Conscious Chatter with Kestrel Jenkins podcast

Conscious Chatter with Kestrel Jenkins

Kestrel Jenkins

An inclusive audio space, Conscious Chatter opens the door to conversations about our clothing + the layers of stories, meaning and potential impact connected to what we wear. Hosted by Kestrel Jenkins, Conscious Chatter reimagines the narrative around sustainability, explores the importance of resourcefulness, questions conscious consumerism, and works to deconstruct how oppressive systems impact the sustainable fashion space.

258 Episoden

  • Conscious Chatter with Kestrel Jenkins podcast

    S05 Episode 256 | Shilla Kim-Parker of Thrilling on the digitization of secondhand & supporting small business

    35:52

    In episode 256, Kestrel welcomes Shilla Kim-Parker, the co-founder and CEO of Thrilling, to the show. The first dedicated online marketplace for secondhand and vintage stores across the U.S., Thrilling has already helped digitize more than 600 stories across the country. “We put a lot of thought into — how do we present vintage and secondhand, because I don’t want secondhand to be thought of as a lesser, marginalized shopping experience. The goal is to get everyone in the habit of shopping secondhand and vintage, and I really believe you can’t force people to like spinach — you have to make it delightful.” -Shilla So, we’ve definitely touched on this in the past, but when it comes to the secondhand market — there is no doubt that the sector is going through a GROWTH SPURT.  According to ThredUp’s 2021 Resale Report, the $36 billion secondhand market is projected to double in the next 5 years, reaching $77 billion, while the fast fashion market share is expected to stay relatively flat. As you may have seen, many brands are now building an in-house secondhand arm into their businesses, as everyone seems to be trying to find a way to capitalize on some of this explosive market. Is this helpful or is it just another way for bigger brands to make another buck off of us? There are a lot of hands reaching in to try to grab a piece of this secondhand pie. This week’s guest isn’t solely looking at secondhand as a *profit opportunity* — as an advocate for small business, she’s very intentional about how secondhand is presented, because she doesn’t want it to be thought of as a lesser, marginalized shopping experience.  Her platform has already helped digitize over 600 thrift stores across the U.S. — 95% of them being women and/or Black and Indigenous People Of Color - owned. As she shares, vintage and secondhand can be exciting not just to the vintage shopper, but to every shopper. Quotes & links from the conversation: “There are more of these stores across the U.S. than Starbucks and McDonald’s combined, easy. And they collectively have billions of already hand picked, curated inventory. Each store has thousands of individual items. And getting them online for a store owner who is usually the sole proprietor, they’re usually the sole bread winner of their household. You know, the store owners that we work with are 95% women, People of Color. They’re the janitor, they’re the accountant, they’re the customer service, they’re the sourcer for the stores, they’re already juggling so much, they don’t feel like they have a lot of time.” -Shilla (15:28) “We want to offer products that are going to last for decades and for generations and that are well made, and those are the values that we want to enforce and support as a company. And so, we have made that choice — that’s the kind of promise that we want with the products that we sell. On the other hand, I don’t shame anybody who feels that they need to shop some of these [fast fashion] brands, because sometimes, the people who are the most price-constrained, they are the best at taking care of their clothes for a long time.” -Shilla (29:00) Thrilling’s Website > Follow Thrilling on Instagram >
  • Conscious Chatter with Kestrel Jenkins podcast

    S05 Episode 255 | Gee's Bend Quilters: the original purveyors of sustainability & exploring the meaning of an equitable collaboration with Mary Margaret Pettway & Greg Lauren

