In a world of mass consumerism, TikTok fast fashion hauls, and a massive pay gap between fast fashion CEOs and the people who make their garments, it’s refreshing to find brands and individuals going against the grain to change the fashion industry for the better. One such person is Toronto-based sustainable stylist, Jaclyn Patterson.
On a mission to build a better fashion future, Jaclyn began her work as a personal wardrobe stylist in 2014, helping people develop their personal style while consciously building wardrobes they love. Alongside her work, JacIyn has been a long-time advocate for slow and sustainable fashion. This led to her founding Shopwise, a sustainable apparel marketplace in 2020, making it easier for people to vote with their dollar from brands that prioritize both people and the planet.
Over the past few months, we’ve been lucky enough to work alongside Jaclyn in planning a virtual sustainable styling event, where she shared all sorts of tips and tricks on honing one’s personal style while also curating a wardrobe that makes you excited to get dressed every morning, no matter the occasion. With years of sustainable styling experience under her (thrifted) belt, Jaclyn is a wealth of knowledge about all things sustainable fashion. We hope you appreciate her as much as we do.
ecologyst: What sets you apart from the typical stylist, and how do you think this aligns with what we're creating at ecologyst?
Jaclyn: Often when thinking of working with a stylist, we expect a complete wardrobe makeover and investing thousands of dollars into trendy new pieces. When working with me, you most likely won’t step foot in any mall. I integrate new ideas and outfit suggestions into your existing wardrobe and make thoughtful shopping suggestions that ensure you’re intentionally and consciously building a wardrobe you love, so you can dress with ease and joy every day. Additionally, I’m experienced working both virtually and in-person to ensure anyone from anywhere can receive the wardrobe support they need to live their best life!
e: What makes a wardrobe sustainable?
J: A sustainable wardrobe to me means bringing a conscious lens to how and where we buy, taking care of our clothes, and considering how the things we own impact both people and the planet.
e: How often do you go through your closet and assess your clothing? If you do decide to remove a piece, what's your go-to solution?
J: Approximately twice a year, during the seasonal shifts in spring and fall. I essentially will analyze if it still meets my personal style, is in good condition, and provides value to my wardrobe and lifestyle. When removing a piece, I offer it to friends or family first, or sell it on second-hand services like Facebook Marketplace, ThredUp or Poshmark. It helps me know that an actual person will extend the life of the garment. If the item isn’t in good condition, I’ll donate to Redeem Clothing. They’re a Toronto-based startup focused on a closed-loop system.
e: What is the main pain point for your clients?
J: Many people are unsure of what to wear or how to create outfits that feel good. Similar to the premise of “having a closet full of clothes with nothing to wear.” Our lifestyles have changed dramatically over the last couple of years, which means we are adjusting our clothing needs. The second is the uncertainty of where to shop for good-quality clothing aligned with their personal style.
e: What is your longest standing product in your wardrobe?
J: I have a cashmere wool sweater gifted to me in the 90s that is still in stellar condition.
e: What's a garment you've worn to death? Why did this one perform for you so well? What made it different?
J: I think of a vintage pair of Levi 501s I wore regularly for years until they ripped in the inner seam. I mended them multiple times before I eventually made them shorts. I don’t wear them as often now as shorts; eventually, I may repurpose them into something else. 100% cotton denim is more durable compared to many mass-produced denim blends on the market. I also took care of them, only washing when absolutely needed and spot cleaning in the meantime.
e: What are the pieces you'll never give up? Why?
J: A great wardrobe comes down to good quality staples that you can wear easily, effortlessly, and style in a variety of ways. Essentials I’ll never give up are my white tees, tanks, simple button-downs, 100% cotton denim, and blazers — all things you’ll find me wearing often. I’m also a big fan of hats!
e: What transcends fashion for you and your clients?
J: Embodying your own personal style is the most transcendental celebration of style and self. Rather than focusing on trends, timeless fashion means focusing on expressing your personal style instead of short-lived trends. Also taking care of your clothes and voting with your dollar when possible will always be cool.