global garbs A SUSTAINABLE FASHION MAGAZINE Issue 3 | Spring/Summer 2021
GOING ZERO-WASTE FOR A YEAR
BUILDING A B-CORP BEAUTY BRAND With the Human Beauty Movement
BUILDING COMMUNITY IN SUSTAINABLE The Sustainable Fashion FASHION With Forum x Conscious Chatter
GLOBAL GARBS Editor-in-chief Lauren Tanaka-Fortune
In partnership with
Head Designer Marketing Contributors & Interviews
The Sustainable Fashion Forum & Conscious Chatter
Yasmin Momeni Melanie Kuo Jordan Clark Ash Castrol Jennifer Norman Rachel Kois Marisa Simoes Samantha Dong Aimee Cabakoff Maddie Whitney Bauck Kestrel Jenkins Brittany Sierra Julie Habelmann
Cover Photo by Photographer
SPRING / SUMMER 2021 - ISSUE 03
KRNACH MAYDI WASHED ASHORE The Human Beauty Movement Kathryna Hancock
GLOBAL GARBS Issue 3 | Spring /Summer 2021
TABLE OF CONTENTS 05
LIFESTYLE GIFTS FOR 08 HOUSEWARMING THE SUSTAINABLE SHOPPER
5 things to add to your beauty routine
EAT. DRINK. SHOP CONSCIOUSLY - LOS ANGELES EDITION
BUILDING A B CORP BEAUTY BRAND With the Human Beauty Movement
GOING ZERO WASTE FOR A YEAR By Rachel Kois of Simple Switch
WHY CORK FABRIC IS THE MOST SUSTAINABLE FIBER
THE FUTURE OF SUSTAINABLE FASHION IS SLOWING DOWN By Samantha Dong
INTERVIEWS FEATURED PARTNER: CREATING COMMUNITY IN SUSTAINABLE FASHION
With The Sustainable Fashion Forum x Conscious Chatter
WHITNEY BAUCK Sustainable Fashion Journalist
THE NEW INFLUENCERS
Sustainably Aimee and Maddie
BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE RESORT BRAND With Noble Sands
LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
It’s when we come together as a community that we can actually start creating bigger change which is ultimately everyone’s collective goal. The word community can mean so many different things depending on whom you ask. It can be as simple as a group of people living in the same area, or a feeling of fellowship with others. It can also mean sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals, which in my opinion is the best way to describe the sustainable fashion community. For our third issue of the magazine, we wanted the theme to focus on such an important part of the sustainable fashion movement, which is ultimately driven by the community. And who better to partner with
COVER PHOTO BY:
than two women creating such incredible
The Human Beauty Movement
communities: Brittany Sierra of The
Photographer: Kathryna Hancock
Sustainable Fashion Forum and Kestrel Jenkins of Conscious Chatter. Recognizing the need to continue these important conversations beyond their conference and podcast, these two leaders have now joined forces to create Group Chat, an online membership community for the consciously curious. While we as individuals are always striving to learn more about what we can do in terms of being a better consumer and shopping more sustainably, it’s when we come together as a community that we can actually start creating
Whether you’re a sustainable fashion brand owner, writer, activist, or consumer, our community is what brings us together. Community is a big part of Global Garbs’ mission as well. Our goal is to amplify those founders and voices who are doing their best to change this industry we all love. We know that we can do better together rather than individually and it’s through our community that we can collaborate, organize and ultimately take action.
bigger change which is ultimately everyone’s collective goal. Being in a community is what helps us learn and grow. It’s what helps us to understand different perspectives and dive deeper into topics that create curiosity and meaningful
Lauren Tanaka - Fortune
Global Garbs founder
SUSTAINABLE HOUSEWARMING GIFTS - THE ULTIMATE ROUNDUP So your friend or family member has just moved into a new home and it’s time to celebrate with them! This is a great opportunity to help them make the transition more enjoyable, and a wonderful way for you to show you care with a thoughtful gift. But gift giving can often be challenging, and there are so many options. Here’s a roundup of seven mindfully-curated, sustainable housewarming gifts that will make any host delighted to have you over.
NATURAL SOY WAX CANDLES
How about a beautiful, personalized return address stamp to go with the new address? These masterpieces are tailored to suit your typography, design, and size preferences. You can get the self-inking kind, or the vintage-looking maple wood kind that will need an additional ink pad. These are perfect for sending out customized ‘Thank You’ cards, Christmas greetings, or future invitations too.
Soy candles are all the rage these days, and for good reason. They produce negligible soot, they’re made of natural oils and not paraffin wax, and what’s even better - they burn for longer than their paraffin waxcounterparts. Candles are the easiest way to bring a sense of calm to a space. They can make you feel relaxed or energized, calm or upbeat; simply by their fragrance and essential oil infusion. Get a hold of some ultra chic, hand-poured, essential oil-fused soy candles to let your host know that you appreciate the finer things.
Buy it here!
Get them here!
PERSONALIZED RETURN ADDRESS STAMP
ORGANIC KITCHEN TOWELS
There’s nothing better than receiving a gift that is thoughtful and tasteful. Kitchen towels are one of those must-haves that people rarely buy as gifts. For those looking at an eco-friendly kitchen, these waffle towels are the perfect addition. They come in multiple neutral colors, are easy to keep clean, and get better with each wash. Say goodbye to raggedy old towels. Get them here!
A DELIGHTFUL HOUSE PLANT
Plants are the perfect addition to an eco-friendly space to truly give it that green touch. In an instant, they brighten up the atmosphere of a home, filter out impurities, and create the perfect hygge-inspired look. You can choose an easy-tocare-for plant if you aren’t sure that your host has a green thumb (they’ll be grateful!) Or if they are overloaded with plants, believe me, one more will only make them happier - we factchecked this with our in-house plantoholics. Get some here!
THE PERFECT PAIR OF HOUSE SHOES
Now that we’re all indoors a bit more than usual, our home attire has gotten a much-needed upgrade. Dooeys are the best house shoes for women, especially because they’re made entirely from vegan, sustainable materials and super comfortable. No effort was spared in their quality and crafting. Your host will be so impressed with the level of thought and detail you’ve put into this decision. And while you’re at it, we definitely recommend getting yourself a pair too! You won’t need convincing - just look at how beautiful they are.
Get a pair here! Bonus tip, if you don’t know her shoe size; try a Dooeys gift card instead!
THE GIFT WRAPPING THAT KEEPS ON GIVING
To wrap this all up, we’ve got the perfect reusable wrapping solution for you! Unlike regular gift-wrapping paper which can’t be reused because it’s plastic, or laminated, or simply kinda ugly - this is a revolution! It’s made from 100% cotton so that your host can use it for practically anything else too. You can pick from a delightful set of colors and patterns to suit your preferences, or even the theme of the party! Get them here!
AN ELEGANT THROW BLANKET
Not all throws need to be fluffy and plush. You can instead get a hand-woven, versatile, elegant throw that can be used on a bed, a couch, or even a table. These throws are unique because they’re made by artisans in Central and South America to ensure craft preservation and job creation. It’s wonderful when a home tells a beautiful story, isn’t it? Get one here! If you’ve been invited to a new home, this is the perfect opportunity to put into practice zero-waste gifting that is home-friendly and Earthfriendly too! Choices make change - so never underestimate the impact of every purchasing decision you make.
Jordan Clark is the founder of Dooeys, a company on a mission to create the best shoes for home. Ethically produced in Portugal, Dooeys house shoes are designed for comfort and made from premium, plant-based and recycled materials.
With growing awareness of global warming and the dangers that single-use plastics and other disposable products have on our environment, it’s becoming more important than ever to consider eco-friendly and sustainable products as part of our everyday routine. Beauty products are used frequently, and as the world becomes more aware of the importance of sustainability, brands are creating innovative ways to introduce eco-friendly options into our daily beauty routines. To support this initiative, we’ve put together a list of our favorite beauty products to add to your makeup routine.
ECO-FRIENDLY BEAUTY PRODUCTS FOR YOUR MAKEUP ROUTINE
REUSABLE MAKEUP REMOVER CLOTH
MakeUp Eraser easily removes all makeup, eliminating the need for makeup wipes, makeup remover pads, and makeup remover. With this MakeUp Eraser, you only need water to remove your makeup and you can also use the opposite side to exfoliate your face. Stop using 3,600 makeup wipes by switching to a MakeUp Eraser!