    1:13:06

    In episode 255, Kestrel welcomes Mary Margaret Pettway, a fourth generation Gee’s Bend Quilter, and designer Greg Lauren, to the show. Mary Margaret and Greg have recently been part of a collaboration titled MOSAIC: Gee’s Bend & Greg Lauren. “Quilting and sewing gives you a freedom that is totally different. You got a sense of pride in what you wear, what you like — and if you make it, it’s all the better.” -Mary Margaret Gee’s Bend, Alabama is a rural community with deep historical roots connected to quilting. Emanating textile wisdom, the women of Gee’s Bend have created hundreds of masterpieces. This week’s conversation is the fruit of a unique partnership between Gee’s Bend’s quilters and designer Greg Lauren. Before we get into more of what this entails, I want to share some words by Jonathan Michael Square, the curatorial partner for this collaboration, from a piece called “Beloved Patches of Orange”. “The use of old clothing is a reminder of the resourcefulness and creativity of African Americans resulting from slavery. The genius of the Gee’s Bend quilters has had a transformative impact on how scholars and curators understand the diversity and complexity of African American creative expression and Black abstract expressionism borne out of the crucible of slavery. Within the fields of fiber and textile studies, the work of the Gee’s Bend quilters has been consistently referenced since the community started getting the attention that it deserved in the mid-20th century.   Ultimately, the collaboration between Gee’s Bend and Greg Lauren is a creative ping-pong match between a community of master needle workers and a purveyor of reworked American sportswear. Lauren, who is an artist first, uses his brand as a canvas to work out the complexity of American identity in the most radical ways. The collaboration is a conduit for shedding more light on this under acknowledged group of artists whose work is often relegated pejoratively to the realm of craft, despite sustained interest from scholars, curators, and collectors.” On the show, we explore more on what an equitable collaboration means to Mary Margaret and Greg Lauren, and how they’ve intentionally built a model that can be replicated by / with others in the future. Quotes & links from the conversation: “Preloved is very much a word down here — we don’t understand the term deadstock. There is no such thing. If it can hold together, it can be used in a quilt. If it doesn’t shred in your hand, it can be used in a quilt, you know. It just depends on the person and their personal taste for doing things. Like I said, we grew up — if your zipper tore, we fixed it. If you had a hole in your pocket, we mended it. If your pants were too short, we lengthened it. If they were too long, we hemmed them. If you had a hole in your knee, we took our time, found a really old pair that were no good anywhere else, and we took time and we patched them. So, sustainability down here is just basically a way of life.” -Mary Margaret (27:46) “Recycling and repurposing to me actually started with this idea that I used to speak about called recycling image. I wanted to change the way we saw clothing and wanted to change the way we saw archetypes and what those pieces of clothing meant.” -Greg (40:35) “Around 2018, I started to look more specifically at this idea of Americana — and I say that because I was exposed to the word Americana and all the visual references of Americana really as this, almost a stylistic symbol of something that was completely vague and half-told. And I had this creative idea of — well, so we’ll reinterpret quilts. I had never used quilts before, but quilts to me were something that were so symbolic of an idea of Americana, an idea of America. Usually, such a small part of the story was actually told. And that started to bother me, because I literally was guilty of exploring red and white quilts, blue and white quilts. I put that into Google and I just started seeing all these quilts that I had seen so often as representative of Americana … later in 2020, it was the first time there were some transformative conversations and deep dive into the history of some of our aesthetics, that I discovered Gee’s Bend. And I literally saw a few quilts — specifically a couple by Mary Lee Bendolph and Annie Mae Young … and what started with seeing the work clothes quilts that so many people may not — I certainly didn’t realize — were such a huge part of the history of Gee’s Bend quilters … And I thought — well, thank you very much to the history and legacy of Gee’s Bend, because without that, there’s no way any of us working today work with scraps and remnants, and we’re all so proud of our initiatives, but that doesn’t exist without the work that came before us. And while it’s great to now bring it now to the forefront of what we’re doing as creatives, we’ve gotta credit the story and embrace the legacy and history of it.” -Greg (41:55) “Mary Margaret said something very profound when we were together in Los Angels. She said that, you know, people have been taking from Gee’s Bend for a long, long time. That they come down, spend time together, buy a quilt, and then they’re never heard from again. And then, they go and sell it for so much more money somewhere down the road. And, we wanted to just create a different model where the women whose artwork is being celebrated and that is what these garments are made of — that they would have an opportunity to participate in the financial success of the project as well." -Greg (1:02:15) Jonathan Michael Square, curatorial partner for MOSAIC & author of "Beloved Patches Of Orange" MOSAIC: Gee’s Bend x Greg Lauren Nest x Gee’s Bend Souls Grown Deep Follow Gee’s Bend Quilters on Instagram > Follow Greg Lauren on Instagram >
  • Conscious Chatter with Kestrel Jenkins podcast

