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Sustainability Is Her Signature: Sustainable Sabs

We here at RIVA New York are passionate about a lot of things, not least of which are: celebrating personal style (this is the raison d’être for our premier collection, the Expression Collection) and encouraging the reduction of our environmental footprint. And so we have decided to dedicate a section of our blog to featuring individuals whose personal style and sustainable lifestyle choices we admire! And what better way to kick off this series than with the ever-effervescent Sabs Katz?

Originally from Houston, TX, Sabs, who goes by the nom de plume Sustainable Sabs, and who now calls Brooklyn home, is a content creator and influencer who uses her platforms to advocate for “conscious, intentional and holistic living.” On her Instagram (@sustainablesabs), her blog and her Youtube channel, she faithfully and ardently probes the joys of low-waste living, a plant-based diet, and holistic health and wellness, but she peppers her feeds with style- and beauty-related content, too, joining many others in picking up the gauntlet to show the world that ethical and zero-waste fashion can be stylish fun! We particularly like her  #EthicalOOTD posts and Reels on Instagram, and we love how she enumerates ethical clothing brands that we should be checking out (her latest blog article lists the best yet most underrated eco-friendly and ethical lingerie brands—click here to read it).

Sabs Katz A.K.A. Sustainable Sabs talks about her zero-waste personal style

Sustainable Sabs in a vintage Cacharel scarf, a uni-shoulder bikini top from Soulteria and a recycled glass bead necklace from RIVA New York

Sustainable Sabs wears a white uni-shoulder bikini top from her favorite sustainable swimwear brand Soulteria, baggie jeans in sienna from Depop, and her mom’s vintage Cacharel scarf. She styles her outfit with RIVA New York’s Cobble Recycled Glass Bead Necklace (paired with a Heart-Shaped Invisible Clasp in Gold Vermeil/White Enamel and a Tilted Cushion Clear Quartz Charm in 14K Yellow Gold). She is also wearing our Gold Vermeil Madison Paper Clip Chain Bracelet with Circle Charms.

We sat down with Sabs to learn more about her personal style, her mindful and deliberative approach to shopping and consumption, her favorite sources for secondhand clothes, and her zero-waste journey. Bonus: we also asked her to model her favorite summer outfits, and style them with her favorite RIVA New York pieces!

RIVA New York: How would you describe your personal style?

Sabs Katz: “I’d say my style is classic, vintage, and a good balance of masculine and feminine pieces. I wear a lot of neutral colors, which makes it easy to mix and match all of my clothing. I also try to prioritize natural materials (like cotton and linen) over synthetics (polyester or nylon). It’s taken me six years to get here, but my closet at this point is made up of a range of sustainable and ethical fashion pieces, largely consisting of secondhand and vintage pieces, with a few new items from my favorite ethical fashion brands mixed in.”

Tell us about your ethos.

“I tend to only go shopping if I’m in need of something in particular—otherwise, I try not to tempt myself! Some things I keep on top of mind when I do shop: for new purchases, I always look into the ethics of their production and the sustainability of their materials; for new and secondhand purchases, I look for natural materials instead of synthetics as much as possible. A couple of other rules of play  that I apply when I am secondhand shopping: look at the label to see if the item has been around a while, because older pieces tend to be better made so they won’t wear out after a few years; look in the men’s section, because men’s clothing tends to be better made than women’s (trousers, oversized button-downs are my go-to men’s pieces); skip fast fashion brands, because more often than not they’re poorly made; and instead of looking for ‘trendy’ pieces, prioritize silhouettes, colors, and patterns that will last season after season.”

Sustainable Sabs in a Japanese denim skort from Ilana Kohn and RIVA New York jewelry

Sustainable Sabs in a ribbed knit tank from Reformation and RIVA New York jewelry

Sustainable Sabs wears a bracelet and a ring from responsible jewelry brand RIVA New York

Sustainable Sabs wears a ribbed knit tank in emerald from Reformation and a Japanese cotton denim skort in wheat from Ilana Kohn. She styles her outfit with RIVA New York’s Madison Paper Clip Chain Necklace with Circle Charms in Sterling Silver, and Script Initial Pendant Necklace in Sterling Silver/White Enamel. She is also wearing our Classic Hoops in 14K Yellow Gold, our Astor Paper Clip Chain Bracelet in Gold Vermeil, and our Citrus Wedge Ring in Gold Vermeil/Green Enamel.

What made you decide to be mindful about your shopping decisions?

“Back in 2016 when I was first introduced to the zero-waste lifestyle, I began to rethink my consumption habits. Whether purchasing food, clothing—or anything really—I wanted to be intentional about the brands and initiatives I was supporting. There’s a huge lack of supply chain and labor transparency across the board—so being mindful of my consumption meant I essentially had to overhaul the way I buy things! In doing so, I not only changed where I purchased from, I also changed my purchasing habits—leaning more towards minimalism and away from overbuying and overspending.”

What are your go-to sources for secondhand clothes?

“I love Depop and ThredUp for secondhand shopping online. In person, I’m also a big fan of L Train Vintage, Beacon’s Closet, Housing Works, and Big Reuse.”

What are your three favorite ethical fashion brands/labels right now and why?

“Let the records show that I want to be buried in ARQ! Their pieces are so cute and comfortable. I’m also a fan of Ilana Kohn, Gil Rodriguez, and Soulteria. These are all ethical fashion brands that make pieces that last, have transparent sourcing, and use sustainable materials.”

"I’d recommend just being intentional about your purchasing habits! It’s not just about changing all your purchases to sustainable/ethical fashion—if we want to contribute to a livable future and planet, we really, really need to reduce our consumption overall."

- SABS KATZ

Are you a proponent of clothing rental services? What are some of your favorites in this space?

“I’m not a regular renter, but if I need to I’ll rent from In The Loop, which was founded by two of my sustainability-focused fashion friends Zahra and Megan. They allow you to rent sustainable fashion pieces that are normally a little more expensive for a fraction of the price. They’re a baby startup, so if you’re at all interested I recommend you checking them out!”

Sustainable Sabs in a necklace and bracelet from RIVA New York

Sabs Katz in a daisy enamel earring and an Expression Collection necklace from RIVA New York

Sustainable Sabs in her favorite secondhand dress that she bought from a stoop sale

Sustainable Sabs wears a vintage white voile sundress with pompom trims that she got from a stoop sale, and a vintage braided vegan leather belt. She styles her outfit with a RIVA New York Expression Collection Necklace that she built by herself: Wall Street Paper Clip Chain Necklace in 14K Yellow Gold, paired with a Cushion-Shaped Invisible Clasp in High-Polish 14K Yellow Gold and a Citrus Wedge Charm in Gold Vermeil/Yellow Enamel. She is also wearing our Daisy Enamel Studs in Gold Vermeil, and our Madison Paper Clip Chain Bracelet in Gold Vermeil. Her eyewear is from Genusee, a company based in Flint, MI, that makes frames from recycled plastic water bottles.

Name three of your favorite thrifted items.

“My Carhartt jacket is one of my most prized thrifted possessions! Second would be this labradorite ring that I got from Brooklyn Flea. Last but not the least, a pair oversized khaki shorts!”

What pieces of advice can you give to anyone (a family member, a friend, a follower) looking to edit their wardrobe into a more responsible or zero-waste one?

“Honestly, I’d recommend just being intentional about your purchasing habits! It’s not just about changing all your purchases to sustainable/ethical fashion—if we want to contribute to a livable future and planet, we really, really need to reduce our consumption overall. Try out a ‘Buy Nothing Month,’ where you don’t buy any clothing. Learn to love the pieces you already own! And get creative—host a clothing swap with your friends, borrow from your sibling/roommate, or mend/tailor/upcycle your pieces to ensure you get a lot of life out of them. The sky’s the limit!”

Article, interview and photographs by Angelo dela Cruz

1 comment

Sabs

Crying 🥹🥹💓💓

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