Bridget Nielsen is an artist, blogger, and eco-pioneer dedicated to helping people re-connect with the earth and with themselves.
I was surprised to learn that, like many of us (myself included), Bridget spent years as a fashion-obsessed clothing hoarder, with a closet covering the spectrum from Forever 21 to Fendi. She only started to think about her wardrobe when she shifted her career path towards travelling and teaching about sustainability.
"For me, once I discover one eco-solution or holistic way of doing something, it always leads to the next thing to unravel in my life… it’s like an unending rabbit hole of change. One of the segments that’s rarely talked about, in terms of sustainability and health, is clothing!"
Soon, Bridget donated a massive amount of her clothes and pledged to live a more minimalist lifestyle, buying only from sustainable brands.
"One of the big things I realized lugging my closet around is that most of what I had in my closet I never used– I needed about 1/5th of the clothes (and shoes) I had, especially for my new on-the-go natural lifestyle. In rebuilding my wardrobe, I would need enough for about a 10 days rotation."
Now, Bridget is working to gently guide more women towards sustainable fashion choices.
"This is a sort of activism for me. Women will be women and continue to buy clothes ~forever~, so why not buy them from companies that are facilitating a greener world. One of my favorite eco-clothing companies, US made with organic natural materials, went under last year. This is a realtime effort that these companies are making, so let’s support them!"
Price can be a tough subject, especially when we're living in a world where cheap almost always wins. Bridget sees a way out, if we practice patience and care.
"The price of sustainable clothing, or anything organic for that matter, seems to be a barrier to conversion. When I lived in France, I learned a tip from the top fashionistas on Earth. Their trick was taking in the sensuous experience of relishing a few treasured items of clothing, of the highest quality, per year. They used their bodies like a canvas, wearing simple tops and bottoms, and adorned themselves with amazing scarves, bags, hats, or stand out pants! So, Instead of making the mall a weekly buying spree activity, turn it into a savory dessert. Buy a few items every year that you adore, and feel satisfied knowing that they will last 10x longer than Forever 21 garb."
Through her personal transformation, Bridget has found a way to embrace her feminine identity while honoring the very real need to cut back on consumption, and turn away from the waste and human rights abuses that come with the conventional fashion industry.
"All in all, I have loved going into one of the touchiest subjects for women over the past 2 years. I have ripped up my identity around the subject of beauty and image, and am now just putting it back together. I adorn myself for the loveliness of the act… for the experience. I have let go of having to look a certain way for cultural reasons or to get a guy.
"Dress is an expression of artistry and a celebration of our planet’s gifts, that we get to use as a sacred palette. I appreciate Ash & Rose for their dedication to beauty in a way that cherishes nature, people and women’s wardrobes!"