Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Bonjour & Welcome! Conscious by Chloé is a Sustainable Lifestyle Blog focusing on Zero Waste, Slow Living, and Ethical Fashion.

How to Be a (more) Sustainable Fashion Consumer Without Breaking the Bank

The Sustainable Fashion Forum by Candace Molatore for Conscious by Chloé

Last Saturday, I had the opportunity to speak on a panel about sustainable fashion consumption at the Sustainable Fashion Forum during Design Week PDX.

With 3 of my favorite ethical fashion bloggers, Allison of The Thoughtful Closet, Andrea of Seasons + Salt, and Ellie of Selflessly Styled, and our wonderful moderator, Andrea, of Ecologique Fashion and Fashion Revolution USA, we discussed subjects such as the reasons why we've chosen to embark on a style journey with sustainability and consciousness in mind, our process to chose and trust a brand, the issues related to the fashion industry in general, the best resources for ethical fashion (including plus size), and greenwashing.

The Sustainable Fashion Forum by Candace Molatore for Conscious by Chloé

Our panel was followed by a keynote by Modified Style Portland's, environmental consultant Kelly Raynor about sustainability in fashion.

The second panel featured local designers and fashion’s top industry leaders such as Angela Medlin of The Functional Apparel and Accessories Studio (FAAS)/Pensole Carly of Keen Footwear, Davora of Prairie Underground, Dre & Len of Ecovibe Apparel and was moderated by Whitney Bauck of Fashionista and focused on the obstacles and opportunities faced in the effort to create ethically-made and fashion-forward clothing.

And the event concluded with a live fashion show featuring sustainable designs from some of Portland's best local designers.

The Sustainable Fashion Forum by Candace Molatore for Conscious by Chloé

While the audience seemed very knowledgeable on the subject of ethical fashion, the facts and figures surrounding the industry can be overwhelming.

Even experts get lost in all the data. We keep hearing that fashion is the second biggest polluting industry in the world when in fact fashion seems to be the fourth most polluting industry.

But we sometimes forget that, like Ellie very well put it, the mere fact that we're having this conversation is a privilege.

I've introduced a concept at the end of my intervention on the panel, and wanted to continue the conversation over here on the blog. Being a sustainable fashion consumer doesn't necessarily mean investing in pricey new pieces from ethical brands.


5 ways to be a more sustainable fashion consumer

  • Don't Shop (or Shop your Closet)

You don't have to buy from sustainable brands to be a sustainable fashion consumer. The most ethical way to be a fashionista is to avoid shopping.

There are so many clothes in our closets that we never wear. A great way to rediscover your wardrobe is to participate in the 10x10 challenge. Chose 10 pieces of clothing and challenge yourself to create 10 outfits with them.

And please, do not get rid of everything in your closet only because it's from a fast fashion brand! See that jacket I'm wearing in the top picture? It's from Zara. I've had it for more than 5 years, I love it, I'm never gonna get rid of it. Keeping such items is a great reminder that my style and beliefs have evolved with time.

  • Take care of what you already own

Prolonging the life of your clothes is a wonderful and mindful way of taking care of the planet. Whether it's got sentimental or money value, you will want to make them last.

A great way to do that if to spot clean stains naturally and regularly, mend your clothes as soon as you see a hole/miss a button/etc, wash them less often (that saves energy, prevents the synthetic items to shed plastic particles into our waterways and generally keeps your clothes from the friction of the washing machine).

By the way, switching to a natural detergent and investing in a GUPPYFRIEND washing bag are also great options.

  • Swap & Sell

Rather than simply donating your old clothes to a charity where they are not very likely to be sold or donated to someone in need and might actually hurt developing countries'economies, try to swap or sell them (second hand store, consignment stop, or online - but be mindful of packing and shipping implications). It's a great way to make someone happy or make some cash.

PS: If you find it easier to donate your old clothes, look for place you can safely and consciously give to such as Dress for Success or a local women shelter.

  • Buy Vintage or Second Hand

Again, the best way to buy something new (to you) is to buy something that does not need to be newly produced.

I'm gonna be honest here and admit that I do not enjoy buying clothes in second-hand stores, or big stores in general. I get analysis-paralysis. Too much choice is overwhelming.

