Falling into the Movement

Hello fellow leaves, it’s been a few months since my last post. I’ve made a lot of life changes since. One of the biggest change that I’d like to share is unintentionally joining  the Sustainability Movement. After making a decision to no longer rely on fast fashion, it  began a snowball of consciousness to everything I consumed. It’s honestly like a rabbit whole of unseeing the unprincipled system of where our first world lifestyle come from. Just so happened these values that drive this perspective is consistent with this movement. Wanting to live a sustainable lifestyle is a common thing in this day in age. And I fell for it hard. The transition into it takes a while to adapt to because there are so many changes to be made and research of alternatives to everyday-use products to be done. In the following, I’d like to share what it is (that I learned so far), what brought me to this point and the changes I have/will make in regards to sustainability.

What is the Sustainability Movement?

Image result for stock water bottle

Like many social movements, it’s not always black and white. But to make it clear, this is a lifestyle that institutes values and habits with the well being of the environment and humanity in mind. It’s evident our approach to conventional manufacturing, sourcing, and even agriculture are not sustainable. Water and air quality in those countries manufacturing products are being devastated and such products are not exactly healthy for us (Example: ingesting microplastics from bottled water). In addition, the global weather has been a huge concern in the last decade with sea levels rising and temperatures going wild in some areas. We also can’t forget that fossil fuel will no longer exist in the future with the way things have been and why rely heavily on petroleum. Not only is the environment a victim of our lifestyle, but also people. There is absolutely no guarantee that the corporations of these manufacturers provide a safe work environment, benefits or even a living wage for employees. Sustainability isn’t just concerned with the environment but it’s also social, political, and economical (which all have A LOT of grey areas).

See the source image

A concept that helps define what the sustainability movement in an environmental perspective, is a closed loop system (much like recycling). In this system, the output of a process is either reused or resourced as input. For

example, if we are a facility that produces steel counter tops. In a closed loop system, once the countertops has reached its product life span, it is either maintained for reuse or recovered as input for something else, like silverware. Right now, most of manufacturing is a open loop system where once the product life expires, there are no further uses for the residual material which results in it ending up in a landfill.

Apparently, there’s an entire site called the Sustainability Movement where I found:

Manifest of the Five R’s
We contend that there are at least five steps – the Five R’s:

    Refuse, Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle – and then of course, Rejoice

A key tenet of sustainability is a reduction of consumption, especially products from far away.

What it entails

The best way to describe this is becoming closer to where our everyday-use items and food comes from and refrain from supporting businesses that do not value sustainability (if at all possible). Awareness is a word often used in issues such as this. Being aware and mindful of the people and resources that go into producing a product. It’s all about doing the right thing and making eco-friendly choices, such as choosing paper over plastic and diligently using reusable grocery bags, coffee cups, not buying animal tested beauty products, etc. Getting involved with the community is also an aspect of this lifestyle whether it’s through educating others, volunteering in cleanups and even donating to a cause.

What brought me here

I was always a nature lover. My mother instilled in me compassion for animals and nature through a multitude of experiences. From feeding ducks in the Ala wai Canal, watching movies and documentaries on wildlife to simply taking me on scenic drives on Diamond Head Rd. I originally wanted to go into wild life conservation and marine biology before I decided to prioritize my emotional outlet more, which was fashion.

In all honesty, what truly got me into this movement is a fall out with a local (fast fashion)  brand that I was representing on Instagram. It was the only brand of this kind that I consistently visited and I only started shopping there because they gave me an opportunity to be a brand ambassador and influencer. I spent hundreds of dollars at this store in order to promote their brand on my social media. My role was to promote them by creating posts of myself wearing their merchandise. This was not a paid job. The benefits were a 30% discount and features on their Instagram.


Shortly after entering their program, a mass email was sent to all affiliates requesting less selfie-oriented content. Causing me to buy a tripod. After weeks of content creating, I actually felt a lack of recognition for the amount of money and effort I had invested in them and I grew frustrated after seeing selfies featured over my lifestyle content. I expressed my frustration and confusion on my most private social media account with less than 25 viewers. A classmate from college who worked for the brand reported it to the owner. Next day, I received a termination email that did not specify what terms of our contract I broke and was blocked by their Instagram account. I was shocked because I hadn’t said anything derogatory about the brand but rather focused on how insecure and broke this relationship made me feel.  This is my most private platform and I honestly thought my confession would remain private but I shouldn’t have materialized my feelings in the first place. I have never met the owner of the brand and I really wish I did because it would’ve made my connection to them meaningful and it would have lessened my chance of frustration if I felt comfortable openly confronting them. I felt that the brand ambassadors were being used for a guaranteed sale because it was required of us to post every x days and features were for items that were currently in-store. Therefore, it is assumed that affiliates must purchase every x weeks to remain current. 