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    S05 Episode 254 | Johnathan Hayden on using a brand as an experiment, questioning ownership over one's trash & how augmented reality could impact sustainability in fashion

    1:06:05

    In episode 254, Kestrel welcomes Johnathan Hayden, is an independent designer, to the show. Focused on the intersections of fashion, technology and art, Johnathan is adamant about using his brand as an experiment to make fashion better. “There’s an unconscious collective change that needs to happen for people to sort of get it and you know, it can’t be so profit driven, but I do think that creativity is such a divine gift that lends itself to rethink, reimagine antiquated systems, so that design isn’t just about being beautiful — it really is about being better.” -Johnathan When it comes to building a more *sustainable* brand, I find a lot of discussions end up leading to the ways that designers or brands are working to resist the industry’s flows (or the typical ways that the system has been built to do business). And the challenges that come with that are ABUNDANT. It’s not as easy to use fabric that’s more challenging to source or it’s not as easy to make lower quantities to reduce waste or it’s not as easy to repurpose something as it is to start with a roll of fabric.  Basically, when brands are asking more questions about their supply chain, they end up headed down a sort of unexpected trail of more and more unknowns that require creative problem solving to move forward. And sometimes, those creative trails that brands forge (which seem like the right thing to do) are met with road blocks by others in the industry, who aren’t prepared to let go of ideas around *profit* and *ownership* that have permeated fashion for years. Johnathan has embraced those unknowns and that journey — he talks about his brand as an experiment, and he’s intentionally using it as a learning avenue to discover ways to improve on how fashion brands operate. We also explore some of the ways that technology and sustainability intersect, when it comes to augmented reality and NFTs. Quotes & links from the conversation: “His creation of versatile luxury ready-to-wear separates attracts the attention of fashion-loving women in STEM related careers. Intent to dress the modern intellect, he designs for those who navigate the world brain before body.” -on who Johnathan designs for Upcycling collaboration between John Galliano and Tomo Koizumi that Johnathan mentions “There are real issues that I don’t think are being talked about in the argument about sustainability that get into exclusivity of fabric ownership and culpability and responsibility from the brand or the manufacturer to manage their waste.” -Johnathan Viral TikTok by @thetrashwalker that Johnathan mentions, showing off slashed Coach bags BRAVE NEW CLOTHES: ANIMATING FASHION EXPERIENCES THROUGH AUGMENTED REALITY — Johnathan’s graduate project at SCAD “Immaterial gains: the NFT boom comes for fashion” by Whitney Bauck in Financial Times Follow Johnathan on Instagram > Follow Johnathan Hayden [the brand] on Instagram >
  • Conscious Chatter with Kestrel Jenkins podcast

    S05 Episode 253 | Advocating for the U.S. to appoint a fashion czar, what are The Green Guides and more on the intersections of politics & fashion

