Last night while at an event I met the owner of a local handbag company and instantly hit it off. We got to chatting over rosé about the story behind her business, how she sources leathers and wools and of course, The Sustainable Fashion Forum.
While chatting she asked a question that I’m often asked which is, “what made you decide to create The Sustainable Fashion Forum — especially since at the time, you knew very little about ethical and sustainable fashion?”
I told her my story of attending a Modified Style fashion show and hearing one of the speakers talk about the economic and social effects the fashion industry has on our world. I shared with her that I was very motivated by what I heard and immediately went on a Google search rampage to educate myself and learn all that I could. In the midst of scouring the internet, I had the idea to bring together local designers and industry influencers to have an honest and open conversation about eco-fashion so myself, and others could learn directly from them.
However, as I was telling the story I suddenly realized that that wasn’t the whole truth.
Although I wanted to, when I first started the SFF I wasn’t in a place financially where I could afford to regularly shop eco designers and retailers. While I understood why a plain black dress was $250, I couldn’t afford it yet still wanted to support their artistry.
As a PR and Marketing Strategist I work directly with independent designers/retailers and see firsthand how talented these designers are and the amazing stories behind their brand. Too often they struggle to scale and grow their business and tell their story in an authentic way.
Although I couldn’t afford to support these designers financially, I could use my expertise in PR and Marketing to create a platform that brought attention and attracted an audience that could afford to support them financially.
I love what Ellie of Selflessly Styled said in her blog,“sometimes, there's a mindset that creeps into ethical shopping that I'm making a sacrifice to do the right thing" - and while that's partly true, it's a sacrifice that the majority of the planet's population (even our own country's population) doesn't have the option of making. This "sacrifice" is a privilege. Being able to "vote with our dollar" is a privilege. Yes, every time we spend our money, we are shaping the future, but that doesn't necessarily mean that those who aren't able to shop from ethical brands don't "want" a more just future for others."
The SFF is about starting where you are and supporting where you can. It’s about learning and spreading the knowledge you gain with others. It’s about finding ways YOU can support right now while taking baby steps until eventually, you’re able to leap. It's not about judgment and it's not about making others feel bad because of what they can and can't do. It’s about having an honest conversation so that we can together, create change.
Grow with us!