REUSABLE SHADOW SHIELD
AVAILABLE ON MAKEUP ERASER, SEPHORA, ULTA BEAUTY
ShadowMoon is a femalefounded brand started by sisters that introduced the eco-friendly and reusable alternative to disposable eye makeup shields and shadow shields, the innovative Reusable Shadow Shield, ShadowMoon. ShadowMoon catches eyeshadow fallout, eliminating the need to clean your face after application, acts as a makeup stencil for a perfect winged liner and a flawless crease, and additionally, can be cooled in the freezer to de-puff your under-eye area. It’s an adorable pink moon made from food-grade silicone for easy cleaning with soap and water that will last for thousands of makeup applications! AVAILABLE ON SHADOWMOON, AMAZON 11
Vike Beauty is another eco-friendly brand started by sisters, bringing you their flagship product, Makeup Melt. Makeup Melt is an innovative makeup removal spray with skincare benefits, which easily melts your makeup away, and similar to MakeUp Eraser eliminates the need for disposable makeup wipes. Simply spray it over your makeup, rub it in with your hands and rinse off with water. AVAILABLE ON VIKE BEAUTY
REUSABLE COTTON SWABS
NakedSwab provides a reusable, sustainable, and sanitary alternative to cotton swabs and Q-tips. Disposable cotton swabs are used by most people on a daily basis, and many are unaware that they are recyclable, throwing them in the trash or flushing them down the toilet. By switching to a NakedSwab, you will get up to 2000 uses, eliminating the use of 2000 disposable cotton swabs! You can use your reusable q-tip to clean your ears, touch up your makeup, and any other way you would usually use your disposable cotton swabs. AVAILABLE ON NAKEDSWAB AND AMAZON
Lithe Lashes is known for its awardwinning, everyday lashes that are sustainably sourced, vegan, and reusable. Their lashes also come in recyclable packaging, further extending their environmental consciousness. With Lithe Lashes, you’ll have lightweight, comfortable, and ultra-natural-looking lashes that will enhance the look of your natural lashes without looking overdone. AVAILABLE ON LITHE LASHES 13
EAT. DRINK. SHOP. Consciously Ashley Castro
In a new series we’re featuring a curated list of conscious entrepreneurs' favorite places to eat, shop, and do life in their hometown
I’m Ash, a Los Angeles native and social impact entrepreneur. Lately I spend my time taking my toddlers out to explore the world, coaching like-minded entrepreneurs on their journey, and on my boutique PR agency, The Purpose Pilot. The Purpose Pilot partners with restaurants serving exceptional food & local businesses enriching the community. We offer a holistic approach to high impact storytelling that involves public relations, social media management and digital guest communications. Follow my recently launched Instagram account, Haute Locals, for more of my favorite places to dine in LA. along to check
EAT | Platform
SHOP | Head to Platform, it’s an outdoor retail & community space that inspires all the senses. The fluid retail concept is designed for gathering and it almost exclusively hosts independent brands with a social and/or sustainable mission like Broome Street General, Janessa Leoné and Modern Society.
So if you decide to visit Platform, taste the food at Bianca. This restaurant with a bakery features dishes influenced by the co-owners Argentinian, Italian and French roots. Nearly everything on the menu is house-made, down to the condiments. I recommend the Branzino Al Forno paired with the Executive Chef’s wine of choice. Grab a spot outside in front of the giant bakery windows and watch the Pastry Chef work his magic.
Broome Street General
EAT | For experiential vegan food with a presentation almost too good to devour, spend the afternoon at Plant Food + Wine. This vegan restaurant is my favorite patio in Venice Beach with a mediterranean dinner party vibe. Their seasonal menu paired with organic wine set new standards in the dining industry.
Discover the world of green beauty with a visit The Detox Market, a mecca for ecoconscious skincare, make up, haircare and wellness products. Revolutionize your routines with just one visit to this carefully curated selection of cruelty free, pure and exceptional brands. Splurge on May Lindstrom The Youth Dew or treat yourself to Kure Baazar’s lip & nail balm. Really, none of the products here will disappoint.
The Detox Market
WORK | Need to send some emails or pop on a zoom call? Get a day pass to the coworking space Second Home, an 1960’s restored eco-conscious space that transports you to a futuristic botanical oasis. Known to be one of the densest areas of greenery in Los Angeles, their ultramodern architectural approach to the workspace will be sure to inspire you to take your business to the next level.
LOS ANGELES EDITION
THE SUSTAINABLE BEAUTY OF B CORPORATIONS 18
he fashion and beauty industries have long been
Thus, a public benefit company answers to all its stakeholders, not just its shareholders, so it cannot
praised for inspiring creativity, popula-rizing standards, and pioneering disruption. New styles, new
be sued for making decisions that may limit shortterm profit in pursuit of its defined greater good. Maryland became the first state to pass benefit corporation legislation in 2010. Today, 35 states and
products, and new collections have created culture and exploded economic growth... but there has been a cost for all the innovation. You may be familiar with criticisms of fast fashion’s rise – the insta-fed segment of industry that spun out of control with ‘new-hot-now’ fervor – ill-managed in labor risk, waste generation, and environmental toll. The beauty industry has had its own parallels, with impact not only on worker safety, waste, and the environment but also on consumer safety due to direct application to the skin. Hazardous formulations containing carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, and neurotoxins have been packaged and sold by the ton. Sad to say, corporate leaders have been willing to engage in questionable business practices due to shareholder demands for profit. Fashion and beauty’s effect on social mental/emotional well-being has perhaps been just as serious a problem, if not more so, than their impact on physical and environmental health. Low self-esteem, obsessive purchasing behavior, and body dysmorphia are but a few of the insidious yet undeniable outcomes of industry marketing and media exposure. Thankfully, we’re realizing that we must do better and be better if we as humans are going to survive and thrive in the long run. Just as we must aggressively act to advance environmental wellness and sustainability, we must simultaneously act to advance social wellness and sustainability.
the District of Columbia have authorized the establishment of public benefit corporations.
B Corporations Even before public benefit corporations became authorized by states, three friends came together to found a non-profit organization called B Lab in 2006. They recognized that the purely capitalistic economic model caused many businesses to act in their own best interests, valuing short-term gains over long-term solutions. Yet society’s most challenging problems cannot be solved by government and nonprofits alone. B Lab was established to qualify and champion busin-esses that are committed to acting as forces for good. As a collective, the B Corp community works to reduce inequality and poverty, build a healthier environment, strengthen communities, and create more high-quality jobs. Today, there are over 3500 Certified B Corpo-rations in over 70 countries. Well-known companies such as Patagonia, Ben & Jerry’s, Bronner’s, and Allbirds are among those in the B Corp family.
Public Benefit Corporations In the past, for-profit businesses were legally beholden to the bottom line, so it is no wonder that short-term gains were prioritized over long-term impact. Now, we have come together to build a new kind of business that rewards public benevolence alongside financial success. A public benefit corporation is best described as a hybrid between for-profit and non-profit business. It is a for-profit company that exists to make a positive impact on society, workers, the community, and/or the environment in addition to making a profit as its legally defined goals.
EDUCATION This includes but is not limited to employee handbooks, codes of ethics, vendor vetting, local sourcing, diversity of leadership and employees, maternity and paternity leave, compensation of leadership vs. lowest-paid employee, charitable contribution (must be 2% of gross revenues to qualify), renewable energy use, carbon footprint calculation, disclosure of product recalls, toxin reduction, and so much more. Finally, there is a licensing fee that must be paid to be part of the Certified B Corporation program, and recertification must take place every three years to maintain a certified status.
The B Corp Commitment is Real Becoming a B Corporation is a real commitment. It can take months, sometimes even years, for a The B Corporation Certification Process Becoming a B Corporation goes way beyond product or service level certification. B Corp Certification is the only certification in the world that measures a company’s entire social and environmental performance. To become a Certified B Corporation, a company must prove that it meets the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose. First, a company must take the B Impact Assessment. The B Impact Assessment evaluates how a company’s operations and business model impact its stakeholders: its workers, community, investors, suppliers, environment, and customers. From its supply chain to its charitable giving and employee benefits, B Corp Certification proves a business is meeting the highest standards of verified performance. There are around 200 questions total in the assessment. More than 50,000 companies have taken the B Corporation assessment for an indication of where they stand vs other companies. The average score of all companies taking the assessment is 50. A company must score an 80 or above to qualify for B Corp Certification. Second, a company must also amend its legal gover-ning documents to require its board of directors to balance profit and purpose. It may also be required to be set up as a public benefit corporation, though the requirement differs by state and region. Third, a company must undergo a thorough audit whereby it provides hard and fast evidence of its standards, practices, and history as claimed in its B Impact Assessment. 20
company to obtain all the necessary documentation and make adjustments to its current mode of opera-tions to even score high enough to qualify. Many companies feel that the effort is too great or changes too dramatic to pursue certification. Others are adverse to the level of transparency and accountability required. This is what makes B Corp Certification so meaningful. Not only does a company commit to doing the work, but it also commits to accountability, transparency, and the unrelenting desire to operate as a force for good.
Why The Human Beauty Movement is Certified I’m proud to have recently completed the B Corp Certification process, and now my company
The Human Beauty Movement is a Certified B Corp as well as a public benefit company (PBC). It’s not enough to just talk the talk, it’s important to walk the walk and hold oneself accountable to the highest standards of ethical business operations. As such, I’ve come to appreciate the near and longterm impact of my dec-isions. People, planet, and purpose will always take priority over profits. As a business leader, I’m com-mitted to creating a better kind of beauty, one that is truly healthy and creates wellness for all humans and their habitats. As an individual, I believe change starts inside each and every one of us. We have the power to make better choices and vote with our dollars for good businesses and brands to succeed. When they do, the whole world wins, and that is what promoting sustainability is all about. Jennifer Norman is the Founder and Chief Human Officer of The Human Beauty Movement, PBC, and Humanist Beauty. The HBM is a Certified B Corp and public benefit company that commits to using the power of business to support diversity appreciation, inclusion and self-esteem and using the power of business to support wellness of mind, body, and spirit. Humanist Beauty is award-winning, inclusive skincare that is 100% vegan, LeapingBunny certified cruelty-free, EWG Verified™, and carbon-neutral.
Follow Jennifer’s work on Instagram at @iamjennnorman, @thehumanbeautymovement, and @humanistbeauty.