My solution? Finding local shops that have a curated vintage and second-hand selection. Here in Portland, my favorites are Johan, Yo Store and Backtalk.

  • Buy Local and/or Ethical

Consider certain factors such as wages, production, material, shipping, end of life and have fun. There are many brands whose values will align with yours.

You can find my favorites conscious brands for women here.

And here are some of the amazing brands that participated in the Sustainable Fashion Forum Pop-up Market: Rachel Sees Snail Shoes, May and Mary, Altar, Seaworthy, Fourth + Foxtail, Urban Refinement, Sum Eram Ero, NDA.

The Sustainable Fashion Forum by Candace Molatore for Conscious by Chloé

4 questions to ask yourself before making a purchase?

  • How is it made?

Are the people who make it paid a fair wage (as compared to the country's standards)?

  • Where is it made?

How many miles is the items going to travel before reaching your closet?

  • What is it made of?

Polyester releases microplastics in our waterways, silk worms are boiled to make silk, cotton requires a lot of water, the process for making bamboo rayon is heavily chemical.

  • What will it become after I get rid of it?

Will it still have a good second hand market value? Will it biodegrade?

The Sustainable Fashion Forum by Candace Molatore for Conscious by Chloé

Although I was anxious to get on the stage, I really had a lot fun of sharing my insights with the public and hearing the amazing women who were up there with me talk about their experiences and struggles. It's definitely been a learning experience and I hope to do that again very soon.

Thank you again to the amazing Brittany Sierra, of Laptops and Smalltalk, for organizing an event of such quality and for allowing me to be my weird self in front of strangers.

What's your opinion on the concept of sustainable consumption? What does sustainable fashion mean to you?

Photographs by Candace Molatore for the Sustainable Fashion Forum.

Have a Blissful Weekend #23

Fashion Revolution

Next week is Fashion Revolution Week. Take action and ask "Who Made my Clothes?"

What are you up to this weekend?

Today's my birthday so I'm gonna treat myself a little. First by working from one of the many new coffee shops that have popped up in Portland while I was in Europe and then by going for a walk, taking in as much sun as possible and admiring all the beautiful spring flowers.

I hope you'll have a great one and in the meantime, here are a few links from around the web:

This post is not sponsored but when you shop via some of the links above I may make a small commission from a sale. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Conscious by Chloé!

A Zero Waste Drink Order

5 Steps to a Zero Waste Drink Order by Conscious by Chloé

After trying to reduce the amount of waste I produced at home (by shopping in bulk, refusing junk mail, etc.), I figured it was time to tackle the subject of the trash I create when I'm on the go.

And my first source of waste when outside of home was: drinks!

Whether it's a spicy chai, a green juice or a delicous bubble tea, the amount of plastic wasted in a matter of minutes on a daily basis is appalling.

Besides the fact that the idea of having a hot drink poured into a plastic lined paper cup makes me cringe (I always feel bad when I see a kid drinking their hot chocolate with a straw from a plastic-lid covered paper cup, but know better than to say anything), it's important to know that single-use plastic cups are usually not recyclable curbside and that paper cups are neither recyclable nor compostable because of their plastic lining (though you can recycle their cardboard sleeve).

As for "bioplastics", "biodegradable" or "compostable" plastics that certain (hopefully) well-meaning businesses have started using, they just cannot biodegrade or be composted in backyard compost piles or most municipal and commercial facilities. Only a handful have the technologies required to successfully compost resins intended for industrial facilities. So these materials simple end up contaminating compost bins (if wrongfully thrown in them) or in the trash (where they should be, for lack of adapted composting facilities).

So to me, the best solution for now is simply to have your drink served in a real cup and drink it in, or have it poured into your own container to take with you.

5 Steps to a Zero Waste Drink Order by Conscious by Chloé

So here is are my 5 Steps to a Zero Waste Drink Order.

1. Choose the right place

I like to know where I shop, whom I shop from, so I do some research and go the places that inspire me the most or that have been recommended to me (think local coffee shop rather than Starbucks).

