Julia, can you please tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up in Belarus, moving to NYC in 2010. I am pretty much a New Yorker by now. I graduated with a degree in International Business from NYU and found myself working in fashion and social media. I am an avid traveler, amateur linguist, history and psychology junkie.
Can you please tell us about some latest trends going on in fashion?
I think the biggest trend is sustainability. It’s by no means a new one, but I can see what a difference was made by quarantine life when the whole world pressed the stop button and had a chance to think. People started to do research and pay attention to what they are actually buying. I observe a bigger level of fashion consciousness both from my clients and brands. Clients want to know they do good. Brands are smart enough to realize the customer is changing so they follow the need. As an influencer, I am also really happy to see sustainable brands and support them.
The second trend is Investing in timeless pieces. For two years we’ve been living without social events and spending a lot of time at home. People realize that sometimes it’s worth spending a little more on a quality item rather than buying things in bulk. Some sales associates mentioned to me that such things as fine jewelry and luxury watches were the most bought items of all.
The third one is digital fashion. Digital Fashion is the visual representation of clothing built using computer technologies and 3D software. That’s a cool one, virtual reality is almost here. You can buy a virtual dress for the shoot. It’s incredible to be able to wear a piece of digital clothing.
The last but not least is Some of the latest developments in mass-market brands include sustainability initiatives such as up-cycling, which involves altering old garments and making them trendy again. Recycling is also being employed in fashion production. Regenerated materials are now being created from consumer waste, thereby further reducing the fashion industry’s carbon footprint. Toxic dyes in fabrics are being eliminated. Eco-friendly digital printing process is replacing traditional dyeing as well.
Any cool sustainable brands you discovered recently?
Oh, yes. So many actually.
I want to mention a few. Carmen Llaguno is a new brand I discovered recently. The brand is ethical, chic and timeless.
I wore a dress from Olette all summer. It is made of only organic materials.
Then there is NYSSA jewelry. I wear their diamond earrings all the time. They pay attention to from where they source their diamonds, and you can always trade in any piece you have.
I love skincare from Ósea Malibu. It’s a California based, vegan, cruelty free and gluten free skin care brand.
Was this time difficult for you? What was your initial reaction?
To be honest, I couldn’t even imagine the size and the length of the problem. I don’t think anyone realized what was actually happening and when it’s all gonna be over. May be it’s for the best because if someone told me that things will be put on hold for two years I would probably panic. It has definitely been a difficult and unsettling time, and it’s still not quite clear when we will be “back to normal.” In the time of big changes you have to distract yourself with something that can positively switch your attention or broaden your mind.
I found that working out is super important. It clears out your mind, gives a release of energy through your body.
Also meditation or morning prayer to set the intention for the day is really helpful.
What did change for you after Covid-19?
I don’t think you could force me to wear an uncomfortable shoe. Consequently, I extensively grew my collection of sneakers.
I also realized that in the hustle and bustle of everyday life before the pandemic I put off a lot of things that are very important to me. I was too busy and didn’t have time. But when you realize that time passes by so quickly and you might not do what you really want, it sets the priorities right.
One of those things that I decided to do more was traveling to travel to places interesting to me. I did my first pilgrimage trip to Greece this May. I traveled by myself; it was mind blowing and heart opening. I went to Meteora and the island of Corfu which are very important places for Orthodox Christians.
Any advice you want to give our readers in order for them to be more fashion conscious?
Find your own style, and you will stop shopping unnecessary things. When you know what you truly like and what suits you best, you won’t be tempted to buy something that you will never wear. If you need help, hire a stylist; it will save a lot of time and effort.
Invest in timeless pieces. It’s better to save and buy something that you will wear for a while. You will look more chic and polished in a good quality piece.
Accessorize. It will give new life to old pieces that you own. You might want to invest in some good quality costume jewelry or fine jewelry. Buy a few scarves, belts, bags and shoes. These little things will change your wardrobe.
Buy vintage. What would you buy? You can find a YSL blazer or a Zara one for $150. It’s YSL for me. Buying vintage might take some time to research, but it will pay off.
Shop sustainable brands. It costs the same but saves our planet. I am very happy to see how many sustainable brands emerged recently. Even big brands a starting to have small capsule collections with sustainable pieces. I am really happy to see it.
Why do you think sustainability in fashion is really important? Are there ways the industry can help mitigate climate change and help reduce its carbon footprint?
Fashion is a huge industry. We need clothes. We all shop for clothes. We can make a difference when we realize that certain choices are better than others. It’s better for nature, and it’s better for you, too. Your skin will thank you for wearing natural fabrics, and the skin is your biggest organ.
I also want to mention that the climate change everyone talks about it is more and more real this year. The smoke from the fires from the west coast reached NYC. It was honestly pretty scary to see the sun being red and the moon being orange. We have so many fires going on around the world Greece, Turkey, Italy, Algeria, Russia. Storms are worse; flooding is everywhere. The flooding in Central Europe and China this summer, to name a few spots, was scary.
The fashion industry can do its part in combating climate change in even more ways beyond using sustainable materials. For example, packaging can be simplified and use only recycled materials. The industry can make an effort to lessen its environmental impact by changing it’s packaging for shipping also. Some brands are now using compostable, biodegradable materials for their packaging.
Since the pandemic, fashion events have been mostly online/virtual. This has lessened the amount of emissions created by transportation to far away cities. We miss the in-person exchange, which is essential to the industry, but at least this has been one positive impact of the pandemic on the climate. Hopefully, in the future, transportation will be more climate friendly.
Synthetic fabrics, such as polyester, that are based on petroleum products must be reduced because of the carbon released in their manufacture.
Garment rental, repair and reuse, are also exciting new climate friendly developments. Also, fabrics are being treated to reduce the need for frequent laundering.
Fashion catalogues sent through the mail and printed on paper can be replaced by web-based marketing.