At the turn of a New Year, it’s second nature for us to think about resolutions for the 365 days ahead. It might be to hit your fitness goals, to make a career switch or to start (or stay consistent with!) a new hobby.
This year, with the backdrop of climate change and a growing collective consciousness of how our actions affect the world, team ZERRIN have been exploring the idea of building better habits to create a healthier relationship with consumption.
To help you turn inspiration into action, we asked our global community to share their personal or career-focused sustainable resolutions for 2023, from choosing secondhand first, to prioritising mental health, to being more eco-conscious when in the kitchen. We hope these encourage you to live more meaningfully in 2023!
Ming Bridges, CEO & Founder of Rentadella
My resolution is to own less. I’m already someone who tries to buy secondhand most of the time, but I’ve realised I also chase the thrill of having more and more and more. This year is about focusing on less and getting rid of a lot of things I don’t use. I think the less clutter I have, the more focused I can be in my everyday life!
Ruby Veridiano, Sustainable Fashion Storyteller & Communications Consultant
In 2023, my wish is that we normalise rewear in fashion! While social media constantly pressures us to wear something new for the ‘gram (and in turn, influences our consumption habits) I’d really love it if we can all get on board with the rewear flex: being able to showcase our own sense of creativity to continue using the same garments again and again, and refreshing the look with different styling techniques. Rewearing our clothes not only helps us slow fashion down by consuming less, but it also challenges us to cultivate our own personal style & creative expression: the ultimate form of sophistication.
Roxane Uzureau, Head of Sustainable Textile Partnerships at Upcycle4Better Australia
I moved to Sydney in September 2022, and in that process, I listed on Carousel, sold, donated and rehomed about 120 items, determined to throw away as little as possible. I’m now in Sydney and some things have arrived that don’t fit my new environment, so I’m back to repeating this. I also sourced a number of things secondhand: a TV, cushions, and small appliances. This year, I plan to take the time to make what I need as opposed to buying ready-made, to upcycle textiles into a new life and will finally dare ask to borrow more often and offer to lend. I believe in reuse, rental and repurposing and the more I do it, the more fulfilled I feel.
Sonalie Figueras, Founder & Editor-in-Chief of Green Queen & Co-Founder & CEO, Source Green
My sustainable resolution is to cook more climate-consciously. In my home, that goes beyond plant-forward, homemade, or even organic, because I already do that. I want to think actively about the ingredients that I am using from a climate perspective. Are they climate crisis-friendly crops? How much water do they need? Are they emission-intensive? Can I diversify my plate to include lesser-known but more climate-friendly ingredients? Replace certain ingredients with more local or regional alternatives? Can I be more seasonal? Could I incorporate indigenous cooking methods into my meal preparation? Can I think about my kitchen pantry more holistically, in terms of reusing ingredients and recycling preparations? I’m especially concerned about minimising waste. I’ve been composting for many years now, but I really want to work on reducing what goes in the compost and decreasing store-bought ingredients.
Lately, I’ve also been thinking about how to use sustainable fashion concepts with regards to how to have a greener wardrobe and apply them to my kitchen life: reuse, rent, wash less, buy less, invest in good pieces, support upcycled and toxin-free materials, support independent designers, avoid cultural appropriation. All these actions have cookery analogues that I want to map out.
Lumin Hew, Founder of Gen Z Collective Fashion Parade
This year I want to push boundaries and gain more confidence in my fashion style. 2022 was my most ‘sustainable’ year for consuming fashion apparel. In 2023, I will continue to consume based on my beliefs and values but have even more fun being creative and drawing inspiration from people around me. Another big focus will be to try more conscious and ethical makeup and skincare products, not just for the environmental aspects but also to nourish myself in a more natural way.
Sera Murphy, Founder & Personal Stylist at The Reoutfitter
My personal sustainable resolution for 2023 is to focus more on my mental health by taking appropriate time away from work. People don’t typically think of work/life balance as a sustainability issue, but to me, being able to physically and mentally “sustain” my health will allow me to be a more happy, well-rested sustainable fashion advocate.
Anisa Johnny, Senior Lecturer in Fashion Marketing & Management at Raffles College of Higher Education
For 2023 I have 3 sustainable resolutions. The first is to keep asking myself and sustainable fashion organisations the tough questions which may be uncomfortable to answer.
My second resolution is to continue supporting the next generation of sustainable champions, which includes working with students. 2022 was a year we saw a lot of greenwashing, and all sorts of brands jumping on the ‘sustainable’ bandwagon. A friend who is also a sustainable fashion champion and supply chain expert made a point during a talk I organised, which has changed my viewpoint dramatically. It was that brands always greenwash at the start. But the good news is that means they have recognised the need to change. So if we keep asking questions about a brands’ sustainable claims, they might eventually address the issue on a deeper level. I also hold myself accountable for this, to keep asking myself if I am doing enough to reduce my impact on the planet.
