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45th ANNIVERSARY

Lifestyle

Female Collective's Aarika Lee On The Little Things That Matter With Sustainability

From packing more reusable straws for everyone around her, to consuming less meat.

Aarika Lee is not new to fads and trends — the fashion chameleon has made her mark on glossies aplenty in Singapore, and her social media feed is testament to her ability to weave what’s movin’ and shakin’ in fashion with true classics that fit right into her laid-back, street chic style. What doesn’t change though, is her staying true to her sustainable lifestyle.

On starting out small

“Sustainability can get overwhelming when you start to think about it, but ultimately, it’s really about doing small little things everyday. If you have to get your food delivered for example, then leave a note and make sure they don’t give you cutlery and just use the ones in your office or bring your own.” And she practices what she preaches — she brings around a pouch of reusable straws for her and everybody else with her.

On consuming less meat

“I started thinking consciously about the way I live my my life when I read a book, 14 years ago now, Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer and really it was an expose about what was happening in animal farms to meet the demands that the world was asking for, when it comes to food. I stopped eating a lot of meat. What I consumed mattered in the grander scheme of things,” Aarika explained.

Having kids never changed that mindset either, “It happened hard and fast that I wanted to make a change — and to think about what I was consuming and leaving behind. For them, choice is always on the table. I never force them to give up anything that they don’t understand yet. Yes, my daughter is a meat eater, but the conversations I have with her now are things that she can actually grasp — do we really need a plastic bag or a straw when we drink?”

On shopping less

When it comes to style and wanting a wider wardrobe without making a massive dent in your carbon footprint, Aarika says there are so many ways to go around it. “Companies like Style Theory, Rentadella, for example, give you the option of having clothes you can wear a few times and then return them.”

“For me truly, I’ve finally found a style that I find really fit and suit me. There are a few pieces that I wear all the time and I love living in. Once you find those items that you live in, just live in them!” Aarika exclaims, “Don’t be shy about wearing things twice!”

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That was a quickie, Paris. 🖤

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On being content with what you have

“Honestly I think I do the bare minimum when it comes to living sustainably but what’s more important is that there is a conversation that happens in our family — whether cutting back on the things we don’t need, or being grateful for what we have and realising that we don’t need any more than that because it’s a value that I’m planting in the kids.”

“We’re very blessed. We receive a lot of things because of the nature of our work, but even in that, we instill in the kids the need to share, or give away what we don’t need. That’s also important when it comes to sustainability: that when you have, that you give.”

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