An Interview With Ally From Isla Recycled Fashion

Isla Recycled Fashion is an Instagram page which posts unique, pre-loved and vintage items for sale. Ally believes that sustainable fashion is the way to the future and every pre-loved item tells a story. 

Ally wears the Undisputed Denim and Sherpa Jacket from Isla Recycled Fashion. Image Courtesy of Ally, Instagram (2019) 

In the midst of a climate crisis, less than 1% of all clothing produced globally is recycled. The average consumer bought 60% more clothing in 2014 than they did in 2000, while keeping each garment for half as long. 

The fast fashion industry is responsible for emitting 1.2 billion tonnes of CO2 each year. By producing 20% of global wastewater, it’s negative impact upon our climate is intensified. A conversation with Ally reveals that there are many ways to source items which minimise your environmental impact. 

Turning Fashion into a Force for Good

What made you care about sustainable fashion?

In creating Isla Recycled Fashion Fashion, I had an urge to create and own something that I was passionate about. I wanted to share the clothes I previously loved from my wardrobe and go on a hunt to find unique items from Vinnies. I really love Instagram and photography, so the thought of styling vintage and pre-loved items for other people to buy made me care about it.

I own the biggest and craziest wardrobe, I have way too many clothes. While cleaning it out, I found it hard to part with all these clothes. I wanted to do more than just put them in storage. Isla Recycled means I can give them a new life, model and style them beautifully. It is a big issue for the planet to just throw away clothes and buy brand new items all the time, so recycling my clothes is doing my bit for the planet.

Finding Loved and Used Items

Owning a fully sustainable wardrobe is a challenge. Can you tell us about the best places to find second-hand and pre-loved items? 

I have always had the best luck in Newtown, the Vinnies there is really cheap. The U-Turn shops do the searching for you, so you can go in and grab something super cute and vintage. All Vinnies usually have great items and sometimes they have a designer section, which ticks the boxes for people who are wanting to find a great bargain. Other shops I love visiting are the Red Cross and Salvation Army. 

Ally modelling a pair of Red Velvet Heeled Boots. Image Courtesy of Isla Recycled Fashion, Instagram (2019)

Do you have any advice for entrepreneurs who want to run a socially responsible business from Instagram? 

It is really about trial and error and figuring out what works best for you. When I first started doing this I had my items available for set prices, and I wasn’t getting many sales. I then started to post items with the choice of bidding or a set price, and more and more items were getting bids on them and now they are being sold. I had to figure out which method was best for the followers and audience I have and that was all about time and trialling different ideas.

Just do what you want and create anything that you want. Get started and don’t stop, keep pushing and doing it because it makes you happy. Isla Recycled and Isla Lifestyle make me so happy. I put so much thought into them both which has lead me to the following that I have and the small business I’ve created.

Sharing the Love

You take the time to select unique items to sell; photograph them and put them up for bidding on Instagram. What has been your favourite item to sell so far? 

I love every item I have for sale on my page and love all the ones I have sold. I was so excited to find vintage Levi’s and the pretty ’Ses’ dress. My most favourite was the red lace Alannah Hill cami, which looks stunning over a black turtleneck for winter or with a high-waist denim skirt in summer. It now has a new home, from the Vinnies rack to being worn again!

Ally’s favourite item to sell was the Alannah Hill Vintage Lace Cami. Image Courtesy of Isla Recycled Fashion, Instagram (2019)

You have created a platform to share the love you have for fashion. Are there any other sustainable fashion accounts which you recommend following? 

My inspiration for Isla Recycled Fashion was @quixoticvintageshop, @masha_jlynn and @handpippedvintage. These are all beautiful accounts and their owners put so much time and love into the sourcing of these vintage goodies.

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