    42:27

    In episode 253, Kestrel welcomes Hilary Jochmans, the founder of consulting firm Politically In Fashion, to the show. Politically In Fashion & Hilary’s name have been popping up a lot in the fashion space, after she helped pen an official letter to President Biden, calling for him to appoint a fashion czar. “You think about all the different areas that touch fashion and fashion, in respect, it touches as well. You've got immigration, you've got trade, you've got tax issues, you've got water resource issues, you have sustainability issues, you have labor issues, you have a myriad of issues that are currently handled in Washington in a dozen different agencies. So, the idea of the fashion czar was to pull someone who could look at all these different spaces (sort of at the 30,000 foot level) and say — 'okay, here's where we need to have everyone come together'.” -Hilary Have you heard any of the chatter advocating for a fashion czar? And you may be asking - what in the world is a czar anyways? Throughout history, the U.S. government has appointed czars for various reasons — they have focused on the auto industry, drugs, energy, and beyond. A czar is basically someone senior in the administration who has a very defined role and mission and most importantly - someone who has the ear of the President.   Hilary helped pen a letter to President Biden earlier this year, requesting that his administration appoint a FASHION czar to help regulate fashion like other big sectors — and to help elevate the issues and needs of the fashion & retail industry directly to the President. This is just a glimpse of what we explore on the show. It’s all about the politics of fashion — from requesting a fashion czar to breaking down what The Green Guides mean, to unveiling more ways we can all get involved, this conversation is centered around deconstructing how policy intersects with fashion and sustainability. Quotes & links from the conversation: “President Biden, Appoint A Fashion Czar!” in Fast Company, the original article by Elizabeth Segran that sparked the idea to send a letter to President Biden “I think the days of just ignoring government and pretending that there’s not going to be regulation — I think those days are over.” -Hilary If you don’t know who your members of Congress are — go to congress.gov and type in your address, and they will pop up. In their last update (2012), The Green Guides DID NOT touch on sustainability and they DID NOT touch on organic and natural. “I think it’s important — even if we don’t define the word sustainability — that we put some sort of guardrails on the term, cause if you’re just throwing the term around — this is sustainable, that’s sustainable, and there’s nothing to back it up, it’s gonna lose all meaning.” -Hilary “Speaking of beauty and cosmetics, The Cosmetics Act has not been updated since 1934.” -Hilary “FTC’s Updated ‘Green Guides’ Could Clamp Down on Greenwashing” in WWD “The Politics Of Fashion” in Marie Claire “Allbirds, ThredUp, More Ask Biden to Appoint ‘Fashion Czar’” in WWD ““We Have The Power Of The Purse”: Why It’s Our Duty To Keep Up The Good Things Happening In Fashion” in Vogue Federal Advocacy Guide by Politically In Fashion Green Guides 101 by Politically In Fashion Politically In Fashion website > Follow Politically In Fashion on Instagram >
  • Conscious Chatter with Kestrel Jenkins podcast

    S05 Episode 252 | Frankie Collective on reimagining supply chains for *upcycling* & embracing sustainability and streetwear through reworked design

    33:25

    In episode 252, Kestrel welcomes Sara Gourlay, the Creative Director at Frankie Collective, to the show. A brand dedicated to innovating women’s streetwear, Frankie Collective is also setting a standard for sustainability in the fashion industry. “I guess we’re really just trying to disrupt the industry — there can be another way to do business, and that’s to consider the impact of garments on people and the planet. That’s the way it should be — from using conscious materials to ethical manufacturing processes to investing in community empowerment, our mission is just to be a part of that change toward better business in the fashion industry.” -Sara UPCYCLING. What comes to mind when you hear that word? I think there are some stereotypes still lingering, that may not totally live up to the exceptional upcycling work that’s happening in fashion. As this week’s guest points out - upcycling is just simply the process of taking something old and turning it into something new. Of which, of course, is NOT something new, and has been happening for ages in different capacities.  But on a business scale, I’m always curious how brands can make upcycling *work*. When we think about a fashion supply chain, so much of today’s systems have been based around optimization, efficiency, speed, and cost reduction. Reworking products that already exist does not necessarily *help* a company achieve those goals, the ones most fashion brands are striving for. From sourcing to cutting to sewing to even product listing - the struggle is real when you’re reconstructing garments, BUT some brands are making it all work and they are making it look beyond cool in the process. This week’s guest shares more on the challenges and creative ways they are navigating this space, and how by altering an existing garment, they strive to add value to extend products’ lifecycles. Quotes & links from the conversation: “Part of the sourcing is seeing what’s abundant out there and kind of designing around that.” -Sara “Cutting a single rework garment, it can take us up to an hour and a half for one piece, so I think that’s something people don’t really know about — just how much work goes into the bundling and cutting stage, before it’s even sewn.” -Sara Frankie Collective website > Follow Sara on Instagram > Follow Frankie Collective on Instagram > *correction — Sara mentioned that Frankie Collective was launched in 2017, but they initially launched in 2014
  • Conscious Chatter with Kestrel Jenkins podcast

