Five lessons I learned last year

I learned an awful lot this year and yes, I’ve been really quiet. As a business, a blogger, a maker and ethical fashion activist; I had a lot to think about and decided that 2019 was all about learning and more importantly, growing.

I can’t wait to share all of my plans, hopes and projects with you all in 2020 but I thought you might want to know what 2019 taught me, the cheeky face behind Nn, ahead of a very big year. 

  1. Be accountable, but celebrate your successes too.

Yes, people will try and catch you out sometimes. They’ll try to challenge your beliefs and that’s because you stand for something. When we stand up for something with any kind of vehemency, people can put you as the poster child for the cause. In some ways that can be a good thing, as it helps us continue even when it’s hard but, it also means you might fall short of the standard set out for you by others. 

It’s ok to make mistakes on your journey to a more ethical and eco-friendly life, in particular with your fashion choices. Loving your clothes means loving the fast fashion that is already hanging in your wardrobe. 

Who cares what the label says, embrace the choices that led you to try and be more ethical. Love your clothes and the rest will follow. 

  1. Collaboration can change the world.

Not an earth-shattering truth, but one that continues to surprise as I had the INCREDIBLE privilege of creating a podcast, Eco Worriers Club, with some seriously amazing ladies. 

Gemma, Sophie and Miss K have been a source of constant inspiration, encouragement and a healthy source of challenge when I needed it most.  As a team, we have a louder voice to shout about change and we’ve really been shouting, albeit through a mic. 

So, network, chat, scroll and find other wonderful humans using their voices for good. Making changes together is much easier and effective. 

Trust me, having an eco tribe is life-changing. 

  1. Greta Thunberg rocks.

We all know Greta is a hero but what’s really incredible, is the impact and subsequent wave of activism that’s inspired young people all around the world. The wheels of government and the pace of policymakers can be disheartening and slow; seeing under 18’s rallying and reacting to change is an amazing and uplifting contrast.

It’s inspired me and I can’t wait to try some new things to try and shake-up the way that Scotland and the rest of the world do things. I think we could all stand to be a bit more like the young activists, uni societies and all the rebel groups rising out of Greta’s hard work.

Keep your eyes peeled on the page to see more in 2020.

  1. Conversations are the single biggest game-changer.

As my wonderful friend Gemma, founder of A Helping Handprint, once told me, one to one conversations are the most effective way to inspire change in someone.

She was right. Although you’re reading this online and may (hopefully) be inspired to change something; the real inspiration is always the first genuine conversation about sustainability that you ever have.

The key is, to be honest. Yes, I totally do miss that new outfit feeling and yes I definitely failed the first time I tried to change. We find it easier to accept change when the goalposts for getting it right are not perfection. 

I remember the first time I was told about labour ethics in the fashion industry, I remember how it changed my life. I also remember how amazing it felt when someone told me that what I’d told them, years later, had changed the way they looked at fashion. 

We’re storytellers, we love a narrative and we love to connect with others. It makes sense that the changes we stick to are the ones that made the biggest impression on us in person. 

Plus, what would Greta do? 

  1. We need to be louder, every single year.

For such a big statement, I’m going to keep fairly concise with this one. It’s not stopping, changing minds and policies still feels hard but more people are listening now. We need to get louder and I hope you enjoy making a little bit more noise with Nn in 2020. 

In the meantime, feel free to scream and shout (within the confines of the law)  at all the people who urgently need to change their big companies, alarming policies and shameful practices. 

Whether that’s by boycotting their brand or writing a letter to your MP.

 Change starts with you, so feel free to shout a little louder.

Amy Macrae

Founder of Nn, podcast producer and fashion doodler extraordinaire.

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