W & W Woman - The interview series featuring Celeste Tesoriero on a sustainable lifestyle, and the swim wear you need this summer!
This month we launch our Q&A series where we hit up interesting woman who know a thing or two about living a stylish & sustainable life.
First in the series is London based designer Celeste Tesoriero.
Celeste's a sustainable-focused stylist and designer.
She recently posted about her quest to find sustainable swim brands - that don't compromise on style.
We've delved a bit deeper into the brands Celeste found, and listed our top style picks for the upcoming summer.
(Please share with us any brands not listed and worth a mention).
Tell us about yourself and your journey towards living more sustainably
My name is Celeste and I'm a producer and sustainably-focused fashion strategist & designer.
I grew up in the country, so I have always had a love for nature, but I didn't join the dots to how damaging making clothes is to the planet until having my own eponymous brand. I had designed for other labels previously, but when you are the one making the decisions, you see things very differently. Being aware was the first step for me, and it has been a ripple effect since. The more I learn, the more questions I find myself asking, and the more I am reevaluating how I am living. This naturally streams into the way you eat, shop, travel, work, and live on all levels.
What factors (if any) led you to these lifestyle choices
Eating organically and avoiding chemicals throughout various facets of my life became a priority following my health becoming compromised. I was living in Bali, and suffered from an ongoing parasite problem as well as getting dengue fever twice. My immune system crashed and in turn suffered from an autoimmune disease that has no current cure. I had no choice but to start to prioritise my health.
On a career level,
I had an experience visiting one of my dye houses which woke me up to the harmful repercussions of chemical dyes, and the realisation that the people surrounded by these factories and working in these conditions probably had no idea of he consequences on themselves and their health. Once I became aware, I radically shifted my processes. I didn't want to be harming the environment or people making my garments.
The biggest shift for me is the realisation that everything is connected. And that is what drives my passion for this area. For example, you shouldn't eat organic and then be putting chemically-based products on your skin. You shouldn't buy organic products that are packaged in plastic. You can't sign a petition against mining, if you are using a coal-based energy provider. At the moment I think people are living with a lot of contradictions. It is not because they don't care, it is because they simply don't know.
Why buy sustainable?
Most people's first reaction to not buying sustainable is because "it's too expensive".
Firstly, the price of clothing we are used to is not correct. The price we are used to is due to incredibly sad practises like slave labour going on ungoverned. A tee shirt cannot retail for $5. I have had my own brand. Trust me, it is not possible.
Secondly, what isn't addressed within this conversation is how much we think we need. That's where to make the change. The psychology behind why we are always wanting more is another conversation, but just simply asking yourself when you go to purchase something "do I need this?", often you'll find it's "no" - and that is empowering. If you instead focus on that, you find you start buying less pointless crap and stuff you don't even love and guess what, you start to really value something when you decide to spend money on it. You want it to last. You want it to be classic. You want it to be trans-seasonal. You want it to make you feel amazing when you wear it.
BOOM. You're a sustainable shopper.
What's the best ways you've found to research for sustainable clothing like the swimwear wrap you've posted below for us ...we love your edit, and love adding sustainable brands to our shopping lists. How can we find other sustainable brands?
I spend a lot of time researching. Not just for work, but for myself. I will literally just type into google "sustainable swimwear brand", then spend some time reading articles and looking at brands websites to evaluate what I actually like. The majority of sustainable clothing online is not my aesthetic; the brands arn't my cup of tea, the fits are bad, the colours are off, they are too 'hippy'. Having the knowledge of being a fashion designer helps as I can look at an online store and automatically know what is made in the right fabrication in the right cut to fit well. If you don't have garment knowledge my advice would be to judge the visuals on the site. You can tell alot from a brand in how they choose to project their product visually.
Like us, this year you participated in Plastic Free July - tell us a bit about your month
What an eye-opener its been! For someone who thought they were quite good at avoiding plastic, it has been such a wake up call. What has surprised me the most would be the fact that health food stores, and Wholefoods etc are FULL of plastic products. Also, alot of things I regulary buy I have noticed have sneaky bits of single-use plastic I've never noticed; the seam around the lid of jars, the plastic lids of wine bottles, the plastic stickers on fruit and veg. It is honestly everywhere.
I'm so glad to be doing it, as it gave me that 'all or nothing" push I needed to implement new habits here in London.
You live in London now. Where are some of your favourite places to hang out
London has some beautiful nature spots I find refuge in when all the concrete gets too much. Hampstead Heath lady pond, Kew Gardens, Richmond Park. I live in north London, so love to hang in Dalston, Stoke Newington and Hackney.
Do you have any favourite natural home/skincare or beauty brands?
I refill my detergent and laundry liquid at a bulk store, as they have eco cleaning products. I haven't found solutions for when you need more heavy duty products to clean the bathroom etc, so send any suggestion you have my way! @thcowboygeisha.
Beauty brands is something I haven't completely tackled yet, but most of my products are Bare Minerals.
Finding products that aren't packaged in plastic is difficult. I would love to make my own eventually, and will be trialling not using shampoo or conditioner once the bottles I have run out. Shampoo soap bars mean you can wash your hair plastic free which will be exciting.
Summer '18 Sustainable Swim Brand Edit:
With tag lines of 'responsible swimwear' + 'strong is sexy - eco is sexy' and a new campaign featuring Serena Williams we're off to a good start in our quest for discovering cool sustainable swim brands.
A brand regarded for its innovative use of recycled fishing nets and other nylon waste.
All Sisters is a Barcelona-based, luxury eco-friendly swimwear brand using the highest quality of recycled fabrics to create slick, sexy and fashionable swim wear.
Recently featured in Vogue Paris and offers world wide delivery. First on our list.
Our picks: Cassiopea one piece, Isometric, Andromedae.
A spanish based ecoluxury swim and neoprene label for Ocean minded women in search of fashionable saltwater attire. Ocean swimmers unite!
Designed by competitive diver Andrea Saas, recognised by Vanity Fair Magazine as a very influential new sustainable brand. HOT, HOT, HOT!
Our picks: Alona one piece, Tavarua one piece, Sylvia wetsuit
Beautiful beachwear that celebrates women, and colour!
A brand committed to responsibly sourced organic, recycled and regenerated materials. Offers full transparency.
New York based designer Mara Hoffman launched her eponymous label in 2000 after her vibrant tribal-inspired prints caught the eye of uber stylist Patricia Field. Her signature beachwear features clean lines, graphic patterns and bold colour clashes.
Our picks: The Kia cut out, Lydia and Rio bikini, Emma one piece.
She Made Me
Romantic nostalgia with a hint of tradition.
She Made Me is a handmade Crochet Swimwear and resortwear brand designed by Australian Chloe Dunlop.
Each She Made Me crochet style is hand-crocheted by artisans throughout Indonesia.
A single crochet style can take up to two-weeks to hand-produce.
We're loving the Lalita once piece, pictured below.
Australian designed, ethically made in China using eco dyes and sustainable fabrics.
Creating versatile and reversible swimwear made from recycled fabrics – industrial and post-consumer waste such as fishnets, carpets, plastic bottles and textiles – this swimwear is as elegant as it is sustainable.
Loving the Mossan reversible, 3rd from the right.
May & Hugo:
This Australian (& Spanish) based brand ticks many boxes including ethical manufacture (handcrafted in Sydney); sophisticated swim made from ECONYL recycled polyester or nylon, with integrity, transparency and benevolence. The label exhibits minimalist silhouettes in a signature aesthetic that is both sophisticated and playful.
Can't go past the Teresa one piece.