Monica - We’re all just trying, give it a try, just jump onboard

Monica makes it possible for more of us to consume consciously by making sustainable and ethically sourced clothing more accessible in Shanghai through her brand, Zurita. Read on to find out more about her story and thoughts on fashion, consumption and sustainability.

Where are you from? Spain

What brought you to Shanghai? 

It's a long story, but basically, I wanted to be a lawyer. When I finished the degree I realised it’s not what I wanted to do. We wanted to move so we were considering France and China. We chose China because it’s the future, if you understand China you’ll understand the world.

What does sustainability mean to you?

In terms of fashion, it means putting something in the hands of consumers with minimal impact on the environment and other human beings as possible.

What are you passionate about?

Fashion, building startups, my kids, food.

How do you do to consume consciously?

I recycle, I’m always wearing other people’s clothes. I try to minimise energy consumption in the home and use public transportation as much as possible. I’m particularly conscious about fashion. I try to convince my family and friends not to consume so much, but it’s especially hard with kids, people always want to give clothes and toys. Sometimes people say ‘it’s so cheap, it costs nothing’. It might not cost a lot of money, but it does cost something. It contributes to things like air pollution. We need time together and experiences not things.

When did you become aware of the need for conscious consumption in fashion?

I love fashion but I hate the fashion industry. In Spain, I was a group leader for young girls and then I had my little girl and I didn’t want them growing up with the fashion industry’s idea of beauty.  Status quo in the fashion and beauty industry seems unchangeable, but let’s see if we could do it differently.

How would more people shopping consciously change the world?

During my MBA, a professor made me realise that social industries aren’t necessarily going to change the world. Making changes in your life might not change the world, but it might change people around you and that might change the world. It’s about small changes.

What’s the easiest part of making conscious fashion choices?

Right now I don’t think there are style and practical sacrifices that you would have to make. There are plenty of options out there. Especially online and price wise there isn’t much of a difference either.

What’s the hardest part of making conscious fashion choices? 

You have to be a bit more committed to your clothes. You have to make a bigger effort to find recycle your clothes.

What are your top 3 practical changes?

1.       Wash your clothes less, wash them when they’re dirty

2.       Get less packaging, it applies to everything

3.       Try clothes swaps and second-hand groups.

Once you're convinced that this is what you want to do, you start seeing solutions.

What are the biggest challenges we face today in changing people’s consumption?

The ideas are embedded in people’s mindsets. The idea that things should last 2 years and that’s normal. The industry doesn’t want pieces to last. It’s not normal for things to break after two seasons. Very expensive products don’t even last that long anymore. Your first reaction is that something lasted long enough, but if you think about it, it’s only lasted two seasons. Clothes are supposed to last you a lifetime.

If the whole world was listening, what would you say?

We’re all just trying, give it a try, just jump onboard.

What do you do?

I do a bit of everything, but I mostly design, from what consumers want.