Sustainability Isn’t a Practice of Perfection: An Interview with Cypress and Fox

I truly felt like that new dress would change my life… It didn’t.

Tamarin, founder of Cypress & Fox

Oh dear ones, do you happen to have some loose threads in your closet? Clothing items that you once dearly loved but feel like they deserve a new home?

I can imagine you do. But what happens afterwards; after the decluttering is done and you are ready to give away these clothes? Most of the time, they will stay by your door, a constant reminder that you should take that final step. After a while, maybe they will finally end up in a clothing container that will maybe lead to a second-hand store, charity shop or worse, the garbage.

Did you know that less than one percent of your old clothing will be made into new clothes? Since we don’t always have control over where it goes, sustainability is a learning curve and starts, in my opinion, from a key element: consuming less and buying new items with more awareness.

I can’t begin to explain how much my awareness grew over the last few years. From hoarding clothes to massively reducing my wardrobe to finally finding a new conscious balance. Nowadays, I focus on my three pillar principles to approaching clothing in a more sustainable way: reduce, raise your awareness, consume better.

1. Reduce

Start by paying attention to your wardrobe and use resources like Marie Kondo and The Minimalist principles to understand your relationship with clothing. Let go of the emotional attachment and learn how to stop craving more items. By appreciating and valuing all that you possess and that brings you joy, you can let go of the clutter and extreme consumerism.

When you let go of clothing, you can leave them to charity, give them to a nearby thrift store, give them back to the retailer or upcycle them yourself, thereby giving them new life.

2. Raise your awareness

Promoting sustainability is a huge issue for our planet today – and not just in the choices we make in our wardrobe. There are plenty of documentaries and articles that are crucial in understanding the basic principles of sustainability. There are no perfect solutions, and yet so many great local shops for you to discover and support, so many new start-up having an impact and initiative being taken for you to learn how to have a positive impact.

See how you can transform the way you get rid of your clothes, but also the way you will bring in new items. Every choice you make can have an immense impact, but the best way to approach change is to educate yourself as much as you can along the way. Ignorance shouldn’t be an excuse.

3. Consume Better

There isn’t a perfect approach to sustainability. Resources and documentaries are great at bringing you facts and pointing out different directions. But it can be a little overwhelming but never fear. The solution is to accept the greater consciousness and awareness we are accepting into our lives and particularly when we buy. Making tiny shifts at a time will follow you on the long-run.

I always love supporting people using their creative genius to try and find solutions to the problems we are facing. Nothing is an easy fix, but by encouraging your local artisans or sustainable startups, sourcing your products in a way that you can trace back the origin, consuming less and prioritizing organic materials and compostable materials, slowly, the impact you think is tiny will make waves on a global scale.

Meet Cypress & Fox: a clothing brand with a sustainable twist.

I was introduced to that lovely brand through the magic of Instagram and immediately fell in love with their business concept. Tamarin, the founder, is committed to creating a fresh and modern approach to second-hand clothing by offering an online platform that is as friendly as a regular shop but offers only single items that were carefully chosen. It makes the shopping experience fun and unique and makes you appreciate the work that goes into it.

Through her work, Tamarin is caring for and featuring lonely threads so they can find a new home. ‘I’m helping clothes dodge the landfill pile,’ as she says.

I had the chance to receive a few lovely items from Cypress & Fox and I loved how exciting the process was – from choosing the items to receiving the package at my door. I wanted to know more, so I asked Tamarin a few questions. I truly appreciate her honesty about not having all the answers, but still wanting to be a part of the solution as she navigates the ebbs and flows of conscious entrepreneurship.

What is your vision for Cypress & Fox?

My massive dream for the company is to have a serious impact on our planet. I want to inspire more people to shop second-hand, reduce their consumption and regain sight of our true purpose as humans living in harmony with nature. On a smaller scale, if I can encourage just one person to make sustainable changes in their life, then that seems like a massive success to me. On a technical level, one of my goals for Cypress & Fox in 2019 is to finally start a blog dedicated to helping people live more sustainably.

How do you prepare all your clothes for delivery?

I ask my clients to ensure their second-hand garments are freshly washed before they pass them on to me. Regardless, I still end up washing 80% of the garments I receive because they are not up to the standard I want to maintain. It’s a tricky one as washing and drying our clothes accounts for 70-80% of their total environmental impact. However, there are many ways we can wash our clothes more sustainably like using eco-friendly detergents, running a cold wash and sun drying.

What is your take on sustainability vs international shipping?

International postage is another tricky topic with a lot of factors to consider. Obviously sending a parcel across the globe is not the most sustainable process. That’s why it’s important to support companies who are making a visible effort to reduce their environmental impact. For domestic orders within Australia, I ship with a company called Sendle who are Australia’s first 100% carbon neutral delivery service.

For international orders, I use Australia Post who are incredibly transparent and making some great improvements to their sustainability efforts. There is no perfect solution yet but I’m hopeful that things keep moving in this direction. I would love to measure the environmental impact of shipping a second-hand garment overseas to a customer vs that person heading off to their local fashion store and purchasing a brand new product – that would be so interesting!

What are the sustainable lifestyle changes you made that inspired you to found Cypress & Fox?

It seems like every day I become aware of another unsustainable habit and discover a simple eco-friendly solution. One of my current favorites is my wooden reusable cutlery set that I keep in my bag at all times. It’s amazing how many plastic forks these guys have saved! I’ve also been playing around with natural DIY detergents and cleaning products which is not only good for our planet but our health too. I recently invested in new mailer bags that are 100% compostable. The list could go on forever but my sustainability journey definitely started with fashion.

I used to shop all the time and do it as cheaply as I could. It never crossed my mind that this behaviour is totally destructive to our planet and frankly to ourselves too.

-Tamarin, Founder of Cypress & Fox

I truly felt like that new dress would change my life. It didn’t. Our overconsumption is a reflection of our values and lost sense of purpose. It sounds weird but my dogs totally changed my perception of purpose. They showed me how incredible Mother Nature is and how much joy can be had from getting out and exploring her.

I want to inspire people to invest in experiences more than material possessions. Obviously, there is some conflict there as I sell material products through Cypress & Fox but I believe I am doing it in the most sustainable way possible. If I can help some lonely threads dodge the landfill pile, help someone shop sustainably and save our precious resources then that’s a success.

Sustainability isn’t about perfection

I find Tamarin’s story so inspiring because it reminds me that as long as we try to make a positive impact, we are spreading awareness, being part of the solution and collectively raising our awareness. I am not perfect, but I choose to learn and grow. I expect to make mistakes along the way and I am grateful for every single person trying to make a difference.

To all of you, thank you.

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