The third is to focus on highlighting the need to put people at the heart of sustainable solutions. The fashion supply chain has been on a spiral of deflation for too long and the poorest (usually women living in the global south) are being disproportionately impacted.
Leonard Cheong, Founder & Designer of Finix Wear
For me, 2023 is all about being more conscious of my fashion choices. I want to prioritise quality over quantity and shopping secondhand or from small, local businesses as much as possible. As a fashion designer, my goal is to make pieces that are not only stylish and versatile but also sustainable and built to last for my customers.
Chris Edwards, Founder & CEO of Honeycombers & Launchpad
My sustainability resolutions are for our family to eat less meat, reduce our personal waste and reduce new clothing purchases. Did you know you only need 4-6 new clothing items a year? I’m also personally committed to using my company’s platforms to bring about awareness and change into the communities in which we operate. For example, we just recently launched a new weekly business podcast (hosted by me) called Good Business, where we interview entrepreneurs in Asia who have people, planet and profit at the forefront of their business goals. It’s designed to highlight the amazing sustainable business leaders we have in Asia, understand how they have approached their business and overcome the challenges of entrepreneurship, and inspire others to build sustainability and ethics into their business fundamentals.
Charlotte Mei, Nutritionist & Environmental Advocate
The three things I’d like to focus on this year are getting back to composting my food waste daily, doing an urban clean up (either beach, park or waterway) at least once a month, and to continue to focus on having less but better.
Su Pei Ho, Founder of Su by Hand
My sustainable resolution for 2023 is to deepen and spread the awareness that sustainability = holistic thinking! Sustainability is all about balancing trade-offs and that’s something that reductionist thinking and marketing taglines often overlook. Are cotton tote bags better than plastic bags for the environment? Are plastics always bad? Is recycled polyester always good? It’s not so much the medium itself, but how we produce, use or discard that determines our impact.
At Su by Hand, we believe that small is beautiful, so we work creatively around the constraints (and advantages!) that we have as a micro brand. We get around the high MOQs (sometimes 1000 metres!) required of some certified fabrics, by sourcing deadstock certified, premium qualities left over by bigger brands. Instead of making the industry work for us, we work around the constraints of the industry. Sustainability is all about creative, holistic thinking. Rethink should be way up there, before reduce, reuse or recycle!
Sheryl Bolden, Author & Sustainable Fashion Advocate
When thinking about resolutions, my natural reaction was to answer in a sartorial sense, but as someone that only adds to my wardrobe in a responsible fashion, I couldn’t honestly say 2023 would bring any changes. This forced me to examine other aspects of my life and food jumped out as an area where I’m perhaps more wasteful. In a time where food costs have risen at record levels, more and more people are using food banks and the world’s resources are under pressure to feed an ever-growing population, throwing food ‘away’ is simply unacceptable.
This year, I’m going to reduce the amount of meat I eat and plan family meals better to prevent over-shopping—often spontaneous supermarket trips have left me with ingredients that are wasted. I’ll be better at freezing leftovers, including brown bananas to use for smoothies and cake, or the end of a loaf, perfect for toasting or blitzing for breadcrumbs. I’m going to take a leaf out of my late Nana’s book and when the oven is on, I’ll cook as much as I possibly can!
Dr Christina Dean, Founder of Redress & The R Collective
My resolution is to be more focused and strategic with the use of my time, which has a slippery trick of running away very quickly if you don’t tussle with it. Life has many distractions that steal time from under your nose. I resolve to manage my time with more acumen. On the professional side, this means sticking to our strategic directions. On the personal side, it means pursuing relationships with people who support growth. Wish me luck!
Maria Frances Marinay, Co-Founder & Chief Social Officer, Beige Social
2022 was a wild ride for me. I realised at the end of the year that going at the same lightning speed for almost the entire year wasn’t sustainable for me and my loved ones in the long run. This 2023, my personal sustainable resolution is to slow down and do things more mindfully. I would like to go back to the habits I’ve started but eventually lost, which was to have a morning routine that’s devoted to me and my well-being. I will wake up earlier, enjoy my cup of coffee a little bit longer, move my body, and nourish my body and soul at a more conscious pace. The more I take care of myself, the more energy and brainpower I have to serve the people around me.
Audrey Yang, Sustainability Advocate
The early years of my sustainability journey were focused on individual action. Things like avoiding disposables, reducing meat intake and being more mindful with my purchases. I went on to create sustainability-related content for public awareness, but all these can feel quite isolating after a while. This year, I would like to expand my focus beyond items on a checklist and work on not having my identity be tied so closely to what I do on social media.
To live slowly and to build connections are the main themes of my sustainable resolutions for 2023. To be slow in my consumption, to be connected with the food I eat, to be slow to judge, to build connections with others, to be slowly experiencing life and to stay connected with myself. How about you?