If you're in Portland, check out my Zero Waste City Guide, Recycling Advocates' BYOC Coffee Shop Campaign supporters Map and the Surfrider Foundation's Ditch the Straw PDX Map

2. BYOC - Bring your own container (and straw!)

As you know, I have a pretty thorough collection of mason jars, my favorites being the wide-mouth ones. Plus side, their capacity is written on them, it makes ordering a 12oz latte so easy!

I recently purchased a stainless steel drink top and am very satisfied with it.

Of course, you can always bring your own insulated mug to keep your drink warm longer.

As for straws, simply refuse them or bring your own. I always have a set of two on hand: regular straws (straight or bent) and fat straws (for bubble tea).

If you want to go one step further towards the elimination of plastic straws, take the Last Plastic Straw Pledge. I'm also a fan of #StopSucking.

5 Steps to a Zero Waste Drink Order by Conscious by Chloé

3. Have courage

Bringing your own container the first time can be weird or scary. I once read that to obtain what you want, you should act and not ask (not applicable to all domains!), meaning, give your container to the barista as if you did this all the time. Don't ask permission, people will more easily say no.

You know the old line "Do as I say, not as I do". The truth is... I always ask for permission! And, for now, nobody ever said no. Should that happen, I'd have to stay calm and explain the reasons for my asking, but that's a whole other story. I'm French, so for me, everything has to be a fight or even a revolution!

4. Say thank you

Always. People need to know that you noticed their effort to accomodate your needs and that you don't take everything for granted.

5 Steps to a Zero Waste Drink Order by Conscious by Chloé

5. Go the extra mile

Bringing your own containers is great! But spreading awareness by suggesting changes is even better. Should you notice that something could be improved, don't hesitate to mention it. For example, I'm trying to convince all the bubble tea places in Portland to get reusable straws! If the protection of the environment is not a strong enough argument, use the money-saving one, it usually works.

Here in Portland, Recycling Advocates are doing a great job with their BYOC campaign. You can also support them through Amazon Smile (Amazon donates .5% of the price of your eligible purchases to RA whenever you shop at

Surfrider Foundation also launched their Ditch the Straw campaign and have successfullly convinced several businesses to only put a straw on request and look for sustainable alternatives.

5 Steps to a Zero Waste Drink Order by Conscious by Chloé

Now go home, or go for a walk, or go meet your friends, and enjoy your drink! You deserve it!

Photographs by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé, except for top and bottom one by Candace Molatore.

If you're a shop owner and you want your business to be more conscious, don't hesitate to contact me for consultancy.

Have a Blissful Weekend #22

Anne Parmeter Preparedness Chart for Conscious by Chloé

Every Friday, I feature an original chart by Anne Parmeter, an amazing artist & fellow Portlander whom I connected with on Instagram. Here’s today’s.

What are you up to this weekend?

I've finished my contract in Geneva and am headed to the mountains with my mom and dad. I'm beyond excited!

I hope you'll have a great one and in the meantime, here are a few links from around the web:

This post is not sponsored but when you shop via some of the links above I may make a small commission from a sale. Thanks for supporting the brands that support Conscious by Chloé!

Zero Waste City Guide - Geneva, Switzerland

The Zero Waste City Guide to Geneva, Switzerland - Guide Zéro Déchet de Genève by Conscious by Chloé
Image credit: Samuel Zeller

Although Switzerland is the fourth waste producer (the USA are 5th) in the developed world with 2.61kg per capita per day, it seems like many recycling and waste reduction solutions are widely available in the country.

I've lived in Geneva for more than 10 years before moving to the the States and now have the priviledge to spend a month there every year for work.

Its first bulk shop opened about a year after I launched my blog so I've been lucky enough to be able to follow the city's growing zero waste community with great interest and witness the apparition of more eco shops and green initiatives during each one of my visits.

I've seen the city change quite a bit in the past couple years, especially on the sustainability front. This year, I've been happy to notice that my 2 "usual" shops, the very popular "Coop" and "Migros" started expanding their own dried goods in bulk selection and to discover a whole new list of vegan-friendly restaurants.

In this Zero Waste Guide to Geneva, you'll find a variety of bulk stores, vegan restaurants, organic beauty salons, biodynamic wine bars, second-hand shops and so much more.

I hope you'll find it useful. Don't hesitate to send me your comments and questions or to share more suggestions in the comments.

Click on the top left icon on the map to show the various categories or open it in full screen.