I don’t want to represent or support faceless brands or brands that don’t contribute to the community. Being that they were the only fast fashion brand I supported, I no longer wanted to support fast fashion as a whole after being used and feeling robbed. I didn’t find it professional for them to block me because by doing so they are making it a personal issue. I no longer care about being recognized as an “influencer” by entities larger than myself and I refuse to be seduced by a discount. I actually felt liberated. After deciding to cut off fast fashion, I questioned what else could I do about my buying habits that would be beneficial to the world? There is so much marketing going on that the mass population is now buying things mindlessly just because of how it sounds or the status that it brings. I realized that my lifestyle did not match my life values and I knew if I wanted it to align, I had to take control of what my money is being spent on and rethink what the conventional lifestyle should be.

What I’ve done so far

I made a bold decision to no longer source my clothing from “fast fashion” brands. The definition of fast fashion has changed over the years as the concept was only introduced in the recent decade. The original definition described it to be retailers that have a rapid 4-6 week production cycle, which well exceeds the production period of traditional retailers. Now according to Wikipedia, fast fashion is-

  1. inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends

The thing about fast fashion that’s so terrible is how wasteful it is and the detrimental effects on the environment caused by the rapid production. In addition, the rapid pace and low cost would not be possible without outsourcing. Some issues with outsourcing are a lack of living wages, unsafe work environments and child labor. There are just so many reasons to stop supporting these brands that contribute to a larger problem. No more Forever 21, H&M, Zara, etc. I am confident in my fashion abilities enough that I don’t feel the need to rely on fast fashion to be stylin’ anyway. I’ve replaced my fast fashion consumption with secondhand clothing and have saved a ton of money by doing so!


I practiced my garment construction skills so that I can have the ability to redesign and repurpose existing clothing in my closet so that I can shop for new items less.

I also decided to shop more local. There are so many reasons why we should. It stimulates our economy, cuts environmental impact of shopping, support people/businesses that make up our unique community, local ownership and job creation. I am so lucky to have gotten in touch with businesses in Kaimuki, they literally have everything I need there. From thrift stores, gift shops, food joints ( with lots of locally sourced ingredients), a book store, salons, cafes, etc. I can feel confident that my hard earned money is being spent well there!


I’ve gotten involved with the community once since I started this entire thing a few months ago. I found a local group that coordinates clean ups around the island called 808 Cleanups. It was a pleasure working with them on cleaning up the Diamond Head coast. I love contributing to the community by helping the environment and maintaining foot paths. I hope to work with them more in the upcoming year!

I’m making changes in my lifestyle as well. I actually have an entire list of changes I want to make. It’s going to take time because it’s quite long and taking it on all at once would overwhelm me to a point of discouragement. It’s important to give myself credit for all my efforts no matter how small they are by taking it on one at a time! I so far replaced my plastic toothbrush to a wooden, compostable one and ditched the synthetic laundry detergent with my own DIY laundry soap. I want to work on eating at home more and become closer to a plastic-free lifestyle. I already stopped using plastic bags by replacing it with reusable ones and cut down my saran wrap consumption by using tupperware more. But there is so much more to be changed and I am recording each change every step of the way on my YouTube channel- Styleleaf.

I am also curating an Amazon list titled Sustainable Living that centers on items that we use regularly that are made more of natural materials such as wood, glass, and metal! I encourage you to check it out! I think some of the natural alternatives that’s on the list might surprise you!


I know this blog was a bit long but I am glad you stuck around enough to get the entire gist of it! I am passionate about the environment and have a burning desire to create a lifestyle for myself that is not filled with contradiction and I hope to inspire other’s along the way. What I realized from this new found consciousness is how terribly defined conventional is! I find that everything found to be “conventional” is coincidentally unsustainable as well (like laundry detergent). I totally don’t expect anyone to go as extreme for the environment as I am, but I definitely hope to influence eco-friendly habits onto other’s in an educational way. There are so many harmful things we are allowing ourselves to be exposed to because we really don’t know any better!

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