I don’t claim perfection, in fact, I don’t believe it to be a sustainable long-term goal. So, if I’m going to attempt anything, I’m going to try and be better; a better daughter, a better sister, a better friend, a better citizen… a better human. Writes Xeina Almusallam aka @kuzmoz

Do better. Save the planet. Stay fabulous!

In my last entry [read it here], I conveyed about my overnight decision to make a shift in my habits and ultimately go cruelty-free with my daily skincare and makeup products. While I’m on track so far, I was already planning my next big cleanse. 

On December 21st, 2018, I purged my closet of nearly ¾ of its stuffing. It was a long and tedious process. I kept remembering the number of times I pondered with agony over what to wear while staring dead straight at my closet full of clothes and just being overwhelmed. It donned on me that the truth of the matter is: I did this to myself. Over the past 5 years of my Instagram career, I conditioned myself that being on-trend required mindless and fast spending. I hate to say this, but fast fashion became an addiction because it’s easy to get to… even though, deep down… I knew it wasn’t right. And just like the first time I went cold turkey on non-cruelty-free makeup brands, I decided to do the same with fast fashion.

So, what are my options as a now ethical consumer who cares about where her pieces are coming from and who’s making them… and most importantly – are the workers getting paid fairly? These 3 concerns were my main driving force. So, I took it upon myself to research for the alternative ways I can still enjoy my long-term affair with fashion and trends without losing zeal. The primary method in reducing your consumerist print is ‘Thrifting’. Unfortunately for us here, this concept of wearing and reselling second-hand clothes has yet to materialize for people to start accepting it. However, the internet is a place filled with all your needs. A quick google search enabled me to find and create a list of online, sustainable, and ethically manufactured brands ranging from clothes to accessories to hair and makeup. I was also able to find several online thrift shops where you can create a profile and resell the clothes you were planning on donating, for someone that will make great use of them. 

Humanitarian reasons aside; another reason why I wanted to cut fast fashion out of my life is because of textile waste. While slow fashion holds 4 main seasons yearly, fast fashion, on average, holds 52 seasons a year… that’s 7 seasons a month… that’s countless hours of laborers abused to maximize cheap bulk production of a t-shirt you will only wear a handful number of times until the next best trend emerges… all that, just so they’d get paid 33 cents an hour, 60 hours a week.

It’s a cruel world, and if we find ourselves in a position to change it for the better, we really shouldn’t hesitate. By the time you read this, Eid has passed, and you’re well into planning your Fall outfits. But if you’ve turned ethical like me recently, you’ll find yourself itching to head to the nearest mall and grab the most budget-friendly looks you can discover… but I have a better plan.

Ever since I introduced slow fashion into my life, I’ve been noticing a range of positive changes. I don’t shop mindlessly anymore, which required will and determination to not stray from my ultimate goal. I also automatically stopped buying pieces I didn’t really need, thus making my shopping trips a pure necessity, and finally, I started to notice my wardrobe has been curated for perfection. Decluttering helped narrow down my likes and dislikes, and I was left with a collection, and I use every piece without fail. 

Adopting slow fashion doesn’t just mean buying from thrift shops and online-ethically-certified brands; it also means buying local. Kuwait is a generous hub of talented individuals that deserve your attention and money more than any other fast fashion brand out there. While it’s a slow industry that requires patience and a budget, buying local helps reduce your fast fashion print. You’ll also be paying to grow a healthy chain of command that ultimately benefits the workers that are making your pieces by ensuring they are in safe conditions and are getting paid rightfully. And of course, supporting local means you’re supporting the country’s economy, and you’re helping in creating better opportunities for generations to come. 

The list I have won’t fit in these pages. However, these 3 leading brands can help jumpstart your ethical fashion shift and they’re all available in Kuwait.

Ramla

“On my return back to Egypt in January 2017, at the age of 25, I recognized that Egypt is full of leather sources and that there is a great potential for the leather industry in Egypt, so I decided to take this step and promote a handmade leather product that represents our culture and history of Egypt.”

Ramla was launched back in June 2017, representing the elegant yet super practical women on the go, whose love for exploring new things is one and the same with vibrant, comfortable footwear. Ramla is a footwear brand all about giving each woman a unique edge added to her everyday outfits. Nothing beats a hectic day like a good pair of flats with flare. Ramla is handmade in Egypt and produced in Cairo. 

Available in Kuwait, shop their Instagram: @ramla_eg 

Ecru

“Ecru is a lifestyle more than a product’’ says founders Nur and Noor. 

It’s no secret that Ecru is one of my favorite local brands. Famous for their homeware and whimsical clothes. Ecru is the embodiment of simple luxury. Beautiful, functional designs – the perfect touch whether you’re a homeware enthusiast or flowy-dresses-obsessed like me, Ecru has a little delicate something for everyone. It’s the ideal place to put together an unexpected gift guaranteed to make her day extra special. You know what else is special? Everything, from homeware design to manufacturing, to the prints on the dresses, all of it is created inhouse. From the girls, straight to your world. 

Available in Kuwait, shop their Instagram: @ecruonline

Maya

Maya is currently my favorite casual wear brand. Eco-friendly and ethically manufactured in Egypt and India, Maya is designed in Kuwait with YOU in mind. Their cotton is so soft and light on the skin, their silhouettes are airy, breezy, and beyond functional.

Every piece is made with almost practicality and maximum mobility for the everyday working girl looking for that soft, chic comfort. I love Maya for so many reasons, but their pieces’ versatility shot an arrow to my heart. I love how easy it is to take their garments from summer to winter and vice-versa. Buying from Maya allows your wardrobe to be curated easily with just a few purchases. 

Available in Kuwait, shop their Instagram: @mayaeco