After watching The True Cost, Nafisa Ismail (creator of @_simplysustainable), decided to break the cycle of feeding into the fast fashion industry. She’s embracing every part of herself as a South Asian woman, feminist, environmentalist, Muslim, and daughter of immigrants to raise awareness about sustainability from an empathetic and compassionate lens.
This article is dedicated to spotlighting Nafisa and getting to know her! Take at what she had to say to some of our questions below:
Tell us a little about yourself!
I’m Nafisa Ismail a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania studying Philosophy, Politics, & Economics (PPE). I’m most passionate about social entrepreneurship, gender equity, and sustainability. I spend a lot of my free time on my blog, Simply Sustainable, through which I raise awareness about the negative impacts of fast fashion and share tips on how to live an affordable sustainable lifestyle.
Let's talk about your platform! Who is your target audience and what do you hope to accomplish with your content?
I’ve always had a passion for fashion but after watching The True Cost documentary my freshman year of high school I realized I couldn’t keep feeding into the cycle of fast fashion. I started Simply Sustainable originally as an organization at my high school where I held upcycling workshops once a month and shared tips on how to live a more sustainable lifestyle. I then expanded it into a blog to raise more awareness about the negative impacts of fast fashion and share tips on how to live an affordable sustainable lifestyle as a student.
What are some experiences that shaped who you are today?
I am the daughter of immigrants and a proud South Asian Ismaili Muslim. I grew up in the city of Chicago and attended public school. Additionally having intersecting identities as a South Asian woman, feminist, environmentalist, Muslim, etc have all shaped the way I act and approach situations with empathy and compassion.
What is your favorite part about being a sustainable fashion creator?
Connecting with like minded individuals and brands that share the same values of sustainability!
Was there ever a turning point that led you to advocate for sustainable and/or ethical fashion? What was that experience like?
Watching the documentary The True Cost my freshman year of high school was a turning point for me. I realized my passion for fashion was conflicting with my morals and I couldn’t keep feeding into the cycle of fast fashion. It was a challenge for me because I didn’t know much about sustainable fashion and it was hard as a student as most sustainable brands are really expensive. That’s when I started getting into upcycling and thrifting and realized that slow fashion doesn’t have to be expensive
Name some of your favorite ethical brands.
Everlane, KADA, Mejuri, Ana Luisa
What is a piece of advice you would give to someone who is looking to get involved in slow fashion?
The “buyerarchy of needs” is something I always reference. The best way to be sustainable or participate in slow fashion is using what you already have. After that you can consider upcycling, thrifting, swapping, etc before opting to purchase something new.
Who is another creator in the ethical fashion world we should connect with?
@zahranurbiabani on Instagram!