    S05 Episode 251 | CiscoSews on the freedom in nonbinary design & experimentations with upcycling

    42:29

    In episode 251, Kestrel welcomes Francisco Diaz of CiscoSews to the show. An upcycling designer, Francisco created CiscoSews, a slow fashion sewing studio, to experiment with garment making. “There is just so much waste right now that we’re all seeing that we need to slow it down and reuse, and focus less on having the perfect brand new piece — that’s never going to happen.” -Francisco   On the show, we’re always searching for context and looking for definitions to help support the ideas we talk about. At the same time, the more I learn - and let’s be real - the more I UNLEARN from the binary-put-everything-inside-a-box culture around us, the more I realize that in many circumstances, we must welcome a myriad of definitions. One question we ask on this week’s show is — What does nonbinary fashion mean to you? I think we often fail to welcome that myriad I mentioned, when we think about nonbinary fashion. Nonbinary does not always mean androgynous. Nonbinary fashion can look feminine, masculine, neither or both. This week’s guest is all about living outside labels, and truly embracing what feels good to them, on the daily. They also happen to be a super creative slow fashion sewing genius. Throughout our chat, they share more on how ditching the fashion binary has opened up more avenues for creativity to flow, in their upcycling design process. Quotes & links from the conversation: “Just being open to different possibilities is really good for my creative process.” -Francisco “I think putting too many boundaries on myself — boundaries are definitely important and there’s a lot of them in sewing — but having as much of an open mind as you can with these different pieces will definitely help you out in the creative process.” -Francisco Friday Pattern Company “I think right now — what nonbinary fashion means to me is just dressing the way that I want to dress without worrying about how the fashion industry would label it or how the person that maybe created it would label it, and just focus more about how it feels on my body or how it aligns with how I want to express myself at the time. So, sort of living outside of any of the labels and just focusing on what feels great to me.” -Francisco “I think it frees my design process — I think it almost just opens more avenues for creativity to flow and it sort of stops the blocks of trying to fit into societal expectations of what people would wear.” -Francisco CiscoSews Website > Follow Francisco on Instagram > This week's episode is sponsored by Ana Luisa, the first direct-to-consumer jewelry brand to become carbon-neutral. If you’re interested in checking out Ana Luisa, you can use code CHATTER to get 10% off.
  • Conscious Chatter with Kestrel Jenkins podcast

    S05 Episode 250 | Natalie Shehata on why *diversity* is tokenistic and advocating for holistic inclusion

    1:04:16

    In episode 250, Kestrel welcomes Natalie Shehata, a stylist focused on sustainability, to the show. Natalie currently works as the Retail Trainer for The Social Outfit, a Sydney-based fashion label who provides employment and training to people from refugee and new migrant communities. “We have these brands, and we have people kind of saying — ok, I need to tick this box and I need to do this and I need to make sure that I have women of color in our photo shoots and our editorial campaigns, and I need to make sure x, y and z. And that to me is why diversity is tokenistic, because it’s not happening from the roots, it’s not happening from the foundation, it’s not happening from a system that was built by BIPOC and for BIPOC.” -Natalie In 2018, Natalie presented a speech at the Disposable Planet seminar for Eco Fashion Week Australia titled: “How the sustainable fashion space should focus on: representation, inclusivity and visibility.”  While this was written almost 3 years ago, it continues to resonate strongly today, and has proven to make a powerful influence on the fashion community in Australia, specifically. One aspect Natalie highlights in this speech is why diversity can be very tokenistic. The following part from that speech acknowledges some of the ideas we explore throughout this episode: “The communities most affected by our sustainable industry decisions are Black and Brown communities, yet they are not afforded the right to take part in the decision making process. It is the White privileged, resourced and elite groups who dictate the climate of fashion – now and for the future. When we’re referring to the current climate of sustainable fashion and bringing the topic of visibility to media, we’re faced with the over saturation at the moment of words like diversity - now is the time to acknowledge how powerful language is in communicating messages. I think we need to consider the fact that the term diversity in its very nature can be quite tokenistic.” Why *diversity* is tokenistic and retail training people from refugee & new migrant communities at The Social Outfit Quotes & links from the conversation: Tommie Magazine “How The Sustainable Fashion Space Should Focus on Representation, Visibility and Inclusivity” The Social Outfit, social enterprise Natalie works with Natalie’s Website (will be live soon) > Follow The Social Outfit on Instagram > Follow Natalie on Instagram > This week's episode is sponsored by Ana Luisa, the first direct-to-consumer jewelry brand to become carbon-neutral. If you’re interested in checking out Ana Luisa, you can use code CHATTER to get 10% off.
  • Conscious Chatter with Kestrel Jenkins podcast

