Zero Waste Challenge(d): Practical Strategies for Avoiding Waste

The two weeks of the Ethical Writers Coalition Zero Waste Challenge having passed, its epitaph should read: She tried her best. Despite our very best efforts, Alden, Leah, Holly, Stephanie, Rebecca, Natalie, Summer, Faye and I did not attain completely zero waste lifestyles. Regardless of our planning and vigilance, life happened — we had to evacuate for hurricanes, entertain brides-to-be, got sick. However, I feel confident we will keep whittling down our garbage loads with the knowledge we’ve gleaned (and will continue to share with you).

Zero Waste Challenge: The Rules

  1. Baseline is not sending anything to the landfill.
  2. As long as you can (responsibly) donate it, recycle it or compost it, it doesn't count as waste.
  3. However, you can't just throw whatever in there - you have to verify that it can ACTUALLY be composted or recycled in your city's existing systems. For example, in NYC you can't just throw compostable cups into your local garden. And beer caps aren't recyclable.
  4. You must document how much waste you produce and why, honestly.
  5. That includes waste produced outside of your apartment, like straws, napkins, wrappers, etc.
  6. That does not include waste you don't see being produced on your behalf, like plastic wrap behind the scenes at grocery stores or restaurants, because that would be impossible.

Had it been a normal two weeks where I hermit in my apartment working, I probably would have done quite well. But my grandmother was in town and we visited lovely museums and restaurants and were on the go most days. With more of an outside routine, New York City can be quite accommodating, but without more investigation I ran into some snags which earned me quite a bit of trash. I’m not going to pretend to know much about waste management and frankly, I wish I were not in the position to try and figure it out. However, it seems integral to understanding how to make lasting changes that will lead to a zero waste lifestyle.


The Waste Hierarchy

The waste hierarchy is a framework that can be applied to waste management in countries, cities, industries, and even households. It’s aim is to extract the maximum practical benefits from products while generating the minimum amount of waste. It works from the top down, with more sustainable solutions higher up. In an effort to better understand our successes and failures, I've applied this useful hierarchy to our two week challenge, along with some practical strategies.

1. Prevention

Prevention is the most sustainable and favored option in the hierarchy and can often be achieved with a bit of planning. Most of us earned trash points via food packaging, a (sometimes necessary but often overkill) feature of most modern grocery stores. Buying bulk in reusable bags and containers is the ultimate way to prevent this kind of waste, but is sometimes not available in certain stores or for certain products. Of course, we can deny ourselves some these products, but as Leah found, alternatives can often be found.  

For longer than I can remember, I have routinely carried reusable grocery bags, stuffed down in my purse. (Now trying to keep their accumulation to a minimum after reading this). After I began circulating in the sustainable scene in NYC, I realized I should also carry a reusable water bottle or mason jar when I would be out for the day. Like Holly, other waste prevention items in my bag include a bandana or handkerchief, and reusable produce bags. At times, I also carry a stainless steel straw and flatware in a roll up pouch made by my friend, Andrea.


Be prepared. Here are waste prevention items that can be found in my bag most of the time:

2. Minimization

Preventing waste to begin with is obviously key, but when it cannot be avoided, shoot for minimization. Composting and refillable containers are both good examples of minimizing waste. Refillable containers can reduce waste and the energy put into the creation of new containers. We should all be asking our grocery stores for more bulk bins and products like olive oil and soap on tap. Here in the city, most of us compost because it is fairly easy to drop it off at a local farmer’s market. Homeowners can build their own as Stephanie did, but apartment dwellers in smaller cities may have a harder time finding an outlet for organic waste.


Make from scratch and refill what you can. And whether you are able to compost or not, everyone can benefit from planning for minimal food waste with regular shopping trips, learning to make use of leftover ingredients, and finding alternate uses for some types of food “waste.” Here is one of my favorite recipes adapted from Bon Appétit:


3. Reuse

By this step, you have waste that you have neither avoided nor minimized, so now you have to deal with it. Even if it is recyclable, extending its life (as Summer does here with jeans) is the next best choice. Reusing can save money, save raw materials, and avoid disposal. Other options that fall under reuse are often “feel good” enterprises — food collected for homeless shelters, old computers donated to a community center, or buying refurbished goods over new ones.