WASTE FOR AN ENTIRE YEAR An in depth experiment by Rachel Kois of Simple Switch 24
've never been one to set big, wild New Year's Resolutions, I'm just not wired for following big long term rules or commitments. But for one year, 2018, I set
a goal that affected my decisions every day and drastically reduced the harmful impact I had on the planet, all while letting me live my life almost identically to how I'd lived in 2017. It all started with this short video about a town in Japan that's gone completely zero waste. I saw it while mindlessly scrolling through social media around Christmas time in 2017. The video shows how an entire community used better recycling and composting strategies to transform from a city who burned their trash or threw it into nature, to a town who has some of the best waste diversion in the world. I was convicted and motivated! If a whole town could do it, I could too. I was nervous! I wanted to do something I could realistically stick to. I know I wasn't ready to COMPLETELY eradicate my waste (like this famous video of Lauren Singer, who fit all of her trash for 5 years in a mason jar. Wow!) I needed to come up with a solution that worked for me. I wanted to do something that helped me understand the consequences of my waste, and drastically reduce it. I settled on... for all of 2018, anything I
used that I couldn't compost or recycle, I would have to keep all year. That's right, for all of 2018 I had a laundry bag full of all my trash in the corner of my bedroom. At first it sounds really gross, right?! Luckily, since I was composting all of my food waste, I only had non-smelly things like plastic packaging, tags from clothing, wrapping paper, etc in my bag. I tried to be strict with this disposal, which meant looking a little silly sometimes, but it was always worth it! People were very supportive as I put the odd packaging in my purse, asked for no straw, or ordered food differently at restaurants!
"FOR ALL OF 2018, ANYTHING I USED THAT I COULDN'T COMPOST OR RECYCLE, I WOULD HAVE TO KEEP ALL YEAR." "I'm glad you enjoyed your food! I can take your plate if you're finished!" "Actually I'd like to keep it for a few minutes..." "Oh! Ok, why?"
EDUCATION "Well, I'm trying to reduce my trash, and I've chosen to do that by keeping all my trash that can't be composted or recycled and since there's a plastic liner on the plate, I'm going to take it home. And I'm going to take this little bit of leftovers home in the to-go container I brought." (Usually... ) "Oh wow! That's such an interesting goal! I'd like to reduce my waste, too. Thanks for inspiring me, keep up the good work! The average American produces about 5 pounds of landfill waste every day (that's 1,825 pounds a year, yikes). By simply correctly sorting and disposing of my waste, and being more mindful about which packaging I chose when possible, I reduced my waste to less than 15 pounds for the entire year! That's a 99.2% reduction of my landfill waste mass, JUST by being conscious of how I disposed of things! (And that is WITH indulging in guilty pleasures like Oreos! I wrote them to ask for zero-packaging Oreos but they said no.) Y'all, I am extremely proud of this progress, but even more than how much waste I reduced, I'm proud of how much it taught me. I am already really conscious of social and environmental impact because of my work at Simple Switch (simpleswitch.org, the online marketplace for ethical and impactful shopping) but having this goal for myself naturally drew me to doing a little extra research and finding myself in communities of people who taught me to make a better living both a priority and a habit."
TIPS FOR GOING ZERO WASTE
Food waste does not break down the same way
in a landfill as it does when it's composted. It actually releases methane gas into the atmosphere, instead of making amazing healthy soil that grows tastier healthier food! Check out this short video about how amazing composting is.
I live in a region with great recycling practices (thanks Boulder Eco-Cycle) but not all recyclers are the same, and I'd really known very little about how recycling centers even worked! I encourage you to
figure out where your recycling goes, and poke around a little on your local recycler's website to see what resources are available to you.
I learned how much I love earth worms! Weird, I know, but these little critters do amazing work. There are lots of ways to compost. Many cities will pick it up for you, or you can use a private
company (we use Compost Colorado at my house these days) but you can also start a compost bin in your yard, or compost inside using worms, even in small spaces!! I did this for most of my "zero waste experiment" year.
The most important thing I learned was simply how to pay attention. When I choose to buy something now, I'm thinking about the waste it may generate and how I plan to dispose of it. I think about it's whole life, from how it was made to how it will be "thrown away." This doesn't mean I make the perfect decision every time, but it does give me the tools to decide whether it's worth buying. To keep up the momentum after the big push in 2018, I've done things like remove the trash can from my bedroom and office, so I have to think a little harder about what I throw away. The key for me has been to continue to implement things that will encourage making easy changes and good habits, not shaming myself or trying to take on the world of low-waste all at once.
It should be noted, through my grand adventure with waste diversion, and the education I've received through starting Simple Switch, I've learned that diverting your waste is not always enough! We should be striving to consume less from the beginning. Even though recycling and composting our waste is a great alternative to adding it to the landfill, our priority should be the reducing the creation of any waste to avoid needlessly using the resources needed to create that waste in the first place, like the water it takes to produce our food. Remember to FIRST reduce your consumption, then reuse what you can, THEN recycle (or compost) what's left. I hope my experience helps you find sustainable ways to reduce your own waste. If you decide to use my strategy, even just for a week, let us know! We'd love to celebrate you for taking steps to help our planet and better notice your impact. Let me know what worked for you (or what didn't!) at email@example.com, or in the comments!
Rachel Kois is the CEO & Founder of SimpleSwitch.org, an online marketplace for ethical and impactful shopping. (Think “like [Could Be Simple Switch!!!]” except every one of the 3,000+ products has a positive social or environmental impact.) They aim to shift some of the HUNDREDS OF BILLIONS spent online this year to everyday products and gifts that support orphan care, plant trees, combat climate change, and more. Simple Switch exists to bring ease and convenience to ethical and impactful online shopping, and change the world through positive impact purchasing. Rachel believes deeply in the power of entrepreneurship to solve some of our most serious global problems. When she isn’t working to harness the power of capitalism for positive impact, Rachel loves rock climbing, drinking craft beer, and taking care of her vegetable garden and backyard chickens. Her first ever entrepreneurial venture was a hogwarts-scarf-knitting business, and she’s traveled to 28 countries. She’s a stubborn idealist committed to authenticity and making a difference.
f you’ve spent any time in the sustainable fashion space, chances are you’ve noticed several different materials that are commonly used. Organic cotton, hemp, and bamboo are a few that I’ve seen used quite a bit. Today I’m going to share about a less commonly used fiber, cork fabric. Before I embarked on my own sustainable fashion journey, I was drawn to cork fabric’s natural beauty. After becoming aware of the global fashion pollution pandemic, I began to do a lot more research into circular design and the foundational aspects of different fibers; from how they’re made, to what type of impact they’ve had on the planet and the people involved in their production. I've learned that not only is cork fabric beautiful, but it’s also one of the most sustainable fibers.
IN THE FIELD: HARVESTING THE CORK OAK TREE Cork fabric begins its life as bark from the Cork Oak tree, which is native to the Mediterranean basin. The tree must be a minimum of 25 years old before its first harvest. After the first harvest, it takes about 9 years to re-grow enough bark for a second harvest. This process can be repeated for an average of 150 years!
AT THE PROCESSING FACILITY: TURNING CORK BARK INTO CORK FABRIC After harvesting, these large bark planks continue on the process by being boiled in water,
Inspired by Nature: Why Cork Fabric Is The Most Sustainable Fiber There Is Marisa Simoes - Founder, Carry Courage Harvesting of cork is a skill that is only done by experienced craftsmen. It involves opening the bark with an ax, separating it from the trunk, carefully extracting it from the tree so it does not split, and marking it with the year it was harvested. After harvest, the cork is stacked in piles outdoors, where they remain exposed to the elements to cure for 6 more months. 30
which kills all the fungus and bacteria off the bark. This is an important step because the trees are never exposed to any pesticides, which means that mold and bacteria can easily grow and cause an irregular color and structure in the cork. The heat and weight of the boiled cork also help to flatten it once it is re-stacked. After boiling, the cork needs to rest
and dry for an additional 3-4 months. Following the drying period, the cork bark pieces are cut into uniform shapes. Then, they are sliced into 3 layers. Only the middle layer is used for cork fabric. The outer layers are used for other cork-based products. This middle layer is then sliced again, this time into very thin sheets. These thin sheets are then “glued” together using heat. No glue is actually used, as the resin in the bark, when heated, is strong enough to bond the thin sheets together. These thin pieces of cork will now need a backing to make them pliable and sewable. Some typical backing for cork fabric includes cotton, polyester, or polyurethane. Our backings utilize a combination of all three to make a felt-like backing that is soft, smooth, and sewable. A natural, water-based glue is applied to the backing, and the thin cork sheets are applied to the backing by hand.
The cork bark’s position on the backing can result in different visual effects in the fabric. After all the layers are assembled, a non-toxic sealant is applied to prevent liquids from entering the fibers.
CIRCULAR DESIGN BENEFITS OF CORK FABRIC When sourcing materials for our products at Carry Courage, I always look at where it came from, how it was made, and
where it will go when it’s disposed of. Although I never like to think my products will end up in a landfill, the fact is that someday, somewhere, they will be disposed of. This is why the concept of circular design is so important to me. Disposable fast fashion should not have a place in our economy. Cork fabric is a truly renewable material throughout its entire life cycle and easily fits into a circular economy system. Besides contributing to the reduction of CO2 through harvesting the bark, requiring
only minimal natural resources to grow, and maintaining natural forest wildlife habitats, it is ultimately biodegradable and recyclable at the end of its lifetime. Cork fabric is a unique material and one that is not yet commonly used in mainstream fashion. I actually stumbled upon cork fabric before I migrated into a more sustainable brand approach, simply for its beauty. After researching the process cork goes through to become a fabric, we can also see how it benefits our planet and future generations living on it. The topics of circular design and sustainable fashion can be extremely complex, but my hope is that you have learned more about how products made with cork fabric are making a positive, purposeful impact on the Earth. 31
ashion is one of the most polluting industries in the world, and the second largest consumer of water. According to research, 30% of fashion products were never sold, resulting in 92 million tons of solid waste. The Pulse of the Fashion Industry report projects that, by 2030, fashion brands will see a profit reduction of $52 billion across the industry, if they continue to operate like now. Meanwhile, consumers are living in the age of abundance a quick search on Nordstrom for dresses yields over 8,000 results; a simple purchase such as toilet paper requires a decision from 20 different options. Moreover, fast fashion brands have forced the entire industry to compete over speed and variety, leading to the pinnacle of obsessive consumerism. Overproduction has become one of the most pressing issues to solve in order to create a more sustainable fashion ecosystem.
