FOUNDER OF KNOWN SUPPLY AND THE #BREAKUPWITHFASTFASHION CAMPAIGN
1. What inspired the #BreakUpWithFastFashion campaign and whatthefashion.net?
It's amazing to see all the individual efforts of people and brands that are making a positive impact on the fashion industry, however, I feel like much of what is happening seems to be disconnected. I wanted to create a platform where more people could have collective conversations about how to move the the industry forward together, while at the same time providing shoppers with tangible ways to improve their own understanding of the main issues facing fashion today.
2. You helped pioneer the social enterprise movement with your Brand Krochet Kids Intl. - how would you define social enterprise and why is it a great model for the fashion industry?
The broad definition I use for social enterprise is an entity that is leveraging business practices in order to develop, fund, and implement solutions to social, cultural and environmental issues. I do think it's important to note that authenticity of the mission matters, and you can read more at the following blog post if you are interested here.
3. When was your wake up call moment where you realized something had to change to clean up the fashion industry?
We got involved in the fashion industry in a very roundabout way. It started with simply wanting to provide jobs to women living in very challenging circumstances in Uganda. We taught them how to make headwear, and it was only once we began selling our products that we realized how unique our approach to "fashion" was. It wasn't until years into our work that we learned more about the broader issues facing fashion, and one key issue arose as the most important to us... no one knew WHO was making their clothing.
4. For someone who is wanting to transition away from Fast Fashion, but find it a bit daunting - what do you suggest their first steps be?
This is really at the heart of the #BreakUpWithFastFashion campaign. We say there are 3 simple actions to take...1) PLEDGE to now purchase any new fast fashion. (Do that now at http://whatthefashion.net)2) LOVE the clothes you already have3) When you do need to buy new items, SHOP RESPONSIBLY by purchasing quality, ethically made pieces or shopping second hand.
5. The most common concern we hear of people switching from fast to slow fashion is the price point - how do you educate consumers around this concern?
Two things are important to understand here...1) It's about value over time. This means if you invest in more quality pieces that will last you a very long time, it means you are not going to need to make as many purchases. Yes, this may cost a little more at the beginning but you have to take a long-term view.2) It's not as bad as you think. I feel like this sentiment is a bit outdated because there are actually a number of brands that may be slightly more expensive but really not that much more than you're already spending. And moreover, ethical brands do sales as well. :)
6. Give us one nugget you'd give your college self before starting your first social enterprise?
It's a long road ahead. Celebrate the wins. Embrace the losses. Keep marching in what you feel like is the best direction for your work.
7. What is one book, documentary and/or instagram/blog account you'd encourage people to follow?
For the topic at hand, "The True Cost" is a phenomenal documentary that highlights some of the challenges of the global fashion industry, told in a deeply human and meaningful way.