You know her as the skeptical wife of uber-environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr. on Discovery’s Living with Ed and the BiteSizeTV web series Our Green House. But did you know that Rachelle Carson-Begley is an ecoista in her own right—even taking her name from Rachel Carson of Silent Spring fame? The actress and TV personality is just one of 200-plus people who are taking part in the Shop Drop Challenge, which asks consumers to give up buying new clothes in favor of swapping or thrifting for 30 days, starting any day in January. (Bonus: Besides breaking the “fast fashion” cycle, participants are entered to win a $250 like-new consignment shopping spree from ThredUp.) We sat down with Carson-Begley to ask her about her shopping habits, her environmental motivations, and why she signed up for #ShopDrop2016.
Why are you taking on this challenge?
That’s easy. I need to save money, period. Five years ago, my husband and I embarked on building one of the most sustainable homes in Los Angeles, and in doing so I’ve had to cut back on my spending in other areas for sure. What I used to spend on clothes, I now spend on toilets and flooring!
I’ve been shopping in thrift and resale stores my whole life, so that part isn’t hard. I really appreciate the value of the clothes that I’m getting at a price I can afford. But not going to the after-Christmas sales because I was doing the challenge—that was difficult. But freeing, too!
“What I used to spend on clothes, I now spend on toilets and flooring!”
What’s your motivation for being an environmentalist?
I’ve always cared about the environment, but when I met my husband it took my interest to a whole other level. It was like eco–boot camp! The more I learned and understood what was happening, the more involved I became.
What was the last thing you bought?
I needed something to wear to a wedding and found a beautiful, high-end designer dress at a resale store in my neighborhood. My shoes came from the Discovery shop in Sherman Oaks. They’re Manolo Blahniks!
What’s the best thing you swapped with a friend?
I tend to just give my clothes away. I don’t think I’ve ever swapped. But what a great idea!
Your favorite thrift or consignment store?
“The more I learned and understood what was happening, the more involved I became.
What’s your favorite place to shop preloved—either brick and mortar or online?
I still prefer shopping in a store. I like to feel the material, try things on and see the items up close. But with budget restraints, it’s strictly resale. And that’s better for the environment, too!