Sometimes, trusting your gut proves to be the hardest thing to do, especially when it comes to the crippling idea that in order to be happy you have to be successful. So, what happens when that gut we just mentioned is letting you know that your idea of success doesn’t align with your personal beliefs anymore? As time goes by, it’s only natural that a person should change their system of values according to how they’ve experienced the world. This happens over a long period of time, and then suddenly, it clicks — this is what I stand for, and what I believe in! And what I believe in now, does not fully align with the life and career I’ve built for myself. Although it might be a hard pill to swallow, and your brain is trying to make up excuses as to why your new values will not be compromised by your current lifestyle and career choices, you should not compromise when it comes to your mental well-being being affected by the wrong profession. Acknowledging where you need to make the necessary changes and taking baby steps in the right direction might be hard at first, but all your hard work will pay off and it will be amazing when you come out standing victorious on the other end.
This is exactly what Sophie Benson did, our latest Cool Face of Bastet Noir. Her strong stance on sustainability and consumer behavior has gained her a place in top online magazine publications such as Dazed and Refinery29, as well as The Independent and The Guardian. In this article, she explains how she changed her mentality, worked on herself, and was patient that the right path will find her, even when she thought there was no other path to begin with. If you’d like to find out more about how Sophie switched her career choices for the better, keep on reading!
Who is Sophie Benson?
I’m a freelance journalist, working with a focus on sustainable fashion, consumerism, and the environment. I write for publications including The Guardian, The Independent, Dazed, Raconteur, and Refinery29. Outside of work, I love to spend time on my allotment, at home relaxing with my cat, playing piano, and making things. I sew, crochet, weave, and I’ve recently developed a love for woodwork too.
What’s your morning routine like?
It looks pretty much the same every day! I get up, drink an oat milk latte (usually made by my boyfriend while I’m in bed), and have tofu and spinach on toast. I exercise, shower, and then head to my desk to work on whichever article, report, or interview is in my diary.
You are an avid spokeswoman for transparency and accountability in fashion, and your mission is one that resonates with us deeply. Was there a pivotal moment in your life when you decided to start educating yourself (and later on, others) on sustainable fashion and consumerism?
It was a slow build initially. I learnt a tiny amount about supply chains at university and did some research into sustainability and waste during my final year, but then it got somewhat forgotten. I always made an effort to shop vintage or second hand and because of that, I started to think about where new clothes came from and who was making them. I read books and watched documentaries and one day I just felt I could no longer justify buying fast fashion. I was also working as an e-commerce stylist on and off, so I made the decision to transition my career too, as it no longer lined up with my values.
Sustainability in fashion can get a bit overwhelming to research at first, as it is a very complicated topic with many interwoven layers to it. What advice would you give to people of all ages that want to start practicing a more sustainable lifestyle and reframe their consumer mindset?
Stay away from brand information at first. I was hoodwinked by various claims from fast fashion brands and it was only by reading independent reports and research by independent journalists that I really discovered the truth. Look to the people and organizations who do not profit from the cycle of overconsumption. I’d also add, just take it a bit at a time. You don’t have to be an expert immediately! I specialize in the subject and I certainly don’t profess to know everything. There’s always something to learn.
You’ve covered almost every topic under the sun when it comes to sustainability, but we have to ask — Has there been one article in particular that you were extra excited about, or that you were really proud of?
My favourite area to cover is consumer behaviour. I’m fascinated by consumer psychology and the insidious nature of marketing. A recent favourite was an article for Dazed on why fast fashion is still thriving when Gen Z were supposed to ‘kill’ it. There are so many factors involved and I love getting the chance to interview people and understand their motivations, or limitations. Some people just read the headline and got angry but I also got a lot of really positive feedback from people who felt they learned something from the article.
Three things you wish you knew before starting out?
Firstly, stick to your guns, it will pay off.
Secondly, understand why you’re the right person for the pitch before pitching it. Don’t just wildly throw ideas out!
Thirdly, don’t read the comments.
Biggest failure/setback in life, and what have you learned from it?
I spent years trying to build a career as a freelance stylist. I got some great opportunities and worked on some wonderful projects, but I also had to do some soul-destroying work and the whole thing made me exhausted and miserable. I was so sure that it was my dream job, and I’d worked so hard to achieve it, it was almost impossible to realise it wasn’t right for me. But after a difficult time making barely any money, I got the opportunity to move into writing and it was the best thing that could have happened for my career. If something doesn’t feel right, even if you’ve worked hard for it, sometimes you have to trust your gut and move on.
Books that changed your life
There are MANY but No Logo by Naomi Klein opened my eyes up to the creep (or march, I should probably say) of consumer capitalism and where it’s landed us. Reading that book was formative.
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