S05 Episode 260 | What are you latching onto? A special edition recap — highlighting what we learned on season 5 to take us intentionally into season 6

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Episode 260 is a special edition recap episode that highlights what we learned in season 5. This show is intended to help us gain perspective, so we can move more intentionally into season 6.

“We need everybody pursuing intersectionality, environmentalism, sustainability — like, whatever you’re latching onto in terms of progress, latch onto it, but do it in a healthy way that’s manageable in the longterm.” -Diandra Marizet, ep 211

As I reflect on season 5, I would say there was a lot of GROWTH. Now, when I say growth, I’m doing my best to separate it from the capitalistic-driven mindset that surrounds us that aligns growth solely with economics and $$$$$.

The growth I felt through season 5 was very contextual – it was about stepping back and truly understanding what is happening in fashion. The incredible guests that joined me through these episodes really challenged me to think beyond the fashion industry bubble, and to further understand how systems of oppression operate, how they impact the way fashion functions today, and how fashion in and of itself perpetuates these harmful systems through its origins and structure.

Concluding Season 5 feels like an important step for me. It featured interviews with many guests that I admire deeply, and it really reminded me that if we don’t slow down to understand how far we’ve come, we can’t move forward with clarity and intention.

The special episode weaves us through some of the highlights from the season – some of the quotes that made an impact on me, and that I continue to circle back to, in my continual quest to unveil and discover more about the intersections of fashion and sustainability.

Quotes & links from the conversation:

  • The Root: Decolonizing The Sustainable Fashion Agenda with Dominique Drakeford >

  • “We need everybody pursuing intersectionality, environmentalism, sustainability — like, whatever you’re latching onto in terms of progress, latch onto it, but do it in a healthy way that’s manageable in the longterm.” -Diandra Marizet on episode 211

  • “I really push for the narrative of 'you are your own environmentalist' that includes Indigenous experiences, ancestral knowledge if you are Indigenous, cultural-based experiences for BIPOC individuals or just lived experiences that you've had that you don't resemble to environmentalism.” -Isaias Hernandez on episode 214

  • “Another thing that I love to always mention is to just not feel so lost in the consumerism part of sustainability, because that goes back to colonialism, that goes back to the mindset of capitalism where people think they have to purchase in order to be a part of something, and I always love to mention that we were brought to think that we were the problem because corporations didn’t want to take accountability for their mistakes, but in actuality, we are the solution.” -Reza Cristián on episode 213

  • “Angela Davis said in a recent conversation she had with Yara Shahidi that there’s a difference between having information and having knowledge … you can Google something and have information about avocado pits but you’re not suddenly the expert or the most knowledgeable on the subject — and I think people need to start to reflect on that and the differences there and really pay homage and give credit to and space to the actual experts and the actual folks who hold the knowledge and the understanding of these practices.” -Katie Pruett on episode 217

  • “Especially now, with things really coming to a tipping point of sorts, with so many different environmental and social issues — I think people still need to continue to have hope, because the main point of destructive or oppressive systems is for people to become weary and to become hopeless.” -Maya Penn on episode 218

  • “For me, disruption is about recognizing systems because you study them, and then committing in the perennial marathon effort to see where there’s room and a need for radical reimagining.” -Kimberly McGlonn on episode 219

  • “Fashion is in the business of creating culture — we are culture creators — that is an immense power that we have is the influence of creating communities in culture. And, the fact that we have an opportunity to shape what the next culture becomes is a tremendous privilege, yet unfortunately I constantly see that we are taking that privilege for granted — we are not using it to the best of its ability. And that is why now that I’m slowly building this brand, I want to make an impact toward the change this industry deserves.” -Selina Sanders on episode 222

  • “Really the biggest achievement of all to-date was making this sort of bold decision to pivot our business model to operate entirely direct-to-consumer, and I think really now — our values and our business model actually align.” -Maggie Hewitt on episode 223

  • “In sciences, and especially the environmental sciences, we think of everything as a system. Everything is interconnected and there are ramifications for every decision made, every act that’s taken, every resource used, and even social systems play into that — which is part of the reason why I loved the environmental sciences so much, because you see how this theory or this phenomena impacts people on a day-to-day, and then you can figure out — is this a balanced system or is this co-beneficial and things like that. And so, in my business, I look at it exactly the same way.” -Gina Stovall on episode 224

  • “We pride ourselves in providing tools, resources, highlighting thought leaders, sharing about changemakers and being a source for Indigenous perspective on society’s current events — and that is us providing our community with what’s needed to reclaim one’s culture, reclaim identity and reclaim Indigenous story through accurate representation.” -Chantel Keiko Ricks on episode 225

