level, we can’t just count on every brand to design with ethos in mind in a capitalist society.”
What is your personal style mantra?
I want to be proud of what I’m wearing. If i’m not excited about the story a garment tells or what a brand represents, I will not spend my hard earned money on it!
Favourite resources for learning about / being inspired by sustainability within fashion?
I think The New Fashion Initiative and the Sustainable Fashion Forum are great resources for learning about fashion at a policy level. I am also so inspired when I vintage shop – it makes me completely rethink my personal style and want to incorporate really special pieces from different eras into my wardrobe.
What are the environmental issues that concern you the most and how do you personally go about tackling them?
Daily I am most concerned with my impact and what I am recommending to clients since my purchasing decisions go beyond what I consume for myself. I work hard to be very considerate of what fibers I wear and their environmental impact, whether that’s natural fibers vs recycled and beyond. I am also deeply concerned with all of the packaging and shipping that goes into fashion and styling.
The whole process needs to be reimagined to align with the climate needs of todays’ world. I worked with a tech company, Voor, when I designed my first capsule collaboration. We avoided carbon emissions and environmental waste in the sampling process by simply using advanced technology to create less samples. This is one of my goals with my online eStyling clients as well – meaning we are working towards purchasing and consuming less all together. I see my online business as equal parts tech and fashion – I am working towards clients being able to have complete virtual showrooms where they can try on clothes and see items on themselves before ordering.
What are life’s small pleasures for you right now?
With working from home I am enjoying more family time and less hustle and bustle during work days. I have been getting more into gardening and cooking over the last year of course and that’s been nice for stress relief. As a byproduct of the pandemic, I have been feeling more connected to my home and I think it was a really necessary slow down for me.
What is making you feel optimistic at this time?
Young people! I really think our youth is incredibly smart, aware and brave. I am so hopeful that they are going to be the change we need.
Finally, what does sustainability mean to you in these unprecedented times?
Sustainability means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. Simply put, sustainability is being considerate and making conscious, educated purchasing decisions. If companies and individuals took a step back to think about their impact, they would realize that a lot of sustainability is rooted in common sense and overall consciousness. How should people be treated? What materials can we use to not harm our planet?