Saorise Doyle is an actress and runs the sustainable fashion blog, Irish Mountain Child. Here she shares her best tips about Ireland, fashion, and sustainability in a cohesive mix that all flows so well.
How did you get interested in sustainability?
My interest in sustainability occurred when I realised the severe damage we are causing to the planet. From a young age, my main concern has always been the welfare of animals, but when I was younger, I never really understood the connection between protecting the environment and protecting animals. As I got older, I began to research further into different aspects of sustainability, including fashion. I learnt about how the impact fashion has on human life, how those more vulnerable can be taken advantage of and the damage fast fashion is causing to our planet and it didn’t sit well with me, at all.
How did you get into sustainable fashion blogging?
When I realised the damage that fast fashion is causing to people’s lives and to the environment, I knew I no longer wanted to be a part of it. Having been a vegetarian for 17 years I also knew the damage that being ‘preachy’ can do to the point you are trying to make and I knew that wasn’t how I wanted to go about informing people of the damages of fast fashion. So I began to Instagram pictures of my outfits, and unlike most ‘Outfit of the Day’ pictures, I made a point of always saying how old my clothes were in the hopes of proving that you don’t NEED new clothes every day/ week/ month and instead if you take good care of your own clothes, they will last you.
I also began to incorporate into my website blog posts on ‘Ethical & Sustainable Fashion’, ‘The Damage of Fast Fashion’ and ‘How To Find The Best Vintage Buys’, etc. and it is there for those who have an interest, those who want to learn more, and those who come across it by chance. I regularly get questions via Instagram or people looking for recommendations, but over the last few months more people are messaging me to say that I have opened up their eyes to sustainable and ethical fashion and they are changing some of their consumer choices due to what I have put online and this has definitely encouraged me to keep posting.
What is the Irish sustainable fashion scene like?
The sustainable fashion scene in Ireland is definitely on the rise. Before doing this interview, I asked in a zero waste Facebook group if people could recommend Irish fashion brands or shops that I may not know and I was completely blown away by the huge amount of answers I received. I was actually delighted because I never expected so many recommendations, and as a result, I think my bank account is going to take a hit soon as the clothes and accessories on offer are beautiful!
What are your favorite sustainable/ethical/ fair trade Irish brands people should know about?
At the moment my favourites are:
A sustainable & eco-friendly leisure wear brand; I’m actually wearing the most comfortable Fresh Cuts tracksuit as I write this.
Stiall, an online women’s fashion boutique that sell ethically made clothes with environmentally friendly materials.
A company that does not harm the animal who makes the silk and who has Fair Trade workers from the start to finish of production. I actually only recently became aware of The Ethical Silk Company at a Christmas Fair in Dublin and now I am the proud owner of some lovely ethically made silk pillow cases.
Que-Va was bought to life by an Irish bridal designer whose name is Caoimhe. Having been in her workshop and talked with her about her dress making processes, I was in awe. It’s just mind-blowing the beautiful creations that one woman can do and especially how she goes about doing it. She will always first look for natural and fair-trade materials and she makes everything and stitches every stitch herself in her workshop.
What is your best tip for someone just starting to learn about sustainable fashion?
My best tip is not to throw anything out! Once you start to learn about sustainable and ethical fashion, you quickly learn what brands to start avoiding and the biggest mistake people make is to just throw anything with those brand labels out. The best thing you can do is go through your wardrobe, know what you have and know how you can wear them again and again. After that, if you need something new, go to a charity shop to buy some recycled fashion where the profit goes to a good cause and after that look at some ethical, sustainable and eco-friendly brands and shops when buying something new.
How do you incorporate sustainability into your work as an actress?
I will always try to bring clothes from my own wardrobe for my roles so as to avoid anyone buying anything new for my character. In fact, the only time that I did need something new bought for me was when I had to have the exact same outfit as two other women. If it’s for a historic film or play, where I may need a 19th century ballgown, for example, we are very lucky in Dublin that we have an amazing storehouse full of all sorts of costumes and outfits that are available to rent. Very delicate care and love has been put into preserving the costumes and constantly keeping them in good condition for when they are needed.
Who is your sustainable role model?
I have two: Livia Firth (Eco Age) & Nikki Reed (BaYou With Love). I think the work Livia Firth & Eco Age have done by putting such a spotlight on the damage that fast fashion is causing is so admirable and by doing so she has educated me in so many ways. She makes a point of involving celebrities to reach audiences of all different ages, male and female, actors and singers, models and entertainers. As a result, she is reaching every sort of celebrity platform possible and bringing to light a very serious topic.