The next time you end up with waste in hand, challenge yourself to find another use for it. Think string and paper saved for gift wrapping or takeout containers for organization. On the flip side, the next time you need to purchase something, consider getting a refurbished or secondhand version.


4. Recycling

This part of the hierarchy includes recycling, upcycling or creative reuse, and downcycling. A lot of people and ahem, brands, think this is a good solution to our overuse of resources (despite what we know about how much is actually recycled). But as you can see, it falls in the middle of the hierarchy because recycling is still difficult and energy intensive.

Watch this video:

Did you see them washing out their things, separating them into thirty-something categories? That’s discipline perhaps only this small Japanese village can master. Canberra, Australia tried (and failed) to become a zero waste city by 2010, despite political and residential support. They have a new goal of 2020, as does New Zealand. New York City wants to be zero waste by 2030, yet we can’t even get a plastic bag tax now (so maybe thirteen years is realistic for how long it will take). Recycling here is not particularly intuitive as it is now. Currently, rather than clear and obvious information IRL, I have to do some research on the Department of Sanitation website — not something that is going to occur to many citizens whose first stop is the garbage can. To be effective, it has to be relatively easy.

Honestly, I send more than I would like to recycling. I knew plastics were not the best choice (petroleum derived, leach into food), but I didn’t know how very little of the massive amount of plastic we use in the US is recovered within municipal solid waste systems. On a scale of thinking face to crying face, we are sobbing.

Plastics made up an estimated 390,000 tons of MSW generation in 1960. The quantity has increased relatively steadily to 32.5 million tons in 2013 (Figure 9). As a percentage of MSW generation, plastics were less than one percent in 1960, increasing to 12.8 percent in 2013. — EPA

Plastics made up an estimated 390,000 tons of MSW generation in 1960. The quantity has increased relatively steadily to 32.5 million tons in 2013 (Figure 9). As a percentage of MSW generation, plastics were less than one percent in 1960, increasing to 12.8 percent in 2013. — EPA


Plastics are complicated, made of a Baskin-Robbins level of different flavors of plastic, and simply inundate waste management. I have no doubt this is what the plastic (i.e. oil) industry wants to be the case — convenient and disposable. It’s like when the junk food industry “optimizes” chemically addictive foods and then blanches at the idea they might share some responsibility for the rise in obesity. So on we go “taking a single use fork or accepting a plastic bag for one f*cking can of soda,” as Faye so eloquently put it. 


Reduce your overall plastic use, even when it is recyclable. Agitate for taxes or bans on plastic where there is a simple alternative (like reusable bags). They work to reduce consumption. Push for easier and clearly defined recycling of all materials in your city. Advocate for change in industrial design and material choice. Ask brands for less packaging that is made from less damaging materials, and critique those that over package. 


5. Energy recovery

Energy recovery is

the conversion of non-recyclable waste materials into useable heat, electricity, or fuel through a variety of processes, including combustion, gasification, pyrolization, anaerobic digestion, and landfill gas (LFG) recovery. This process is often called waste-to-energy (WTE). Converting non-recyclable waste materials into electricity and heat generates a renewable energy source and reduces carbon emissions by offsetting the need for energy from fossil sources and reduces methane generation from landfills. After energy is recovered, approximately ten percent of the volume remains as ash, which is generally sent to a landfill.EPA


By sending less waste into the system, we reduced the amount of energy that needed to be recovered.


6. Disposal aka things we sent to landfill

Subtitle: Receipts are really a problem.

Disposal is the least sustainable option of the hierarchy and why we strive for zero waste. The main sticking points for our cohort seemed to be straws, food wrapping, and receipts. Even though Holly says the French insist a mojito be drunk through a straw, their use is rarely warranted. Everyone, please stop handing out straws like there’s a dire reason for their use — we can’t always remember to refuse them. I made the mistake myself of ordering an iced matcha tea at Chelsea Market. It was a lapse in judgment; it unsurprisingly came in a plastic to go cup, complete with straw. I recycled the cup, but the straw was a loss.

Besides our straw counts, tamper resistant packaging also made its way into our heaps due to regulations stemming from the 1982 Chicago Tylenol Murders. Not much to be done about that. Receipts were another problem. Faye received two for one transaction and I kept getting the monster receipts that come pouring out of the machine at CVS. You know, the ones that double as coupons for things you never buy, but they wish you would. I seriously may just have to switch drugstores to avoid them. Clumsy as I am, I also went a few rounds with band-aids; I am looking into solutions for those.

