Eco-Friendly Style Tips for Summer 2016

You can have killer style and be mindful of the impact you have on the environment. These fashion experts show you how

Credit: Aritzia 

Clean your conscience and up your style game

Warm weather style should be light and free. And that’s how you should feel, too, say local fashion experts Chloe Popove and Elim Chu.

Aside from feeling great in your clothes, part of feeling light and free is not having a cluttered closet, loving everything you own and being mindful of the impact that your shopping habits incur on the environment and industry. 

Popove, the spunky founder of online consignment store My Modern Closet, exudes a casual confidence in her style and helps her clients navigate and master theirs. 

“My Modern Closet takes all of the hassle out of consignment. I pick up what you’re parting with, deliver what you’ve ordered, and have money to you within 24 hours through e-transfer,” says Popove. “I want to make second-hand people’s first choice, and for people to know that when they shop on my site they’re making a conscious decision to say no to fast fashionand that’s pretty awesome.”

“My goal is to help empower and shift the masses to choose quality over quantity,” says Chu, a freelance fashion consultant, and former brand stylist for Lululemon, who offers everything from styling, personal shopping, wardrobe editing and branding identity development, to social media campaigns and editorial shoots. “Part of my wardrobe editing and shopping process is discussing what we do with castaways and how to shop. Making a point to have this conversation is important to me because I want to help reinforce the shift for mindful consumption.”

BCLiving sat down with these two fashion dynamos to find out how we can save money, avoid fast fashion, celebrate fashion as art, support local, embody our personal brand, and get our closets summer-ready!

Ready? Click over for your most stylishly light and free summer yet!

Credit: Britney Gill Photography (Chloe's photo)

Meet Chloe Popove, My Modern Closet founder (left) and Elim Chu, stylist and brand consultant

Q: Chloe, what inspired you to start My Modern Closet?
A: I love that I get to inspire people to make positive changes in their lives, that those changes will ultimately affect the planet, and that the industry is full of one-of-a-kind pieces and one-of-a-kind people.

I was always searching for fulfillment in my work, trying out anything that came my way until I finally decided to quit my full-time job and take a chance on myself. I’m 24 years old and My Modern Closet is my 25th jobwhich seems like an outrageous number but every single job taught me a little something about myself, and got me to where I am today.

My Modern Closet is an extension of who I am, and where I hope to see the world go. I truly believe that a small group of people can change the worldand I’ll never stop believing that! I’m constantly updating my website, working with stylists, and currently creating a YouTube channel full of clothing DIY’s, conversations with local designers and stylists, and of course, styling tips.

More than anything I want people to know the power they have as consumers, that you vote with your dollar. I’m not saying let’s stop shopping, I’m saying let’s change the demandfair wages, recyclable materials, sustainable practices, full transparency, and integrity within the industry. If fashion is an art, let’s treat it that way. Humans and Mother Nature don’t need to suffer so we can have 16 different white T-shirts; let’s work together towards a better world. 

Q: Elim, how did you get into the world of fashion styling?
A: The beginnings of my styling career came out of failure. I was 23 and had finally enrolled myself in fashion design schoolhoping to achieve my childhood dream of becoming a fashion designer. Halfway through the program, my instructor let me know that I was failing pattern-making and sewingkey skills needed to be a competent designer. I was devastated and thought it was the end of my dream; there would be no way to be a part a world I admired for so long.

Luckily, my instructor pointed out that the parts I was excelling at, fashion history and fashion illustration, could be an indication that styling was a career option. Styling?! Up until that moment, I had never heard of this word or knew it to be a job. It was also around this time that Rachel Zoe had her reality show on TV and her visibility gave me a path to research and learn from.

Starting my business happened organically. I had just left Lululemon after 9 years and had always been wondering what it would be like to freelance. Among the fashion styling inquiries, a friend asked me if I would help her with a wardrobe edit and some personal shopping. While collaborating with her, I shared processes and filters I used when styling myself: quantity over quality and a wardrobe with only pieces that I loved and felt my best in.

