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An interview with Amy

Amy Silberzahn, sustainable style consultant, journalist and author, regularly talks to people who are making an impact in their communities, who are more concerned with how their actions affect the planet. In an interview with WeShape, Amy now talks about her personal drive and the topic of sustainability in the fashion industry.

Amy, why don't you introduce yourself and your work?

I am a Sustainable Stylist. My focus is on guiding my clients to thrive in their lives by helping them understand their personal brand, their current lifestyle and that which they aspire to. With this deeper understanding they can develop their personal style and curate a wardrobe that serves them and is aligned with their values. Diversity and inclusivity are key values to my personal ethos so I love working with people outside the narrow focus of many fashion brands, ie. plus size individuals and recently a heroic trans gender woman.

I encourage my clients to invest in items that are the best quality they can afford and to support independent designers who are ethically and environmentally sustainable in their practices from material through to production. My extensive experience in the fashion industry in Marketing and PR, as a Fashion Designer and as an independent Boutique Owner allows me to source beautiful, high quality and environmentally and socially conscious product that my clientele love and thereby cherish.

I share tips and tricks to multiply usage and to guide my clients to understand how to care for and therefore keep the items as long as possible. I also add individuality to their wardrobes with second hand and vintage finds, a simple, practical and sustainable option that helps reduce waste.

Why are the topics of sustainability, diversity and inclusivity important to you?

I started in the fashion industry over 20 years ago and have seen from all sides the rollercoaster journey that it’s been on. I’m delighted at the power that social media has given to people outside of the industry enabling them to push street style, representation of real body shapes and sizes as well as demand more diversity and inclusivity in the way the industry works and represents itself.

To see big brands moving towards increased responsibility within their supply chain alongside production of collaborative projects with sustainable brands focused on recycled materials and ethical sourcing is encouraging. Supporting independent brands has always been my passion, having been there and experienced the challenges involved myself. It’s crucial to support these creatives as they are the ones really pushing boundaries in ethical business practices, environmentally considered fabric production, specialist skill development and considered working environments for all those they are connected with.

For the past few years I’ve been interviewing voices focused on making positive impact in their industries. Consideration of the effect we as individuals and as business owners make on the planet is a key consideration for them in the way they choose to live their lives. This awareness alters their personal definition of success and the mindset around what they do and why they do it. This is so exciting to see. To understand the stories behind these entrepreneurs is incredibly motivating and inspiring.

What was the trigger for this?

I’ve always been conscious of my appearance. As a tall skinny mixed race girl with wild afro hair I stood out in the county of Essex, in England, most famous for David and Victoria Beckham and the chef Jamie Oliver As the youngest of three girls the majority of my clothes were hand me downs. There wasn’t much to be done to personalise my school uniform and my sports club kits weren’t much fun either.

So when I started working for Marks and Spencers aged 16, I was delighted to be able to go to second hand shops and seek out cool things to customise and therefore began to develop my own style. I stayed with Marks and Spencers till my final year of University and the lessons I learnt there working as a style assistant in the Autograph department were key to my understanding of the diversity in woman’s bodies, the kind of things they needed as well as the impact that clothing can have on self-confidence.

This was core knowledge around the stock I bought for my own boutique which I owned in Frankfurt, Germany. I took a lot of effort to source brands from independent British designers, giving them the opportunity to enter the German market. I stocked as wide as possible size range I could across the designers and every customer received one to one attention and consideration.

Private events allowed me to share my skills and tips and tricks with my clientele as well as bring clients together for networking and seasonal fashion shows. I believe if we want things to move forward whether that is around the subjects of sustainable business ethics, diversity or inclusivity then conversation and collaboration is key.

Sustainability is also controversial in some areas. What advice do you have for readers who don't necessarily dare to enter the discussion?

Though big brands and fast fashion particularly have had a shocking effect on the negative impact of the industry, they are making moves in the right direction and the consumer has played a huge part in this. By choosing to support the more conscious ranges like Join Life and Conscious Clothing collections from Zara and H&M you can keep nudging them in the right direction.

But a key consumer impact is not buying things and then wearing them just once or twice and adding them to landfill. Fabric is not a waste product to be so easily discarded and consideration of that is a key part of the effort towards positive change.

What can each individual do to live more sustainably in the area of fashion?

I encourage my clients to consider the impact and need of every purchase they make, above and beyond price. Is it really adding to your wardrobe, does it suit your style and your needs. Where was it made and be whom, what is it made from, is there a better alternative? All things that demand just a little bit of consideration before clicking buy!

An interview with Amy Silberzahn | WeShape.world

Amy Silberzahn

Personal Style Consultant, Journalist and Writer

Amy Silberzahn is a fempreneur, a mother, a writer and a personal style consultant. She is both British and German, is based in Berlin and loves dancing, reading and art journaling alongside practicing Karate and interviewing entrepreneurial change makers.

www.silberzahnstyle.com
Follow me on www.instagram.com/silberzahnstyle