These items aside, routines make it easier to avoid waste (buy bulk here, eat out there). Conversely, the unknown often leads to more waste and requires more planning and a big bag, in my experience. Take my recent trip to Ellis Island for example. My grandmother was in town so, along with my parents, we went to see the former immigrant inspection station after swinging by the 9/11 Memorial pools. It was going to be a long day, so I searched for a restaurant within the already sparse options of the Financial District that 1. didn’t require too much walking for my grandmother, 2. had vegan and gluten free options for me, and 3. was a sit down type of restaurant (thinking there was a chance of less waste). There’s no “zero waste” search on Yelp, [note: app idea for enterprising environmentalists] so I went with an option that actually seemed to fulfill these needs. Turns out this particular establishment serves everything in take out containers whether you are taking it out or not. I’ve reported them to 311 for this since all businesses in NYC are required to recycle. There was really no a way for me to know this in advance, aside from calling and asking. I considered that perhaps I should have packed up a zero waste picnic to take with us to Ellis Island. There’s a large lawn and the weather was ideal, but I checked their security requirements which unfortunately state:

  • large bags are not allowed on Liberty Island or Ellis Island
  • Food (even unopened) and drinks (including water) are not allowed inside the Statue of Liberty

You go through airport style security before you get on the boat, so I have to assume they would not have allowed a giant picnic lunch in a backpack through. There’s a “cafe” on the island, but it being take out as well, that would have just created a different kind of waste. I found it very frustrating that, in many situations, one-time use was the default. I continued to collect various ticket stubs and receipts over the course of the week as we made our way through museums and other institutions.


If you've made an effort to reduce your waste, but ultimately end up here sometimes, be kind to yourself. None of us are perfect or will always be prepared or have all of the answers. 


Where we go from here

What's most important is that we create a climate for continual improvement. Alden, Leah, Holly, Stephanie, Rebecca, Natalie, Summer, Faye and I can tout our personal lack of waste, but in our privilege, we have the responsibility to be advocates as well. Consumer decisions can signal some of our desires to industry, but I think we must strike a balance between personal responsibility and wider social change. I don’t want to be a pillar of good behavior, I want zero waste to be the norm (and easy choice) for everyone. 

Throughout our history, there has been pressure from citizens to make lasting policy changes (civil rights, environmental rights, safe working conditions). It’s a privilege to have the time and means to make some of these zero waste choices. I don’t feel comfortable putting the lion's share of responsibility on consumers when industry causes even more waste, or when big oil lobbies for ever more plastic and blocks bag bans and taxes. We have false “freedom” in our choices when social good is manipulated by the highest bidder and misinformation thrives when we lack transparency and regulation. I want studies done on best environmental and waste practices. I want the EPA to have more authority, employees, and money to enforce solid environmental regulations. I want lifecycle assessments and better material selection. And I want us all, by way of good design and production, to have to go out of our way to create waste. 

Read the rest of the Ethical Writers who participated:



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Written by Holly Rose of Leotie Lovely | Photography by Shane Woodward

Over the first two weeks of October, a group of Ethical Writers Coalition members took a zero waste challenge. Read about the beginning of the challenge here.

Over this two-week challenge, I finally figured out the balance between being prepared, being forgiving, and being confident enough to ask for what I want. As I was travelling the entire two-week period, I didn't have the comforts of my home life which would have made the challenge significantly easier. The process made me more mindful overall, of the actions and products I excuse myself to use which don't align with my beliefs. It taught me how slowing down, making a few extra efforts and uttering a few extra words can completely transform habits and purchases in and outside of my daily routine, like sitting and eating or holding on to my recycling until I found a suitable bin.

What made it much easier to minimise the waste I was creating was the gear I had invested in over the past months as I made new discoveries on my #GoneGreen2016 journey, which I put to use in full force over the two weeks of semi-zero waste glory.


