This is the first of a new series of interviews for Studio Notes, it features the multi-talented Kim Brink, a model & sustainable fashion writer, who acts as an ambassador for ethical fashion labels. For her blog, Love by Kim B, she effortlessly styles up-and-coming & established designers, sharing photoshoots of their work, behind-the-scenes shots and interviews with industry insiders. She shares an insight into her career, values & thoughts on the future of the sustainable fashion industry below.
You spend a lot of time between the beautiful Swedish countryside & the city of Copenhagen, which is, of course, famous for its design—do you draw a lot of inspiration for your work from the two?
Yes, and in so many different ways- in terms of Copenhagen, I would definitely say that my entire lifestyle is inspired by the design, fashion, interior, architecture and over all vibe of the city. I’ve noticed that my style has become influenced and more simple since I’ve started to spend more time in Copenhagen. I find it gorgeous to dress in a pair of tailored trousers, a white crisp shirt and then dress it down with a white pair of Veja sneakers- also since it’s more functional to get around! I’m also fascinated by the fact that there are a lot of upcoming sustainable fashion designers in Copenhagen and it’s a city who takes a stand when it comes to a greener development- as well as being the ultimate place getting around with your bike!
When it comes to beautiful Sweden I’ve always loved the wilderness and nature, hence why I would love to maintain its beauty. I strongly believe that my heart and passion for the environment is connected with the fact that I’m brought up in such a magnificent country.
You’ve had a varied career so far—first modelling, & now running your own business working as a freelance writer & editor alongside your own style blog. Did you find that running your own business & working for yourself was a natural progression from working as a model?
More or less, in any case it just happened very organically. When it comes to sustainable fashion I find it to be successful to mix my blog with freelance writing and modeling- since it all comes down to the same topic. This gives me a wider perspective within the industry, which I like since I learn a lot. I love having my future in my own hands and being in control over the assignments that I do.
Has writing always been a passion of yours?
Yes! I love creating an interesting angle when writing a story as well as adding something innovative and not necessarily too refined. I was a straight-A student in school in subjects like the Swedish and English language and in all rhetoric courses, which means that writing came very naturally to me and I’ve always adored it. According to my teachers it all came down to me being able to capture people’s interest and not so much the correct grammar- and I’ll always be very grateful for this feedback.
Working on all your various freelance projects must sometimes be hectic! Do you have any methods for staying on top of things whilst juggling everything?
I try to keep some kind of schedule for my different assignments and I constantly write things and thoughts down (on paper!). Most importantly I try to un-plug and not work too late in the evening. Enough sleep, long walks, yoga and hanging out with loved ones also keeps me grounded. I love what I do and this makes my everyday life fun and inspiring. However, there are of course days when its stressful and not as much fun- but life provides you with a little bit of both. In the end I’ve also learned not to take things too seriously, and this also includes myself- I aim to be as professional as possible but in the end things always ends up the way they are supposed to.
I find it inspiring that you’ve dedicated your career to promoting sustainability & positive social change, aside from your blogging & freelance writing, you also work as a spokesperson for animal rights—what led you to want to focus on these fields?
My family and I are all very much into animal rights and being a member of Greenpeace as well as supporting PETA runs in the family. When it comes to fur this will never be an option for me (since we obviously don’t need it anymore) and most of all we shouldn’t support an industry who makes money on suffering. To me this is just common sense and I have a hard time understanding why some people don’t share these values.
When I began designing clothes, I felt the need to create pieces that were modern & desirable as well as being made ethically. It still seems that there’s a misconception in fashion that sustainability is the antithesis of style, although I do feel that people’s views are beginning to change. I’d love to know your thoughts on the topic—do you think people’s views on sustainable fashion are starting to change?
Slowly, but yes. I feel that this is also my “mission”- trying to show people that there is no difference dressing sustainably and it’s just as beautiful as conventional fashion, however, actually more financial sustainable since you invest in long lasting garments. I think the next step for sustainable fashion would be a more common connection between sustainability and fashion. I hope this will come organically with the current development, and that our way of thinking and living will slowly be in symbiosis with a more conscious consumption.
Do you have any particular hopes for the future of the sustainable fashion industry?
Of course, mostly that consumer’s open their eyes towards sustainable fashion and push the industry towards the right direction. Fashion is really fun and something so much more interesting than just a piece of clothing, it’s our way of communicating- showing who we are, what we like and stand for. To me, beautiful clothing isn’t beautiful if they aren’t produced with love for the environment or the people making the garments. Hopefully this will be how other people will view fashion in the future as well, and at some point the industry will follow. I’m of course referring to the entire chain within the industry and not only regarding high fashion but also when it comes to department stores and such. Sustainable fashion should also be affordable for everyone and I find it’s very important to educate people in regards to the options available.
Is there any advice you’d give to someone who wants to start making more sustainable choices?
When it comes to fashion and clothing everyone should start with having a look in their wardrobe and organize. If you don’t wear something, sell it, swap it or give it so someone who will wear it. The easiest thing is to create a basic wardrobe and adding quality items that will last and that you’ll wear. On my blog I highlight the designers and brands that I love and adore, which is a nice way to start. For some people it’s a classic design that makes a garment sustainable to others its production and for some its organic materials- of course, it’s always best if you are able to go for as many of these as possible.
Never the less, buying something just because it’s cheap or on sale is never the right choice. Invest in pieces of clothing that you truly love and will wear, and take care of them too- that way you’ll have them for a long time.
Otherwise it’s more or less to be smart in our everyday life- for instance, don’t buy water bottles in a super market every day- go for a non-toxic bottle, filter your water and use this instead! Small things that are more friendly to the earth, environment and our well-being.
Thank you so much for your thoughts, Kim! On a final note, I’d love for you to share your favourite designers who’re pushing the boundaries of sustainable fashion right now?
Thank you Veryan! ☺
First and foremost- Vivienne Westwood, she’s always a favorite of mine! This since she truly goes her own way and doesn’t care about anything else than her mission as a designer and activist.
Stella McCartney- for creating beautiful clothing and not being afraid to speak up for animal rights and environmental questions.
I also have to credit Swedish Filippa K for being very innovative- making it easier for people to consume consciously. With swapping, a second hand department in Stockholm and offering a specific collection created as sustainable as possible- when it comes to production and materials. Besides, Filippa K creates amazing garments- minimalistic and very chic!