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terumi styling a look on location.

secondhand styling with terumi murao

polaroid of terumi standing in front of a waterfall.


in honor of earth day we go behind the scenes for an upcoming editorial with sustainable stylist terumi murao.

what was your inspiration for this upcoming #fromthecloset shoot?

the inspiration was about integrating worlds that can seem so disparate.

i wanted to capture the edge where fashion meets nature in a congruous way, where the values behind the clothing are the same as the values of respecting nature and the cycle of life. the models are styled in secondhand pieces that will go on to exist in many other people’s closets too.

to me, earth day is about remembering that we are part of a beautiful ecosystem that gives us positive energy as long as we keep interacting with and respecting nature. there are many cases where fashion is antagonistic towards the environment, and i wanted this shoot to be an example of fashion and nature coexisting in harmony.

hopefully, these images will inspire people to reconnect with nature and mindfully carry along their interests in arts, fashion, technology, and modern living.


terumi seated in front of a waterfall.


how did you get started styling sustainably/second hand?

my mom used to have this “zoukin” box (japanese for rag / house-cloth) above the washing machine. i remember climbing onto the shelves and stealing old clothes and scraps from the box to make an outfit or use for an art project. i guess you could say that’s where it all began, age 5 in my parents’ house! my mother was already recycling the old clothes into cleaning rags, and i continued the cycle by giving them yet another life in “fashion.” the thought of throwing away objects that can be reused makes me sad, and i find a lot of joy in rediscovering the beauty of secondhand clothing.


terumi working on styling a second hand look from beacons in nature.


what have you learned by working this way?

styling secondhand takes more time and creative problem solving, no doubt. but because you spend more time and energy figuring out how to execute a specific vision with discarded pieces, you end up engaging more deeply with the concept and the elements. i’ve learned that styling secondhand forces me to understand a project in a much more profound and holistic way because you can’t just “paint by numbers” and pull whatever clothes are on the mood board.


photographer and stylist.

what was a surprising thing for you about working more sustainably?

going circular intrinsically feels good and rewarding. it’s beyond ethics and environment–it actually feels better to reuse items that would have otherwise gone to waste. it’s almost as if the energy you’ve prevented from being wasted gets transferred to you!


portrait of terumi in front of waterfall.



any tips for wardrobe refresh with ethics in mind?

shop secondhand, shop in your own closet, shop in your friends’ closets, shop at beacons ;p but besides acquiring a new (to you) piece, experimental layering and mix-matching of pieces that you wouldn’t usually pair is a great way to refresh your wardrobe and look. turn on some good tunes, do whatever you do to put yourself in fun mode, and try on new combinations in the mirror. you’ll likely get a bunch of fails, but you’ll also discover something weird that actually works and that you love!


full body look of terumi in front of waterfall.


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photos by aisha gunnell


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