In Paris, I don't use this cup as much as I do when I leave, partially because I don't leave my house, but also because taking coffee to go is kind of taboo. You're kind of looked down upon if you don't just stay and sit. When I travel, however, as I have been for the weeks since this #EWCZeroWasteChallenge commenced, I make good use of it. Allowing me to avoid using the coffee cups offered by cafes and chains, which are made with polyethene plastic and are not recyclable no matter which bin you put them in. • READ MORE HERE • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE


This is an item I use daily, even if I'm not leaving the house because I'm so damn clumsy. We’re paying 2,900 times the price for water which comes from the same source as our taps. To top it off, it takes 17 million barrels of oil to produce 30 billion water bottles, it also takes more water to produce a bottle of water than the bottle itself will hold. Plus, the plastics the bottle is made of, like all plastics, will never decompose. • READ MORE HERE HERE • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE


This is one of the easiest zero waste solutions to tote along with you and it's one of the items you'll find most useful on the go. It fits along with the rest of my stuff in my little Sonya Kashmiri bag, and comes with a cover, so even if you can't clean it you don't have to worry about it sliming your stuff.  • READ MORE HERE • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE


Another item I use daily is a reusable makeup wipes from Lamazuna which you can wash after use, as a replacement for cotton pads and balls, which are made from one of the world's dirtiest crops due to the insecticides and pesticides used to grow it, which are hazardous to human, wildlife and ecological health. • READ MORE HERE • GET YOURSELF A SET HERE


This is perhaps one of the most obvious sustainable switches to make when looking to live greener or live zero waste. About 1 million plastic bags are used every minute and each one takes 1,000 years to degrade. This is one of many reasons to avoid them at all costs, whether you’re using them as shopping bags, produce bags, or zip-locking food in them, they’re about as evil as evil comes • READ MORE HERE • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE

*25% discount on anything from the site with coupon code EWCZEROWASTE*


Using one of these is was one of the best ways to avoid waste while travelling, whether it is around your own city or up, up and away. Even if you don't bring your own prepared food, it gives you an option to avoid being served in a non-recyclable throwaway tray. In Paris, London and Barcelona, every cafe, to-go counter or restaurant I asked was happy to drop whatever I had ordered in my container for me to store or take away. • READ MORE HERE • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE


I'm not really a straw person, but now would consider purchasing one just to keep around as they do come in handy now and again. If you’ve seen this Youtube video of a plastic straw stuck in a tortoise’s nose, you’ll understand why it’s such a selfish product for us to use. Straws are hugely harmful to the environment and to wildlife, yet each day we use 500 million straws, enough to fill over 46,400 large school buses per year. • READ MORE HERE • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE


These babies are key to my existence now as when I'm not planning to be out long or end up wanting a snack while I am, I can keep one of these fabric bags folded in my little Sonya Kashmiri purse and if I want a pastry or a sandwich I can stuff it in the produce bag which kind of doubles as a napkin. These are great for last minute pick-ups from the grocery store, too, as they're easy to carry with you. • READ MORE HERE • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE


My mum got me a hanky from her trip to Mexico, all embroidered and floral and pretty. For ages, I didn't want to use it because I was afraid of ruining it, then I realized a hanky in a drawer is a bit of a bore. So, when I started this challenge, I decided to keep it in the inside pocket of my little cross body bag so I could avoid killing trees by wasting napkins and tissues that I didn't need. It came in handy numerous times and has managed to make it through the two weeks looking just fine. • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE


I could go on and on about how much I love bamboo toothbrushes, but I'll let you give them a try and see for yourself. Basically, I made the switch when I found out it takes over 1,000 years for a single toothbrush to decompose, and even when it does, the plastic is never really gone. It just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces entering the food chain in what could only be described as a murderous disguise. Bamboo is biodegradable and sustainably harvested meaning our three-month turnover for toothbrushes is leaving a minimal impact on the planet. • READ MORE HERE • GET YOURSELF ONE HERE

I've got a few more items I use which I talk about in the video below if you want to give it a little view: 


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Stranger Things

My childhood in the eighties and nineties revolved through (by today's standards) almost quaint sci fi movies like "E.T.," "Flight of the Navigator," and "Blade Runner." The Netflix original "Stranger Things" hinges on this same nostalgia of my generation — an amalgam of Spielburg-esque movies from a kid point-of-view, creepy sci fi, and Winona Ryder. It's set in a quaint rural town, follows kids who roam free on their bikes and in and out of basements, and has a great soundtrack. Out of it's popularity, we have a new wave of interest in weirdo characters, kid gangs, and again, Winona Ryder. I think it's safe to say we've reached peak "Stranger Things."