    S05 Episode 249 | Isiah Magsino on fashion's current obsession with *genderless* and paying respect to queer & trans communities who have been stepping out of the binary forever

    1:02:03

    In episode 249, Kestrel welcomes Isiah Magsino, a writer based in New York City, to the show. With bylines in Vogue, GQ, W, Nylon, Architectural Digest, and more, Isiah is focused on writing about the beautiful things in life. “While it’s mainstream now, it’s important to recognize where it comes from, and the adversity that was faced from doing so back in the day. You know, we’re at a point where it’s a little more accepted, which is amazing, but before we go into marketing everything as genderless, I think it’s important to know the struggle that came from crossdressing or drag or even participating in genderless fashion to begin with.” -Isiah One of fashion’s newest words to embrace - when it comes to marketing jargon - is GENDERLESS.  As this week’s guest points out, the term genderless is currently en vogue - and it’s starting to sound like sustainability did a few months ago. Press releases that were framed around “sustainability this or sustainability that” are now shifting to language centered around genderless or gender fluid styles.  At first glance, fashion’s embrace of genderless clothing seems fantastic (as well as being something that should have happened ages and ages ago). But approaching genderless as a trend, not acknowledging the history of gender noncomforming dress and especially, not giving credit where credit is due — to queer and trans people who have been stepping out of the binary for hundreds of year, is where it gets super problematic.  This week’s guest recently wrote a piece for W Magazine that explores all of the above, through interviews with mostly trans women, in an effort to share more on the nuanced importance of truly dressing however the hell you want. We explore more on why we (and the industry) must pay their respects to the LGBTQ+ community, and some of the nuance connected to fashion’s most recent obsession with *genderless*. Quotes & links from the conversation: “For the LGBTQ+ Community, Fashion Has Always Been ‘Genderless’”, Isiah’s article for W Magazine that is explored in depth throughout the conversation Beyond The Binary by Alok Vaid-Menon, book & educator Kestrel mentions The Art Of Drag by Jake Hall, book Isiah recommends Isiah’s website > Follow Isiah on Instagram > This week's episode is sponsored by Ana Luisa, the first direct-to-consumer jewelry brand to become carbon-neutral. If you’re interested in checking out Ana Luisa, you can use code CHATTER to get 10% off.
  • Conscious Chatter with Kestrel Jenkins podcast

    S05 Episode 248 | Ocean Rose on botanical dyeing, sustainability as a collection of idiosyncrasies & the art of slowing down

