There is something truly auspicious about young people willing to take proactive steps to inspire the current, older and next generations to take better care of this planet, so willing in fact, 19-year-old Tolly Gregory has dedicated her career and life so far to the cause. Tolly is an ethical and sustainable fashion activist, inspired by her mum; a former Mulberry handbag designer. On top of this, she’s an expert at blogging, having done it for 8 years. So we thought we’d catch up with Tolly and ask a few questions regarding the current state of the planet and her thoughts on how it is being tackled globally.
@tollydollyposh on Instagram
Do you have a quote/picture/moment that changed/inspired the way you think about this planet?
My light-bulb moment happened in the aftermath of the Rana Plaza garment factory collapse when the True Cost documentary was first released. It was an incredibly eye-opening moment and I knew I could no longer continue to experience fashion (in particular, at this point) in the same way I had been. Ever since then, my knowledge of environmental issues has grown and I no longer focus just on my clothes and how they're made. The climate crisis affects everything.
What’s the most recent positive change you’ve made? Was it easy?
I've been vegetarian for over a year now; that's been a big change and one that has been easier than expected! I realised I never really enjoyed meat that much anyway, so, it's been a fairly easy transition to make and I know I can rest easy when it comes to that side of my carbon footprint.
Do you think there is a right and wrong when it comes to spreading the message on sustainability?
As much as I don't believe in pointing out hypocrisies, I think especially for those in great positions of privileges (so, celebrities or millionaires), you do have to be very clear in what you stand for. It's great to see public figures supporting causes such as Extinction Rebellion for example but when they go onto collaborate with brands which are exploiting people and the planet the next day, it really doesn't add up.
It's also super important to include all different voices in the sustainability space. It can be an extremely white-privileged space so we need to ensure we're valuing voices from other communities too, especially seeing as minorities and people of colour will be affected by the climate crisis more than anyone.
Do you find it hard to cut down on plastic?
Absolutely! It's one reason that I'm not a plastic-free advocate. I think it's something that is especially hard for us to avoid. I'm all for making easy swaps (like using a reusable bottle or coffee cup) but when it comes to other products, I don't think all of our energy should be focused on pressuring consumers to make the switch. We need system change, overall.
What would be your ideal goal for the planet in the next 2 years?
We need to reduce our consumption levels, whether that's with plastic, fashion or even in the cars we buy. We need to go back to having less and not assuming that we should have access to absolutely everything we want.
What is the best piece of advice you could give to someone who wants to be more conscious in their everyday life?
Ask questions! The more you stay curious, the further you'll get. Ask yourself where things are made or by who and whether you truly need to be purchasing something. That way, you slow down the process of buying and consuming and put up a barrier that will contribute to a more conscious mindset.
Where’s your favourite beach and why?
There's an incredibly beautiful beach in Sardinia called Spiaggia di Tuerredda; the sea is so incredibly clear and blue and the sand is lovely. I've only been there in the winter season but even that was dreamy and so peaceful.
A message in a bottle brought to you by Emily & Tolly