Natalie Kay Smith: Ethical Fashion Icon and Creator of “Sustainably Chic”

We recently connected with Natalie Kay Smith, creator of our favorite Ethical Fashion blog “Sustainably Chic” to talk about her views on the rise of sustainable fashion.

  1. What inspired you to create Sustainably Chic?

I studied fashion in college, and would run into articles of waste or unethical treatment. I thought to myself, ‘why aren’t we discussing this more?. Towards the end of my studies, I started to apply my education in sustainability to my fashion projects. Then I graduated, and felt incomplete in my career. I needed an outlet to voice my concerns for an industry I loved. Sustainably Chic was the perfect platform for me to discuss responsible fashion.

  1. Do you feel that Ethical Fashion is trending more with the new generation of shoppers?

Definitely! I think social media has been one of the biggest contributions to this trend. All of these campaigns we are creating, and new video footage of how our shopping is impacting the world has a lot of us on our toes. I feel millennials, in particular, are very passionate about global issues and our future on this planet, and we want brands to show us they care, too.

  1. How can the average consumer make more ethical choices when they shop?

I think the first question would be to ask yourself, ‘What’s important to me?’. What you value in a garment is the beginning step when shopping ethically. I think in ethical fashion, the maker behind the clothes should always be treated fairly. So are you passionate about fair trade within impoverished nations or are you more drawn to the local makers within your own community? Most of my beginning ethical purchases were driven by passion, and wanting to make a difference in someone else’s life {it was a perk to get to enjoy the clothes!}.

  1. Your ethical shopping lists are so comprehensive, how do you go about finding new and exciting brands for your readers?

Honestly, I feel so lucky to have this amazing network on social media. I think when I started the blog in 2014, there weren’t very many of ‘me’ {sustainable fashion bloggers} on Instagram, at the time. #sustainablefashion only had a couple hundred tags {maybe not even that much!}. Now, you can type in ‘sustainably’ in the search bar, and get 30+ Instagram accounts. A lot of brands I work with today, I’ve been working with since my first year. It’s great to see us all grow together, and in this last year, I’ve taken on a ton of new emerging brands I’ve met pretty much all through social media. I would not have this awesome list if it weren’t for Instagram.

  1. In your research, have you found any new trends that you have high hopes for?

I find people are caring more and more about where their clothes are coming from. Thanks to campaigns like Fashion Revolution’s ‘Who Made My Clothes’, consumers from all over the world are standing up on social media demanding answers from brands they’ve bought from for years. I think they are only going to get popular every year, and that is super exciting!

  1. Out of your entire wardrobe, what is your favorite ethical piece?

Wow, this is a hard one! Honestly, I have to go with one of my mom’s dresses from 80’s. Who knows who made it, or where all the sequins and jewels came from. It’s ethical to me in the sense it has been given a new life rather than thrown to sit in a landfill, and it’s a garment I truly value because of who owned it before me. I wear it every holiday.

  1. Are there any other ethical brands that our followers just have to know about?

I have a long list of brands I love on my website, but a few that stick out to me in terms of creating new opportunities {for women especially} are Victoria Road, Mayamam Weavers and All the Wild Roses. I also own multiple pieces from all three of these brands, and I know they make a solid product with lots of love sprinkled on top.


You can shop Natalie’s Maranas here.

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