Fewer, Better Things The Pandemic has forced the entire fashion industry to slow down, and inspired designers like Giorgio Armani to call for a different approach to fast fashion - fewer seasons & shows, and more focus on value and artisanship. I’ve always been a huge fan of the tagline “Fewer, Better Things” from Cuyana, a brand built behind the belief of creating timeless, high quality products. You won’t find the trendiest items stripped fresh off the runway; instead, the site is filled with versatile pieces you can style for different occasions and wear during multiple seasons. Quality and versatility also incentivizes customers to wear the same piece more often than fast-fashion styles. ADAY launched an Outfit Repeater Challenge for followers to wear one of their functional uniforms for 10 days straight. Small steps, like buying fewer pieces you can do more in, add up to have a big impact.
The Future of Sustainable Fashion = Slowing Down by Samantha Dong
Here are three ways brands can create big change 34
At ALLY, we want people to get the maximum use from our brand. We spent the first two years perfecting - the timeless pointed-toe pump and making it comfortable and accessible for women. Every pair of our shoes is handcrafted with premium lambskin leather, combined with a technical stretchy lining, and padded with our patentpending ergonomic insole. It’s an investment piece intended to last, and an essential pair that you will want to take everywhere with you.
Small Batch, Quick Turnaround In addition to churning out new designs too frequently, another issue causing excess inventory (hence waste) is the missforecasting. It may not seem to create a huge problem if upstream demand forecast is off by 5%, but the difference is amplified every step of the way from retailer, to distributor, and finally down to the manufacturer - also known as the Bullwhip Effect. In comparison, DTC brands are in a much better position to minimize the effect of multilayer inventory buffers. But the question remains - how do we minimize forecast misses? Brands such as Cuyana and NYC-based Petite Studio are committed to smaller, smarter production runs, creating small batches of only what is needed.With smaller production numbers, brands will have the ability to make changes quickly, helping them gauge the consumer response. According to their website, in 2019 Cuyana sold through 90% of the products that were made, which is very high for the industry
where it is common to have sellthrough rates of just 60-70%. Petite Studio also repurposes raw material whenever they can, creating scrunchies, scarves, and other accessories from fabric scraps that would otherwise be discarded. At ALLY, we take this approach one step further, by implementing a made-to-order process for most of our styles. We built a flexible supply chain with an on-demand, 2-week turnaround. We also offer an optional fitting process that allows customers to try on
samples for fit before we start production. With this approach, we are able to offer the best fit (5X more sizes than a traditional brand), while reducing waste in the production process.
Tech-enabled Fit Finder The last culprit of inventory waste is returns, an issue more front and center today due to the boom of online shopping. Returns puts higher uncertainty for inventory planning, and many returned packages often
Samantha Dong is the Founder and CEO of Ally Shoes, an innovative, fashion brand designed for women by women. Ally is renowned for designing pain-free heels for power women. After a foot injury, Samantha couldn’t find heels that wouldn’t hurt, so she teamed up with the best creative minds and podiatric experts to design stylish heels for all women. She is passionate about empowering women through fashion and making luxury footwear more accessible for women on the move. Previously, Samantha worked in Operations and Product Management at OrderAhead (which was acquired by Square) and Strategy and Operations at Deloitte Consulting. She graduated from Cornell University and received her MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business.
end up in landfill. Studies show that sizing issues is the top reason shoppers return online orders. The good news is that, with the rise of online shopping, brands can also collect and utilize data to improve fit and reduce return. ALLY’s proprietary online fit-finder uses an algorithm designed by Dr. Clarke and powered with big data, to recommend the best fit for different foot types. Tech startup True Fit organized the largest platform of apparel and footwear data through its partnerships with thousands of top brands, the world’s leading retailers, and millions of consumers. When a consumer is looking to try a new style / brand, the rich connected data and machine learning create intelligent predictions of the best fit in style and size. Lastly, the rise of AR technology also allows brands to create the best virtual fitting experience. In 2019, Nike introduced Nike Fit, a new scanning solution to recommend shoe sizes based on a simple smart-phone scan of your feet. While fast fashion has dominated the fashion scene over the past 20+ years, the trail of waste due to overproduction can no longer be ignored. With a slower-paced fashion calendar, fewer purchases of versatile pieces, and smaller, but faster turnaround production, we can create a healthier and more sustainable fashion ecosystem for many generations to come.
SUSTAINABLE FASHION How two leaders are shaping deeper conversations and building relationships within their new community driven online platform.
ive years ago, sustainable fashion was still such a niche part of the fashion industry as a whole. Sure it existed, but the conversations, education, and brands were pretty nonexistent. This issue’s featured leaders are two amazing women who are both true pioneers in opening up the conversation around sustainable fashion. Chances are you’ve heard of them either by listening to their podcast, or attending their live conference put on every year in Portland Oregon. They are Brittany Sierra, founder of The Sustainable Fashion Forum, and Kestrel Jenkins founder and host of Conscious Chatter. Although each of their backgrounds and experiences leading up to their current career paths were very different, they are now both leading some of the most important and inspiring conversations surrounding sustainable fashion through both of their individual platforms and now together with their new venture Group Chat. Kestrel Jenkins, hosts Conscious Chatter - a weekly podcast with over two hundred episodes which covers everything from the latest sustainable founder’s story to deconstructing how oppressive systems have impacted the sustainable fashion space. As a listener since the very beginning, Kestrel was literally one of the first podcasts talking about sustainable fashion. Her interviews are not only incredibly inspiring, well edited and thought provoking, but open the door to deeper conversations that help to learn and unlearn what we’ve been taught over the years. Brittany Sierra, the founder of The Sustainable Fashion Forum who calls herself “an outsider to the sustainable fashion industry”, worked in the fashion industry within marketing for the majority of her career. Her curiosity to find more answers about sustainability pushed her to create an event featuring a panel of experts with companies
like Eileen Fisher jumping on board to speak. What started out as a small event was shared with multiple people and over 150 people showed up. The rest you could say is history. With a following of over 190k and five conferences under her belt, she has taken her once local Portland event to a global level with her most recent conference being held virtually.
GETTING THEIR START Kestrel grew up as a young girl very interested in fashion, who then went on to pursue a career in Global Studies and International Journalism. “I was really interested in the idea of how people or products or ideas flowed around the world, and influenced other people and environments along the way.
INTERVIEWS I became intrigued about the idea of fair trade, because of learning about all the chaos that can come with free trade.” After discovering a fair trade fashion magazine called Fair Indigo and a conversation with her Mom, Kestrel started to do some research on companies she could potentially work for, and that’s when she found People Tree. “I started reaching out to them and asking if I could apply for an internship, and I got one email back and they were like ‘yeah yeah, we’ll get in touch if we’re interested.’ I didn’t hear back so I pretty much emailed them once a week to check in and eventually months later the PR manager set up a call with me. So I ended up getting an internship with them and working there for six months, and that was my first sort of crash course in the industry and learning about all the inequities in fashion.” From there she went on to work in various areas within sustainable fashion whether it was writing about green design or helping to put on the first eco-fashion show for Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. “I’ve always been weaving around the space to figure out how to bring the conversation to a more mainstream audience and how to bring more people in the most accessible way possible. That’s one way that what Brittany does really resonates with me, because I think she has a really beautiful approach to communication where everyone feels they can come hang out and isn’t an exclusive thing.”
HOW DID THE IDEA FOR A PODCAST COME ABOUT? “I had a blog called Awear World for a while showcasing different people and what they were wearing sometimes within sustainable fashion, and a friend of mine that has an organic tshirt company was like ‘why don’t you start a podcast?’ He planted the seed and I didnt think it was possible but then I started doing some research and realized you just buy a microphone and you can pretty 40
much start a podcast. The podcast has been a literal evolution of my learning, and it’s changed in a sense over time as I’ve learned more and have had a chance to talk to different people which has expanded my perspective on what sustainability can mean.” On the flipside to Kestrel’s story, Brittany’s path towards sustainability started much later in her career. It wasn’t until she was a judge at a sustainable fashion show that ultimately led her down the rabbit hole of trying to understand more about what was going on in the industry. It was through her curiosity, and ultimate realization of discovering something she loved that led her going full force into the industry. “My background is in marketing so I was helping designers and retailers here in Portland with their email marketing, social media, digital marketing about five years ago, and I was heavily involved in the fashion industry. I was asked to judge a fashion show which was all about sustainability. Essentially they gave designers a bag of fabric and they had to create something from it and from there they were auctioned off. When I went to the fashion show I heard a lot of facts and statistics that I had never heard before, and working in the industry I was completely shocked to hear that the industry that I loved so much was detrimental to people and the planet. So I went home and I tried to google and figure out what was going on. And at that time (five-six years ago) there wasn’t as much information on the internet as there is now - at least that I could understand and follow what was going on.
