This weeks' Women Crush Wednesday is Nataly Elbaz Björklund, a sustainable fashion blogger and ethical living advocate I've been following for a long time, not only because of her style choices but also because of her strong advocacy for greener and ethical living.
Meet Nataly Elbaz Björklund
Nataly Elbaz Björklund is the founder of Literally Nataly, a conscious lifestyle and ethical luxury blog that aims to create awareness about environmental and social justice issues and to introduce ethical, sustainable, eco-friendly, slow fashion & lifestyle brands. She believes that everyone should be mindful of these issues as we only have one Earth and in order for Earth to be able to sustain life in the future we need to give back what we take.
What do you spend your time doing?
Besides blogging at Literally Nataly, I am the Communications Manager for Fair Photo Agency, an online platform that connects ethical photographers with sustainable companies for job opportunities. I am so thankful that I am able to spend my day with work that promotes sustainable values and to spread the information about products that uphold those values.
The obligatory, what’s your stance on sustainability and ethics when it comes to fashion?
Buying less and buying better is probably the only way forward. Consumers should cherish the things they already own before making extra purchases. This can only be done through a change of mindset, a shift from consuming from impulsive taste and whim to consuming thoughtfully. For example, this could mean spending money on one timeless sustainable piece, rather than buying five less durable “trendy” fast fashion buys. Often, consumers purchase variations of things that they already own, without asking: “do I really need this?” Ideally, we would all consume minimally, only after need, but this is of course not realistic. However, I can only see economic gains for very few on the one hand, and a host of harms for everybody else, when we consume without ever being able to satisfy our appetites.
What are you passionate to change about the world?
I want to create awareness and play my part in the fight for a greener future, liberated from human exceptionalism. This is essentially a fight for a fairer future, in which human rights would actually extend to everybody on this planet. In particular, I care about freedom of movement and mobility rights. This relates to a greener future, as poorer parts of the planet will be the first to suffer the most from climate change. Earth was not created with lines drawn across deforested lands and polluted oceans. The thought that mankind is apart and above nature and other beings is not only foolish but not even followed in practice: we treat each other unfairly based on ideas of origin, identity or economic circumstance. These are all arrogant manmade inventions that can be unmade.
Where does your drive come from?
On the one hand, the drive comes from my interest in fashion and design, which is the reason I blog about clothes and household products. But on the other hand, the core of the drive probably comes from anger, to be honest, from seeing in which direction the world seems to be heading. But I think that’s healthy, to have a bit of anger and attitude, it makes you get stuff done. I started with this blog to offer consumption alternatives that people can make, especially reaching out to those who consume luxury products and who may have little knowledge about sustainable alternatives.
What do you wish 18 years old you had known?
That you don’t have to accept social constructs defining you. When I was growing up I felt that I did not look the way a woman is ‘meant’ to look. Buying clothes was never easy – I’m 5’2’’, slightly curvy, not exactly a stick. My hair was very curly then, and I thought that hair on a beautiful woman should look like it does in the magazines – straight and perfect, always flawless. So I worried about this to extreme extents and went and chemically relaxed my hair religiously throughout high school, which only damaged it. In the end, all my efforts didn’t change how I felt inside: I was just left with painful feet from always wearing high heels, hair resembling straw, and constant shame and pressure about never being thin enough. This is a story I would assume most women relate to, and it’s easier said than done to break out of that mindset, especially if you come from a place where beauty is very particularly defined in an uncompromising way. So I wish that somebody would have intervened more directly in my life and encouraged me to stop chasing narrow-minded and harmful norms. Interventions are of course not easy and it can be easy for the intervening person to seem invasive or insensitive. I have a 13-year-old sister who I continuously remind to love and accept herself for who she is and to never let anyone talk her into believing that she is not beautiful the way she is. I think that these are things that we have to stress to teens over and over again, especially now with the pressures of social media.
If you could thank one person, who would it be and why?
This might be a cliché, but I would thank Andreas, my husband. He stands by me through every step of the way with never-failing support and encouragement in pursuing my dreams. He has mastered the art of being a husband-photographer despite his busy schedule and Literally Nataly would not be where it is today without him.
What are you aiming for in 2018?
My aim for 2018 is to continue to spread awareness about environmental and social justice issues through growing Literally Nataly. I also hope to become involved in different ways to contribute to making a positive impact in the world by becoming more active in supporting causes that I care about such as the environment and mobility rights.
What question do you want to pass on to the next Women Crush Wednesday?
What is your favourite sustainable item in your closet? Why?