In episode 244, Kestrel welcomes Alyssa Beltempo, a Canadian slow fashion expert and stylist, to the show. Through her YouTube channel with over 144K subscribers to her Instagram and website, Alyssa is dedicated to reminding us that there is a power in advocating for creativity over consumption.
"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
The idea for this conversation was actually sparked when Alyssa reached out to Kestrel, after listening to episode 241 with Akilah Stewart of FATRA. In that chat, there was a lot of discussion about creativity, and Alyssa said she loved how Akilah highlighted that everyone can be creative, and that resonated a lot with her own approach to styling.
So, thanks to Akilah for inspiring the seeds for this episode!
We explore more on the power that creativity holds, when we are thinking about how to get beyond the rhetoric of consuming less, shopping your own closet when you can, how the narrative is finally shifting away from putting *all* of the responsibility on the shopper to address fashion’s messes, and more.
Quotes & links from the conversation:
“Using less and being creative with what you have — this is not a new concept. Maybe I’m presenting it in a different way, but being more sustainable in your mindset is rooted in the way of life for poor and marginalized communities. My immigrant grandparents were reusing and being creative because that was what was available to them.” -Alyssa
“It’s almost like we need to be a bit more materialistic in a sense — like we need to love what we have — when you love what you have, you tend to want less.” -Alyssa
Power Of My People, brand that makes linen shirt Alyssa mentions
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.
Altri episodi di "Conscious Chatter with Kestrel Jenkins"
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.
S05 Episode 250 | Natalie Shehata on why *diversity* is tokenistic and advocating for holistic inclusion
1:04:16In 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.
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
1:02:03In 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.
S05 Episode 248 | Ocean Rose on botanical dyeing, sustainability as a collection of idiosyncrasies & the art of slowing down
51:31In 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.
S05 Episode 247 | Christian Allaire of Vogue on the deep meaning behind Indigenous ribbon work & fashion as a means to reclaim culture
42:48In 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
S05 Episode 246 | Nia Thomas on building an autobiographical brand & breaking up with plug and play approaches to doing fashion
50:35In episode 246, Kestrel welcomes Nia Thomas, the founder and designer of her eponymous label, to the show. An ethically made, independent autobiographical fashion brand, Nia Thomas was created for all beings who respect Mother Earth and all of her inhabitants. “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 If you’ve taken any fashion businesses courses, or if you’re tapped into the marketing space, I would imagine that you’ve heard the idea that we need to focus on one thing and do it well. Or maybe you’ve heard about the importance of honing in on a hyper specific quote unquote demographic, to ensure you’re actually entering the market in the *right* way? This week’s guest is totally resisting all of the above business ideals in the most beautiful way. From her eclectic and you could say unexpected product offering, to making styles for many bodies, Nia Thomas describes her label as an “autobiographical brand”. On the show, she shares more on how she allows her own evolution to consistently influence her brand — giving space for Nia Thomas to continue to transition into new stages, that are reflective of her own growth as a human. Quotes & links from the conversation: “I feel the word sustainability itself means everything and nothing at the same time — because it’s really hard to verify things.” -Nia Nia Thomas interview on Melanin & Sustainable Style “Am I a fashion designer or am I a multitasking problem solver because that’s the bulk of what it takes when you’re doing all the parts.” -Nia The Responsible Company by Yvon Choinard, book Kestrel mentions Nia Thomas YouTube > Follow Nia 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
S05 Episode 245 | Eshita Kabra-Davies of By Rotation on fashion rental, making the sharing economy personal & challenging the pressure of *newness*
33:45In episode 245, Kestrel welcomes Eshita Kabra-Davies, the CEO and founder of By Rotation, to the show. A UK-based social fashion rental app and platform, By Rotation is dedicated to transforming the way we consume fashion. “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 Have you heard the recent discussion about how the rental market could have a worse impact on the planet than just throwing your clothes in the trash? It’s been circulating around across the mainstream media after a new study was released in the journal - Environmental Research Letters. First of all — research within the fashion space is so important and necessary and needed. We are lacking in accumulated data as an industry, so it is always exciting to learn about new studies and the way they go about putting their findings together. At the same time, when it comes to research, there are going to be biases involved, every detail cannot be accounted for, and there will be some assumptions made. It’s complex, yet important to continue to question and explore the nuance with the arrival of new data and new framings of analytics. When it comes to reports like this, it’s very important to hear from individuals on different sides of the results and to listen to multiple perspectives. On this week’s show, we talk with Eshita — the founder and CEO of By Rotation — on how they are working to make the sharing economy personal. For By Rotation, fashion rental is not another sales avenue to sell hundreds of dresses (to the rental company instead of the consumer) — it’s instead an opportunity to allow us to use / rent what we already have in our own closets. Quotes & links from the conversation: “People are feeling pressure to always update their look, you know, always have something new happening in their lives — whether it’s going to the newest restaurant or wearing the latest handbag or whatever — there’s this pressure to always show new things. And I thought it would be so interesting if we could create a sharing economy around fashion, because fashion, turns out, is one of the most polluting industries in the world. It overtakes maritime and aviation industries combined — which is shocking because you would think that traveling and taking airplanes is the biggest contributor, but actually, it’s what we wear every day.” -Eshita “Innovative recycling or extended use? Comparing the global warming potential of different ownership and end-of-life scenarios for textiles” -study by Environmental Research Letters Follow Eshita on Instagram > Follow By Rotation 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