    51:31

    In episode 248, Kestrel welcomes Ocean Rose, a Yoruba artist, to the show. Focused on botanical dye, community, photography, & poetry, Ocean weaves beauty, thoughtfulness and the art of slowing down into their work. “Sustainability’s more of a story of how — it’s probably the history of people and the things that we acquire over time. It’s all part of passing them on: cultural, familial, and ancestral idiosyncrasies. So yes and no — sustainability, it does have a meaning, but I think when we start to break down what it actually means, we can notice that it’s woven into more of our lives than we might realize.” -Ocean *Beauty* ends up being a recurring theme woven throughout this conversation with Ocean — and through this conversation, she reminds us of something very important. We live and interact within a capitalistic society, and the world tells us that we should monetize all of the things that we love. Which, case in point — this podcast is 100% a reflection of that. It is a project that over time, I have worked mindfully to develop into a business, in order to help fund this work that I love so deeply. In her whimsical, ethereal prose, Ocean notes that we should keep some things for ourselves — especially at certain moments throughout our lives, because creative avenues can help ground us, connect us to the land, to our inner child, and to ourselves.  Botanical dyeing started as that *thing* for Ocean, and it has evolved gradually and intentionally into something that now also provides monetary value.  We explore the deep meaning behind botanical dyeing, the need to reframe our respect for resources by seeing the beauty in what is often considered “waste”, and questions around scalability - something that always bubbles to the top in the sustainability and fashion space.   Quotes & links from the conversation: Ocean’s website > Ocean’s Ko-fi > Follow Ocean on Instagram > Follow Ocean on TikTok > This week's episode is sponsored by Ana Luisa, the first direct-to-consumer jewelry brand to become carbon-neutral. If you’re interested in checking out Ana Luisa, you can use code CHATTER to get 10% off.
  • Conscious Chatter with Kestrel Jenkins podcast

    S05 Episode 247 | Christian Allaire of Vogue on the deep meaning behind Indigenous ribbon work & fashion as a means to reclaim culture

    42:48

    In episode 247, Kestrel welcomes Christian Allaire, the Fashion and Style Writer at Vogue, to the show. Christian recently released his first book, titled The Power Of Style: How Fashion and Beauty Are Being Used To Reclaim Cultures. “I think of something like ribbon work in my culture — like every color of the ribbon means something, or maybe it represents someone in your life or like you said, intention is first and foremost. How it looks is important, but why it’s there is even more important. And so, I’m drawn to anyone who also approaches design that way.” -Christian As a fashion-obsessed teen, Christian grew up on the Nipissing First Nation reserve in Ontario, Canada, scouring magazines or movies for style inspiration. Years later, he realized that so much of his personal aesthetic and attraction to fashion and dressing was influenced by his own community - being Indigenous Ojibwe. From the colors to the garment making process to the deep meaning that can be embedded in clothing, his love of fashion was largely shaped in his early years, and continues to inform his writing today. One of the chapters of Christian’s new book — The Power Of Style: How Fashion and Beauty Are Being Used To Reclaim Cultures — is focused on “Sewing Tradition”, and he explores some of the history and meaning behind ribbon work, a tradition connected to his own family’s roots. Throughout the conversation, we touch a great deal on his experience having his own ribbon shirt made as an adult, and the layers of meaning literally built into that design. But in Christian’s new book, he also explores beyond his own heritage, highlighting and connecting with an array of communities who are all using fashion and beauty to reclaim their culture. Quotes & links from the conversation: “I really just kind of understood more so why cultural clothing or Indigenous design is so important to keep up — it's up to us to continue these traditions, because no one else will. And so, yes I got a beautiful shirt out of it, but I think it was about way more than that for me.” -Christian Jamie Okuma, Indigenous designer Christian mentions Mobilize, Indigenous designer Christian mentions Tania Larsson, Indigenous designer Christian mentions Warren Steven Scott, Indigenous designer Christian mentions Keri Ataumbi, Indigenous designer Christian mentions Korina Emmerich, Indigenous designer Christian mentions “5 Shoe Lovers on Where They Shop for Heels, and Why Wearing Them Is Empowering”, article by Christian for Vogue that is mentioned Christian’s book Power Of Style How Fashion and Beauty Are Being Used To Reclaim Cultures > Follow Christian on Instagram > This week's episode is brought to you by For Days — they call themselves the “first closed loop clothing brand” and are dedicated to building a better, waste-free future. If you’re interested in checking out For Days, you can use code CHATTER15 to get 15% off. Learn more and shop at For Days.com

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