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
Weitere Episoden von „Conscious Chatter with Kestrel Jenkins“
S05 Episode 260 | What are you latching onto? A special edition recap — highlighting what we learned on season 5 to take us intentionally into season 6
34:52Episode 260 is a special edition recap episode that highlights what we learned in season 5. This show is intended to help us gain perspective, so we can move more intentionally into season 6. “We need everybody pursuing intersectionality, environmentalism, sustainability — like, whatever you’re latching onto in terms of progress, latch onto it, but do it in a healthy way that’s manageable in the longterm.” -Diandra Marizet, ep 211 As I reflect on season 5, I would say there was a lot of GROWTH. Now, when I say growth, I’m doing my best to separate it from the capitalistic-driven mindset that surrounds us that aligns growth solely with economics and $$$. The growth I felt through season 5 was very contextual – it was about stepping back and truly understanding what is happening in fashion. The incredible guests that joined me through these episodes really challenged me to think beyond the fashion industry bubble, and to further understand how systems of oppression operate, how they impact the way fashion functions today, and how fashion in and of itself perpetuates these harmful systems through its origins and structure. Concluding Season 5 feels like an important step for me. It featured interviews with many guests that I admire deeply, and it really reminded me that if we don’t slow down to understand how far we’ve come, we can’t move forward with clarity and intention. The special episode weaves us through some of the highlights from the season – some of the quotes that made an impact on me, and that I continue to circle back to, in my continual quest to unveil and discover more about the intersections of fashion and sustainability. Quotes & links from the conversation: The Root: Decolonizing The Sustainable Fashion Agenda with Dominique Drakeford > “We need everybody pursuing intersectionality, environmentalism, sustainability — like, whatever you’re latching onto in terms of progress, latch onto it, but do it in a healthy way that’s manageable in the longterm.” -Diandra Marizet on episode 211 “I really push for the narrative of 'you are your own environmentalist' that includes Indigenous experiences, ancestral knowledge if you are Indigenous, cultural-based experiences for BIPOC individuals or just lived experiences that you've had that you don't resemble to environmentalism.” -Isaias Hernandez on episode 214 “Another thing that I love to always mention is to just not feel so lost in the consumerism part of sustainability, because that goes back to colonialism, that goes back to the mindset of capitalism where people think they have to purchase in order to be a part of something, and I always love to mention that we were brought to think that we were the problem because corporations didn’t want to take accountability for their mistakes, but in actuality, we are the solution.” -Reza Cristián on episode 213 “Angela Davis said in a recent conversation she had with Yara Shahidi that there’s a difference between having information and having knowledge … you can Google something and have information about avocado pits but you’re not suddenly the expert or the most knowledgeable on the subject — and I think people need to start to reflect on that and the differences there and really pay homage and give credit to and space to the actual experts and the actual folks who hold the knowledge and the understanding of these practices.” -Katie Pruett on episode 217 “Especially now, with things really coming to a tipping point of sorts, with so many different environmental and social issues — I think people still need to continue to have hope, because the main point of destructive or oppressive systems is for people to become weary and to become hopeless.” -Maya Penn on episode 218 “For me, disruption is about recognizing systems because you study them, and then committing in the perennial marathon effort to see where there’s room and a need for radical reimagining.” -Kimberly McGlonn on episode 219 “Fashion is in the business of creating culture — we are culture creators — that is an immense power that we have is the influence of creating communities in culture. And, the fact that we have an opportunity to shape what the next culture becomes is a tremendous privilege, yet unfortunately I constantly see that we are taking that privilege for granted — we are not using it to the best of its ability. And that is why now that I’m slowly building this brand, I want to make an impact toward the change this industry deserves.” -Selina Sanders on episode 222 “Really the biggest achievement of all to-date was making this sort of bold decision to pivot our business model to operate entirely direct-to-consumer, and I think really now — our values and our business model actually align.” -Maggie Hewitt on episode 223 “In sciences, and especially the environmental sciences, we think of everything as a system. Everything is interconnected and there are ramifications for every decision made, every act that’s taken, every resource used, and even social systems play into that — which is part of the