Sustainable Treasure Hunt: Exploring Conscious Fashion Choices

My friend and I took it upon ourselves to go on a city-wide adventure that became an odyssey through the heart of our earth-certified sustainable fashion exploration. What we lovingly dubbed our “Sustainable Treasure Hunt” put us on the chase for anything and everything that is either environmentally friendly at heart or practices empathy to provide a learning experience about all things new-age happening in fashion-sustainability. On our journey we passed through bookstores, second-hand stores and nature festival standpoints all providing new perspectives of thought.

The first on our list was Martinus bookstore at Nivy, and that is where we discovered a gem: Wear Next – Fashioning the Future by Press Clare. You can read about the history of sustainable fashion in this book with actionable advice and inspiring stories about how we might make our industry greener. A must-read for anyone who wants to contribute with own behaviour changes related with clothes!

Right after we left the shopping centre, we noticed a tree and just had to hug it. This action, while also being a bit strange yet calming, made us actually remember our bond with nature. As the task followed, we looked up materials made from wood like Tencel and bamboo, which are both sustainable, soft and also flexible.

A short walk took us to Textilhous, a well-known second-hand franchise here in Slovakia. There was a lot to choose from, and although I did not buy anything, my friend picked up the overall she was desperately looking for. This particular shop was full of pre-loved clothes that showed us that new things aren’t necessarily needed to find something you like. After that, we went to a vintage shop called Ejtytu my friend Rebecca told me about. It was my first visit, and the old-style items from various times won me over right away. We even found out that our friend Igor Hanečák’s artwork was on sale there! The cost of the individual pieces was about the same as in fast fashion shops – making it a less harmful choice that was still easy on the wallet.

Next on our list was to visit a haberdashery where my friend picked up some black thread to mend a tiny hole in her new overall. We’re both pretty handy and have no problem sewing up a hole or otherwise repairing our clothes, but we realized that we still have room for improvement and would love to attend a sewing workshop, which would help our clothes last longer and overall cut down our waste. Maybe one day we could sew our own clothes from scratch! After that we visited a nearby shoe repair shop to learn about their offerings. The shop assistant told us that although they repair shoes many customers still opt to purchase new ones instead of getting them fixed. We realised that we’re both guilty of that behaviour as well. She also mentioned that her clients often return to restore shoes that hold sentimental value opting to keep treasured memories rather than getting new ones.

At Hurban Square, we discovered upcycled fashion pieces crafted by local Slovak and Czech artists in a store called Place store. A particular handmade brooch worn by my friend best displayed the potential for creativity and sustainability that upcycled fashion has in it!  We eventually found this SLOW concept store as we wandered around. Ideal for the sustainability junkie, this place has curated an assortment of collections that include natural fibers, recycled and certified materials.

Along our walks, we also noticed a few recycling bins for textiles. All of these recycling bins fell under Ecocharity and we noticed that they were often placed near general waste containers or collections yards. Rebecca and I talked about how we have the same childhood experience. When we outgrew our baby clothes, we always went with our parents to take them to these recycling bins. These bins are important to the circular economy as they allow textiles to be recycled and used again, rather than them being dumped in a landfill.

I went to Kuchajda the next day for Nature Festival where Natalia Pažická, Lenka Mynářová and Michaela Hletková Ploszeková actually had a disscusion on the topic of circular economy and slow fashion giving their tips on how each of us can make our choice to create a more sustainable industry. In short, reducing consumerism = promoting long-term ecological balance. Learning about the real actions we can take to help genuinely gave us a sense of hope and determination!

I also managed to take a photo with a very majestic animal at the festival: a bald eagle from Maximilán Hell Primary and Kindergarten School; Nixon. What I found out is that their students learn in a school that fuses falconry with environmental education, building an intense appreciation for nature. Nixon was another reminder of just how connected all life is. I also asked this young woman at the festival what she thought of her favourite place on Earth and climate change. Her favourite area, the Tatra Mountains, was experiencing deep change due to global warming. As we were attending the same discussion, she also spoke about how sustainable fashion could help bring down our carbon footprint and described a future where environmentally friendly options will be in the mainstream.

So after this memorable trip, I used what was in my grandmothers closet as an inspiration to make a crochet mesh top out of her old wool. The heart on the chest stands for my love towards this planet and all that sustainable fashion has to offer. You can see this little art piece of mine, in which I share my sustainability commitment, below 😉

Our adventure in searching for more sustainable treasures was a fantastic journey with new findings and new acquaintances. It taught us that by taking tiny steps all people alike, can join together and make the future greener just by rethinking how we choose and use our clothes. Continuing the adventure and continuing to learn, we are inspired to keep making mindful choices!