Sunday, November 22, 2015

Sustainability and Style - Interview: Hanne Tørseth

Posted by Amanda Villaruel | | |
I'm proud to introduce you to Hanne Tørseth, originally from Norway, but residing in vibrant Copenhagen.

The main reason I wanted to interview Hanne is because she's the living proof that is very manageable to balance sustainability with style! :-)
Hanne Tørseth - outside Pura Utz in Copenhagen

In my opinion Hanne is a chameleon in the styling front. With an eye for details, she's a natural when it comes to colors, textures and accessories :-)

Following her on Instagram (@hannetorseth) for a year and reading her blog, makes me believe that Hanne is a humble person who genuinely cares about the environment and animal welfare. Like I told Hanne when I contacted her, we need more people like her in today's fashion industry!

Quick facts about Hanne:
Age: 25
From: Bergen, Norway
Lives in: Copenhagen, Denmark
Occupation: stylist and make-up artist
Instagram: @hannetorseth

1. My impression is that today's fashion industry is practically dominated by cheap, trendy clothes found on the high-end street. With all this so easy available, what made you choose primarily vintage and thrifting?

Hanne Tørseth in casual outfit - sustainability and style
Hanne Tørseth in casual outfit

Yes, the fast fashion mentality has definitely got a hold on most of the consumers in this world.

It is sad for me to know how the focus has gone from fifty years ago when fashion and tailoring was valued and admired to becoming something every person can get a hold on now, without thinking about professional pride, artworks, handcraft and the environmentally consequences this has on our world and ourselves.

First of all, I think I am born with a conscious that expands a bit more beyond the regular one. When that is said, I think being curious is the most important value in a mind that seeks both understanding and enlightenment.

Our ability to turn the blind eye, and to ignore that which not pleases us, I think, is a threat to our way of living.

We all know (if we are curious and seek information) that capitalism can not keep going the way it has been throughout all these years. It is physically impossible. In order for that, we would need five more earths, and since we don't, we need to be smart and act now, in order for our biosphere and our future generations to have a chance at survival.

This is our responsibility, whether we like it or not.
Hanne Tørseth - used market - sustainability and style
Hanne Tørseth - at used market

I could write an essay about the impacts the fast fashion industry has on our environment and on our way of looking at life and how we value ourselves, but that would be too long. The way I see it, us fast fashion consumers are a part of the biggest fraud in the known world.

We buy clothes and accessories that has been made from slavery labor, that destroys the rivers and pollutes the air in the areas it is made, all in order to keep contributing for the richest of the rich to become richer, and the poorest of the poor to become poorer.

That is not right, no matter how many likes we get by promoting an item.

In short: when I started reading about the consequences of fast fashion, the choice was easy to make to try to start avoiding it.

Now, I don't claim I am perfect - far from it, but I try to think about my actions as a consumer.

Where is this item made? For example, if it says Bangladesh on the label - I try to stay far away from it. Is this something I need? Can I live without it? How many times will I be able to use this item? That is when shopping new items.

I usually buy all my clothes and accessories at flea markets, and there I feel I can buy more freely, or with a clearer conscious. There I will buy stuff that's pleasing on the eye and suits me, and not think about all of the environmentally aspects of the item.

Read: How to build a sustainable wardrobe.

2. What are your three favorite places to go shopping in Copenhagen (clothing, furniture/interior/art), and why?

Well, I truly love flea markets. Rita Blå's Lopper, Onkel Dannys in spring and summer, Veras Market at Paper Island, and the market at TAP1 in Carlsberg.
Sustainability and style - Hanne Tørseth - outside Pura Utz in Copenhagen
Sustainability and style - Hanne Tørseth - outside Pura Utz in Copenhagen

I also like to go window shopping at Elmegade in the hip area called Nørrebro. Also Lola Luxury second Hand shop, and O-S-V are some really great vintage shops in the center, and they have exclusive brands and hand picked items.

For the more Berlin vintage feeling, there are a few good shops in Pisserenden, for example Wasteland and Episode.

3. What are your tips to the readers of Eco in the City, who want to start thrifting and vintage shopping?

When I started to get into flea markets I searched all over internet to find out where there were any, and now I've found so many on them on Facebook. So, I follow them there and get the information I need.
Hanne Tørseth - at Roskilde festival
Hanne Tørseth - at Roskilde festival

I know the flea market culture is a bit different in Norway, so why not start your own? Get together with a few friends, ask around for a nice place to rent, or find somewhere free of charge, and then put posters up everywhere.

