Wednesday, 10 July 2013

When It Comes to EcoFashion - The Beautiful Think!

There's nothing quite like meeting someone who shares your passion and enthusiasm for ecofashion - so it's been my utter delight to get to know Brooke Hahn, the Founder of ecochic online boutique The Beautiful Think! This vibrant woman's zest for living a holistic and beautiful life is the nicest possible way ;-)

Q. What drove you to create an online sustainable fashion boutique?  

I’m a huge fan of Peppermint magazine and am constantly inspired by designers doing amazing things for sustainability. I love trawling through each issue and discovering new brands, but it struck me that this process for buying could be made easier – a website where all of these labels were available in the one place, so that buying eco fashion was as convenient as buying fast fashion. I wanted to capture that inspired feeling of being a part of something meaningful; and it needed to be stylish as I’m not a hippy. (And I wanted to break down the misconception that eco fashion = daggy fashion).

Brooke is wearing the Little Blue Dress by Etrala London with Jen Straw Clutch by Kayu Design

I thought that if I wanted a website like this, then other sustainably-minded people must too, so why not go ahead and create it? You know, as you do… ;) 

There were definitely panic attacks at times and delirious giggles at others (early on when designers started saying yes and it all became very real), but it has been the most amazing amazing experience where I’ve been able to meet and connect with so many like-minded and inspiring people. I love that I get to live and breathe The Beautiful Think every day! It rocks my world (and my socks).

Q. How would you describe the design aesthetic of The Beautiful Think in 10 words or less?

Style, meaning, depth, connection.

They are the four words that have been with me since TBT began. I took those words to my lovely graphic designer in the beginning and I’ve been repeating them ever since! The design aesthetic always needs to embody these elements.

Tombo Jacket by NearFar

Q. If you could change one thing about the fashion industry, what would it be and why?

The mass consumption of fast fashion.

Large, fast fashion retailers churn out cheap, poor quality garments so that we buy them without really thinking about the impact – the human and environmental cost to create them. We wear the garment once or twice before it washes funny or it’s no longer fashionable (or shiny and new), so it gets thrown to the back of the wardrobe and eventually ends up in landfill. Then we go and buy the next trend item and do the same. It’s a cycle that is reinforced by our consuming behaviour, where we don’t think about our impact (nor are we encouraged to. Thinking could decrease sales!).

Charlotte Dress by MuMum Organic

Yet if we make a choice to consume mindfully, with awareness of the environment and garment industry workers, we can slowly break this cycle. Then real change can happen, once we shift from the throwaway fashion and the it-doesn’t-matter-if-I-only- wear-it-once-because-it-was-cheap mindset.

Q. Which ethical designers are inspiring you right now?

I feel incredibly inspired by my labels in different ways. Bhalo, One Colour, Kampala Fair, Sseko, IOU Project, Vyosna and NearFar give me a heart squeeze when I think about the beautiful artisan communities they provide employment for (people that might otherwise be lost in the poverty cycle); Starfish for their beyond stunning collection; MuMu organic for meeting almost all sustainable and socially responsibility criteria; Colin Leslie Eyewear for his reach into mainstream media (the Brit Awards woo!) and raising the profile of ethical fashion. Honestly, I could list them all!

Q. What makes The Beautiful Think a great choice for eco-conscious fashionistas?

The Beautiful Think is a stylish website – many people with eco/ethical values aren’t hippies and love beautiful clothing like everyone else. I really wanted to embody that in the feel of the site and I think people really love that about it. And on the flipside, TBT isn’t an empty, just-another-shopping website – it has a feeling and depth all of its own that makes a real connection with people.

Back Drape Plunge Monokini by Curlee Bikini

We also have a weekly mindful living and wellbeing blog/newsletter that covers a range of topics in the mindful living area that are meaningful for our audience: sustainability, alternative health, self-love, empowerment, Taoism. The most popular piece I wrote (which also happened to be my favourite, we’re on the same page!) was ‘Stop worrying and start living The Way’, which covered Winnie the Pooh’s philosophy on life: simply being.

I think for many people there is this growing awareness and discomfort in our current system of living; where something seems a beat off-kilter. TBT really explores and challenges how we live currently and allows readers the opportunity for greater connection with themselves, others and the environment.

Q. Do you have a favourite item in store right now?

I have too many! I LOVE Veryan’s organic cotton shirts, MT Labels’ bags and clutches, Etrala’s new 70s inspired collection, Vyosna’s new collection… I could go on and on...

Q. What’s your advice for young people interested in making a career out of ethical fashion and design?

The fashion industry is often regarded (quite accurately so) as being vacuous and hollow. Building a career in ethical fashion and design takes a hollow industry and injects meaning and value. Doing something creative that you love that is also pioneering in sustainable fashion – that is making a difference, that is inspiring. Plus I’d love to read about you one day in Peppermint magazine and feel the buzz, or sell your collections through TBT!

Q. What does the future hold for The Beautiful Think?

Excitement, inspiration, happiness, challenge, connection... :)
But along with these lovely things, the future will be to continue growing and inspiring others in sustainability, eco fashion and mindful living in general. To build people’s sustainable wardrobes instead of fast fashion ones; to share more beautiful eco labels; to change the way we consume and connect with fashion. And of course, TBT will continue exploring and sharing mindful living and wellbeing topics, to get people to think about their impact and ways to live a meaningful, happy and connected life. 

You can connect with Brooke + The Beautiful Think via her Facebook, Twitter and Blog!


  1. Oh this post is exactly what I needed right now:) I too am so over fast fashion and am working on going back to basics. It is true that we only wear 10% of our wardrobe and I am sick of having things I haven't worn for a year or so. I have been doing a massive cleanout of my wardrobe lately.

    Thanks for letting me know about the abundance of EcoFashion that's out there, I love it. X

    1. Thanks so much for your awesome + positive feedback Ingrid :D :D :D

      It's amazing how much of our clothing just sits there in our closet - I'm looking forward to my next wardrobe detox! Looking at either a swap event or donating to charity. I can't get over how many inspiring eco/ethical designers, brands + boutiques there are out me such a happy ;)

      KB xo