WAS THIS SORT OF YOUR “AH-HA” MOMENT? I always say this but I’ve been trying to think back to my thought process about why I decided to create an event that I knew nothing about and the only thing that I keep going back to is that I was being lazy. If I could have someone tell me
“THE PODCAST HAS BEEN A LITERAL EVOLUTION OF MY LEARNING, AND IT’S CHANGED IN A SENSE OVER TIME AS I’VE LEARNED MORE AND HAVE HAD A CHANCE TO TALK TO DIFFERENT PEOPLE WHICH HAS EXPANDED MY PERSPECTIVE ON WHAT SUSTAINABILITY CAN MEAN.” - KESTREL JENKINS what it was instead of having to google and figure it out on my own then I felt that that was a good idea. So I put together the first event, it was just one panel, not a big deal, I wasn’t planning on creating a conference. I invited people and put it out into the world and figured if other people were interested maybe they’d show up. And that first event 150 people came. I had never put on an event of that magnitude before so it didn’t dawn on me that I wouldn’t be able to sit there and listen to what was going on. I was literally running around making sure everything went smoothly so I learned absolutely nothing that first event. So I was basically in the same spot that I was when I decided to have the event. But what I did learn is how much I enjoyed bringing people together. And even though I didn’t have all the answers, I enjoy being that bridge between the folks that do have the information and those who want to learn more. It wasn’t until after the second event that I realized I wanted to do it full out. The first two years it was just a side random thing. But the second year I realized how much I really enjoyed the community aspect and it could merge my love for community, fashion, and my new love for sustainability and marketing. So it ended up being the perfect combination of everything that I loved and that I didn’t even know that I loved yet. So that is essentially how it started. I know a whole lot more now than I did back then.”
DEFINING MOMENTS & INSPIRING GUESTS Brittany and Kestrel both met a while back when Brittany asked Kestrel to moderate a panel for the Sustainable Fashion Forum. Fast forward years later and they are now running a new community platform together called Group Chat. Group Chat is a place for the sustainable fashion community to come together discuss various topics whether it be through a question of the day, a recent news article, or via amazing guest speakers to dive into a topic even deeper. It’s a place to nurture conversations and build deeper relationships within the community. The word community means so much to the sustainable fashion industry. It’s truly such a collective of like minded individuals striving for a better industry through education that can oftentimes feel a bit endless. Through these meaningful conversations and experiences we can hopefully work together to build a better future for this industry we all love so much. Through a happenstance experience in which both Kestrel and Brittany were approached by the same individual to potentially take over their existing platform, the two were able to re-connect and discover that they each had wanted to create the same exact type of platform - and Group Chat was born.
GROUP CHAT Brittany: “We realized that we wanted to build something together. It’s interesting because she had all these thoughts on what she wanted to build that was very similar to what I was already doing and what Group Chat ended up being. But she didn’t even know what I was doing, and so it’s interesting because we both had this idea of the same thing and didn’t even realize it until we were brought together by this person that wanted us to take over their platform. It’s kind of awesome if you think about it, because we were already on the same wavelength and didn’t know it. It was kind of this perfect thing that came together.”
Kestrel: “Yeah, I think it’s pretty amazing which we didn’t realize until we started having these conversations, but we actually have very different skills which turns out to be super helpful because we both work in this space and both in a sense curate conversations. Brittany is a master of marketing and building community and creating really beautiful visual storytelling. And I’m really good at none of those things.
Brittany: “Kestrel’s great at everything I wish I was good at!” Kestrel: I’m a really organized person and can do some of those behind the scenes things, and I’m good at moderating conversations and asking questions. But I think we have different skills which has ended up being super powerful and allows us to build this while we have so many different things going on at the same time. 41
INTERVIEWS WERE THERE ANY STAND OUT MOMENTS OR INSPIRATIONAL GUESTS THAT HAVE REALLY IMPRESSED YOU? Brittany: For me it’s the fact that when I email these big companies, the fact that they respond or participate is flooring to me. I don’t know, I mean you have your insecurities, right? I think building a business, it’s your baby, and you love it, and you really hope other people will love it too. You put it out into the world and you do your best to make it good and something other people will enjoy or take seriously. When I started the conference I was having huge identity issues. I didn’t finish college, I did two years of school and I was helping people with their marketing and PR because I know what I’m talking about, but I was very insecure about not having that piece of paper. Like, will people take me seriously? Will people know that I know what I’m talking about?
It's weird because there's this part of me that's been very naive in doing this, but there’s also a part of me that was a bit intimidated. So for me it’s not a particular person, just the fact that in general either brands are reaching out to me or I’m reaching out to them and they’re actually saying yes. Kestrel: There've been so many guests that at different points have been pivotal in the narrative about how I think about the industry, but two that come to mind are the show I did with Dominique Drakeford this was a few years ago and it was called “Sustainable Fashion is a Privileged White Girl Thing”. I think that was really good for me to start understanding how the narrative had been and how I had been perpetuating this issue, and it started to get me thinking more about how inequity on deeper levels is built into fashion. So that’s when Dom and I started having conversations about the Root project, and ended up being developed years later and that was really pivotal.
I also did two shows with Mara Hoffman. One was in the first season and it was at the point where she realized that she needed to shift her entire business model and think about sustainability. She was like I either have to shift everything or we have to shut down. And then two years later she came back to give an update on where they were at as a company and how things had transitioned. It was really powerful to see how much can be done in a short amount of time for a somewhat larger company. It was powerful to hear side by side how much had changed and for businesses who are like “it’s too hard we can’t do it”. Yes it’s hard, no one is saying it’s easy, but there are steps you can take really quickly to start transitioning if you can allocate the funding and time.
“I DEFINITELY USED TO BE OF THE MINDSET THAT YOU JUST NEEDED TO BUY DIFFERENT THINGS, WHEREAS NOW MY MINDSET IS YOU DON’T NEED TO BUY THINGS.” - KESTREL JENKINS
HAVE YOU ADAPTED YOUR LIFESTYLE TO BE MORE SUSTAINABLE SINCE DELVING INTO THE SPACE? Kestrel: I shop very little as well at this time in life. I'm really fortunate because sometimes people want to send me things, but I won’t take things unless I’ll actually wear it. I don’t buy very much, but if I do it’s from one small brand that I’ve been watching for a long time that I’ve been kind of wanting this one unique piece. I definitely used to be of the mindset that you just needed to buy different things, whereas now my mindset is you don’t need to buy things. I think that’s definitely shifted in more recent years, away from you have to buy into this movement, versus let’s be resourceful. What do we have around our house, can we share clothes with friends? How can I use something I already have that can be reworked into a different way to meet the need that I have at the moment.
“I’M NOT GOING TO BE THE PERSON THAT BASHES OTHER PEOPLE FOR DOING WHAT THEY CAN WITH WHAT THEY HAVE AND I’M NOT GOING TO BE THE PERSON WHO PUTS A LOT OF STRESS ON MYSELF BECAUSE I’M A LEADER IN THIS SPACE AND LIVE ABOVE MY MEANS. THAT’S NOT AUTHENTIC TO WHO I AM OR AUTHENTIC TO WHAT I CAN MAINTAIN.” - BRITTANY SIERRA
Brittany: Honestly, I don’t stress about it. Being an entrepreneur and trying to do this whole thing, I don’t shop typically anyways so I haven’t really had to do that even before Covid. I’m very much in startup mode so my investment always goes back into the platform. But when I do shop, I don’t stress about who it’s from whether it’s from Target or Eileen Fisher, I buy things based on what I know the crap out of and I know I'm going to continue to get use out of. I cannot do Forever 21 or Zara, I don’t go there. But I buy what I can afford and I buy what fits with my wardrobe and know I will continue to wear. I’m not going to be the person that bashes other people for doing what they can with what they have and I’m not going to be the person who puts a lot of stress on myself because I’m a leader in this space and live above my means. That’s not authentic to who I am or to what I can maintain. Because I think that’s also a part of sustainability is being able to maintain that. I just do what I can.” 43
INTERVIEWS BUILDING AN AUTHENTIC CONVERSATIONS AROUND ETHICS & SUSTAINABILITY
THIS IS GROUP CHAT Take a peek inside Kestrel and Brittany’s newest community platform GROUP CHAT. Here you’ll have the opportunity to discuss the latest news, questions of the day, or just simply connect with like minded people who share your love for sustainable fashion.
with BRITTANY SIERRA of The Sustainable Fashion Forum
QUESTION OF THE DAY: What does building a responsible fashion business mean to you? Group Message
KESTREL JENKINS of Concious Chatter
HETANSHI PAREKH @hetanshi_fmb “Sustainability is a serious issue and should not be overlooked but it has too many negative connotations attached to it, I would like to destigmatise that and make it a positive journey for people to be more conscious through collaboration, inclusivity and transparency."
TENA LAVRENCIC Thinking Threads “When I was graduating from high school, a career adviser told me that I am not cut out to be an entrepreneur. They told me it's because I'm not competitive enough and that I'm too sensitive, emphatic, and I seem to care about other qualities than what it takes to be my own boss. It took me almost a decade to realize that those qualities are exactly what businesses need today. So, when I started my own copywriting and consultancy company, it was to help make such qualities a norm in the fashion (or any) industry. We don't need more competitive, profit-chasing individuals. We need businesses that help people thrive, not put them down. That's what responsible fashion business means to me: redefining standards.
