My Grandma was extremely elegant and highly educated women – if you look at Gabriel Coco Chanel's photos from 50's – I can tell you, my grandma Zoe looked exactly the same (but she didn't smoke and was a lot nicer and kinder person!).
She lived in Soviet Union most of her life – country famous for Ballet, literature and space ships, but unfortunately with lack of necessary everyday products like toothpaste, underwear and households items. And when I thought back to my early childhood years recently, I have realized, that my grandma had quite sustainable lifestyle.
Even she was born in remote village close to Kostroma, she and her sisters have natural sense of style and good eye for details. Plain colours, minimalistic and clean cuts, good fit of clothing and elegant accessories made her look like she is getting her clothing from abroad and very often she was asked if she is an actress. In fact all her wardrobe was “made in USSR” mass production clothing with couple made to measure statement pieces that she had worn for decades (great rule to create excellent basic wardrobe for decent $$. Have you read my post about it? Here is the link Cost Per Wear (CPW) or To buy or not to buy, that is a question – OSSOM AUSTRALIA
Yes, at that time all clothing was worn numerous times, if it didn't fit one family member – then it would be remade into something else for younger generation. My grandfather's shirt worn for couple of years then became my mothers top, then in couple more years it would become cloth for cleaning (all the buttons, hooks and embellishment was always carefully removed from the garments and stored in metal jar from the Danish cookies – I still remember gorgeous print on it!) Does it remind you of something? Yes, you are exactly right, its Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – triple R's of sustainability!
We used to store jars and different size tins to reuse them for storage of miscellaneous goods. As era of plastic bags started in Soviet Union quite late in comparison with other world, my grandma used to treat big plastic bags as a masterpieces from famous artist (actually a lot of them had some famous paintings printed on - Mona Lisa was one of my fav!) – washing and drying them to reuse them till they are completely worn out. She would be really disappointed to know, that nowadays about one trillion single-use plastic bags are used annually across the globe. That’s nearly 2 million every minute, scary, isn't it? www.earthday.org/fact-sheet-how-much-disposable-plastic-we-use/
Having our country house ( “dacha” in Russian) – was the way to have homegrown fruits and veggies in summer which were carefully cured and canned to provide us vitamins during winter time. Nothing was wasted, we had most unforgettable recipes to use everything what was growing. I still cant forget when my mom found a recipe how to make jam from zucchini, we all refused even to try it! Deficit time accustom my family to appreciate and care about things they had by reusing them, fixing and mending them, repurposing them to prolonged lifespan of each item. In the end I can say that my Grandma taught me basics of Sustainability and even now we live in era of consumerism and shopping with no limits (except money), I use this principles in my everyday life 'cause they help me to save Planet!
Writing this post and going through my grandma's photos made me so thankful for everything she gave me, she was always and will be a role model for me, thank you for letting me share this story with you!