Inspirational Living: the story of Kim Gerlach
Meet Kim Gerlach, a sustainability enthusiast that started her journey in 2015 when deciding to stop buying fast fashion for a whole year. Today, she is a successful writer, entrepreneur, coach and a daily source of inspirational living to the followers of her blog. Get to know her story below.
- What led you to start your blog?
It all started some years ago when I decided not to buy fast fashion for one year. As one year passed, I managed to dive into a world full of great alternatives, a lively community and a newly found passion: sustainability.
This blog is still alive today, expressing my thoughts and concerns on the industry and sharing some valuable tips to all who want to dive into the same world as I did.
- Were you a writer before starting the blog? Or was it the first content writing experience?
Not at all. If you’d make the effort to dig down to some of my first blog posts, you’d be able to tell. I’ve written diaries and letters to myself for most of my life but it never turned to a profession. Now I consider myself a writer. I’ve published some journalistic articles, interviewed some influential people within sustainability and shared some of my first ever poems in a free eBook (here). What a great journey it has been so far!
And what motivated you to not buy Fast Fashion for a year?
As a shopaholic, it's been a big step to take. I was not really happy with my own consumption. With increasing age and awareness, I realized that I could take myself out of the capitalistic system by taking active decisions. I saw my own responsibility thanks to a great lecture I had in my business Bachelor.
I decided that besides an already sustainable diet, I could cut down shopping. And in order to pressure me some more, I started blogging and getting some media attention to it. And in the end, it did work out! I’ve managed to not buy fast fashion for one year. It may sound easy to some readers, but back in early 2015, there were barely small slow fashion brands that suited different styles. It was the big ones, Armedangels, People Tree and some others. And I unfortunately did not like what they presented back then.
Did you experience difficulties during that year?
Indeed. All the great labels and the variety that exists today was out of this reality. There were a handful of brands available on the German market and they honestly still looked very eco, less stylish than what fast fashion could offer. As a substitute, I started buying vintage and second hand instead which also suited my broke student budget. But in the last three years, the market of slow fashion luckily picked up and there are styles for anyone!
Oh and I bought a pair of trainers because there was no other opportunity to buy sustainable running shoes.
What advice would you give to people interested in adopting this challenge?
It helps to curate your environment. Unsubscribe from all newsletters that entice you to shop fast fashion. Unfollow traditional fashion bloggers and find sustainable fashion bloggers. I can also recommend to follow #fairfashionootd for inspiring input. And if you’re really new to the whole world of slow fashion, download this free beginner guide, the Conscious Closet Guide. It’s written by bloggers and influencers and explains different angles of the industry. Like vegan leather, what GOTS stands for and which documentaries to watch.
But generally, it’s easier than you’d think. Second hand and vintage are cheap alternatives. And the vast amount of slow fashion brands are affordable and pretty too!
Besides the blog you also coach and guide entrepreneurs in Sweden to scale their ideas. What sort of businesses do you support? Are there any awesome companies you would like to share with our readers?
I’m working part-time at an early stage startup hub. So our team of business developers supports any ideas and entrepreneurs. Some of my all-time favourites from Malmö are Repamera and flowcup.Repamera is Sweden's first online tailor service, great for busy urban people and remote areas. Flowcup is a menstrual cup with the buy-one-give-one approach. For each cup bought, a young girl in Africa receives a cup in order to continue going to school when having her period.
But also check out Kaffe Bueno. They collect coffee waste and turn it into awesome beauty products and coffee flour. They’re truly circular!
- You're a total expert in sustainable fashion. But do you also adopt a sustainable lifestyle in other areas of your life? If so, could you share with us a few of the changes you made to reduce your eco-footprint?
I implement sustainability in my everyday life like it's a mindset. I watch my plastic consumption, don't eat meat and heavily cut down on other animal products. I shop as much second hand as possible and cycle around town. But work-life-balance is also an important one, so I don't burn out as a work-loving individual!
And generally speaking, you can decrease your carbon footprint massively by cutting down on meat. Flying less. And if you fly, then compensate your carbon footprint by using third-party providers that plant trees and offset that negative impact.
If you could give one piece of advice to our readers regarding life, what would it be?
Don’t take sustainability too serious and take rather small steps. It should still be fun and pleasurable. If you want to change your behaviour towards something, start slowly.