With Nikki Reed, I admire the way she can juggle so much at one time, such as acting, animal welfare, starting a sustainable fashion line, partnering up with Dell to make a socially responsible jewellery line from recycled materials, and her love for her family which shines through everything she does. I follow her on social media to keep up to date on all her new projects and I think she radiates a very positive energy and vibe to her followers.
What’s your favorite thing in your closet right now?
Again I have two. If you look at my Instagram you will see there is a blue pair of skinny jeans that I practically live in. I bought them about two years ago from H&M, and as I said above, I take very good care of all my clothing and as a result they last. My other favourite thing is also on my Instagram. It’s a red tartan scarf and I like to call it my blanket scarf. It’s huge, but can look like a normal scarf. I have definitely been known to take it into the cinema with me to use as a blanket and it also is about two years old.
What’s your best style tip?
You do you! When it comes to style, I really don’t think there is a one fit all approach. Everyone is so different, not just with their style, but with their personalities and with their body shapes. I think it is important to just like what you are wearing and to feel comfortable, because it shows. You can either walk confidently with a bad ass stride knowing you are about to own your day or you can walk constantly wondering if you should have worn something else while continually adjusting a top or skirt. Seek inspiration from everywhere is my advice: movies, books, online and even in shops but incorporate what you see and what you like into an outfit you feel comfortable wearing.
How would you describe your style?
I would probably have a different answer everyday of the week. Some days I like to be a rock chick, other days I aim to be a boho goddess, and other days, I am a gym lover in my leggings and sports top. I blame the actor in me for all of this! But I would mostly say from what I have in my wardrobe I resonate with a bit of a rock and roll look. Jeans, boots and my faux leather jacket is what you will mostly find me in.
How would you describe Irish style?
Clever, I would definitely have to define Irish style as clever. Living in Ireland we can sometimes have every form of weather in one day. The other week for example we had a mixture of sunshine, rain, snow, thunder and lightning. How the hell do you dress for that? Most people go out the door prepared for it to lash rain on the sunniest day in Ireland, they may be wearing summer clothes, but 99% of them will have some plan to stay dry if it rains and they still manage to look good while doing so! I think to be able to dress for that no matter what sort of fashion group you fit into is very clever styling.
What’s you’ve favorite place in Ireland?
There is a place in Co. Wicklow (The Garden of Ireland) called Glendalough and I honestly believe it is one of the most breathtaking beautiful places in the world. It is a valley in the middle of the mountains surrounded by forest and woodland and it literally couldn’t be any better. It’s my happy place where I go when I need some time away from reality, I just sit there and take it the views.
Do you have a favorite eco-conscious place to visit in Ireland?
Yes, if you are in the mood for bit of a pamper session, I would highly recommend a visit to either Skinfull Affairs or The Works, both of which are beauty salons who are trying to make a difference to the world of beauty by the products and materials that they use. Skinfull Affairs also holds regular events that range from – beauty, fashion, health, fitness and information nights, all with the core value of focusing on sustainability, ethical practices and eco-friendly learnings.
What’s the most interesting/ innovative thing you’ve learned about since starting your blog?
The amount of businesses out there doing good and that are not just profit greedy. When I do a post like ‘Stocking filler Ideas For Her’ or ‘Valentine Gift Ideas’ nearly every brand / shop I mention will always have a percentage of profits going towards a charity of some sort. I think to have a business incentive like that is not only very admirable but also very heartening for the consumer to know that their money is going to a good place.
This question is a place for something you’d like to talk about but I haven’t asked!
I think as consumers we each have a choice on the vote we want to cast when buying something. We can show that we want our money spent on workers’ rights, on sustainable materials and on a businesses trying to make a positive impact on the world or we can buy what’s hot now and not care about how it’s made or by whom. I think in 2018 we all really need to become smart consumers. I would highly recommend True Cost as a documentary to start with for anyone wanting to learn more on this subject.
I’d also like to thank websites like Sustainable Outfits, for shining a light on the fact that sustainable fashion doesn’t have to mean organic hemp trousers teamed with a tie dye shirt. This website proves one doesn’t have to give up style to be sustainable and eco-friendly. You can be the most badass eco-friendly sustainable fashionista out there!