“THANK YOU, NEXT” || SUSTAINABLE FASHION
BY: KATHRYN KNOX
February 10, 2020
“But radical transparency isn’t easy. Critics say that the most radical thing about Everlane is its marketing — a charge the company vigorously denies.”
– Sarah Kent, Business of Fashion Case Study: Lessons from Fashion’s Journey to Radical Transparency
Finally… it’s been said!!!!!
Brands can deny it all they want, but cheap clothing and actual sustainability go together like the Exxon Valdez spill and seagulls. Meaning… they don’t.
Yet by perpetuating the viability of fast fashion in the sustainable movement- both as a bandaid for the larger industry in free fall and also as a cure all for our earthly woes… the expectations of these brands should actually be even higher.
Therefore, we as both consumers and also those in the industry who support, promote and work with these brands need to be more than the surface value of what we wear… and start embracing, supporting, promoting and working with brands pursuing actual sustainability. Meaning… we should be saying “thank you, next” to disposable fashion.
Because now more than ever consumers are pulling back Oz’s Great Green Greenwashing Curtain… which makes it imperative that we promote sustainable fashion in a way that allows it to transform from a trend into an actual reality and not follow all the other fashion brands into their race to the bottom.
Power is in the hands of the consumer… therefore all that’s needed are the tools to succeed! Now, what do those tools actually look like? There are many, but as a wise turtle once said, slow and steady wins the race. So, let’s start with the basics…
(1) Buy Less… and from a former shop-a-holic… it’s actually easier than you think. However, don’t get me wrong because I still like to shop, I’m just not buying one-hit-wonders!
(2) Buy Better… no, a $20 tee isn’t going to last… nor was it made taking the environment, humans or anything else into consideration. So put it down. Seriously, back away and go check out Groceries Apparel or MATE the Label.
(3) Buy for Keeps… over the years I’ve forgotten about some of my favorite pieces in my closet. I think we’ve all been there. Right? Well, what’s “old” is now very new, and the best part is that I’m “hunting” for vintage without leaving my home!
In the end, if we are defined by what we do, remember that even the smallest of stones can create a gigantic ripple and we can all do #JustOneThing!
Photo by Cara Harmon for Cove Collective.
THE RIPPLE EFFECT || SUSTAINABLE FASHION
BY: KATHRYN KNOX
Originally written for and published by Model Behaviors May 13, 2015*
Life is speeding up, and with that, our demands are accelerating for newer, faster, and cheaper. We expect things yesterday, and that means corners have to be cut. What’s the effect of all this? Humans and the environment are suffering. Try as brands might, the current systems set in place establish the precedent that there is just no profitable way around it. These days though, while living in a global economy, the effects our daily ripples have are far greater now than even ten years ago.
We have stripped developing countries’ lands for textiles in supporting fast fashion and high street fashion retailers, and we’ve also perpetuated this idea that humans are as disposable as the fashions they make. The destruction is real, and the poverty level is worse. Nothing we have ever witnessed in America comes close, yet those disposable lives cannot afford to fight.
Non-living wages are better than no wages. So, essentially immobilized, it’s wrong for us to assume these garment workers can organize and fight for living wage increases, better working conditions, or even care about the environment like Americans can.
This acceleration in demand neither happened overnight, nor do I place blame entirely on corporations who make garments in unregulated countries. That would be the easy way out. No, as the consumer, our purchasing power is very real, and at the end of the day, we have asked, so they provided. However, by taking personal responsibility for our choices, and demanding better accountability and transparency across all platforms, we have the power to reduce this seemingly ever-expanding ripple.
As I mentioned previously in Clean Slate (see below), April was dedicated to bringing awareness to the plight of the earth (#EarthDay) and to fashion’s version of human slavery (#FashRev). For many though, it’s now May and those movements in April have been safely filed away for next year’s trending moment. But hold on, Earth Day isn’t supposed to just be about the hashtag or photo op.
Let’s talk about the Rana Plaza factory collapse that killed over 1,100 people (another 2,500 were injured) because this tragedy was 100 percent preventable. Yet, two years and almost 17,000 #WhoMadeMyClothes later, we’re still waiting on sweeping changes in the fashion industry. Shit, any sizable changes would be an improvement. These are major conversations and topics that deserve more than just a trending moment or a bunch of green washing.
So where does that leave us?
For me, the answer to that question is incorporating sustainable fashion and conscious consumerism into my daily life.
Though the idea of a complete style overhaul can be overwhelming and asking a lot, we can’t put a price on life—any life—because we can have our fashion cake and eat it too!
