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5 Minute Talks: mixing prints and shopping sustainably with Izzy Manuel

Chemistry student and fashion blogger Izzy Manuel is a must-follow if your Instagram feed is in need of a generous pop of color. Recently, we chatted about her style inspirations, sustainable shopping tips, and how to (successfully) wear head-to-toe Depop.

Growing up, who was your first source of style inspiration and why?

That's a hard one, my style has changed so much over the years, but I would say my style is inspired by Audrey Hepburn and Megan Ellaby. Audrey's sense of style is just so classic and just so timeless. She makes every outfit look flawless! I've followed Megan for the longest of times, her style is just so funky and colourful and she plays around with a mixture of prints, colours and shapes and I totally look up to that!

I know sustainability plays a big role in the way you shop. When did you first become aware of the negative impact of fast fashion, and what were the key steps you took towards building a more ethical wardrobe?

I first became aware of fast fashion when I heard about the Rana Plaza factory collapse in 2013. It made me realise that the reason the clothes on our Highstreet are so cheap is because people were being forced to work in inhuman conditions just to fuel 'our' love for clothes and fashion. I also soon after learnt how bad fast fashion is for the environment and I am so conscious about our planet that it was pretty upsetting to think that fashion, something I love, is destroying the planet.
The key steps that I take is if I want to buy highstreet brands, I buy them second hand - this is so much better for the environment and reducing unnecessary waste. If I want to buy an item that is brand new, I ALWAYS research into the brand, see how their items are made, if the workforce are being paid the living wage and if their working conditions are good. I also look into the materials they use and the number of garments they make. Smaller batches or made to order is better for the environment as it minimises waste!

I've seen you wear incredible head-to-toe Depop and eBay outfits. Tell us your second-hand shopping secrets!

Shopping second hand is all about patience! You might never get exactly what you're looking for, so I would say search for a style of clothing rather than looking for a very specific item. Don't be afraid to bargain with sellers either! The other beauty of second-hand fashion in addition to sustainability is how it can be cheaper than fast fashion!

You love mixing colors and prints. Do you have any style tips for someone who wants to wear a little more color, but doesn't know how to get out of the neutral comfort zone?

If you're a little scared of colour and print I would say just add one colourful item or print to your outfit at a time. For example, if you usually wear a pair of jeans and white top, maybe change it up to a colour block top or a patterned blouse. I think it's all about building it up and slowly moving out of your comfort zone!

And finally, the tough question I ask everyone: what's your favorite item from your closet at the moment?

Ahhhh this is such a hard question! I would say my vintage Chanel bag. It's one of these items that you can wear with EVERYTHING! I love how I can wear it with the funkiest most colourful outfit and it still works!

This interview was first published in the Non Manon biweekly newsletter. You can find Izzy on Instagram and visit her website here!

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