Women of Style: Nadya Zim

Photographer Nadya Zim

It is in our own power to redefine the luxury of fashion. Every person’s choice can make a difference. It is my belief that style and sustainability go hand in hand. So that’s the approach I’ve been taking for a while here on the site and will continue to do so. Especially that I have some incredible women to back me up. Women whom I admire, with a strong sense of self and a genuine sense of style. You can not have enough inspiration when it comes to timelessness and individuality. I thought it important to talk about true style with such a woman in December, a month that is about being kind, doing good, but also about reclaiming your true self, and, why not, about mindful shopping. So here is my style talk with Nadya Zim, photographer and co-founder of The ARTBO magazine.

”Let’s simply buy less.”

What does style mean to you?
Style is my personal way to show what I feel or think right now at this moment. That’s why I don’t have a particular style. Sometimes I want to look like a hippie, sometimes a French chick, sometimes preppy. It all depends on what I have on my mind right now.

Describe your style in three words: Victorian, sweaters, jeans.

You feel your best dressed in: White maxi dress.

Is there anything you never wear and why?
Short skirts. Too old for that (smiles).

Where do you shop mindfully?
In terms of fashion brands, I love Everlane, AmourVert, Doen, Naadam.

Do you apply the same socially conscious philosophy to other aspects of your lifestyle (beauty regimen, homeware, etc)? How else do you live life as a conscious choice?
I am trying. It’s hard, but I always think twice before buying anything. I research. I try to make sure I am not supporting with my dollar something against my views.

What does a good day always start with for you? How important is it for you to put some thought into dressing each and every morning and why?
Honestly, less is more. I don’t have a large wardrobe, so it takes me 10 minutes to get dressed (including make-up). For me, a good day starts with sunrise. I love taking photographs of the first light.

You live in San Francisco and you are a photographer. Has either had an influence on your personal style and how?
Oh, yeah. I am originally from Latvia where I loved wearing high heels. In San Francisco, I almost never wear them. I became more casual and only my love for white blouses, especially with a Victorian touch, saves me from being completely casual.

Let’s linger on a little more on the subject of San Francisco (you know my affinity for the place). It’s December. What is the best thing about San Francisco this time of year?
Crisp air and holiday mood. And layers. Lots of layers. I love wearing a sweater over a shirt, I love jackets, and scarves, hats.

What do the holidays mean to you?
Holiday time means family for me. I love when everybody I love are together like nothing else matters in the world. It’s magical.

I know and share your opinion about the intrusion of technology in our every-day lives and about how people are consumed by their digital devices. What do you do every day to make sure you are more present in the moment?
I am trying to focus on my passions more. Photography, hiking, nature. For me, it’s not a full weekend if I didn’t do any photography or didn’t go anywhere for a hike or at least a long walk. When you’re out there, there is almost never a temptation to look at your phone.

On an end note, what is your one sustainable fashion tip that may help someone else just starting out on their sustainable journey?
Start learning about the items before you buy. An ounce of research is better than a pound of regret.

Some scary numbers:


150,000,000,000: The number of new clothing items produced each year.
2,500,000,000: Pounds of used clothing that end up in landfills each year.
2,100,000: Tons of CO2 emissions produced by the apparel and textile industry each year (second only to the petroleum industry).
Between 70,000,000 and 100,000,000: The number of trees cut down each year to make cellulose fabrics such as rayon and modal.
Synthetic materials like polyester, nylon, and acrylic can take up to 1,000 years to decompose—which means that all of the polyester that has ever been made still exists.


Personally, I stopped buying rayon and other synthetic materials years ago, but still… It’s hard to avoid them completely in this world powered by corporations and mass consumption.

That being said, I am asking you and myself to try doing the following:

Let’s stop supporting companies that produce clothing made of synthetic materials. Of course, if you are buying something made of cotton or wool, it doesn’t mean that this item has a clean history (let’s face it, all these high-end super expensive brands have their hands dirty!). So let’s look for local, “traceable” companies that are transparent about their production. These companies exist! They are here and need your support.

Let’s shop for high-quality clothes that are made to last.

Let’s simply buy less.

nadyazim.com | Instagram:@nadyazim


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