reason why I loved the environmental sciences so much, because you see how this theory or this phenomena impacts people on a day-to-day, and then you can figure out — is this a balanced system or is this co-beneficial and things like that. And so, in my business, I look at it exactly the same way.” -Gina Stovall on episode 224 “We pride ourselves in providing tools, resources, highlighting thought leaders, sharing about changemakers and being a source for Indigenous perspective on society’s current events — and that is us providing our community with what’s needed to reclaim one’s culture, reclaim identity and reclaim Indigenous story through accurate representation.” -Chantel Keiko Ricks on episode 225 “So much of what we do is working with frontline organizers, so that they can tell their own stories — inviting them to come write for us, creating space so that they’re not just quoted in an article, but they’re writing the article. And I think that there’s sometimes hesitance to do that in the media industry, out of this sort of obsession with objectivity — I think is honestly what sometimes drives some of that. And we do that in a way that, we’re not here to necessarily push an agenda, but we’re here to give people space to tell their truth, tell their stories and to educate the public about the battles that many of these people are fighting.” -Yessenia Funes on episode 227 “In most of the societies, cloth is just, it’s essential, it’s considered something that contains the human spirit and it’s the layer next to the skin — you know, it has all those meanings. And cloth is essential from what you’re wound in the moment of birth to what you’re wound in at the grave.” -Catherine McKinley on episode 228 “Because engineering is often about innovation and about the future, we’re never told to study the past or even the current systems — it’s always about create, create, create more, innovate more and think about the future. But again, if we don’t take into account that context and that history, then we’re just going to perpetuate those same problems over and over again.” -Kiana Kazemi on episode 230 “I think the narrative of the sustainable fashion world when it first became trendy was that you had to be disciplined in your approach to sustainable fashion, and I think that sort of also paralleled the need to streamline your color. But, now that people are starting to realize that sustainable fashion doesn’t only mean shopping from curated capsule wardrobe brands — they’re also seeing that they can go thrifting, and find these really cool, fun textures and repurpose the stuff that they’re already wearing … it’s really cool to see that color and those textures playing out right now in sustainable fashion, because it feels in a way with all of this color, more inclusive.” -Kara Fabella on episode 232 “We’re gonna be really vocal with our platform to show people that we don’t need to be following these trends. I think trends is what has pushed this overconsumption in massive amounts. And there’s the misconception that trends are the only fun clothes you can use — like trendy clothes equal fun and sustainable clothes equal boring, which is absolutely not the case at all.” -Lottie Bertello on episode 234 “I’m trying to reclaim the word influence because I think the word is so special and so powerful. Like I said earlier — it’s such an honor to be able to influence others to do things. Like with all things with capitalism, it just takes it and commodifies it, but I think we can go back to the definition of what influence is, which is to have an effect on others, and I want to be a positive influence and a good influence to encourage others to think new ways and try new things and be encouraged and be empowered.” -Jazmine Rogers on episode 238 “Nowadays, sustainable or sustainability — it means different things to different people. To you, it might mean plastics and to me, it might mean human rights or circularity or carbon. You know — it’s so broad. I just think we need to move away from this broad brush approach to the subject and I guess, be more specific with which issues actually we’re trying to tackle.” -Lauren Bartley on episode 239 “The society in which we live in is very much a result of the rules of our society — in that, it is people who change the rules, who create them and can change them, I should say. And so, I think that was definitely my biggest takeaway, is like, nothing about this system that we live in right now is inevitable. You know, where women garment workers are exploited and we’re just trashing rivers and throwing up climate change-causing emissions into the air and creating this product that isn’t making us happy — that’s not an inevitability, it’s just the systems of rules that we create and have to change.” -Maxine Bédat on episode 240 “This is where I feel the creativity is lacking — because generally, when you’re making a product, your creativity is only bound and limited to what’s viable to commerce, to how you can sell that creativity, so therefore, you cannot be fully creative if it doesn’t sell, if it’s something that doesn’t make money.” -Akilah Stewart on episode 241 "It's about connection, connecting to everything you do and having an alternative way of looking at things. Whether it be a relationship with