Musing: What if We Loved From Afar?

I originally was interested in fashion, not because I necessarily chose to, but because there was an underlying social norm to ‘look good’. That intrigued me. I was interested (particularly in American’s) in women’s need and want to dress themselves in a way that made them feel not only good, but identified. It may sounds like a cliche, but the way we dress does reflect a certain quality about who we are.

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If you feel the need to be seen in the latest high-end designs or shop the most expensive rack at Nordstrom, chances are you have many insecurities that need to be addressed. I do not mean this in a demeaning way. I honestly empathize and sympathize with that. As women, we have this underlying desire to be accepted. The mainstream fashion industry has forced and taught us to believe that wearing today’s latest, hottest styles will allow us to feel validated. Now, do not get me wrong. I can appreciate a beautiful designed and executed couture piece. I still do believe in the beauty of couture fashion and the artistry it takes. However, as an average American girl, those specific pieces cannot identify with my daily life. I am constantly at struggle finding practical ways to express my creativity through fashion and putting too high of expectations on myself.

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Because we put such high expectations on ourselves as American women, we are actually degrading our fellow woman across the country. While we may adore a couture piece, in actuality, we cannot afford those pieces. So, we suffice for the fast fashion industry; a knock-off of couture or high-end pieces at an unreasonably low price point. I understand the appeal for fast fashion pieces — you can look like those high expectations without breaking the wallet of a struggling middle class.

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What if we loved from afar? Those women creating our latest fast fashion clothing items….what if we loved them without having ever met them? These women are certainly in worse situations than we are in the States. These women leave their children and families for garment factories, just to make some type of income. Even though they are abused and exploited in the process. If you saw your own mother, grandmother, sister, daughter, or niece struggling in the same capacity…would you advise them to keep pursuing a career with the garment industry?

 

Most likely your answer is no. So back to my question…what if we loved these women from afar? What if we respected them enough to say “enough is enough?” I demand change. Put your dollars where your values are.

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Kamea Chayne: Millenial Pioneer of Sustainable Living

Sustainable Living

Kamea Chayne: Millennial Pioneer of Sustainable Living

Kamea Chayne, at the impressive age of 22, just released her first book, Thrive , a research-based handbook for anyone on a journey to achieve optimal personal wellness and world sustainability. The young entrepreneur was inspired to create this book by her travel experiences. She has visited 39 countries over her lifetime, where she witnessed diverse landscapes and culture. However, at the center of each country was a desire for health, which ultimately led her to write Thrive.

Chayne’s book takes you through many topics that apply to your daily life such as:

  • How to read beauty labels so you’re buying sustainable or safer products
  • Understanding a product’s lifestyle – sourcing, production, transport, use, and disposal
  • How to buy mindfully and support products that use the 3 P’s (people, planet, and profit)
  • Buying from eco-conscious companies

Sustainability can be defined by the author as maintaining a healthy balance – we want to keep a system going as long as possible. How can we apply this philosophy to a supply chain that is really lacking transparency? Chayne admits it is a challenge to fully ensure you are buying a sustainable or ethical purchase because our supply chain is so complex. However, she advises when buying to take into consideration production, transporting, and disposal of that product. You also want to consider the amount of water used; amount of land used, and is this product toxic to humans and wildlife?

You may have been fooled by the “All Natural” or “Sustainable” marketing text on the front of packaging. These terms are not regulated by the government or any third-party, so make sure to look past the fluffy marketing statements. If you want to make more mindful purchases, you will have to evaluate the brand’s sustainability. One of the main concerns you want to tackle when evaluating a company’s sustainability practices is the 3 P’s: People, Planet, and Profit. You want to ask questions:

  • How transparent is this brand about its supply chain?
  • Are they certified by places like Fair Trade?
  • Do they support social causes?

Next, you want to look at the ingredients or materials. Chayne does have a portion of the book that specifically addresses the fashion industry, with eco-friendly textiles and looking for certifications. She also advises to get to know the company that creates the product, as many are providing voluntary information and factual information about their ethics. Ethical brands do need to make a profit to keep their businesses running, but also give back to the planet and communicate with consumers about it.

Thrive

How does living more sustainably create better personal wellness?

Chayne’s belief is when you make more thoughtful decisions, your life satisfaction improves. Your shopping purchases will feel more fulfilling. When we think of our personal wellness, we often leave our environmental health out of the question. But if we are breathing polluted air, there is no way we can be personally healthy.

Chayne shares some of her favorite sustainable brands:

You can purchase Kamea Chayne’s book Thrive here. You can also see her work with the Ethical Writers Co. and Peaceful Dumpling.

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