Tanja Wessels, Sustainable Fashion Advocate, Startup Founder & Writer
After five years of not buying any new clothes (except for undergarments and a couple of bikinis!) I’m ready for another 50. When I challenged myself to 1 year of no new clothes in 2017 I didn’t anticipate how profoundly it would change me. Today the idea of buying anything that isn’t preloved seems utterly alien.
Here’s what I now know for sure: fashion trends are harmful to the head and heart. The idea that you are out of style because you are not wearing what social media influencers are being paid to flaunt is everyone’s loss (except the CEOs of big fashion enterprises, that is). Saying no to fashion’s insatiable appetite for new feels like an act of rebellion. And rebellion feels—and looks—good in the fast fashion space. As my teenage niece frequently reminds me: “you do you, boo.”
Sarah Garner, Founder of Retykle
I want to take my dedication to sustainability in fashion and apply it in equal measure to other areas of my life. I will adopt as much package-free grocery shopping as possible through wet markets or local farm fresh delivery and recycle any associated grocery waste at the government recycling facilities in Hong Kong with my kids on a weekly basis.
Nejla Matam-Finn, CEO and Founder, THE FIFTH COLLECTION
I like to set intentions more than making resolutions; I find that it is easier to stick to them as they are more flexible. My business has shown me the result of unintentional consumption, so for the new year, it’s really all about being more intentional with the things I bring into my family’s life.
2023 will be a year when I will be focusing more on our home: our daughter is a tween; this comes with a natural desire for change all around, including her room decorations and furnishings. We’ve decided to make these changes exclusively through DIY, thrift and secondhand. In fact, we got an early start by repainting a few frames in colours that my daughter preferred and buying her a secondhand standing desk to support her passion for drawing and painting. In addition, we’re consciously rehoming all the items that we are decluttering in the process, and that includes some of her clothes available on THE FIFTH COLLECTION site where we are soft-launching a kids collection. Best of all, doing this can be much more rewarding than just buying more stuff or throwing things away without a second thought.
Andrea T Edwards, CSP, Author, Uncommon Courage: an invitation
2023 is the year we must all come together and define a new future for humanity. We must acknowledge the enormous challenges we have to overcome and then do everything we can to drive those changes forward. This is the time to confidently and determinedly step into your voice to help your community understand how they can step away from fear and into the possibility of creating something better for all, with hope and enormous ambition beating from our hearts. It’s definitely not going to be easy, and many think it’s impossible. But you know, when we look at all that is going wrong in the world, it will be this crazy group who believe we can do it that has the best chance of getting the job done. Are you in?
Melissa Tan, Climate Action and Sustainability Advocate
My sustainable resolution is to better understand myself and deepen my connection to the world, its people and all living things. I’m following my curiosity and working on rebuilding an open, optimistic heart for my advocacy to be sustainable in the long term.
Xingyun Shen, Sustainable Fashion Writer & Researcher
For the longest time, I’ve wanted to document what I wear every day and why and how I wear my clothes. This year I am starting a journal to document my outfits and mood for the day. I hope this helps me understand how I can build my wardrobe to serve me and create ground for mindfulness when dressing.
Amanda Lim, Co-founder of Alt.native
Last year, my personal sustainable resolution was to not purchase from fast fashion brands anymore, so I purchased from local or sustainable brands and did a lot of upcycling, repairing and swapping! However, I still purchased clothes once a month, and my wardrobe is overflowing now. While cleaning out my closet, I decided that my personal sustainable goal for this year is to purchase less clothes, so I’m limiting myself to buying clothes (if I have to) once every three months! My goal in the next few years is not to purchase clothes at all, and to upcycle or swap if I really need a change in style!
Najah Onn, Environmental Engineer & Conscientious Fashionista, Director of Footprint Mechanics & Founder, FASHINFIDELITY
I’m sort of ‘starting over’ in 2023, because FASHINFIDELITY hit its original 5-year milestone last year (yay!) it felt like I climbed and peaked! This year, my personal goal is to only have ONE ultimate goal, called a ‘keystone’ goal, that if the outcomes from that are achieved, will enrich all other parts of my life. This removes a lot of noise that detracts from achieving what I want for my future self. In essence, I’m really paring back my to-do list and being brutal about what occupies my time, and what I say yes to. Apart from that, I aim to not buy any new or thrifted clothes, shoes and accessories for the whole year.
Dr. Bernice Pan, Founder & CEO of DEPLOY (B-Corp)
My new year’s sustainable lifestyle resolution is to cook more and eat out less. I love cooking and generally use natural ingredients to always cook and season food from scratch. This way not only do I create the tastes and textures that I crave, but also I get to utilise my zero waste ethos to use up every last bit of lemon peel, leftover wine, stale bread or seafood shells etc. to make stews, dressing, bruschetta, bisques etc. whilst making meals that are healthier for ourselves and more conserving of our environmental resources!
Susannah believes better design can help create a brighter future. A former magazine editor, she now runs ZERRIN and works at the intersection of consumers, brands and sustainability advocacy.