another being or another person or a relationship with the plants or a relationship with any aspect — anything that you interact with in the supply chain. So, when we talk about agriculture, it’s about the soil, it’s about ecosystems, it’s about the biodiversity, it’s about the animals. You know, it’s not just about *not* adding chemicals — it's about recreating something which we have destroyed for years and years and years." -Nishanth Chopra on episode 242 "Self care should be an everyday thing, and it almost should be an every moment thing — like every thing that you’re doing is with intention to support yourself, to preserve yourself, so that you can then continue to go on to live your life’s purpose, whatever that may be." -Julia Perez on episode 243 “I wanted to fill the gap of showing that you can consume less and it can actually be fun and it doesn’t have to be a sacrifice — which, like society has made it out that way — like we have to be in this constant search of more, when in fact, the opposite can actually be a very fruitful and rewarding endeavor.” -Alyssa Beltempo on episode 244 “I think no one’s really attempted to make fashion rental about the sharing economy, to make it about women sharing with each other. It’s always been seen more as a “oh, I want to wear designer clothing” or “oh, I want to wear something new” or “oh, I have a charity gala or a ball to go to”. It’s always been for those sort of reasons — it’s never really addressed the fact that we all have enough fashion in our existing wardrobes.” -Eshita Kabra-Davies on episode 245 “Fashion was never just about the garment or the clothes — I felt like it really is an ethos. Like fashion is about the restaurants you like to eat, the movies you like to watch, the museums you go to with your friends on the weekend, where you like to travel to on holiday. And creating this world of evolution, because as we get older, we change; we’re evolutional beings, and how our wardrobe is affected by that.” -Nia Thomas on episode 246 “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 Allaire on episode 247 “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 Magsino on episode 249 “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 Shehata on episode 250 “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 Diaz on episode 251 “Part of the sourcing is seeing what’s abundant out there and kind of designing around that.” -Sara Gourlay on episode 252 “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 Jochmans on episode 253 “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 Pettway on episode 255 “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 Kim-Parker on episode 256 “The people that are currently in the industry — they say diversity and inclusivity, they say sustainability but they don’t really know what it is, so for me — let me catch the kids when they’re younger, right? So that when they get into the industry, they’re not cultural appropriating, they are thinking about hiring diversity within their teams, they are thinking about, you know, what are some systems that I can put into place to make sure that this brand that I’m working for is ethical, has a corporate social responsibility, and is sustainable all at the same time.” -Farai Simoyi on episode 257 “We have to ask ourselves — on a planet where there is not endless resources, is this the attitude that we want to lead ourselves into the future on? If we are really approaching planetary limits, I think it’s actually time for us to maybe have some cultural shifts in how we view what is enough and what we should want out of life.” -Aja Barber on episode 258 “Our thirst for change is unquenchable — and the more that people feel like they have agency in that, is the more that degrowth becomes possible.” -Georgina Johnson on episode 259 “We have to be willing to discuss how the human experience is so much more nuanced than just — this is good, this is bad, and you gotta be on either side of the aisle or you’re wrong. It’s: we’re all human, we all need to do better, and the ways we’re gonna dismantle the system are by changing the way we approach consumption, being more mindful to reuse the things in our lives, but also being patient with ourselves as we slowly make that transition.” -Mikaela Clark on episode 235
S05 Episode 259 | Georgina Johnson's book "The Slow Grind" & the inevitability of degrowth in fashion
51:43In episode 259, Kestrel welcomes Georgina Johnson, London-based artist, curator and social thinker, to the show. Georgina is the founder of arts and curation platform The Laundry and the editor of The Slow Grind: Finding Our Way Back to Creative Balance. “Our thirst for change is unquenchable — and the more that people feel like they have agency in that, is the more that degrowth becomes possible.” -Georgina Conversations around degrowth are beginning to infiltrate the fashion space – but thus far, I have been pretty skeptical when I see it discussed in mainstream publications or by bigger brands, because it feels strangely familiar, like it’s quickly going to become the next *buzzword* the industry co-opts for marketing purposes. I discovered this week’s guest in a somewhat desperate Google attempt to uncover anything about fashion and degrowth with substance on the interwebs. In the article