  • “So much of what we do is working with frontline organizers, so that they can tell their own stories — inviting them to come write for us, creating space so that they’re not just quoted in an article, but they’re writing the article. And I think that there’s sometimes hesitance to do that in the media industry, out of this sort of obsession with objectivity — I think is honestly what sometimes drives some of that. And we do that in a way that, we’re not here to necessarily push an agenda, but we’re here to give people space to tell their truth, tell their stories and to educate the public about the battles that many of these people are fighting.” -Yessenia Funes on episode 227

  • “In most of the societies, cloth is just, it’s essential, it’s considered something that contains the human spirit and it’s the layer next to the skin — you know, it has all those meanings. And cloth is essential from what you’re wound in the moment of birth to what you’re wound in at the grave.” -Catherine McKinley on episode 228

  • “Because engineering is often about innovation and about the future, we’re never told to study the past or even the current systems — it’s always about create, create, create more, innovate more and think about the future. But again, if we don’t take into account that context and that history, then we’re just going to perpetuate those same problems over and over again.” -Kiana Kazemi on episode 230

  • “I think the narrative of the sustainable fashion world when it first became trendy was that you had to be disciplined in your approach to sustainable fashion, and I think that sort of also paralleled the need to streamline your color. But, now that people are starting to realize that sustainable fashion doesn’t only mean shopping from curated capsule wardrobe brands — they’re also seeing that they can go thrifting, and find these really cool, fun textures and repurpose the stuff that they’re already wearing … it’s really cool to see that color and those textures playing out right now in sustainable fashion, because it feels in a way with all of this color, more inclusive.” -Kara Fabella on episode 232

  • “We’re gonna be really vocal with our platform to show people that we don’t need to be following these trends. I think trends is what has pushed this overconsumption in massive amounts. And there’s the misconception that trends are the only fun clothes you can use — like trendy clothes equal fun and sustainable clothes equal boring, which is absolutely not the case at all.” -Lottie Bertello on episode 234

  • “I’m trying to reclaim the word influence because I think the word is so special and so powerful. Like I said earlier — it’s such an honor to be able to influence others to do things. Like with all things with capitalism, it just takes it and commodifies it, but I think we can go back to the definition of what influence is, which is to have an effect on others, and I want to be a positive influence and a good influence to encourage others to think new ways and try new things and be encouraged and be empowered.” -Jazmine Rogers on episode 238

  • “Nowadays, sustainable or sustainability — it means different things to different people. To you, it might mean plastics and to me, it might mean human rights or circularity or carbon. You know — it’s so broad. I just think we need to move away from this broad brush approach to the subject and I guess, be more specific with which issues actually we’re trying to tackle.” -Lauren Bartley on episode 239

  • “The society in which we live in is very much a result of the rules of our society — in that, it is people who change the rules, who create them and can change them, I should say. And so, I think that was definitely my biggest takeaway, is like, nothing about this system that we live in right now is inevitable. You know, where women garment workers are exploited and we’re just trashing rivers and throwing up climate change-causing emissions into the air and creating this product that isn’t making us happy — that’s not an inevitability, it’s just the systems of rules that we create and have to change.” -Maxine Bédat on episode 240

  • “This is where I feel the creativity is lacking — because generally, when you’re making a product, your creativity is only bound and limited to what’s viable to commerce, to how you can sell that creativity, so therefore, you cannot be fully creative if it doesn’t sell, if it’s something that doesn’t make money.” -Akilah Stewart on episode 241

  • "It's about connection, connecting to everything you do and having an alternative way of looking at things. Whether it be a relationship with another being or another person or a relationship with the plants or a relationship with any aspect — anything that you interact with in the supply chain. So, when we talk about agriculture, it’s about the soil, it’s about ecosystems, it’s about the biodiversity, it’s about the animals. You know, it’s not just about *not* adding chemicals — it's about recreating something which we have destroyed for years and years and years." -Nishanth Chopra on episode 242

  • "Self care should be an everyday thing, and it almost should be an every moment thing — like every thing that you’re doing is with intention to support yourself, to preserve yourself, so that you can then continue to go on to live your life’s purpose, whatever that may be." -Julia Perez on episode 243

  • “I wanted to fill the gap of showing that you can consume less and it can actually be fun and it doesn’t have to be a sacrifice — which, like society has made it out that way — like we have to be in this constant search of more, when in fact, the opposite can actually be a very fruitful and rewarding endeavor.” -Alyssa Beltempo on episode 244

  • “I think no one’s really attempted to make fashion rental about the sharing economy, to make it about women sharing with each other. It’s always been seen more as a “oh, I want to wear designer clothing” or “oh, I want to wear something new” or “oh, I have a charity gala or a ball to go to”. It’s always been for those sort of reasons — it’s never really addressed the fact that we all have enough fashion in our existing wardrobes.” -Eshita Kabra-Davies on episode 245

