Saartje Langstraat - Fashionably Sustainable 101

Who am I?

Hi, my name is Saartje Langstraat, I am a 20-year-old model, entrepreneur and student from The Netherlands. I study International Media and communication. In August, I won the title of Miss Earth The Netherlands. Next to Miss Universe and Miss World, Miss Earth is one of the largest pageants in the world. This pageant, however, is a little different from the others as it focuses on women being advocates for saving the environment. As someone who is passionate about sustainable fashion, I want to spread awareness about the urgency of the need for changes in the fashion industry.

Miss Earth

I didn’t really know much in the beginning about Dutch pageants. But when the opportunity presented itself, I thought why not? O always dreamed of doing something like this and my family was extremely supportive of the idea as well. I have always been dressing quite out of the box and I loved making other women feel like they could dress however they wanted as well. Confidence is something everyone deserves to have, being able to help women find that confidence in themselves to me is the most beautiful thing I imagine I could do. In pageants, one really gets the opportunity to grow and become the most powerful version of themselves. They eventually become women who inspire other women to do the same. And that’s something I hoped to achieve when starting this journey as well.

Like most people, I went into this world with a few prejudices. We have been taught a great deal about pageantry through media that does not match reality. I found this world to be one of the most accepting and loving places. Nothing is too much, and the growth that you experience is immense.

Sustainable fashion

During my journey as Miss Earth The Netherlands, I find it crucial to voice my core attributes. As someone who creates sustainable clothing and follows University courses about the fashion industry, I want to spread awareness about the damaging effects of fast fashion and how consumers nowadays can immensely improve their buying behaviour. Healthy and conscious decisions on purchasing clothes will eventually affect this industry’s producing behaviour. The fast fashion industry is the second-largest polluter, we all must make changes towards a more sustainable closet and overall lifestyle!

An environmentally friendly closet for most people sometimes seems out of reach, that is why I started sharing tips and tricks to guide people towards sustainable fashion. Here are my 5 most useful tips:

1. Shop for timeless clothing instead of whatever is trending right now.

Think of patterns that go in and out of style quickly or models that are not wearable.

2. Buy good quality fabrics.

Always look for the information on what the clothes are made of. Fabrics like linen or cotton will last you much longer than synthetic fabrics. And are friendlier for the environment, as well as your skin.

3. Quality above quantity. Always!

Sustainable brands might not provide you with an excessive amount of clothes for a low price, however, these clothes will last you a long time. Stop buying seasonally and try to invest in statement, quality pieces.

4. Try shopping second hand/vintage.

You might have to get used to the process, however vintage shopping offers so many possibilities and one of a kind garments. You’d be amazed by the unique items you can find in some vintage shops, and the prices are just amazing - trust me!

5. You are not meant to fit clothes, clothes are meant to fit you.

Stores can not keep in mind every shape of the body, which sometimes leaves us with ill-fitting clothes. Remember, your body is not the problem! Do not keep buying clothes with the hope that one of the pieces fits. Instead, get that one piece altered so it fits your body to perfection. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful in their clothes.

When it comes to sustainable fashion, I started making reels with tips for a sustainable closet - check my Instagram account to find out more. Sustainable fashion might seem difficult to assess for people, and that is why I am here! With tips and guides, I hope to reach more and more people and spread this idea. But once you get the hang of it, you’ll see it’s not that hard to turn away from fast fashion and all that, towards sustainable, ethical and unique brands!