BETINA GROSSER MARTINS @pausa.slow “For me, to build a responsible fashion brand means staying true to my personal values when designing and making. Offering to customers what I’d like to be offered: emotionally meaningful products that are made to last and to self-express, while working to mitigate the negative environmental impact and to create opportunities for the community.”
GARIK HIMEBAUGH Ecostylist “Building a responsible fashion business means being humble, transparent, and committed to a goal that's never fully achievable but absolutely worth fighting for. At Eco-Stylist we partner with Remake to research brands for Transparency, Fair Labor, and Sustainably Made. This means if a brand doesn't share their factory list, certifications, have a sustainability page, and commit to living wages they probably won't pass our criteria.”
TANISHA GHORPADE Green in You “I often wonder - In today’s world if a business doesn’t have an overarching social or environmental cause, in that, it does not positively contribute socially or environmentally to its community, then one must question what it really even stands for! Building a responsible fashion business for me means working along with my community to solve some of the most defining challenges of our times.”
INTERVIEWS SUSTAINABLE FASHION JOURNALIST
WHITNEY BAUCK Leading the way towards a more sustainable future.
s a leading journalist covering topics surrounding sustainable fashion and the climate crisis, Whitney Bauck is someone who has pushed the sustainable fashion movement forward by using her voice and reporting skills to write incredibly informative and thought provoking articles. From her most recent days as the senior sustainability reporter for Fashionista, Whitney’s articles were always welcomed into our inbox weekly to learn more about the fashion industry’s part in becoming more sustainable. As a young girl growing up in Manila, it was quite interesting to learn more about Whitney’s background and how it has shaped who she is as a reporter. Moving to the US for college, she actually majored in fine art, and eventually discovered she wanted to learn more about the fashion industry. By essentially turning every class she had into a way to learn more about fashion, she dove deeper into the topics that interested her most which ultimately gave her an incredible advantage. The ability to use her courses to study fashion in a way that was from a different lens than say a more traditional fashion school helped propel her curiosity and view of how the industry worked in a more meaningful and impactful way. This eventually led her down the road to becoming a reporter for Fashionista and has helped shape her career as a journalist covering topics from regenerative farming, to carbon emissions. We had the opportunity to sit down and chat with Whitney to learn more about who she is, how she feels about sustainable fashion “mantras”, 48
greenwashing, and what she thinks it’ll take to make a difference in this industry.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF. WHERE DID YOU GROW UP AND HOW DID THAT SHAPE WHO YOU ARE TODAY?
I grew up in Manila, Philippines, and so I grew up in a pretty international community. Probably the biggest cultural influences were American, Filipino and Korean, although there were kids from all over. That has really shaped me in a lot of ways. The Philippines is such an incredible place and
some things that I think about my work now were not even on my radar as a kid - especially things around sustainability and the climate crisis, and even reuse. Filipinos are really creative re-users and recyclers of things. That sort of formed the backdrop for some of my childhood but it wasn’t something that I was actively thinking about as a kid. As I’ve grown up and become an adult and really when I started writing about and studying the climate crisis it all felt very personal to me because the Philippines is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world when it comes to climate change. We talk about climate change intensifying so called natural disasters, and I have a really visceral picture of what that looks like in the town I grew up in. There are lot of beautiful ways that I’m grateful for my upbringing, but the sort of knowledge of those things and that place being hit by climate change in the way that it will despite the fact that Filippinos have contributed so much less to global carbon emissions than places like the US (which is where I live now) has really made it to clear to me that I feel a sense of responsibility to do whatever I can to write about it and report about it - because this place that I really love is in the direct line of fire in a way that feels more pressing than a lot of other places in the world.
WHEN DID YOU HAVE YOUR “AH-HA” MOMENT ABOUT SUSTAINABLE FASHION? I definitely didn’t have a moment where I decided “ok I want to make this my niche”. Rana plaza was an ‘ah-ha’ moment for me too. I was studying abroad in Ireland at the time, and I’ve been a big thrifter my whole life partly just because that’s just what I could afford and also because it’s a fun way to be creative. But the week that Rana Plaza happened I had just bought something from Penny’s which is sort of like the Forever 21 of the UK in Ireland and there was all this stuff coming out
(about Rana Plaza). Penny’s was one of the brands producing at that factory. So I just felt so personally implicated that I am part of this embedded system that is doing really destructive things, and I didn’t want that. For myself on a personal level it was just like there’s no way I’m going to write about this and not pay attention to these things. So I started much more on the human rights side of things but the more you write about that, the more it feels like the environmental side of things becomes really inextricable from that. You can’t take care of people without taking care of land and water that makeup their ecosystem.
“I STARTED MUCH MORE ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS SIDE OF THINGS BUT THE MORE YOU WRITE ABOUT THAT, THE MORE IT FEELS LIKE THE ENVIRONMENTAL SIDE OF THINGS BECOMES REALLY INEXTRICABLE FROM THAT. YOU CAN’T TAKE CARE OF PEOPLE WITHOUT TAKING CARE OF LAND AND WATER THAT MAKE UP THEIR ECOSYSTEM.” HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT CONSCIOUS CONSUMERISM OR “VOTING WITH YOUR DOLLAR” OR ALL OF THESE TYPES OF MANTRAS WE HEAR IN THE SUSTAINABLE FASHION INDUSTRY? To be totally transparent, I’ve definitely written articles that probably had the words “vote with your dollar” in them. That was the prevalent logic for a long time, and I think we all want to feel like we’re impacting things. But I’m much more interested now in recognizing that those individual actions don't mean much unless they’re serving as a way to push for more systemic action as well. And that doesn’t mean that the
only thing is policy or large scale organizing, but it is just a way of saying those things need to be connected, and I feel like it’s very clear that we cannot shop or consume our way out of problems that plague the industry.
HOW DO YOU FEEL THAT WE CAN CREATE REAL CHANGE? ANY THOUGHTS ON THE FASHION CZAR IN BIDEN’S ADMINISTRATION? I think there’s a strong sense that we need policy to help regulate this industry. There aren’t that many other industries that have a powerful potential negative impact that we trust to regulate themselves. We regulate auto emissions and we regulate seatbelts. That wasn’t a thing that automakers necessarily wanted to do themselves until it was regulated. And with tobacco - and there are all sorts of industries that if they have the potential for a big negative impact, we say ‘hey listen, you’re going to need a little help regulating’. Otherwise it’s too easy for companies to prioritize profit. Trusting them to self regulate maybe doesn't make the most sense based on the data in terms of what has and hasn’t caused change over the course of time. On that level I don’t know what’s actually going to end up happening with the Biden administration, but I do think that the push for regulation of the fashion industry makes a lot of sense and I see where advocates of that are coming from.
WHAT IS YOUR OPINION OF GREENWASHING, FOR EXAMPLE H&M’S CONSCIOUS COLLECTION? Greenwashing is definitely a thing that exists. I’ve been in interviews where I’ve had powerful people lie to my face about things, and I know for a fact that’s not what they're doing because I’ve done my homework and been in this industry long enough. It’s a real thing for sure. Greenwashing is 49
INTERVIEWS definitely a thing that exists. It’s definitely a thing that happens. I’ve been in interviews where I’ve had powerful people lie to my face about things, and I’m like I know for a fact that’s not what you're doing because I’ve done my homework and been in this industry long enough. It’s a real thing for sure. I don’t think I can make blanket statements that “everyone does this” or everyone does that. I think the big question when it comes to brands like H&M is what are we talking about specifically. I think this is something I’d like to see from more people who are concerned about sustainability is to be more specific about what we’re talking about. Like to say ‘hey is this brand greenwashing everything all the time?’ Probably not. They’re not not doing everything they say they’re doing. H&M does invest a lot of money into their non profit arm in sustainable innovation. Does that mean
that this exempts them from having a conversation about fast fashion and endless growth as sort of a viable option while also pushing for sustainability? No. I think it’s really important for people in the sustainability conversation to just start being more specific. We can't have real conversations about things if we’re just letting sustainable be a catch all. I think it’s much more helpful to look at someone saying “we’re a sustainable brand”, the instinct should always be “ok, based on what?” What are the things that you’re doing to be sustainable? To say we’re a sustainable brand doesn’t really mean that much at this point, what means more is looking at individual claims and evaluate based on those things.
WHAT INFLUENCE HAS THE SUSTAINABLE FASHION COMMUNITY HAD ON YOU? There’s so many people in this space that started out feeling like outsiders, and I mean, it almost feels like by sheer force of will that we sort of forced the rest of the fashion industry to pay attention to us. Everything that I learned when I started writing I learned from other people. There have been so many people who have helped shape this space. In New York, Portland (with the Sustainable Fashion Forum), LA, London, and you know I’m mentioning places where I’ve spent time in part because I speak English, so those are the places I’m connected to.
“IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT FOR PEOPLE IN THE SUSTAINABILITY CONVERSATION TO START BEING MORE SPECIFIC. WE CAN'T HAVE REAL CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THINGS IF WE’RE LETTING SUSTAINABLE BE A CATCH ALL.”
But there are also all of these movements that have arisen in other places that might not even necessarily use the word sustainability or don’t even use English words to talk about it, but it’s the same ethos around trying to shift this dominant relationship with the planet.
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU READ, WATCH OR FOLLOW THAT INSPIRES YOU? I read a lot of books. I’m kind of an old school analog person and I like reading paper books. I recently liked the fashion coverage that we’ve been getting from newspapers. The Financial Times, New York Times, Washington Post, I enjoy the fashion coverage that comes out of those places. FOLLOW WHITNEY AND SUBSCRIBE TO HER NEWSLETTER HERE.