Exhibit A: There's a text generator just so you can type whatever you want in the retro-y title sequence font.
Exhibit B: A "Stranger Things" theme party in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Bushwick!
Exhibit C: Winona is back on the covers of our magazines.

But even as minimalist wary of trends, I'm finding myself drawn to a mix of sci fi themes, badass women who can rock a shaved head à la Eleven, and slick makeup trends — just in time for Halloween. I'm not so obsessed I would buy all of these items (or shave my head), but I would try something in the shadow of a trend — a slash of silver eyeshadow, a dress in a dark galactic print, or a dope new lamp for cross-dimensional communication. And The Craft pin. Definitely the pin. Happy hunting, weirdos!

All items are vegan and palm oil free. Click through the images to products (many of which are on sale!). 


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Christina De Smet's Timeless Minimalism is on Trend, but Never Trendy

Christina De Smet's Timeless Minimalism is on Trend, but Never Trendy

The way I live my life right now is trying to just buy less.

“The way I live my life right now is trying to just buy less.” Fashion designer Christina De Smet and I sit talking in her charmingly sparse apartment in Crown Heights, Brooklyn which she shares with her fiancé, Dermot, and cat, Miles. We've been friends for years after a chance meeting at the event of a mutual friend. She and I frequently meet at boutiques one coolness level above mine—looking, but rarely buying. A seasoned designer, De Smet speaks candidly with me about the the state of the fashion industry, educating consumers, and how she hit upon her unorthodox method of production.

Her eponymous line debuted last May and discreetly rolls out just one new piece per month, a modus operandi meant to uncouple consumers from wanton consumerism. “You talk to friends and they are like, ‘I’m going out tonight. I’ve got to get a new top,’ and I’m like ‘Why? Why do you have to buy a new top to wear? Why can’t you get something out of your closet and restyle it a different way?’” She explains, “If you buy something—for instance the wrap dress that we have in silk charmeuse—if you put a little t-shirt under it, you can wear it to the office on any given day, and then you can put it with heels and earrings and put your hair up and wear it to a wedding. I think people would be more impressed that you wore the same dress and made it look great two different ways.”

The Way Back

At 31, De Smet can remember the emergence of the fast fashion industry in the early aughts, but says she didn't realize its implications on the environment and consumer mentality until she entered the New York fashion industry in 2007. Growing up in Grosse Pointe, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit), De Smet spent summers with her artistically inclined grandparents drawing, painting, and sewing custom clothes for herself. She says, “I've always been interested in fashion. I would make clothes for my dolls, dress up my cat, and I spent a lot of time scouring estate sales with my mom, looking for forgotten items that I could breath new life into.” Her first trip to France was at ten years old and she later lived there while studying abroad. Reminiscing, she reveals, “I couldn't get over the fact that French women looked so put together wearing the best basics: jeans and a t-shirt. It was the nineties after all. I remember trying to adopt the look then, but I never felt like I mastered it until I was in my twenties.”

De Smet began her fashion blog, DESMITTEN, in 2008 as a creative outlet during her years designing for a mass market retailer and says those two endeavors opened her eyes to the growing troubles of the industry. “I was getting really disheartened by all of the consumerism and waste. When I quit my corporate job, I was trying to be really good about buying just five pieces a season and it really made me make considered choices about buying pieces that I can wear now, or when I’m pregnant, or when I’m 40 or 50 years old—things made in good quality fabrics that I’d want to wear for that long, and that I know would wash well and wear well.” Going back to 2014 on her blog, she has championed a method of shopping called the “Five Piece French Wardrobe” which allows for the purchase five pieces per season. On top of this methodology, she was designing and sewing one piece per month for a collection called Project de, an exercise which primed her for the production of her own line.

Reinterpreting Minimal

When I ask her about finding inspiration for her collection, she chuckles before she answers. Instead of the latest runway looks or street styles, De Smet draws from Cheap and Chic, a book first published in 1975. She reveals, “I reference it quite often when I am developing the next collection. It goes into the classics, second string classics, antiques, sports clothes, work clothes, and how to mix them up. I turn to this and see how I can reinterpret some of those classics for the modern day woman.” In direct opposition to the fast fashion mentality of buy-and-toss, De Smet curates the pieces in her collection as ruthlessly as Taylor Swift selects her girl gang members. “I probably develop 24 pieces each season,” she explains, “and then I edit down to see what works together. Essentially, it’s not only about each piece being great but about each piece working well with other pieces in the collection, or other pieces that you already own.” She also embraces versatility and conscious detailing over the the current trend of shapeless minimalism. Many pieces in the collection offer multiple ways to wear them: a sleeve pleated and tight at the wrist or belled and flared, or a wrap dress to the front or to the back so people won’t even realize it’s the same one.  