  • “Fashion was never just about the garment or the clothes — I felt like it really is an ethos. Like fashion is about the restaurants you like to eat, the movies you like to watch, the museums you go to with your friends on the weekend, where you like to travel to on holiday. And creating this world of evolution, because as we get older, we change; we’re evolutional beings, and how our wardrobe is affected by that.” -Nia Thomas on episode 246

  • “I think of something like ribbon work in my culture — like every color of the ribbon means something, or maybe it represents someone in your life or like you said, intention is first and foremost. How it looks is important, but why it’s there is even more important. And so, I’m drawn to anyone who also approaches design that way.” -Christian Allaire on episode 247

  • “While it’s mainstream now, it’s important to recognize where it comes from, and the adversity that was faced from doing so back in the day. You know, we’re at a point where it’s a little more accepted, which is amazing, but before we go into marketing everything as genderless, I think it’s important to know the struggle that came from crossdressing or drag or even participating in genderless fashion to begin with.” -Isiah Magsino on episode 249

  • “We have these brands, and we have people kind of saying — ok, I need to tick this box and I need to do this and I need to make sure that I have women of color in our photo shoots and our editorial campaigns, and I need to make sure x, y and z. And that to me is why diversity is tokenistic, because it’s not happening from the roots, it’s not happening from the foundation, it’s not happening from a system that was built by BIPOC and for BIPOC.” -Natalie Shehata on episode 250

  • “I think right now — what nonbinary fashion means to me is just dressing the way that I want to dress without worrying about how the fashion industry would label it or how the person that maybe created it would label it, and just focus more about how it feels on my body or how it aligns with how I want to express myself at the time. So, sort of living outside of any of the labels and just focusing on what feels great to me.” -Francisco Diaz on episode 251

  • “Part of the sourcing is seeing what’s abundant out there and kind of designing around that.” -Sara Gourlay on episode 252

  • “You think about all the different areas that touch fashion and fashion, in respect, it touches as well. You've got immigration, you've got trade, you've got tax issues, you've got water resource issues, you have sustainability issues, you have labor issues, you have a myriad of issues that are currently handled in Washington in a dozen different agencies. So, the idea of the fashion czar was to pull someone who could look at all these different spaces (sort of at the 30,000 foot level) and say — 'okay, here's where we need to have everyone come together'.” -Hilary Jochmans on episode 253

  • “Preloved is very much a word down here — we don’t understand the term deadstock. There is no such thing. If it can hold together, it can be used in a quilt. If it doesn’t shred in your hand, it can be used in a quilt, you know. It just depends on the person and their personal taste for doing things. Like I said, we grew up — if your zipper tore, we fixed it. If you had a hole in your pocket, we mended it. If your pants were too short, we lengthened it. If they were too long, we hemmed them. If you had a hole in your knee, we took our time, found a really old pair that were no good anywhere else, and we took time and we patched them. So, sustainability down here is just basically a way of life.” -Mary Margaret Pettway on episode 255

  • “We want to offer products that are going to last for decades and for generations and that are well made, and those are the values that we want to enforce and support as a company. And so, we have made that choice — that’s the kind of promise that we want with the products that we sell. On the other hand, I don’t shame anybody who feels that they need to shop some of these [fast fashion] brands, because sometimes, the people who are the most price-constrained, they are the best at taking care of their clothes for a long time.” -Shilla Kim-Parker on episode 256

  • “The people that are currently in the industry — they say diversity and inclusivity, they say sustainability but they don’t really know what it is, so for me — let me catch the kids when they’re younger, right? So that when they get into the industry, they’re not cultural appropriating, they are thinking about hiring diversity within their teams, they are thinking about, you know, what are some systems that I can put into place to make sure that this brand that I’m working for is ethical, has a corporate social responsibility, and is sustainable all at the same time.” -Farai Simoyi on episode 257

  • “We have to ask ourselves — on a planet where there is not endless resources, is this the attitude that we want to lead ourselves into the future on? If we are really approaching planetary limits, I think it’s actually time for us to maybe have some cultural shifts in how we view what is enough and what we should want out of life.” -Aja Barber on episode 258

  • “Our thirst for change is unquenchable — and the more that people feel like they have agency in that, is the more that degrowth becomes possible.” -Georgina Johnson on episode 259

  • “We have to be willing to discuss how the human experience is so much more nuanced than just — this is good, this is bad, and you gotta be on either side of the aisle or you’re wrong. It’s: we’re all human, we all need to do better, and the ways we’re gonna dismantle the system are by changing the way we approach consumption, being more mindful to reuse the things in our lives, but also being patient with ourselves as we slowly make that transition.” -Mikaela Clark on episode 235

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