My personal sustainable and animal friendly journey has been an evolution fifteen years in the making, and I’m still learning something new every day. I’d like to challenge you this May to keep April’s Earth Day movement alive and well by asking you to believe again in quality over quantity and asking questions and showing compassion.
As a visual reminder, try the Conversations in Craft Sweatshirt** (pictured above) from Study New York.
All ripples originate somewhere. Let’s change the size of this one!
“Bleeding Hearts” art by James Goldcrown.
*the links in this article have been updated and edited from the original.
CLEAN SLATE || SUSTAINABLE FASHION
BY: KATHRYN KNOX
Originally written for and published by Model Behaviors April 2, 2015*
Sometimes you just need a fresh start—shedding the old, cleansing the pallet, reevaluating and changing direction. As spring begins, the season dedicated to life beginning anew, what better time than now to do this.
I mean, warmer weather, longer days, the sun shining brighter, animals and people seeming happier, the farmer’s-market overflowing with produce— everything sings of a new life! Everything!
It’s a time in nature where vibrant colors are popping up everywhere! Personally I’ve never met a color I didn’t like, and many times, I’m guilty of thinking the more the merrier. More recently though, I don’t think there’s anything fresher or more vibrant than shades of the non-color white.
Above are a handful of sustainable spring fashion looks from some of my favorite go-to brands. They’re simple and sophisticated, and transition perfectly into spring! Oh, and did I mention that these looks are all animal-friendly and sweatshop-free! Quality over quantity!
Now, some might question the environmental friendliness of this color choice because of the sheer amount of maintenance involved in keeping it crisp and clean. I don’t disagree, but with so many other things to worry about these days (mainly plastic), let’s not be overwhelmed by the words sustainable, animal-friendly, biodegradable, and plant-based. Instead, let’s look good while saving Mother Nature, and keep our whites well white! For those of us that limit and/or forgo environmentally friendly dry-cleaners, my go-tos for washing are Mrs Meyers and Seventh Generation’s detergents and Ecover’s non-chlorine bleach.
Happy Spring Shopping!
*this article, including links, designers and images, has been updated and edited from the original.
FRESH ORGANIC ALMOND MILK || PLANT-BASESD RECIPE
BY: KATHRYN KNOX
Originally written for and published by Model Behaviors March 30, 2015*
True health isn’t complicated, nature having provided everything we need to thrive. Yet these days we’re getting hung up on how much protein, calories, fat, sugar, or singular nutritional value make up this or that. Why? Who knows. However, we are the sum of all our parts, and nature designed food to be that way too!
Therefore, we need to shift our focus from processed foods to whole foods and also look at where our food was grown, how it was grown and most importantly, what kind of seeds whatever we’re eating sprouted from! Don’t worry, we’re not ones to think this transition of thought will happen overnight. Instead, let’s start with something easy.
Years ago, before they were available everywhere you turned, I was curious when my friend said he could make fresh nut milk at home. I mean, I wasn’t that into downing a glass of “regular” milk, and nuts… hmmmm. More importantly though, how long was this going to take?! Three minutes to be exact. And in that time, his fresh and frothy nut milks changed the game for me. Fast forward and I still prefer making these at home to anything I purchase!
My personal recipe for almond milk is below. You can also try cashews, walnuts, or any other nut really! Either way, I think nut milk is the perfect complement to my morning breakfast smoothies, or mashed potatoes or anything else I’m whipping up in my kitchen!
Try it and hope you enjoy!
ALMOND MILK RECIPE
2 handfuls of organic (raw) almonds*
4 ½ to 5 cups of filtered water
1 spoonful of coconut oil
dash of pink Himalayan sea salt
1 glass container with a seal-tight lid
1 organic vanilla bean pod (not extract)
3-4 pitted Medjool dates
few pinches of lemon zest shavings
ALMOND MILK INSTRUCTIONS
In your vitamix (or blender) pour in all above ingredients plus tbd the optional ones. Puree for about 2 minutes. Then, over a bowl, hold your nut milk bag and pour the nut milk mixture in. Twist, and holding the top of the bag together squeeze. Keep squeezing till the liquid has stopped coming out. Yes, you’ll feel like you’re milking a cow! Dump out the almond pulp in a separate bowl, rinse the bag and repeat. Then, once you’ve strained the milk, transfer it into a large glass container and voila, fresh almond milk read to enjoy!
*if you’re worried about almonds, you can substitute them with cashews, walnuts, Brazil nut… really any nuts will do.
**this article, including links and images, has been updated and edited from the original.
***while our personal favorite nut milk bag and containers are linked above, these are only suggestions as many others will do.
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