SO WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU AND HOW CAN WE SUPPORT YOU? I’m currently freelancing which has been really good so far. It’s been really full. I’ll still be writing for Fashionista some but I’m expanding the roster of publications I work with. The goal behind that is partly so I can write about a wider range of things. Like I said I'll continue to write about fashion, but I also have a big feature on mushrooms that’s coming sometime this spring, but it’s the other sort of other nerdy things that I love and get to indulge. Following on social media or subscribing to my newsletter is how I share my work. If people are interested in continuing to read what I’m writing, those are the places to find it. 51
THE NEW INFLUENCERS Influencer marketing has become one of the go-to marketing strategies for brands in the past decade or so. And while the term "influencer" at times can have a negative connotation, brands are flocking to work with them. However, what about sustainably-minded influencers? With the #sustainablefashionblogger adding up to over160k posts, there's a new crop of influencers who are using their platforms for GOOD as opposed to just posting their latest #ootd. In a new reoccurring section of the magazine, we are calling "the new influencer" we are highlighting two very different content creators to learn more about how they got started in the sustainable space and how distinguishing their brand as a place to share only ethical products has shaped whom they work with and more importantly don't work with.
AIMEE CABAKOFF @sustainablyaimee Sustainably Aimee
WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS ALL ABOUT? Sustainablyaimee is a social media community and blog where I share ways for people to reduce waste and live with the planet in mind. I want people to know they don’t have to give up luxury in order to remain environmentally friendly. I actually find it is the opposite. I officially launched this new platform and blog in July 2018 for the Plastic Free July Challenge.
I’m originally from Los Angeles, California but grew up in Columbus, Ohio where I’m based today. I grew up in a very privileged area and knew that definitely wasn’t the picture of the rest of the world. However, I started to see my city from a different view and all this creative energy, community and opportunity in the sustainable space since very few people were talking about it at the time. It made it exciting to stay when I returned from overseas to have an impact at the local level. We have a lot of opportunity for small businesses here and people are taking notice so Columbus is definitely popping up from under the radar, I definitely miss the ocean though so I know I’ll move closer to it down the road. I grew up with very supportive parents that encouraged my sister (I have a fraternal twin!) Rachel and I, to see the world and life beyond our bubble. I knew I wanted to travel and finally made the choice to do so when I turned 18 and went out to Arizona for University. Fast forward my early twenties were spent in Miami and New York, 5
Photographed by Emma Low
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR BACKGROUND.
months in Europe and eventually made it overseas living abroad in beautiful Sydney, Australia. I spent 3 years there which shaped me to be the person I am today and focus on this aspect of work educating around the planet. Sydney has such a large part of my heart I hope to go back when things open up. Travel is the best teacher when it comes to learning about yourself, other cultures and how we live and interact with this planet.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS – WHAT DO YOU DO AND WHAT AUDIENCE DO YOU CATER TO? I have two sides to my business. I work as a social media influencer/advocate (I prefer this term) in sustainable living and reducing personal waste and living more consciously on the front end. And I am a social media manager and consultant for small sustainable businesses primarily for Instagram and will
“….I WATCHED A DOCUSERIES CALLED THE “WAR ON WASTE” AUSTRALIA AND I WAS SHOOK, YOU COULD SAY THAT WAS WHEN I WOKE UP TO THE VERY REAL PROBLEM.” 55
INTERVIEWS "I LOVED THE OCEAN AND CONSTANTLY SHARED THAT MESSAGE BUT I DID NOT REALLY FEEL LIKE I WAS IMPACTING ANYONE POSITIVELY. 'WHAT MESSAGE WAS I REALLY LEAVING PEOPLE WITH WHEN THEY CAME TO MY PAGE?' I WOULD ASK MYSELF."
include Pinterest in a few months, on the back end. I want people to enjoy sharing their message on social media with a strategy that works. Sustainablyaimee serves millennials looking to start or continue their plastic-free journey and living more consciously. I share ways that I am finding success in this space.. I too am on this journey so it comes from a really authentic perspective of what works/what hasn’t etc. I only partner with brands that I truly align with and will kick a disposable or wasteful habit. I also share ways I remain mindful, my plant-based journey and connected to my life. I am a beach lover so that too is a part of my theme as well.
YOU’RE A MODEL TURNED ACTIVIST. TAKE US THROUGH THAT MOMENT OF REALIZING THAT YOU WANTED TO DO MORE AND BUILD YOUR BUSINESS. I love photography and being in front of the camera I started when I was 15. When Instagram came around I started my pages highlighting my modeling career however it very quickly turned into the influencer life with no true direction or message. I was doing well to grow my reach and work with amazing photographers but 56
I felt lost. I loved the ocean and constantly shared that message but I didn’t really feel I was impacting anyone positively. “What message was I really leaving people with when they came to my page?” I would ask myself. I also know social media can paint a negative picture with mental health portraying a perfect lifestyle message all the time and that’s not good for our health. I wanted to lend to a positive environment for my page for those that connected with me. My sustainable journey gradually started whilst in Sydney I became more aware of the waste we generate from plastic and food. I was on a photoshoot in Australia in 2017 and we had to move the trash to shoot around the location, it was awful. I immediately felt it was a
sign to start incorporating and educating around our waste. Then shortly thereafter I watched a docuseries called the “War on Waste” Australia and I was shook, you could say that was when I woke up to the very real problem. It was categorized by 4 areas of waste; coffee cups, fashion, single-use plastic and food. These categories are so prominent in everyone’s lives.
Finally, when I moved back to America in 2018 I sat at a restaurant that gave me a plastic utensils, styrofoam takeaway container in a plastic bag; right then I knew instead of sharing a tip here and there, I wanted to take it on fully and educate others. I announced my name change to SustainablyAimee and my new focus; it felt like the right path. I lost a huge part of my audience but I didn’t care, I knew it was so much more impactful to share this message and inspire better habits.
WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST INSPIRING ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY? I think the most inspiring thing about sustainability is the innovation behind using new materials and products with the planet in mind. Those that recognize the problem are not just throwing their hands up but that they are actually bringing a new material or ideas to the table. I just discovered Mylo (made
from mycelium that grows naturally) which is an alternative to leather. We're seeing new types of materials to replace plastic that can break down in the environment better from the science side; that’s bloody cool. We’re seeing more options around plant-based food and restaurants catering to a plantbased diet. I also appreciate the fact that sustainability is not just one area like ocean plastic but there are so many industries within it that can benefit from our more earth-friendly approach. Biodynamic farming, regenerative agriculture, apparel made from natural fibers, providing a living wage, focusing on forest and park conservation in our poorer cities, reducing your fish, meat and dairy intake. These are all ways that we can still stimulate the economy but we are living WITH the planet in mind not just on it. That’s pretty inspiring.
TO DATE, WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT OR ACCOMPLISHMENT IN BUILDING YOUR BRAND?
WHAT’S THE ONE THING YOU FEEL THAT WE AS INDIVIDUALS CAN DO TO LIVE A MORE SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE?
If you asked me this when I first started in 2018, I would say working with a very large wellknown brand in New York City, however I think it really is being recognized in my community for this work and when people are inspired by what I’m sharing. When I see that not only are people incorporating these habits but they are seeing how they can help. Small steps have a HUGE impact in this environment. I LOVE it when someone sends me an article or takes notice of a green effort, because maybe they don’t necessarily engage with my posts all the time but they’re seeing things in a different light so that’s what fills me up to keep doing this and taking it on.
I think firstly, it’s great to do an audit or waste audit on your current habits. Where do you accumulate the most waste in your life? Is your diet mostly meat and dairy focused? For me it was in travel, my bathroom habits as well as diet so when I finished up an item instead of replacing it with something disposable I looked for a reusable. When I would go out to restaurants I would opt for plant-based meals; reducing my own meat consumption. Make changes as you go, that’s the most important way to approach sustainable living. It’s not about throwing everything out, that’s WAY worse. It’s about reusing containers that you already have, investing in reusables and challenging yourself to think before you toss. Also, just start. Don’t wait for the perfect time, that’ll pass quickly. If you’re a big meat eater and you’re out at a restaurant, opt for plant-based options because the chef definitely will have the skills to wow you. If you love fast fashion - hit the flea markets or swap clothes with friends before you go out to buy something. Think before you consume. Sustainable living is a mindset shift. The consciousness alone to do so is huge. We live in a very fast-paced auto pilot world. When you slow down, you start to see things clearer - conscious living helps with that.
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR BACKGROUND I have an art background and I have been living in various cities in Europe, such as Paris, London, Brussels and now Barcelona. I would love to keep discovering more cities in Europe and live there, but for now I believe it won't be as easy as it used to be. However, you never know what can come next. I'm very open to change and discovering new places’ cultural aspects. I also love to see how people used to dress up before WW2. It helps to understand how some materials can be worn and how humans were benefiting from them related to the weather for example. Although some clothes were only worn for a specific reason or celebration.
WHAT’S THE SUSTAINABILITY LANDSCAPE & PEOPLE’S MENTALITY LIKE IN BARCELONA? I have a feeling that Inditex (Zara) is still very strong in people's choice in Spain. Plus Primark is getting bigger and bigger. The main shopping avenue is taken by those brands and have no other presence in the city, which makes it hard to drive people to other parts where small shops are promoting sustainable shopping. They are all spread out in the city which makes them very isolated from each other. I do think change is coming from food shops. I recently saw some little shops that sell utility items for housekeeping plus shampoo, all from recyclable materials, local and sustainable production.
