Aarika Lee is no stranger to conscious living. The mother of two and co-founder of local branding agency Elementary Co has steadily infiltrated sustainable practices into her everyday life over the years – from simply toting around reusable cutlery to making a decided effort to shop less. As for when exactly her drive to start living green began? “I’m not sure I can pinpoint an exact moment but I know that once I had my daughter Zola Mae, I started to be more conscious about the way I was living.”
Fast forward to today and Lee is as passionate about sustainable fashion as she is about environmental welfare. Followers of her IG account (@aarikalee) will know that there are dedicated highlight tabs in which Lee addresses the pruning of a tree in her neighbourhood, the tragic burning of the Amazonian forest and links to where one can shop conscious food and lifestyle products.
A quick scroll through Lee’s grid also reveals an affinity for brightly-coloured headwraps, laidback flowy dress and easygoing separates – often from eco-friendly clothing labels. “(Lifestyle brand) Matter is always at the top of my list. I love the way they share the journey of the garment from the artisans’ hands to us and how they try to remind us daily that we need to be more conscious about the way we consume. Olive Ankara (the fashion label is known for its African wax printed fabrics) is also one of my favourites for all the amazing colours that are available and I love that all the offcuts or leftover material from the garments are then made into earrings, headwraps and shoes.”
Despite her lifestyle choices, Lee is quick to remind us that big changes often start with small, seemingly unnoticeable shifts. And while a complete overhaul may be tempting – a great, manageable place to start is in the clothing choices we make. Here, Lee shares six easy tips (some don’t even require you to shop) for you to start your eco-fashion journey.