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.

consciousbychloe-sustainable-fashion-forum-design-week-pdx-2018-11-1

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.

My Fake Commute

Vintage Ethical Look Shot in Front of a Portland Mural by Conscious by Chloé

Working from home can be a bit of a challenge.

Yes, there’s the freedom to sleep in, work in your PJs, take a shower at 1pm if you feel like it, and take some time off kinda whenever but how much freedom is too much freedom?

Vintage Ethical Look Shot in Front of a Portland Mural by Conscious by Chloé

Pompom Hat (similar) Vintage coat (similar) - Leggings (similar) - Clogs (Sandgrens) - DIY Tote (Klumhouse)

I’ve worked in offices, had part-time jobs, been a consultant and I am now my own boss, so I can safely say that I know what I’m talking about. But even more so considering that I’m spending this month of March in Geneva, working at one of my clients' office for a one month long 40-hours a week contract.

I do this every year, and, besides it being a great opportunity to connect with fellow translators, it’s a perfect way to take inventory of my work habits.

Vintage Ethical Look Shot in Front of a Portland Mural by Conscious by Chloé

It’s going to be 4 years since I quit my job at a creative agency to fly across the world and become my own boss. 4 years of testing the waters, making decisions, changing my mind, and trying again.

I can now look back on these experiments and figure out what I would totally do again, and what I would avoid at all cost.

And amongst those revelations, the freelance hack I’m the most proud of to this day is… my fake commute.

Vintage Ethical Look Shot in Front of a Portland Mural by Conscious by Chloé

On some days, I get up, get dressed and walk to my neighborhood coffee shop for a warm cup of chai, to-go and sip it on my way back home, sometimes making a little detour through the park (and even listening to the latest episode of my current favorite podcast). It’s the perfect way to transition from home life to work life. The fresh air chases away the last drops of sleepiness and the exercise energizes and motivates me to get started.

Vintage Ethical Look Shot in Front of a Portland Mural by Conscious by Chloé

What makes it even better is the fact that I now have a commute buddy.

It wasn’t too hard to convince Octave to get up a little earlier if it meant getting coffee and his favorite financier.

When he comes with me, we usually seat down and take some time to catch up. It's actually really interesting to see how those conversations can be so much different from the ones we have at home (you might remember that we also meet at the coffee shop do do our accounting).

I actually received a text from him one afternoon (it was Wednesday morning in PDX) last week in which he said he missed me and wanted to meet me for coffee!

Vintage Ethical Look Shot in Front of a Portland Mural by Conscious by Chloé


Do you work from home? Is there a secret hack you want to share with us?

Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

Winter 2018 10×10 Challenge - Day 10

Winter 2018 10×10 Challenge Look Day 10 by Conscious by Chloé

TGIF! I'm not gonna lie, this challenge has been slightly more tedious than the previous one and I'm ready to dive back into my closet.

Still, I'm pretty happy with this last look and hope you'll enjoy it too!

My Day 10 Outfit

Comfortable meets playful, wait until the next picture and you'll know what I mean.

Winter 2018 10×10 Challenge Look Day 10 by Conscious by Chloé

  • Cardigan (old) - Similar
  • Jumpsuit (old) - Open Air Museum - Made in the USA (Portland, OR) - Similar
  • Sneakers (old) - Similar

Winter 2018 10×10 Challenge Look Day 10 by Conscious by Chloé

Style Notes

Working with a capsule wardrobe becomes harder and harder when you approach the last couple days, but it's a great challenge to get creative.

I was very proud the first time I thought about wearing my cardigan with the opening in the back. I may or may not have been inspired by a drawing from a French artist that's hanging in my bedroom. Anyway, I'm a sucker for sexy backs. They might not be the most winter-appropriate pieces of clothing, but working from home does have its perks, no commute, no jacket and slippers instead of shoes (except for pictures).


Have you ever worn a piece of clothing in a different way than the one it was designed to be (i.e. a shirt as a skirt)?

Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

Winter 2018 10×10 Challenge - Day 9

Winter 2018 10×10 Challenge Look Day 9 by Conscious by Chloé

Guys, is it spring yet? Yesterday, as we were walking on Division St, I saw people wearing shorts. Shorts, in Portland, in February. I haven't even gone snowboarding yet!

Winter 2018 10×10 Challenge Look Day 9 by Conscious by Chloé

My Day 9 Outfit

Well, to be honest, I'm not complaining at all about yesterday's sunny weather (though I'm very concerned about it) as I prefer to wear sneakers with bare ankles.

My second to last outfit of this winter 10x10 looks way too easy, but you cannot honestly expect miracles at the end of such a challenge.

Denim, sweater, leggings, sneakers. I'm pretty much up for anything. Going for a walk, moving more furniture into my studio or running errands around town with my favorite market bag.

Winter 2018 10×10 Challenge Look Day 9 by Conscious by Chloé

  • Sweater - Everlane - Made in China
  • Leggings (old) - American Apparel - Made in the USA (Los Angeles, CA) - Similar
  • Jacket (sample) - Similar
  • Sneakers (old) - Similar

Winter 2018 10×10 Challenge Look Day 9 by Conscious by Chloé


Do you have any radical opinions on wearing shoes without socks? Just kidding, I'd rather know whether there's snow where you live, please send pictures!

Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.

Winter 2018 10×10 Challenge - Day 8

Winter 2018 10×10 Challenge Look Day 8 by Conscious by Chloé

Happy Humpday!

As expected, I woke up very, very early in Portland this morning in full jet-lag mode. This means, an early blog post, so I suppose it's a good thing.

Winter 2018 10×10 Challenge Look Day 8 by Conscious by Chloé

My Day 8 Outfit

When I was living in Southern California, I attended the very first events of Connecting Things, an event series for creatives and doers. There, I got to meet Kohl Crecelius, the founder of Krochet Kids. I have a keen interest for businesses that give back and decided this year to sign up for a Causebox membership to discover more socially conscious companies. In the last box, I got this cute pompom beanie, which has been my favorite one ever since.

Amy & Jen, the co-founders of Odds and Sods were also members of Connecting Things and would sometimes come and work with us in our coworking studio. I'm wearing 2 of their pins on my jacket as a reminder of the power of sisterhood, wanderlust and magic!

Winter 2018 10×10 Challenge Look Day 8 by Conscious by Chloé

Style Notes

I am not 100% sure about this outfit. While I like the playfulness of the pompom hat, I can't ignore the fact that the jacket is totally hiding my waist and ends up drawing a very rectangular figure.

Winter 2018 10×10 Challenge Look Day 8 by Conscious by Chloé


What's our favorite socially conscious brand and why?

Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.