Camilla Mendini is the first Italian youtuber who used her web space to talk about the big issue of fast fashion and how she changed her shopping habits. Her advices are really precious and what she has to say about fast fashion will definitely make you think about it!
“I am a graphic designer and I’ve been living in New York for two years. As soon as my husband accepted the job opportunity that required us to move here, I realized that it could have been great to share my story as an Italian expat in NYC. I chose YouTube as my platform, because images suit me better than words, and through video making, I’ve found the perfect medium to show myself and my journey.”
How would you define the phenomenon of fast fashion? Soon after we’ve settled here, I have realized that the Big Apple is a perfect example of the American consumerism. Everyone longs for money to buy more stuff, more services, more everything. It doesn’t matter the quality, the real deal is to look good and always be at the hype of the latest trend. To change house, car, clothes, phone frequently and to spend money in order to be (and to feel) appreciated, are quite normal behaviours. Everything is about money!
In addition, one of the biggest differences that I’ve noticed living in the USA is that here quality is not really understood. Italy has a great artisanal tradition and I think that most of the Italian people can recognize a quality fabric and a good crafted clothe from a cheap one. In the USA it is not very usual to see good quality goods and people doesn’t really care about that aspect. Fast fashion has become the normality within the industry: it is the new American consumerism translated into fashion: buy more, pay less!
Do you think has positive aspects? I can’t see any positive aspect about fast fashion. It destroys the market, it allows unethical working conditions in the third world countries, where workers are not protected by their own legislation, it pushes to buy more and more without thinking, it rewards the big nonsustainable brands and it ruins the smaller activities.
What made you change yor shopping habits? My shopping habits changed immediately after seeing the documentary “The true cost”. It opened my eyes. Once you understand what there is behind the low prices of fast fashion, it is hard not to change your vision about that kind of fashion.
How is your experience with sustainable shopping? So far, so good! I don’t miss anything about fast fashion and I have never been in an H&M, Zara, Mango, etc. store ever since. Besides, I have learned a lot about sustainability, about slow and ethical fashion and I am really thankful to my husband that pushed me to see “The true cost” and to support me everyday. I am looking every day for new sustainable and ethical brands to buy from and to talk about on my YouTube channel. I have created a playlist named “Haulternative” where I show 10 different sustainable brands per video, dividing them among groups like: “accessories”, “shoes”, “sweaters”, “swimsuits”, etc.
I have discovered so many thrift and vintage stores in New York and I love to spend some time looking for the right clothing for my outfits. I have also started to sewed some of my clothes and I really enjoy to wear what I make with my own hands! I can choose the fabric, the pattern, pretty much everything that I like the most and my wardrobe is becoming a reflection of my personality.
Have you found any difficulty? The biggest difficulty is to understand if a brand is really sustainable or if it is just greenwashing. Nowadays is becoming very common for brands to declare themselves “sustainable” even if they are not. Sustainable is the new “organic”!
What are your favorite brand currently? My favourite sustainable brands are Everlane, People Tree, Lazzari, and more others Italian artisans that I discovered lately.
What would you recommend to those who want to make a “conversion” but are accustomed to low cost fashion? The first step is to understand who you are and what you like to wear. The wardrobe should be the reflection of his owner and trends are not to be followed anymore. Trust your taste, your gut and your eyes! Prefer quality rather than quantity and give you more time to choose when buying a new clothe.
Instagram: @carotilla_ @carotillagoessustainable
Youtube: Camilla Mendini https://www.youtube.com/user/camillamendini