WHY DID YOU START YOUR BLOG & INSTAGRAM? I really wanted to bring awareness that you can find treasures on second hand platforms and shops, and avoid fast fashion. Capsule wardrobe and lasting clothing were not much of a debate at the time. Soon after it did especially with the pandemic.
WHY DID YOU WANT TO FOCUS ON SUSTAINABLE FASHION? I realised that second hand clothing was great for the planet and people. Also it avoids having all the unwanted clothes sent to Africa and killing their own local production. Sustainable production has the same ethical perspective on fashion. Together with circular fashion there is the idea of how we can reduce our impact on the ocean, on life on other people. We realise that everything is very linked. It is not just about recycling your trash at home. Consuming choices also include fashion consumption. Reducing our impact is also about choosing better. Thinking. Not being impulsive. It is not about being a control freak, there is a big perspective on well-being. 58
WHAT DO YOU FIND INTERESTING & INSPIRING ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY? Someone said that a country is rich when their people are educated. Not university wise, but having manners. To be polite and grateful. No one has to say hello when entering a big fast fashion shop. If we think about it, that's a bad start. When you enter any small shop, you have to be polite, whether you say hello first or second. That's what I find interesting and motivating. What’s inspiring is that more people have stopped considering second hand clothing a sign of poverty.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE & DISLIKE ABOUT DOING BRAND PARTNERSHIPS? I've enjoyed all the partnerships I've done so far, because they challenged me to style clothes I would not have worn otherwise. It stimulates creativity and opens new horizons, and I've discovered many new materials. However, I think it's time to slow down now, so I haven't been saying yes lately as I used to. I'm looking at the offer more as if it was a personal purchase. Do I need it? Which is also to show people that marketing in clothing is not about throwing things on and out. If I am conscious in my everyday life, I don't need to be different on social networks.
HOW CAN WE AS INDIVIDUALS LIVE A MORE SUSTAINABLE LIFESTYLE? I'm using soap nuts in my washing machine and it's incredible to see that detergent is not necessarily the way it has always been presented; and the quantity you need is much less than you think. Start small, see how it works, and give something new a chance. Clothing wise, sustainable clothing can sometimes look a bit simple, or too utilitarian. But you can accessorize and combine with clothes you already have. Plus so many designers who up-cycle are great creators, so if you want something more unique you can look to them.
me. My mom’s parents were farmers who immigrated from Italy. My Italian grandmother could be found most days in one of her 2 kitchens. She made and sold homemade bread and pasta out of my grandparents’ home. Both my grandmothers and my mom knew their way around a sewing machine and I made my first dress when I was twelve. The values and lessons I learned as a child show up in my personal and professional life, and have certainly influenced Noble Sands. Respect all people around you. Be grateful for everything you have. Let your mind wander to those wide open spaces, but stay focused when it counts. Do work you can be proud of.
HOW DID YOU START NOBLE SANDS? DID YOU HAVE AN “AH-HA” TYPE OF MOMENT?
Building a Sustainable Resort Brand How a Life-Altering Event Changed this Entrepreneur’s Mission HI JULIE! TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF. WHO ARE YOU AND WHERE DID YOU GROW UP? Like my dad, I grew up in a house my grandparents built, on a farm that surrounded Noble Lake. My parents are retired second generation farmers. My dad’s parents were educators and farmers, as well as dedicated 60
land conservationists. One of my favorite pictures of my paternal grandmother is a shot from a newspaper interview she’d done on composting in the 1940’s. She’s standing in her sheath dress, pearls and gorgeous wool coat, holding a rake next to her compost pile. Even though she passed away before I could remember her, she has had a huge influence on
Noble Sands just sort of evolved. I was on vacation in Sardinia and was so taken with the beautifully confident and effortlessly chic local women. I recognized a need for versatile modern resort wear that is distinct rather than ubiquitous. Something that could take you from boat to beach to boutique to bistro. I started journaling ideas and initially made something for myself. After many inquiries, I decided to go for it. Our brand is grounded in purpose and inspired by style. The goal is to provide a high end, high quality product, while being mindful of the planet and our consumption habits, while also supporting the amazing women who buy our products by giving back to women’s heart health research, as it is the #1 cause of death in women. Our name itself speaks to the overall ethos of our brand. Noble means to hold something or someone in high regard, as well as pays homage to where I grew up. And Sands means the moments of one’s life. So Noble Sands means to hold life’s moments in high regard.
Noble Sands @noble_sands
INTERVIEWS WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO CREATE A SUSTAINABLE RESORT BRAND? My background is not in fashion so I’ve learned everything on my own the last 3 years. But what I did know is that it is one of the largest industries contributing to the detriment of our planet, so I wanted to make as small of an impact as possible. One of our goals is to raise awareness about the importance of being a conscious consumer and doing small things like reading labels, asking where things are made, what they’re made of, and how they’re made. That is why our current product is made with recycled Repreve® fabric and ethically produced in LA. All of our packaging is either recycled or recyclable. As textiles and processes continue to evolve, we will implement the most eco-friendly materials available for our brand. It is imperative that consumers and brands do their part to become more educated and transparent. It will take some time and everything won’t be perfect right away, but a little bit of something is better than a lot of nothing.
inventory and wardrobe longevity. The biggest struggle has been that last year was our first full year, we are DTC and all of our in person events were cancelled, and not being able to travel much was not great for a resort wear brand.
After 2020, still being here! Definitely personally after surviving a heart attack, but also as a business. 2020 was to be the first year of working on Noble Sands full time. I was so excited to get The Strand Wrap in front of people and start sharing our brand.
(Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection) It occurs 90% in women, between the ages of 3050. It has only been researched about 10 years so there is much to learn, but what is known is that it is linked to stress, emotional distress and hormones. It is the top cause of heart attack in women around pregnancy and menopause. Before I even got out of the hospital I was thinking about the future of Noble Sands. Because it was quite traumatic both physically and mentally, I knew some life adjustments had to be made. I also knew that I had to get the message out about SCAD and heart related conditions being the #1 cause of death in women around the globe. After my first few months of therapy I
On January 17 I was scrolling through my phone when I felt a really deep pain between my shoulder blades. It was like nothing I'd ever felt. That was followed by a sharp pain in my chest, followed by pain in my jaw. I knew something was seriously wrong. Within 90 minutes, I was at an emergency care center and an ambulance was immediately called, rushed to the ER where a team of people were waiting, revived once and rushed into the OR, revived a second time, and woke up in the ICU. I had suffered an acute heart attack and cardiac arrest caused by a rare condition called SCAD
decided that I wanted to move forward with Noble Sands and add another cause to our mission, so I decided that a portion of all our sales would go towards women's heart health research. There's so much to be done. Overall, and SCAD specifically. Many of the same disparities that occur in our society in general are issues with heart health. Women of color are twice as likely to experience heart issues than white women. With SCAD, we don't even know how many women have died because they were misdiagnosed and sent home because they were told they were just stressed out. Or how many women have
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST WIN?
WHAT DOES BUILDING A SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS MEAN TO YOU? To me a sustainable business follows the principles of a triple bottom line, where people, planet and profit intersect. This is quite difficult to accomplish as a small business. In this day and age, to me there is no other option when starting a fashion brand than to be sustainable. We use recycled Repreve® fabric for our current products. We produce everything locally and ethically. We use recycled or recyclable packaging. We make a product that is meant to be a timeless wardrobe staple, the antithesis of fast fashion. The Strand Wrap can be worn 15+ ways and is one size that fits a wide range of body types. We operate on the ideas of conscious creation and consumption, intentional 62
lost their lives during or around pregnancy because the doctor was simply not aware of SCAD. That is why I am dedicated to helping raise awareness for the general public and medical professionals, and certainly if my own business can help raise research funds I am all in. I am working with the SCAD Alliance, which is one of the only two organizations raising funds and awareness for SCAD research and awareness. In February for Heart Month I organized a collaboration between NS and 7 small women-owned businesses to donate a portion of sales to SCAD Alliance. We also held an online round table discussion, which included Katherine Leon, the founder of the SCAD Alliance. In addition, I am serving as a patient advisor for a women’s heart health startup called Cordifio, based in Zurich. And will further collaborate when opportunities arise.
think I would still be doing this. I hadn’t lived in my area very long so didn’t know many people to start with. Add that to trying to build a business network, not only in a new area in a new industry, but solely online, and you’ve got yourself,
a challenge. I have met such a diverse group of absolutely amazing women business owners. A huge shout out to the BRA Network, District Bliss, Six Degrees Society, Quench Collective and Female Founders Collective.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST LEARNING EXPERIENCE AND DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ANYONE JUST STARTING OUT? My biggest learning experience has been what my limits are, in all aspects. And that it is imperative to have them. Yes, being ambitious is key for starting a business, but listening to your body is also important. My advice would be don’t let your fear keep you from trying, but do your homework. Know your strengths and ask for help for the rest.
HOW HAS YOUR COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTED TO YOU BUILDING YOUR BRAND AND YOUR JOURNEY TO SUSTAINABILITY? Community seems to have taken on so many meanings in the last year. Honestly, if it wasn’t for the online communities I have come to know in 2020, I really don’t
Noble Sands is the first travel, earth, and heart friendly resort-wear brand founded in 2019 by Julie Habelmann. Their mission is to support conscious consumption while reducing the impact on people and the planet. Their signature product – The Strand Wrap – is made with custom Repreve® recycled fabric and is made locally and mindfully in Southern California. Noble Sands donates a portion of all sales to women’s heart health research. 63
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