If you feel good in your clothes, then you look good. It exudes from you. I don’t think it’s about being trendy.

An egalitarian shopper, De Smet hunts down her signature minimal style everywhere from thrift stores, to The Real Real, to the real designer. I trust her fashion advice implicitly and have been known to frantically text her dressing room photos with just four words: should I buy this? I ask her what piece she reaches for again and again in her closet. “I have two,” she confesses. A pair of cropped high-waisted ReDone jeans made from vintage Levis, and a striped, collarless, long sleeve shirt by The Row bought on The Real Real. “I wear it tucked into those jeans or over my bathing suit or under a blazer and it’s just one of those versatile styles that I know no matter what I wear it with, it looks cool.” De Smet comes clean that it wasn’t always this way for her. “I’m definitely more minimalist and more classic than I was ten years ago when I moved here.” Working in the fashion industry, she felt like she had to look the part and “keep up” with the trends. Now, she says, stepping out of that never-ending cycle is a relief. “I can look in my closet and just put two pieces on and I know that I’m going to look good and I don’t have to worry about if this is ‘in’ this is ‘not in.’ If you feel good in your clothes, then you look good. It exudes from you. I don’t think it’s about being trendy.”

Purposeful Production

While bespoke and direct-to-consumer models are certainly growing trends, De Smet is actually putting herself at a disadvantage in order to curb waste in production. Lower production numbers mean premium costs for her since the factory is not guaranteed minimums. The same is true for her meticulously chosen fabrics, which she does not purchase until an order is placed. “There’s something to be said about the fact that the fabrics are always available,” she explains. “It shows the longevity and the popularity of the fabric. And I’m never sitting on excess goods that might end up in the trash.” Production of a piece culminates in the garment district in midtown Manhattan. Working in the fashion industry for years has ingrained in De Smet a devotion to the NYC garment district that is both sanguine and admirable. She recalls the layoffs of sample rooms, pattern makers, and even development teams during her corporate days. “I feel like if I can help keep it alive, I think it’s important just based on the people that I’ve made relationships with. I hope to see them grow and get bigger and better and bring industry back to the city, because it was here for so long and now everything is going away.”

I’m just hoping to give women another option for investing in pieces and investing in themselves a little bit. To say, this is made for you.

This sense of duty and purpose punctuates De Smet’s speech. Not only does she want to reduce waste while increasing quality and homegrown production, she aspires to elevate the business of shopping itself. Her website resembles that of an artist more than a retailer. “I’m trying to present something in a different way—we’re doing videos now that are a little more artistic in the way you view the clothes, just to get people interested,” she says. Each new piece usually comes in two different fabrics—one more casual, the other more dressy—and is available for one year from its release date. The production process is very personalized and takes about 4-6 weeks. There’s a video on the website to help you measure yourself and figure out what size you wear. Once you make your order, De Smet buys the fabric, has it made in your size in the garment district, and ships it out to you. She explains, “I’m just hoping to give women another option for investing in pieces and investing in themselves a little bit. To say, this is made for you.”

What can we expect from De Smet going forward? “Right now, I’m really loving the wrap pant, which is coming out next spring because it’s refreshing to have a new silhouette—it’s a more relaxed silhouette—because we've been so skinny for so long,” she says. “It’s cute and it offers a few different ways to wear it.” She is confident in her ability to weather the inevitable changes coming to the fashion industry, be it 3D printing (“I think it’s really cool and I would love to see the evolution of that.”) or repurposing materials. “That’s going back to what I’m offering, there’s not going to be two of them exactly alike. I hope that, even if I change one person’s view on how they should shop, I think that that’s really important. I want to educate consumers and offer great pieces for people that are looking to build lasting wardrobes.”

See De Smet’s gorgeous collection on her website or Instagram account and check back every month for each new piece.


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