Photo credit: NADIA KISHLAN


Nadia Kishlan, 30, is an active member in the sustainability community in Singapore. She hopes to empower more individuals to adopt eco-friendly habits in their daily lives, while showing that doing so can be fun and fulfilling at the same time.

On her Instagram account @skinnykatwoman, she shares content related to sustainability, such as how to consume fashion more sustainably, tips on being more climate positive, and ways to live more mindfully. She shares her experiences in sustainable fashion and what it has taught her.

Dear Youth,

The first time I became aware about the ripple effects of my consumption habits was after reading about the Rana Plaza factory disaster in 2013, which took away 1,134 innocent lives. It was a traumatic event that disturbed me deeply.  I knew from then on that I could not stay ignorant and continue living my life as though it never happened. That was the start of my sustainability journey.

To be honest, my journey began with me feeling hopeless and lonely. The more I researched fast fashion’s impact on the environment, the more helpless I felt. It almost felt like it was too late to do anything. Ultimately, how can I change the mindset of a society conditioned to a consumerist lifestyle?

Unexpectedly, it was my practice of meditation that allowed me to reframe my thoughts. Instead of adopting a doom-and-gloom mentality, I decided to seek out positive things that have happened around the world to change the status quo.

One of the first things I did was to join communities with like-minded individuals who shared my vision of wanting to be more climate positive. Thus, I volunteered at a farm and participated in beach cleanups. I also started tuning in to more news to educate myself about the advances in science and technology that serve to create sustainable innovations.

By surrounding myself with positive changes, it also influenced my perspective on what I could do as an individual. I knew that I had the power to use my platform to guide others in reframing their habits. It was even more encouraging to receive personal messages from my followers who believed in my message.

One particular response that really stuck with me and motivated me to continue advocating on my platform came from one of my long-time followers. Having followed my growth for five years, she said that it was so inspiring to watch me evolve from someone obsessed with the latest fashion trends into someone who practiced a more mindful way of living.

Being an advocate for sustainability is never easy, but is there anything in life that is? One of my guiding principles in leading this lifestyle is to always practise empathy and compassion, both for myself and others. It’s important to remember that everyone’s life circumstances are different. Sustainability can come in many forms and it isn’t something that can be adopted overnight.

There is no harm in trying to change your habits every day. You also can’t be perfectly sustainable as the real world is not designed that way. After all, we don’t need a handful of people practising sustainability perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.

This article was published on Oct 19, 2021

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