The clothes we wear are an extension of who we are, and the pieces we invest in are a window into our story. With this spirit in mind, we visited Stephanie at her shophouse apartment to meet the woman who has recently transitioned from a fast fashion fanatic to the founder of Singapore’s leading conscious community.
Stephanie Dickson is the founder of The Wedge, a leading platform connecting conscious people from around the world together. She started this social enterprise as a way to form a community that would impact change. Out of that venture, she then created Green Is The New Black – Asia’s first conscious festival, inspiring others to buy better. Both platforms are rooted in the motivation to empower others to take action – an element she felt was missing in the current industry.
Her home is a reflection of who she is: where conscious living meets mindfulness. With a collection of handmade frames gathered over a white wall, each one is filled with images of memories that she holds dear to her heart – of her family, her time in Ubud, and when she went wind surfing with her boyfriend. Every photo is paired with a quote she loves, and together they serve as reminders that anchor her in her everyday.
Tell us more about your journey from shopping fast fashion to now advocating for the conscious and slow – how do the dots connect?
My journey in my approach towards shopping and fashion can be divided into two distinct chapters of my life; drawing a line at the moment where I intentionally decided to distance myself from fast fashion. Before this change, I lived for the thrills of online shopping. Admittedly, the process of looking for items, purchasing them, waiting for it to arrive, and unwrapping them had its own invigorating high. There was something so exciting about the exclusivity of receiving boxes filled with the newest and trendiest clothes.
But when I quit my job, my income reduced and I couldn’t afford to buy as often as I used to. At that point, I also came to realize that the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry in the world. The weight of that reality sort of put everything in context and I realized that my purchase decisions were contributing to that plight.
I actually don’t miss the aspects of fast fashion that I once loved. There’s so much more value and sentiment behind the process of saving up for clothes that I feel proud wearing. Instead of buying more when I feel that I need to update my closet, I’ve been swapping clothes with my friends – what’s old to someone else is new and treasured to me, and the same can be said for them. By removing the overload of clutter and working towards a greener and more sustainable lifestyle, I’ve become happier and healthier.
THERE’S A LARGE MISCONCEPTION THAT ETHICAL FASHION IS RESERVED FOR HIPPIES ONLY, BUT IT’S UNTRUE – YOU CAN BE CONSCIOUS AND FABULOUS.
What are some of the items currently in your closet?
When I curate my closet now, I look for simple and unique pieces. Currently I have playsuits, high waisted pieces, tops, and my most complex print is MATTER’s All Day Jumpsuit. For my birthday, my friends pooled together to gift me a dress from Reformation and a pair of pants from MATTER. There’s a large misconception that ethical fashion is reserved for hippies only, and it is not elegant. But it’s untrue and brands are proving that notion otherwise by breaking the ceiling wide open. You can be conscious and fabulous.
MY CLOSET USED TO BE CROWDED WITH FAST FASHION PIECES, BUT NOW HALF OF MY CLOTHES ARE CURATED FROM ETHICAL BRANDS.
What statement do you want to make with the clothes you wear?
My closet used to be crowded with fast fashion pieces, but now half of my clothes are curated from ethical brands. It’s a milestone for sure, but I also hope to grow that portion so that there’s more ethical pieces to fast fashion pieces.
In my efforts at The Wedge and Green Is The New Black, there’s so much value and significance placed in conscious living and I want to practice what I preach. Conscious living isn’t something I want only to be celebrated in these platforms, it’s a dedication I strive to commit to across all aspects of my life.
If your house is on fire, what are the five pieces you would save – even if it meant running back into a burning house?
Without hesitation – my MATTER All Day Jumpsuit, the new Reformation Dress I received as a birthday present from my friends, my grandmother’s vintage dress that’s been passed on from her to my mom to me and hopefully to my own, and a top I bought when I was fourteen. The last piece would probably be something that holds great sentiment, maybe an old t-shirt that tells the story of a certain time in my childhood or something that reminds me of my past, I don’t know what it’ll be specifically but I’m sure I’ll make a decision should my house ever catch on fire.
Why did you keep the piece you bought when you were fourteen? What is its significance?
First of all, it was expensive. Well, for a fourteen year old anyways. It was also my very first investment piece, I had to save up over a couple of months before I was able to buy it. Most of all, I keep it because it fits. Even after all these years, I’m still able to wear the piece and I still do.
EVERY TIME YOU SPEND MONEY, YOU’RE CASTING A VOTE FOR THE KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT – ANNA LAPPÉ
How do you think the choices you make with your clothes affect your immediate surroundings?
The butterfly effect has to start somewhere. Conscious living is something that has to manifest in everything that you do, the change happens from within and you can affect others with the choices you make.
What is the most important message you want to share about conscious consumerism?
Believe that you have the power and don’t discount the impact an individual can make. One of the most memorable quotes that has stayed with me is by Anna Lappé who once said “Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want.”
What are some tips you have for someone who wants to make the shift into conscious consumerism?
There are 3 main things:
1. Decide what you care about. Is it brands that are ethical, or brands that source environmentally friendly materials?
2. Reduce, reuse, recycle
This process will cause a ripple effect. You really can make a difference in the decisions you make.
We began with the intention to inspire consciousness in our everyday, to cultivate a culture that encourages others to uncover where and why something is made. The Connected Clothing series spotlights on different individuals in the fashion industry – why they wear what they wear and the significance behind their choices.