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Alumni interview: the nexus of fashion and sustainability

In 2018, EF Academy alumnus Linus started his blog “The Suitstainable Man” to write about his lifestyle and experience in London. Today, Linus is doing an LLM in Environmental Law at The Queen Mary University London, and his blog has evolved into a unique platform for menswear and sustainability. Read on to learn more about Linus’ view on how fashion and sustainability are connected, and what you as a consumer can do to become more aware of your impact on the environment.

Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Linus and I studied at EF Academy back in 2016. Since then, I’ve done an undergraduate degree at The Queen Mary University London in International Relations. After that, I did an MSc in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London, and now I’m back at The Queen Mary University London doing an LLM in Environmental Law. I started my blog during the second year of my undergraduate degree, wanting to use the platform to promote brands and the idea of British craftmanship. Eventually, the nexus of fashion and sustainability became the dominant theme.

Have you always been passionate about fashion and sustainability, and what is your vision for the blog?

I have always been interested in fashion and sustainability, but the two interests didn’t come together until a later time in my life. I was brought up with the awareness of the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle, as well as the mentality that you should cherish what you have. The ultimate goal of the blog is to be a platform for likeminded individuals who are also interested in classic menswear and sustainability. I want to promote the awareness of consumer led sustainability. I’m excited to see where the blog is heading.

What can consumers do to shop more sustainably?

Think about the cost-per-wear. If you compare a well-made, slightly more expensive garment to a piece that has a cheaper starting price, but you only wear it three times and then throw it away, in the long run, the more well-made piece will have been worn for five, ten years or even longer, and will therefor have a lower cost per wear. Another advice is to buy well made vintage garments. You give them a second life, and you can think of the pieces like heirlooms or cultural pieces that can be passed on. There is always a certain beauty to passing on things that have a story.

Another key thing you can do as a consumer is to be aware of which brands you buy from, if you approve of their ethos and business practices. You probably can’t stop fast fashion brands from popping up, but at least you’re making a conscious choice. You’re trying to learn more about what they’re doing, and I think that’s already making a positive change, don’t be too hard on yourself.

Do you have a role model?

There isn’t a particular person I would look up to. Rather than thinking of whose path I should follow and what I can replicate, I think it’s more about who you want to be and what kind of impact you want to make. My path in fashion and sustainability came by coincidence, so think about who you want to be, and what kind of an impression you want to make on others. Then you become your own role model, not constrained by what people want to see in you, but rather who you want to present yourself as. I think that is helpful advice for all of us.

What advice do you have for students who want to make a difference in the world?

I have three key pieces of advice that I would give to students who want to pursue their passion or make a difference in the world. Number one is to be curious. Curiosity has pushed me far and wide, I’ve pursued three degrees and I’ve met a lot of different interesting people. The second advice is to study what you are interested in. The third advice I would give is to not be shy. Exchange ideas with people and learn from a broad range of perspectives, maybe from an industry insider, or just people who have different interests than you. It gives you a more rounded perspective. Start by doing what you feel curious and passionate about, and the results will come.

What are your plans for the future?

To be a lawyer. I would like to be a part of this rapidly changing world, and being a lawyer would grant me a better position to be able to work with exciting environmental or energy issues. That being said, fashion and sustainability is still a big area of interest for me. Who knows, I might start my own brand in the future, working with ethical and thoughtful textile manufacturers and educating my clients. I hope to spread the message of the nexus between fashion and sustainability. We’ll see how it goes!

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