I found – “It’s Time For Brands To Engage With Degrowth” – Georgina writes that growth is taking a backseat to a pursuit of equity and balance, and I was instantly enthralled and wanted to learn more. Turns out, she is also the author of a beautiful new book called The Slow Grind. While the book explores ideas to help us find our way back to creative balance, through a multitude of lenses – something that really struck me was how it weaves mental health into the sustainability or regenerative narrative – something I rarely see directly linked. For example – the book reminds us to reflect on what we currently value in our society. We revere things like – speed, working all the time, doing jobs beyond our pay grade, and keeping our mental health a secret – so yeah, the aspects that we quote unquote value seem to be inevitably leading us down a path to eventual burnout … AKA a mandatory slow down. Centering an awareness of our current pace – this week’s guest reminds us that expanding our views on what a path to a better world looks like is key to lasting transformation. Quotes & links from the conversation: “It’s Time For Brands To Engage With Degrowth”, article Kestrel mentions that Georgina wrote for The Future Laboratory "Sometimes I really think like -- why do you need to grow so much? Why does there need to be 4 H&Ms on Oxford Street? Why? Why do there need to be multiple Zaras? This is one street. And there are multiples of one store on this one road. To me, it doesn't make sense. The growth agenda is really just rooted in greed, because you don't need to own everything.” -Georgina Order Georgina’s book The Slow Grind > The Slow Grind press > Follow Georgina on Instagram > Follow The Slow Grind on Instagram >
S05 Episode 258 | Aja Barber on how the *affordability* story is fueling a messed up narrative & why we need a culture shift
46:42In episode 258, Kestrel welcomes Aja Barber, a writer, stylist & consultant, to the show. Aja’s new book, Consumed - The Need For Collective Change: Colonialism, Climate Change & Consumerism is mandatory reading for anyone who wears clothes. “We have to ask ourselves — on a planet where there is not endless resources, is this the attitude that we want to lead ourselves into the future on? If we are really approaching planetary limits, I think it’s actually time for us to maybe have some cultural shifts in how we view what is enough and what we should want out of life.” -Aja In her new book, Aja writes: “Please stop referring to this system as affordable. The planet cannot afford the environmental costs, and neither can most of its inhabitants.” This is something I noticed woven across several chapters – the idea of *affordability* and the nuanced detriment that this sentiment can have on the overall fashion conversation. When we say affordability, who are we really thinking about? Probably primarily ourselves. What can I say, we do live in a very ME-oriented society. Are we thinking about who made our clothes? Are we thinking about the impact those clothes had on the environment in which they were made? Probably not. And while privilege is absolutely wound up into this – the idea that sustainable fashion must be *affordable* is just another way that we’re trying to cut and paste a better option into an already crappy system. We can’t just replace fast fashion with sustainable fashion, and move on. We can’t expect that to remedy the absolute mess that we are living in. As Aja says, WE NEED A CULTURE SHIFT. Quotes & links from the conversation: “What do we have to gain by being credited by all the things?” -Aja “I don’t read one news site only — I read a lot of different news sites. And I just think — you know, when we silo ourselves, obviously, we’re missing out.” -Aja “I think what people forget is that existing in a marginalized body and existing in a world that is ultimately a white supremacy that doesn’t like fat people, that doesn’t really care for Black people — there’s so many strikes against me. And when I am out there in the larger world, I have to deal with people who do not share my views on a lot of things, always. You can’t avoid that, and so people act like because you have boundaries on social media, that you just want to live in an echo chamber, while not realizing that people like me don’t actually get the right to ever live in an echo chamber. You don’t get to pick your coworkers, you don’t get to pick your family, and you don’t get to pick your classmates, but you do get to pick your friends and you get to pick your online spaces, so, I’m gonna make online spaces as boundaried as I possibly can, because for every other space that I exist in, I’m gonna run up against some stuff that quite frankly I’m tired of.” -Aja “The one thing we all can do is SLOW DOWN.” -Aja Order Aja’s book Consumed > Follow Aja on Instagram >
S05 Episode 257 | Farai Simoyi of The Narativ on the need for safe spaces where global designers can be seen, valued, and heard & educating the next generation of fashion's leaders
