Much has been said about sustainability, but very little done. On the individual level, perhaps a more practical way to approach sustainability is to move to zero waste, meaning to try and reduce the creation of waste as we go about daily life. Modern habits like a reliance on food delivery, our dependence on single-use plastics and indeed, shopping, all contribute to waste creation.
Someone who has been on a journey to zero is Clara Hong, a sneakerhead and style influencer. This hasn’t always been an easy road, but she tells us how she intends to stay the course.
“About a year and a half ago, I saw some shocking statistics about how threatening these climate change issues and emergencies are to our existence,” Clara recalls, “that’s when I started really getting into Youtube videos on minimalism.”
She got good advice from these videos and started integrating new lifestyle changes into her life to see what she could keep up with in the long run. To start, she tried going on a plant-based diet. Over time, she started buying non-bottled shampoos, using menstrual cups and taking reusable straws and containers around with her.
Going minimal with fashion and sneakers was the greater challenge. Being limited to buying only from eco-conscious brands is a struggle for someone like Clara who’s used to and enjoys the variety of fashion. To her credit, she has been finding ways to work around these limitations.
“The key would be to have classic pieces that can match any outfit, “ she recommends, “I would not go for trends, but rather more timeless pieces.”
As a result, Clara’s wardrobe is filled with carefully curated clothing and second-hand pieces that come in neutral tones. This palette makes it easier to mix and match pieces and form new permutations of outfits, ensuring there’s always something new for the gram without having to buy new pieces.
Clara is heartened to see that the larger brands such as Nike have begun incorporating circular production methods, turning waste materials and trash into a resource for manufacturing. These steps are taken to “close the loop” and prolong the life cycle of the existing resources by reusing material where possible and generating a new era of green consumers. In Nike’s case, the initiative is termed Move to Zero.
The Nike Air Vapormax 2020 Flyknit is the latest sneaker to have been born from the brand’s Move to Zero approach to crafting its products. It follows closely in the footsteps of the Space Hippie, which was released in July this year, and sold out quickly. The Vapormax 2020 is made out of at least 50% recycled material by weight and is Nike’s most sustainably made shoe to date.
“I love the Vapormax 2020. I like what it stands for—that “made with trash” description is so fitting—and for once, not in a bad way! It’s light and comfortable too, I can see myself wearing these a lot,” says Clara.
Looking ahead, Clara hopes that more brands will apply their conscious production methods more universally as a long term commitment.
For sneakerheads who find it difficult to resist buying every new drop, here are some tips from Clara:
Clara acknowledges that these lifestyle changes take time. “It’s said that it takes 21 days to form a new habit, so a move to zero waste doesn’t happen overnight,” she says.
In the end, sustainability is a journey, not a destination. It’s about developing conscious consumption—buying what you really need—and reducing your impact during your time here on Earth. This is a message Clara hopes to convey through her platform.
“I definitely wish to be more mindful about the products I feature on social media. I don’t want to encourage people to be mindless consumers, but rather consume products that they genuinely love and would use for a long time.”