Basically, the internet has been my best friend in order for me to learn where the flea markets and second hand shops are located.

Read: 10 easy tips on how to thrift shop for clothes and accessories.

4. You've been living in Copenhagen for some time now. If I remember right, you're a vegetarian...? How do you try to live sustainably in the capital, when it comes to for instance food/drink and transportation? 

Yes, I am a vegetarian, but I eat mainly vegan. Whenever I'm back in Bergen I'm struggling to find restaurants that offer good vegetarian/vegan food.
Hanne Tørseth - interview - sustainability with style
Hanne Tørseth

Denmark is the most selling organic country in the world, and for every item in the supermarket that is commercially grown, there is an identical one that you can buy for a few kroners more, that is organic.

I always try to buy organic groceries, and groceries that are as locally produced as possible. Here in Copenhagen it's quite easy for me, since at the street I live on (Blaagaardsgade – the best street in Copenhagen!) we have three vegetarian cafees. And almost every restaurant offers a vegetarian option.

But of course, I have my favorites. I can go to good restaurants, and order a vegetarian/vegan menu a few days prior to our arrival. Cafe N at my street is probably my favorite, and it is mainly vegan. Allan, the owner, is so sweet and kind.
Hanne Tørseth - edgy style - sustainability and style
Hanne Tørseth - edgy outfit

Kalaset has some great brunches, my favorite is "Tante Vegan", with homemade ketchup, homemade falafels and homemade nutella – so good. Cafe Botaniq is a very nice vegan place right next to Nørreport Station. Torvehallerne is food heaven, both for carnivores and omnivores.

The restaurants at Meat Packing district usually offer a good, vegetarian option on their menus. The list of great eating places in Copenhagen is long, so therefore it is quite easy for me to eat green here.

And also, I absolutely love my bike! Its my number one way of transporting me from A to B, and the conditions for cyclists in Copenhagen are just great – Norway could really learn from it! Taking my dog in the basket on me steer, and a beer in my cup holder, and head for the beach or park in summer time is probably my favorite thing to do.

5. As a blogger who inspires others to sustainable and animal-friendly approach to style, what is the most rewarding experience and what is the most challenging?

I don't know if I inspire others, but I truly hope so.

I guess for me it's the little things that makes me happy. Talking to someone new who gets a new understanding for the way we treat this world. One girl wrote to me on my blog that she was so glad I stood out from the others, and she loved that I use and buy used clothes – that made me very happy.

To be approached and asked if I can comment on an article or subject that is related to slow fashion and sustainable lifestyle also makes me very glad and proud. When a person I admire tells me that they like what I do, I can almost become a teenage girl again with happiness.
Hanne Tørseth - street style - sustainability and style
Hanne Tørseth - sustainability and style

But for me the most rewarding thing about being who I am and preaching what I preach, is the fact that I am certain of who I am. I know what I stand for, and I am very secure about it. It's not about me, it's about this planet we call home and the animals we share it with.

For me to strive to be a kind being on this planet is something I can't stop doing – it's like the foundation of my existence. I am not intimidated by people who may have a so called high status in the society, I will tell my opinions and keep trying to get people to understand that wearing fur is one of the most cruel things you can do.

I am also in a position where I have tried to gather as much information about the subject, so that I can join any discussion related to it and be sure that my arguments are backed up by my strong belief and science.

The most challenging thing about being an empathetic person is just that. Being an empathetic person in this cruel world can make me have sleepless night, make me cry and make me spend hours just signing campaigns on the internet. It can make me so furious that I would like to do bad things to the people doing bad things, but that is fortunately just in my head.

I believe the key to change is through dialogue and education. So that is what I try to do.

I recently went to London, and as I was walking down the streets, seeing people wearing fur, selling fur, selling meat, I became extremely sad, because I realized I will never live to see the world how I want it to be.

But I hope that making small impacts now paves the way for greater change later, and a positive change for those who is no longer affected by my old consumer pattern.

Be sure to check out Hanne's blog at ! :-)

Interview with Hanne Tørseth - sustainability and style
Interview with Hanne Tørseth - sustainability and style

Continue to read:
Flea market guide for newbies.

An environmentalist choosing between the lesser of two evils.

Have your say about what you just read :)

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