Interview: The Un-Material Girl

Join us as we dive in with blogger and fashion student, The Un-Material Girl, Leah Musch as she shares why she went from spending $100 per week on clothes to being a conscious fashion activist.  

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Tapered: You term yourself as a “Former Fast Fashion Addict turned Slow Fashion Activist”, how hard was this transition and do you have any tips for fellow recovering addicts ;-)?
Leah-Jane Musch: The transition was equal parts easy and difficult. The easiest part was that once my eyes were open to what was really going on in the Fashion Industry. I cared about changing my ways so much that it really spurred me on, a real tug at the ol’ heart strings. The hardest part was probably still chasing the thrill of buying clothes. I’ve just completed a month long challenge of not buying any clothing at all, and yep, I caved (once!) however in retrospect, I’ve come a long way considering I used to spend more than $100 A WEEK on fast fashion. My tips for recovering addicts is don’t be too hard on yourself, actively teach yourself better ways to shop, and get creative!

T: What was the turning point for you and why did you decide to become an activist instead of just a slow fashion consumer?
L: Watching the documentary The True Cost literally changed my life. It opened my eyes to so many parts of the fashion industry that I had been personally avoiding, and once I saw that film I couldn’t deny that I needed to completely change the way I consumed.

T: What are a few of your favorite conscious brands?
L: People Tree, KowTow, Patagonia, Sticks + Stone The Label and Outland Denim.

T: Is there any particular style that you obsess over, or a color you love to wear?
L: I never shy away from hot pink because it’s just so damn flattering and wonderfully risky. I also love a good flare, tassels or jumpsuit!

T: Do you have any shopping tips for people who don’t have a huge budget?
L: Opp shops, thrift stores, organise a clothing swap with your friends, markets, buy/sell/swap groups on Facebook - all of these are fantastic and affordable alternatives to shop sustainably and will also save you heaps of dollars!

T: If your life motto were a song, what song would that be?
L: Parallel Park by the Mae Trio. Just give it a listen.

T: What are your thoughts on personal style and how would you describe yours?
L: I’d describe my style as ‘Hipster Fran Fine’. I’ve always been attracted to slightly theatrical, bordering on tacky, unique fashion designs. Often nostalgic, my favourite era would be 60’s and 70’s. I don’t have one set style though, what I wear is totally dependant on my mood!

T: Favorite place to travel to and what won’t you travel without?
L: I won’t travel without my hair straightener. I’d have to say my favourite place to travel would be New York. I spent 10 days there and feel like I really only scratched the surface of what the city has to offer.

T: What’s your favorite time of day and why?
L: The afternoon - best lighting, and there is always a sense of anticipation for what the evening holds!

T: If you had to wear the same outfit every day for a month, what would it be and why?
L: My flared denim jeans because they are my favourite thing, and probably a simple fitted black turtleneck. I always feel like my coolest self in this outfit, it’s comfortable and makes me feel sexy. And I wouldn’t have to shave my legs! Woo hoo!

T: What do you think is the most valuable garment that everyone should invest in first?
L: A good pair of jeans, you can’t go wrong.

T: Do you have any tips on how to develop personal style?
L: Experiment! And don’t ever feel like you have to prescribe to one certain look forever. Fun and creativity comes with playing and trying a bunch of different styles to work out what makes you feel most like yourself.

T: What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work (be that your studies or blog etc.)?
L: I’ve developed a recent obsession with print design and textile dying. I can’t pull myself away from instagram accounts and pinterest boards dedicated to textiles. This works into my studies pretty well, as one of my subjects is about textile design. After trying my hand at dying fabric using leaves and flowers whilst at The Planting Festival recently, I really want to learn as much as I can about dying fabrics naturally. I feel like I’m a stronger textile designer than fashion designer at this point - which is not necessarily a bad thing!

T: What would you like to achieve before the end of the year?
L: Finishing every trimester at uni is a big achievement. Although I enjoy my current course at Billy Blue - it’s not for the faint hearted. I have some exciting trips abroad up my sleeve, so surviving overseas alone for extended periods of time will also be a big achievement for me! Experimenting more with my future label is also on the cards.


Leah-Jane Musch (aka The Unmaterial Girl) is a 26 year old Australian sustainable and ethical fashion blogger. She's currently studying Branded Fashion at Billy Blue College in the pursuit of starting her own fashion label. A lover of coffee, thrift shopping and folk festivals, Leah is optimistic about the future of the fashion industry and our power as consumers to make an impact.