And then, through word of mouth and social media, my client base grew. I love seeing firsthand the before and after transformations. Life is too short to not feel good in your clothes!

What is fast fashion?

Popove partnered with Mindful Movie Nights co-founders Erin Ireland, a local food reporter and entrepreneur, and The Juice Truck last December for a screening of The True Cost, a startling documentary about the true costsenvironmental, human and economicof fast fashion.

“The fast fashion movement is essentially the fast food of the clothing industry, where instead of consigning, thrifting, or investing in our clothes we are buying those $10 dresses that only last a single night,” says Popove. “Now, the planet and the people working in the industry are paying the price for this speedy, cheap industry.”




Should we love pre-loved clothing?

“There is an enormous amount of value in pre-loved clothing,” says Popove, whose easy-to-navigate website sorts clothing by size, article, and even collections from local notables like Tight Club Athletic’s Keighty Gallagher and The Juice Truck’s Meghan Parks.

“You get to give clothes a second life that they otherwise wouldn’t have had, and if clothing is an art form don’t we want it to last as long as possible?” she says.

“From an environmental standpoint, it takes about 3,000 litres of water to make a single pair of denim jeans, which is about the same amount of water a human needs for basic survival for 3 years. That number always astounds me, and that’s just the beginning of the drastic amount of waste that goes into the clothing industry.”

“From a fashion standpoint going into a thrift store is the greatest feeling ever – you get to find one-of-a-kind pieces and create a look yourself instead of having a salesperson tell you how you should dress or what you should try on. It’s just you, and that’s what it always should beyou just being you.”

Credit: My Modern Closet,

Throw a living room party!

My Modern Closet recently launched the Living Room Party“a private, second-hand shopping experience right to your living room.”

“Think of us like modern day Tupperware party,” says Popove, “but with awesome pre-loved clothes and accessories.”

Call up a handful of girlfriends, send their sizes and preferences to Popove, and the My Modern Closet teamalong with an onsite stylist, like Chuwill show up at your home with racks of curated clothing and accessories to transform your living room into a custom boutique for the evening.

(Left) Stylist and brand consultant Elim Chu helps partygoers choose items at a My Modern Closet Living Room Party (Right) Transform you home into a fashion boutique curated for you and your friends with My Modern Closet’s Living Room Party

Credit: Pottery Barn

Style philosophies and closet tips

“I believe that the clothes we choose should bring us joy, empower us to feel confident, and not distract us from being present,” says Chu. “I recommend identifying how you want to feel in your outfits on a daily basis and use that as a filter when editing or shopping.”

“You should love everything in your closet,” echoes Popove. “Make sure you can clearly see everything in your closet, and take care of your things! We’re all guilty of just throwing everything in the wash but the washing instructions are there for a reason. And, if you are in need of an overhaul, and want your life changed, call Elim. I currently have 20 pieces in my wardrobe thanks to her!”


Chu’s tips for a closet overhaul

Consolidate. Collect your clothes into one area before starting. It will help you see the big picture of what you have.

Vet every piece. Try it on. Observe how you feel in it. If you feel good and can see the “one hundred and one” ways to wear it, it’s a keeper and deserves a place in your closet. 

Cross examine. Is it stained? Worn out? Identify if it can be repaired or refreshed at the tailor, dry cleaner or cobbler.

Move on. Have bins or space designated for the following: 

  • Update/Refresh: items you love but need love from a professional (tailor, cobbler, dry cleaner)
  • Consignment: branded and like-new or gently worn
  • Donation: for clothing that cannot be consigned, consider a local charity
  • Gift: for someone in your friends or family circle

Catalogue. For items that are hung, flip the hanger after each wear. This will help you identify which items you reach for most, encourage wear or move it out of rotation.

Storage. For items that are season-specific, make sure they are clean before you store them away for the next 6 months. Consider vacuum sealed bags, closed containers or garment bags. Add cedar balls to keep then smelling fresh. 

Favourite local designers and shops

Chloe and Elim’s favourite local designers and shops: