Arlo Parks: “Sustainability is caring about the planet as well as looking cool”

Written by Harriet Davey

Each week at the Sustainable Shopper, Stylist talks to the people focused on creating a more conscious shopping space for all. This time, Arlo Parks – singer/songwriter – talks to fashion editor Harriet Davey about opening up conversations about sustainability and her favourite sellers on Depop. 

Nominated for not one, not two, but three BRIT Awards at this year’s upcoming ceremony; Arlo Parks is making serious waves within the music industry. The 20-year-old British singer/songwriter (real name: Anaïs Oluwatoyin Estelle Marinho), has even had the likes of Dua Lipa cover her song ‘Eugene’ recently. With a string of amazing tunes under her (most likely vintage) belt, Arlo is an advocate for thrift shopping. 

Teaming up with Depop, Arlo Parks joined a panel for the platform’s most recent ‘Let’s Talk’ podcast to chat all things sustainability in line with Earth Day. Keeping the conversation going, the singer has curated an edit of her top Depop sellers and the sustainable secondhand and vintage buys she wants to wear. 

With an aim to keep fashion fun and playful while also being eco-friendly, Depop allows you to share things you like and show what you’re buying and selling. Creating a circular community, Arlo is here to give us all the tips and tricks to finding the best bits on the app. 

Here, Arlo Parks talks to the Sustainable Shopper about wearing her mum’s jewellery, her favourite secondhand jacket and how using Depop to buy and resell your clothes is the way to care for the planet as well as getting to wear unique, cool pieces. 

Arlo parks

What is your earliest memory of sustainability?

Arlo: It’s something that has always been there, for as long as I can remember to be honest, but I never thought about it as sustainability until I was a little bit older. Thrifting was part of what I did when I hung out with my friends; going to kilo sales, buying second hand records, having older cousins’ clothes passed down to me and wearing my mum’s jewellery. 

To me, sustainability is caring about the planet as well as looking cool, it’s making choices that bring those two things together. I think celebrating moments like Earth Day and joining this campaign with Depop can help open up these conversations with more people and bring more attention to it.

Is there such a thing as truly sustainable fashion?   

My favourite thing about fashion in general is that it’s playful. Some days I do get dressed purely based on comfort and some days I’ll want to experiment more with colours, textures, patterns – it’s just fluid and it’s fun. 

There are definitely ways to enjoy fashion that can be more sustainable than always buying brand new things; like thrifting and giving secondhand pieces another life. You can also use platforms such as Depop to resell clothes after you’re done with them to someone else.

Depop is a go-to for unique and vintage finds

When I was a kid I would wear this denim jacket I found at a secondhand store in Hackney, I covered it with patches and it felt like my armour 

Investment pieces vs fast fashion: how do you get people to care?   

If you’re investing in something, you’re much more likely to really have thought about and care about it a lot. But I don’t think investment has to always mean expensive, you can be really invested in pieces with a history and story behind them. Those things are so much more meaningful to me – I love wearing my Grandmother’s earrings that she made and then passed on to me. 

When I was a kid, I would wear this denim jacket I found at a secondhand store in Hackney, I covered it with patches and it felt like my armour. There’s also that aspect of individuality and having something that no one else will have – if you wear and shop secondhand or vintage – which is so nice.

Who is your favourite sustainability influencer? And why?

I really like Jenny from @wearilive. She showcases her thrifted finds, creative ways of dyeing items at home and suggests brands that are eco-friendly. If you have a platform and a voice and an ability to reach people I think you should use it. It doesn’t have to be preachy, it could just talking about a Depop store you love, or a way of upcycling a shirt – just sharing something you believe in is really helpful in changing people’s mindsets when it comes to sustainability. 

Head to Depop to find pre-loved, upcycled and vintage treasures

I really believe in the power of conversations – it’s so important to try and make changes within your direct community and circle

What changes would you like to see happen in the fashion industry?

I think it would be more honest conversations around fashion and the impact of industry in general. I really believe in the power of conversations – it’s so important to try and make changes within your direct community and circle and activate change there, not only on social media. Speak to your parents, your friends, ask questions and challenge people – that’s how change will really be brought about.

Arlo’s three tips for shopping on Depop      

1. Use the Depop filters for sizing, colours and budget – this really helps narrow the search and show products which are actually relevant to you.

2. You can like and follow, comment and save (and look at what other people have liked). If you interact with items or people with similar vibes to you, then Depop will keep showing you more things you will always like.

3. Message the seller before you buy, ask questions, you can always see more photos from a different angle or get the measurements if they haven’t listed them. You’re buying from a person that loves what they’re doing, so take advantage of that and chat to them!

      Sustainable Shopper edit by Arlo:

      • Dungarees at Depop

        Arlo Parks edit: Depop dungarees

        I love the intricate floral detailing on these dungarees and that nod to 90s raver culture.

        Shop dungarees from Qravers at Depop, £55

        BUY NOW

      • Bag at Depop

        Arlo Parks edit: Depop Prada bag

        This is perfect for festivals and club nights (when we can go safely) – I’m a big mini bag advocate and the understated black Prada look is exquisite.

        Shop Prada bag from Spirit London at Depop, £160

        BUY NOW

      • T-shirt at Depop

        Arlo Parks edit: Depop T-shirt

        Pink is my favourite colour and there’s something so bold and playful about the checkered print.

        Shop T-shirt from Qravers at Depop, £25

        BUY NOW

      • Blazer at Depop

        Arlo Parks edit: Depop blazer

        I’m a big fan of the oversized suit energy and the subtle skull and cross bones embroidery is very cool.

        Shop blazer from Joshua Samuels at Depop, £60

        BUY NOW

      • Jeans at Depop

        Arlo Parks edit: Depop jeans

        I love upcycled jeans! The multicoloured panelling adds something so unique.

        Shop jeans from Just Harry Designs at Depop, £115

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      • Jacket at Depop

        Arlo Parks edit: Depop jacket

        This jacket makes me think of summer and has these hints towards traditional African prints that add a lot of warmth.

        Shop jacket from Robes at Depop, £10

        BUY NOW

      • Bag at Depop

        Arlo Parks edit: Depop bag

        This matching purse and bag is so cute! The quilted design balanced with that familiar Nike logo is very chic.

        Shop bag from Pickle Me at Depop, £63

        BUY NOW

      • Sweater at Depop

        Arlo Parks edit: Depop sweater

        I’ve been very into sweaters recently and this is the perfect example of melding comfort and cool.

        Shop sweater from Robes at Depop, £12

        BUY NOW

      Images: courtesy of Depop/Arlo Parks

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