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Sustainable Styling

Sustainable styling // Interview with Julia van Almsick

Restyle and change instead of just shopping. Julia van Almsick aka The Munich Stylist is a sustainable stylist in Munich and explains what makes her different and unique and why only sustainable styling is an option for her.

What started as a wardrobe revolution in the slow fashion community on Instagram a few years ago has been professionalized. Instead of constantly buying new items with a personal stylist and the customer, sustainable styling is about working with things you already have in your wardrobe. Combining these to create new favorite looks. Many people lack the trained eye for this. Despite having a full wardrobe, we don’t know what to wear? This is where sustainable styling comes into play.

We have a full closet and still nothing to wear.

Julia van Almsick is a trained tailor and studied textile and clothing technology. She worked in product development, production preparation and international sales for over ten years before setting up her own business as a consultant for start-ups and founders in the clothing industry. Today, she lives out her passion for fashion and sustainability professionally with Sustainable Styling. At the GREENSTYLE Lounge Talk, we spoke to Julia aka The Munich Stylist about her passion.

Mirjam Smend: What do you understand by sustainable styling and what do you do differently than others?
Julia van Almsick: No two stylists work like each other. What makes me sustainable is that I don’t style anyone until I know her closet. I get an insight into what’s already there and what I can build on. What makes me possibly unique is that, as a trained seamstress, I can alter things myself to fit them back into the closet. With a perfect fit and a new look.

Mirjam Smend:  What kind of questions do customers come to you with? What do you hear most often?
Julia van Almsick: Most people have gone through a change in their lives. Or their figure has changed. The contents of their wardrobe no longer fit. Not their life situation, not their personality, not their figure.

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Mirjam Smend: How does the wardrobe check work?
Julia van Almsick: We always start with the current situation. This is a free, 30-minute introductory conversation on the phone. The customer tells me why she wants a change and where she wants to go. Many don’t know exactly. But together we find out. I want the customer to define which three style attributes she would like to have in her style. Classic, confident, etc. Three adjectives that describe how she feels most comfortable and how she would like to be perceived. I need a virtual overview of the closet. That’s why I ask that the closet be filmed. Also with outerwear and shoes. And photos in which the customer likes themselves. And I need photos of style role models or how she would like to look. Then I start working on a concept.

I need (at least!) a virtual overview of the closet. Then I need an inventory.

Mirjam Smend: And how does it continue?
Julia van Almsick: After the initial discussion, I write the customer an email so that she knows what to prepare for the closet check. Then she has to do an inventory herself. That means looking in her closet to see what is there. I ask her to put two piles out for the appointment. Pile one: “I don’t know what I want to do with it.” Often, you can still salvage something. Pile two: items that I call “no brainers” that she’ll keep anyway. Then I drive to the customer’s home and we do the closet check. Things are sorted, tried on, and styled. All new looks are photographed and then I put them together in a leporello. The customer can hang this on the inside of the closet and then know what she can wear for every occasion.

Mirjam Smend: What do you do with the things that customers no longer want?
Julia van Almsick: It varies. I offer to take them with me to drop them off at a women’s shelter. They are very grateful for items in good condition. I wash some of the items at home. I don’t get paid for this, but it is important to me that clothes stay in circulation. I can sell some of them on second-hand platforms. Some items can be made into upcycled products. On Instagram I show what is possible. For example, a cashmere jumper that is too small can be turned into two hot water bottle covers.
That’s how it’s done >>>

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Mottenlöcher im Cashmere-Jumper? (Kl)Eingewaschen? Dann kann man easy ein kuscheliges Wärmflaschen-Cover daraus machen.

Mirjam Smend: Can anyone do this?
Julia van Almsick: My instructions are written in such a way that you can follow them without knowing how to sew. Or the instructions are so precise that you could take it to a tailor and he would know what to do.

Mirjam Smend: And what does the closet look like afterwards?
Julia van Almsick: I recommend that you don’t hang clothes according to the occasion, but that you hang trousers next to trousers, tops next to tops, etc. And I give advice on how to store things properly. For example, don’t hang up knitwear. Have a system for finding things again.

The style sheets or outfit combinations that I give to the customer are not sorted by occasion.

Mirjam Smend: What is the nicest compliment you have received for your work?
Julia van Almsick: A customer spent an insane monthly budget on fashion. She bought things out of desperation because she didn’t know what suited her. So she just bought everything. My whole trunk was full afterward. She asked me to take everything with me so that she wouldn’t integrate it back into her outfits. Every week she writes to me about how good she feels and how beautiful it is. But the best thing for me is actually when we can keep a lot and integrate a lot again. And only need a few bridge pieces to have a completely complete wardrobe. It’s probably the best thing for every stylist when customers say: “I would never have thought of that.”

Mirjam Smend: How long does an on-site consultation take?
Julia van Almsick: Only after the preliminary discussion can I tell her how much time the consultation will take. Anything less than two hours doesn’t make sense. Four hours is the maximum. Then it becomes too stressful for both sides.

Some people want to go shopping with me, but I don’t go shopping with someone without seeing their closet first.

Mirjam Smend: And how much will the consultation cost me approximately?
Julia van Almsick: I charge 160 euros gross per hour and start with a minimum of two hours. That includes everything. My travel, my preparation and the follow-up. And a letter of recommendation summarizing what suits you, what your perfect skirt length is, what you should pay particular attention to when shopping. And I also make a note of items that I think are missing from your wardrobe.


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Mirjam Smend: Do you also do personal shopping? How does that work?
Julia van Almsick: If you book a personal shopping session, I would find any missing items for you. This can also be done online, but I prefer to go to second-hand shops. If the customer is open to it. There are great second-hand shops in Munich that have lots of curated items. I want to ignite enthusiasm for individuality and style. And the courage to wear what I like.

Many people hide behind brands, but it feels so good when you stand by your look.

Mirjam Smend: Are there other sustainable stylists in Munich?
Julia van Almsick: Purely sustainable? No. But there are stylists who pay attention to that and therefore don’t go to Zara, H&M and all the fast fashion stores. They pay attention to quality. That is ultimately also an attribute of sustainability. But I don’t think there is anyone like me who also reworks clothing.

Mirjam Smend: How does the reworking work?
Julia van Almsick: I style these pieces on the mannequin and make suggestions. I made a coat out of a wrap dress that was much too small. I took out the darts from an evening dress that had become too tight. Now it fits again. I made a dress into a skirt because it had become too small. Strictly speaking, these are made-to-measure pieces that the customer sends me.

Thanks for the interview, Julia.

You want to try it out too, but you’re not from Munich? No problem, because thanks to Janine Dudenhöffer (The Sustainable Stylist), sustainable styling is now available in many cities.
Discover here >>>