Sustainable Living

Sustainable Women’s Wear: Elk and Ina

This month we are featuring a fashion series focused on five fast fashion facts and five questions with a sustainable, slow fashion brand.

Why we should care about fast fashion and sustainable fashion

Merriam Webster defines fast fashion as: “an approach to the design, creation, and marketing of clothing fashions that emphasizes making fashion trends quickly and cheaply available to consumers.”

In our consumer driven society, that doesn’t sound all bad since we love having things quickly and cheaply at our fingertips. But the impacts of fast fashion on people and the environment are huge. This month we will be sharing some facts about fast fashion to emphasize why we need to be paying attention to the industry.

We understand that sustainable fashion brands are not accessible to everyone, so please know there is no condemnation from us if you shop in fast fashion. We want to share information, highlight some of our favourite brands we love to follow, and provide alternatives with hopes to minimize the negative impacts of fast fashion.

Five Fashion Facts

So why should we be paying attention? Here are some facts you may not know.

  1. Approximately 1/4 of microplastics in the ocean come from synthetic textiles. Microplastics are recognized as a major source of ocean pollution and are causing major damage to marine life.
  2. Polyester is the most common synthetic material used and it is linked to the contribution of microplastics to the ocean. Polyester is also dependent on petroleum and fossil fuels for production.
  3. Greenhouse gas emissions from textile production is more than the total emissions of all international flights and maritime shipping combined.
  4. More than half of fast fashion items produced are disposed of in under one year, which equals approximately $460-billion USD annually.
  5. The fashion industry depends on 98 million tons of non-renewable resources per year.

Five Questions and Answers with a Sustainable Fashion Brand

We reached out to some of our favourite sustainable, slow fashion labels to find out more about what they do and why they do it. This sustainable fashion series is a passion project for us, motivated by our love of supporting small businesses, which means we were not compensated by these brands to feature them. We hope you love these brands as much as we do!

Introducing Elk & Ina

Elk and Ina is a brand all about creative clothing for creative women. This is a true slow fashion brand with Kristina making each piece by hand and even hand painting some of the fabric. I love that each item is like a unique piece of art.

What is amazing about investing in a slow fashion clothing item with a brand like Elk and Ina is that the person making your clothes cares about you and your experience with the item.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve bought clothes from stores that were sized and shaped for a body so different from mine. With an item that is hand made specifically for me or you, the clothing would actually fit! Kristina goes that extra mile to make sure her customers are going to love their new clothes for years to come. That’s a beautiful difference between slow and fast fashion–these are pieces that a person can cherish for years.

We hope you enjoy getting to know Elk and Ina as much as we did through the answers to our sustainable fashion questions.

Why did you choose to start a sustainable, slow fashion brand?

I had been making clothing for myself for many years and I’ve always loved sewing. I’ve also been into wellness and have had concern for the environment since I was in high school and began learning about the negative effects humans have on our planet , so to align with my values, I wanted to create clothing that was both well made and responsible. 

 In what ways does your brand fall under the sustainable, slow fashion label?

Each piece of clothing is designed, cut, sewn, folded, wrapped and posted by me in my home sewing studio. I use natural fabrics such as organic cotton and linen in most of my  pieces, as well as some beautiful Japanese cotton or sometimes some deadstock cotton for trims and occasionally I’ll find some lovely fabric pieces at the thrift shop. I also hand paint some of my pieces, which is another whole level of slow! I use eco friendly fabric paints to adorn my pieces in a unique and colourful way.

What are some obstacles you’ve faced in starting a sustainable, slow fashion brand?

I often find it hard to source fabric that is sustainable and also affordable. Being a very small home based label I don’t have a heap of money behind me to buy huge rolls of fabric. Also sourcing supplies such as thread and elastics that are sustainable and is difficult in Australia.

In what ways do you find customers receptive towards the idea of sustainable, slow fashion? In what ways do you find customers hesitant?

I think people are really beginning to open up to the idea that we need to purchase less and choose our clothing more consciously.  There is a lot more information out there now with social media and more brands are educating their followers. I think a lot of people really do want to make positive change, but often the price point is a lot higher for better quality clothes and I wonder if that is one of the big factors that hold people back. It’s a real fact that many people don’t have enough money to purchase a $200 dress and while op-shopping is also an option, it can be difficult to find what you are looking for, so it’s an easy option to fall back into the fast fashion loop. I’m not sure of the answer to this problem, but  small steps made by many people does create a positive difference, so choosing natural fibres, buying less and supporting small businesses rather than big corporations can be a fantastic step forward in the right direction!

What are your hopes for sustainable fashion?

I would love to see sustainable fashion become the norm, rather than the minority. If the big fast fashion chains were to stop producing disposable clothing at such an alarming rate, having new looks in store every other week, people wouldn’t be purchasing with a “throw-away” mentality. I would really love to see people buying clothing that they adore and can love for years to come.

Where to find Elk & Ina online

Instagram: @elkandina


  • glowsteady

    They sound like a great brand!! I totally agree that more people are opening their eyes and becoming aware of the damaging impact of fast fashion. I’ll have to check them out next time I need something x


  • Jaya Avendel

    I love clothing that comes from the heart; knowing that something I buy was made by human hands and made with care, rather then mass-produced, means a lot to me. I think also buying from sustainable businesses is a great way to stand out of a crowd of people all dressed alike. 🙂

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      I love those two sentiments: clothing that comes from the heart and ones that help you stand out from the crowd. 🙂

  • Molly @ Transatlantic Notes

    I will admit that I am new to looking into fast fashion and finding ways to be more sustainable in my choices/purchases. Since I became aware, when an item of clothing has to be replaced, I will buy sustainably so that eventually everything I have is no longer part of the fast fashion problem. This was a really useful post — thanks for sharing!

    • A Sustainably Simple Life

      I’m still learning a lot about fast fashion as well. I will say that wearing an item until it needs to be replaced is a huge help to the environment in itself. Buying less and using our clothes longer creates so much less waste, so you’re already doing great things! 🙂

  • Lisa's Notebook

    I read something recently about sustainable fashion costing exactly what it should cost as opposed to being perceived as expensive. I think more people are coming round to sustainable fashion, so thank you for sharing such a lovely, caring brand 🙂

What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments!