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1979 alumn and fashion stylist “can’t bear to buy anything more”

High School student Nour Makhlof interviews stylist and CIS graduate Katalin Süle about her ethical and aesthetical approach to fashion.

Why did you enter the world of fashion?
“I realized after many years that the average woman only uses 20% of the clothes in her wardrobe 80% of the time. This is why I started to give advice on how an existing wardrobe can help anyone achieve the style they want and how mix-matching existing pieces helps them put outfits together that suits their body shape and their style. I teach them to have fun, feel powerful, and become transformed through the power of style. I love to teach: I have online courses for any age group, even for teenagers who are interested in style.”

What trended when you were in high school? Did any of those trends come back?
”Fashion trends do not occur by chance, it is a great business, they are carefully calculated, from procrastination to manufacturing, to mass production. When it comes to outmoded styles that make a comeback, never say never — this happened with leggings. It is a huge revival. In my high school time, platforms/wedges were the wow factor, clogs, and flared, even ultra-flared polyester pants. When they came back, like platforms, they were reinvented. You see, if something is vintage, it has details that are typical of the period”

How often do you find trends repeating? Why do they come back?
”The life cycle of fashion trends is tightening, their appearance and disappearance are really fast: that is the reason we call it ‘fast fashion’. I see now that a trend can be around only a single season. Actually, I don’t see trends at all because it moves so fast. Nowadays anything and everything has a chance, because of the new consumer behavior: the more style options, the more we are over-saturated with trends globally.”

What do you think about the ‘square-toed’ shoes coming back in style?
”There has to be a purpose for every return. When a trend is in fashion, one year before it is daring, 20 years later it becomes ridiculous, 50 years later it starts to creep back into style. As a personal stylist, I am not happy at all for this new trend, it thinks it doesn't flatter women’s feet. Global street style fashionistas, influencers are massively posting square-toed shoes, so you have the idea that this is a dominant trend, but it can change in a week.”

Is it becoming increasingly important to dress environmentally consciously?
”I myself have reused and upcycled fast fashion garments since 2006. It is always a big question for consumers whether one should invest in classic pieces that will never go out of style, or whether one should invest in fast fashion pieces. Many consumers want to show off, show their wealth by buying less practical pieces. Fortunately, sustainability has become a top agenda for many years challenging industries in the choice of materials, use of chemicals, overconsumption of water, freight, overproduction, and waste management. Our social responsibility in every segment of their activity is there and it cries for help. Buy less and ask the questions: ’Who made your clothes?’ ‘What is in your clothes?’”

What do you see in the future of fashion?
”There has to be a change in the clothing industry, something new. I think we will be more conscious of reuse. The textile industry has to use emerging technologies and digitalization to design and produce new clothing sustainably. Fast fashion is the most damaging to the environment. On top of the climate impact, clothes production among others is responsible for microfibre pollution. I also expect that luxury brands will offer good answers to the questions about what is a good investment. For the time being, we are stuck in a production pattern, but innovation has to come and has to break the ’large volume at the lowest price’ overproduction cycle. I myself feel that I am constantly saturated — I can’t bear to buy anything more.”

You can see more of fashion instructor and influencer Katalin Süle at sulekati.com.