Maryam has built her social media platform around sustainable fashion and thrifting that she coined #ModestyForLess. She highlights not only the ethics behind consumerism and fast fashion, but shows that you don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune to be modest or keep up with the latest trends in the modest fashion sphere.
KB: Hi Maryam! I really love your content and you always inspire me to be more conscious in my choices. Have you always been someone to consume/purchase ethically, or was it more of an education/transition process?
Maryam: It was definitely much more of an education/transition process, but it did not start off that way. So I have been thrifting or trying to shop ethically for close to 5 years now, when I was finishing my last year of highschool and transitioning into college. My wallet was pretty much breathing dust bunnies at that point, so there was really no way for me to buy any clothes for a job I’d just started, which is when my best friend introduced me to thrift shopping. And that’s kind of when it started and it hasn’t really let up since then. And then around a year and a half to two years later, I started learning more about ethical consumption and how horrible the consumption we have under capitalism is for the planet, and that just kind of upped my level of wanting to thrift and feeling it was the right decision. And there isn’t necessarily a need to buy so much new when so much has already been created and our resources are not infinite. So, to me that’s a really important decision in all my consumption needs currently.
"So learning about thrifting and ethical consumption helps take you out of that, and puts everything into a different way. You see the world a lot clearer in some aspects....but it definitely has changed me internally"
KB: Apart from the financial and environmental aspect, how do you think this transition and lifestyle change has impacted you internally?
Maryam: It really makes me think of something as in how it impacts others and how it impacts the earth. Because you know in our society a lot of times its “I, I, I” and we’re only thought to look internally into what we need and kind of just screw everyone else over- especially under a Capitalist system. So learning about thrifting and ethical consumption helps take you out of that, and puts everything into a different way. You see the world a lot clearer in some aspects (but not in some others), but it definitely has changed me internally.
"..Especially when trying to be a modest/hijabi fashion blogger, or lifestyle blogger, I want to keep up with everyone and I want to provide the content that everyone is wanting to see me post. So it is hard in that aspect, but I always try to remind myself that my niche is my niche, and people follow me because they like to see what I want to post and what I like"
KB: As fashion is always changing and in the modest fashion world most people tend to follow the same template, do you ever struggle with the feeling or “missing out” when it comes to the latest trends and styles?
Maryam: I definitely do sometimes, but not always because some of the trends I just don’t particularly like for myself. I don’t either find them compatible with what I feel is modest for myself, or my simple style aesthetically. So sometimes yes and sometimes no. Generally though, I am really confident in finding things in the thrift stores, and tweaking or changing them my own way. So that helps: being confident in what I like, and finding consistently good pieces.
Styles always come around, they’re cyclical processes. So as we’re seeing now, all these different trends coming back from the 90’s, 80’s, etc. It kind of says that nothing ever truly goes out of style, you just have to wait a few years for it to come back. So in that, not entirely, but sometimes yes I do. Especially when trying to be a modest/hijabi fashion blogger, or lifestyle blogger, I want to keep up with everyone and I want to provide the content that everyone is wanting to see me post. So it is hard in that aspect, but I always try to remind myself that my niche is my niche, and people follow me because they like to see what I want to post and what I like.
"But the best tip I would give someone wanting to start out with thrift shopping would be to know your measurements and taste, have something that you want to look for going in. So that you kind of have a goal, because without the goal you can kind of be a little bit overwhelmed"
KB: What would be your best advice to someone wanting to make more ethical fashion choices?
Maryam: It’s really daunting, especially when you haven't thrift shopped before or haven’t grown up doing it, because it’s such a different experience than going to the mall. Everything is just put up on a rack, sometimes it’s organised, but even that is super daunting because you can’t just say “oh I like that top let me find my size”, because sometimes you’re gonna find something but you’re not sure how it will fit. But the best tip I would give someone wanting to start out with thrift shopping would be to know your measurements and taste, have something that you want to look for going in. So that you kind of have a goal, because without the goal you can kind of be a little bit overwhelmed.
If you go in with the idea- “okay I want to find a new sweater”, that way you know what colours you like, so you can go to where you see that. So it’s a smaller task to undertake than simply walking in and saying “oh I need clothes”. But another piece of advice would be - there are brands coming up such as everlane, that are really showcasing that you can buy fresh new clothes and still be ethical and sustainable, and that you’re not alone in your journey. This isn’t something that you’re gonna have to undertake all by yourself, there's a really nice big community online, you can even find a person that can help you and make you feel like you're not the only one going through these struggles of coming to terms with how much waste is actually out there and your part in it, and how daunting that can really be.
KB: It’s really great to hear from someone in this industry, and I definitely think we can all strive to make more conscious decisions! Where can everyone find you and your content?
Maryam: I’m on Instagram @maryamescapades!