This series is presented in collaboration with Bead and Reel.
As the founder of of the ethical boutique Bead & Reel, a question I often hear is: what is sustainable fashion? The definition and focus can vary greatly from business to business and person to person. It can include everything from a focus on manufacturing to materials to how we use, reuse, and discard the things we buy. It can affect people, animals, and the environment, and each of these aspects can be viewed as the most important one, depending on your own values. I define sustainable fashion as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, and I was curious to hear how other women define and use sustainable fashion in their own lives.
I reached out to friends and followers on Bead & Reel’s social media and asked if anyone would like to joining me for a photoshoot and interview on this topic, and was overwhelmed with the positive response.
In Part One of this series, I spoke with seven vegan women about vegan fashion, which is just one aspect of the many categories that are included under the sustainable fashion umbrella. This week, I am sharing six women’s thought about other aspects of sustainability.
Each woman was offered a rack of sustainable fashion options from Bead & Reel (all vegan, all ethically produced, all made from earth-friendly textiles, and all from women-owned businesses) and asked, “Which aspect of ethical fashion is most important to you, and why?”
PART TWO – MEET SIX WOMEN TALKING ABOUT SUSTAINABLE FASHION
Aditi Mayer | Fine Art Photographer, Sustainable Fashion Blogger at ADIMAY
“I think the well being of humans, animals, and the environment are not mutually exclusive; each one of these entities rely on one another. However, looking at the current state of profit overshadowing ethics in the fashion industry, society has to collectively begin somewhere. For those unaware of the exploitation that occurs in the fast fashion industry, I’d say fair-trade fashion should be at the forefront of discussion, for it displays the exploitation of already marginalized communities: namely women and children from disadvantaged backgrounds, that become ideal targets for manipulation. I think the most active agent for change is utilizing the power of human narrative, and these stories make the current state of the fast fashion industry very real. Once this concern is ignited, I think conversations about the environment to animal rights naturally follow as one immerses themselves within the realm of ethical fashion.”
Breeda Wool | Performer, Writer, Actor, Director
“I love vintage clothing. Ever since I was a kid, finding a unique vintage piece ignites my imagination in such a fun way. I buy mostly vintage clothing now. I wonder sometimes if all the clothing stores were fair trade, eco-friendly, recycled etc. if I would frolic freely at new shops without a care. I probably would.
For me, nothing is more pleasurable than knowing something’s story, the whole story, and something like the truth. I seek this out as an artist, a human, and a consumer. Asking questions like: what is this? how did it come to be? where will it go after? what is its story? how is it interesting?”
Kathy Heil | Retired Social Worker
“Fair trade and made in the USA are most important to me. I feel it is very important for all workers to receive a living wage, to be employed in safe, sanitary environments and to be treated with respect and dignity. Because I worked with lower income families during my social work career, I also support products made in the USA. I feel like using my money towards my wardrobe is also supporting a greater good. I have learned that you get what you pay for. If I am going to pay money for longer lasting clothing, I can look for quality materials made under good working conditions.”
Jane Park Smith | Actress, Charity Ambassador, Public Speaker, All-Around Artivist!
“Every choice has varying circumstances to balance and consider. However, among the options, given all things are equal, I do favor fair trade guidelines because it fosters a sense of dignity and often ownership to those who labor. The more we move forwards mindfulness about every form of life – plant, animal, or human in every aspect of interconnected living, the more blessed and better off we will all be.”
Havana Iman Thomas | Student
“There are many factories that are not comfortable environments for their employees and the most important aspect to me, is knowing that the clothes I’m wearing have been made by well treated individuals.
Wearing ethical fashion allows me to look good and feel good about myself. The clothes I wear aren’t negatively affecting anything.”