52:50In episode 257, Kestrel welcomes fashion entrepreneur, Farai Simoyi, to the show. Having designed and consulted for many notable names — including Beyonce, Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake — you may also recognize Farai from Netflix’s “Next In Fashion”. Since that appearance, she has continued to promote her design work while elevating global artisans and designers through her company, The Narativ House. “Fashion is going in a space where it’s like — how does it feel? I think fashion is going into more of a feeling space. Like does this feel good? Yes or no? Does this design make sense? Am I just creating to create or am I creating with a purpose?” -Farai This week’s guest is a designer, an educator, an entrepreneur … and you may recognize her from Netflix’s “Next In Fashion”. When she spoke up on stage during the judging of episode 4, AKA the streetwear competition, it resonated far and wide. So a little backstory: her partner in the competition, Kiki, helped launch FUBU’s womenswear line in the ‘90s, so they were instrumental in the history of streetwear. Farai and Kiki were criticized pretty harshly on this episode by the judges, but guest judge Kerby of Pyer Moss stood up for them and wouldn’t agree to vote them off the show. In the end, the judges didn’t send anyone home after the streetwear competition, but then, the following week, they were sent home in the lingerie challenge. For those who haven’t seen it — this is what Farai said on stage: “The thing that I’ve noticed in the fashion industry — it’s mostly one voice that’s heard. The high end brands and designers are taking ideas from us every single day.” And mic drop. These words were heard far and wide, and as many young people told Farai, they finally felt SEEN and HEARD. That continues to inspire Farai’s work today — as an educator and through her brand, The Narativ. Quotes & links from the conversation: “Once people saw the show, it blew up — my DMs were flooded with young people who were crying saying — ‘Farai, I feel the same way right now, but I don’t know how to be seen; nobody sees me’.’ -Farai “Go where you’re celebrated.” -Farai “If you’re gonna use me, I’m gonna use you too. If you wanna blast my face on this because it’s making your company look good — how can I use that to leverage myself at the same time … it’s hard to decipher who’s being real and who’s not, but if the opportunity presents itself, yeah I’m gonna use it — to leverage myself so that I can also leverage my COMMUNITY.” -Farai Conscious Chatter episode with Akilah Stewart that Kestrel mentions — listen here > “I’m really big about human-centered design, and how objects or items feel on your body or in your space, and I just always have felt good having things from home to fill my house, as opposed to going to IKEA or Crate and Barrel to fill my house.” -Farai “I think handmade items travel more — they travel amongst friends, amongst family members, amongst households, and they continue to have a good connection.” -Farai Conscious Chatter episode with Julia Perez that Kestrel mentions — listen here > Dr. Dawnn Karen, fashion psychologist that Farai mentions Fashion Design Program Director at Thomas Jefferson University “The people that are currently in the industry — they say diversity and inclusivity, they say sustainability but they don’t really know what it is, so for me — let me catch the kids when they’re younger, right? So that when they get into the industry, they’re not cultural appropriating, they are thinking about hiring diversity within their teams, they are thinking about, you know, what are some systems that I can put into place to make sure that this brand that I’m working for is ethical, has a corporate social responsibility, and is sustainable all at the same time.” -Farai “I want them to create voices for themselves.” -Farai "Don't be afraid to go for it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, because there’s beauty in all that. Some of the best creations and innovations in the world came from somebody’s mistake. Don’t worry about doing things right or doing things a certain way.” -Farai “You learn more from your failures than you do from your successes … sometimes when you learn, you fail forward.” -Farai The Narativ Website > Follow Farai on Instagram > Follow The Narativ on Instagram > This week's episode is brought to you by Wisdom, a new Black-owned app that’s being called a mix between Clubhouse and MasterClass. It's a space to chat with experts and listen to live or playback recordings. Join me for a little hang session on their platform on Friday, December 10th at 10am PST. You can find me by searching my username @CONSCIOUSCHATTER :)
S05 Episode 256 | Shilla Kim-Parker of Thrilling on the digitization of secondhand & supporting small business
35:52In 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 >
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
1:13:06In 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 >
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
1:06:05In 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 >
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
42:27In 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 >
S05 Episode 252 | Frankie Collective on reimagining supply chains for *upcycling* & embracing sustainability and streetwear through reworked design
33:25In 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
S05 Episode 251 | CiscoSews on the freedom in nonbinary design & experimentations with upcycling
42:29In 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.