General Information


Geneva is a very walkable city, especially in the summer. But if you're not a fan of walking or lack the time to do so, you have 2 options:

  • Public transportation, aka TPG - If you fly to Geneva, you'll find a ticket machine by the luggage pick-up belts. It prints FREE 80 minute public transportation tickets. That's a great way to get to the city center by bus or by train for free! For the rest of your stay, you can either get your tickets through the TPG app, buy a prepaid card at the train station's TPG shop or just do it the old way and buy tickets at the bus stop machines. The TPG tickets allow you to travel by train (from the airport to the train station), by bus, by tramway and even by boat (the cute little yellow and red ones).

  • Bike - You can rent a bike at Genève roule, right behind the train station. I think they also give you a map to figure out the prettiest and safest routes.

Recycling, Composting

  • There are recycling bins all over town, at the airport, at the train station and many other hubs. If you're looking into recyling more specific items like glass, PET, batteries, textiles, paper, aluminium and tin, compost, look at this Ecopoints map.

Water Quality

Tap water is drinkable in Geneva, including the water from the water fountains (unless posted otherwise).
85% of people in the city drink tap water. It's up to 1000 times more eco-friendly to drink it, it's 100 to 500 times less expensive than bottled water (or actually free if you get it at public water fountains or you hotel), 90% of it comes from the lake and 10% comes from phreatic zones. So don't forget to bring your own bottle.

Sustainable Initiatives

Geneva has got a buoyant creative community which I've been lucky to be a part of for many happy years.

  • Boîte d'échange entre voisins - Neighbors put in their local « Neighbourhood Exchange Box » items they no longer need so someone who might need them can take them. I actually highly recommend you watch the TEDx conference by the brain behind this project, Dan Acher. It's so heartwarming!

  • - A directory of all the places where you can repair your stuff instead of having to just throw it away!

  • Element21 - Tips and projects to make the city more sustainable, from banning plastic bags to saving water at home.

  • Keep in use - A platform where you can publish an ad to give things you no longer have a need for.

  • Ecoccinelles - Family focused DIY to protect kids from harmful susbtances (in the air, in cosmetics, in food).

  • popnfix - It's the equivalent of Taskrabbit. You can hire a handyperson, sell, give or rent items you no longer need.

  • pumpipumpe - On this website, you can order stickers and stick them onto your mailbox in order to show your neighbours which things they can borrow from you (sewing machine, tools, cooking utensils, camping gear).

  • Green mop - This sustainability-focused platform publishes recipes, teaches classes, gives talks and even has an online shop.

  • DIY Geneva - DIY Geneva is a great online and in person resource for people who want to make their own cleaners, decorate their homes or repairing their own bike.

  • Esprit Nutri - Raw cooking, natural cleaning products & cosmetics and zero waste workshops.

  • Formule Nature - Make your own cosmetics.

  • Bees4you - Adopt a beehive.

Green Events

Zero Waste Community

More resources

Annik Wetter, MAMCO - The Zero Waste City Guide to Geneva, Switzerland - Guide Zéro Déchet de Genève by Conscious by Chloé by Chloé
Image credit: MAMCO


Know What's Up



Birdie Coffee Shop - The Zero Waste City Guide to Geneva, Switzerland - Guide Zéro Déchet de Genève by Conscious by Chloé by Conscious by Chloé
Image credit: Birdie

Useful expressions

No straw please
Pas de paille s'il vous plaît

Could you put it in my bag/cup?
Pourriez-vous le mettre dans mon sac/ma tasse?

I've brought my own bag.
J'ai mon propre sac.

No receipt please.
Pas de ticket s'il vous plaît.

The Zero Waste City Guide to Geneva, Switzerland - Guide Zéro Déchet de Genève by Conscious by Chloé
Image credit: Samuel Zeller

Do you live in Geneva? Are you planning a trip to Switzerland this year?

Bookmark this article, share it with a friend, pin it on your Pinterest Travel Inspirations board.

Feel free to send me your questions and comments, or to tell me about an awesome spot I've missed!

Get in touch here in the comments section, on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.

Also, who else gains 3 pounds whenever they travel to Europe (#chocolate #croissants #chocolatecroissants) ?