Who, What, Where, Why and How? +MY STORY
In this blog series, I explain the facts. I know, facts, sounds dry and boring, right? It sounds like another lecture of guilt on how the apparel industry impacts worker’s rights and the planet, right? Yes and no. I am going to give you some terms to make them clear. Then, I am going to keep telling you a story. Keep reading because I promise, the facts are important to the story.
Today we begin with what: Eco-fashion, ethical, fashion, and sustainable fashion have lately been the buzz words in the fashion industry and the media lately and that’s good, right? Sort of. First, it’s good for the obvious reason, it’s creating more awareness about your clothing and shopping habits. I live in the United States and fast fashion has been the ruler of all things apparel. I mean the czar of Zara is number 4 in the billionaire index right after Warren Buffet, the oracle of Omaha. But enough with the names. Is it fair enough to say ethical fashion is catching on within the United States or even on a global scale? And if so, how do we know? How is it measured? How can it be disrupted it? Who will be the players to do so? Big questions.
I like to question things a lot.
Let’s continue with what: The main purpose of this post is to clarify what terms mean in this ever-evolving fashion industry. What does ethical fashion mean anyway? Ethical fashion means to consider the labor and conditions of an apparel or accessory produced within the confines of the manufacturer so it can be bought and sold in a market. There are different perspectives on the terminology but overall two things need to be embraces: people and planet. A third important factor in the business sector is of course, the profits. Ethical Fashion Forum editor Sarah Ditty, defines ethical fashion is to maximize the benefit to people and minimum impact on the environment.”
Ditty further explains sustainability itself is broken down to three main factors: profits, materials (fibers/natural resources) and human resources. All of which are equal in importance and priority.
Sustainable Fashion is more of an umbrella term consumers see in the media and with new brands entering the market. It can more of an approach or philosophy in the fashion industry, Ditty highlights as well. One example of a sustainable fashion company is Patagonia, the Ventura based Patagonia’s mission is to “build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to environmental crisis.”
Lastly, I’d like to explain fair trade. The Fair Trade World Organization defines Fair Trade as “proof that greater justice in global trade is possible, highlight change in the rules for conventional trade to create successful businesses, to fight against poverty, climate change and economic crisis.” These three terms I view as the important terms to understand and note within the fashion industry. More terms like eco-fashion, conscious fashion, green fashion and fair fashion can be interpreted to many players in the fashion industry and across the process of making a product. However, it is critical to view these terms to embrace people, planet and profits equally in the fashion industry and beyond.
Now, I can begin with my story. The juicy stuff and where I begin my story toward sustainable fashion.
What is my story? It can begin as a global story. One that can goes far from borders and languages. I am a first-generation daughter of immigrants. I was surrounded with a rich history of family and friends from different parts of the world. I always found that fascinating and captivating because I know everyone has a story from their hometown. I consider my hometown Chicago but where I really feel at home is traveling somewhere.
It all began when I would wander…do you remember when we had no i-phones? I do. I grew up in an era where kids would play outside and I would get lost going to the park, going to the pool and then I would do it all over again by myself or with neighborhood friends. I’d love meeting new friends and just talk to them about stuff.
At 7 years old, my parents would finally allow to me to walk to the library alone or walk a block and then come back home. It would be muggy day outside & no sun in sight during the spring days in the Chicago suburb of Morton Grove. I’d have a stick in my hand and jump puddles to distract me. Then, I’d meet different neighborhood children that would also be outside wandering from their homes.
They would ask me to go play a sport or race down the sidewalk. We would play basketball on my driveway or run to the small playground around the block. Rain or shine we would be there. But it would be mostly rain because you know, Chicago…
The outdoors was where I felt the most alive and I enjoyed outdoor play throughout the years. I would become friends, then my friends would move or they would not be allowed to play or there would be busy with lessons. I would always be outside playing or riding my bicycle.
It was a funny bicycle. My three sisters shared a used bicycle that was spray-painted construction orange, yes, orange. Then, it had this banana seat that was light blue with a white basket. How tacky but it worked because I traveled on that bicycle and it got me to the pool, my school, and summer camp. Yes, we got our own bicycles in middle school going into high school and they were used but who cared? It was my vehicle to travel my world.
That was where my hunger to see the world began and it has never stopped…but what does this have to do with sustainable fashion?
Travel is where my purpose lives. I want to create a sustainable handbag travel company to keep that hunger for the outdoors and travel alive. My story is important and as I continue to tell it, I want you to be a part of these travel stories. I will continue to tell my story and how it unfolded into this obsession to begin my business in sustainable fashion. I want you to learn from it and see how it can help you. Plus, I want you to be a part of these travel stories. I invite you to become a part of the travel stories. I will be featuring different stories on my FB and IG social mediachannels. You can also sign up for my e-newsletter below to catch the process of my sourcing, the wonderful women I am meeting, and how I’m revamping my brand. Don’t miss a thing and sign up to catch the women behind each step. I can’t wait to show you some of the fabric as I juggle my full-time job, family and this hunger to build my brand and hopefully inspire others. Oh, catch my next blog post on the apparel chronicles explaining WHO are the big and small players in the sustainable fashion sector. I promise I will continue with more stories on how fashion began to pull on my sleeve and wouldn’t let go of me. Thank you for reading and stay tuned to discover the multi-layers of the fashion industry.