Ever wonder what fashion bloggers are really like? We have! While it would be difficult to try and analyze ourselves, we jump at the chance to chat with other eco-minded online writers to get their perspective on sustainable fashion and its place in the entire green movement.
Launched a month and a half ago as part of the new EcoGeek blogging network, Wearing the Future is all about “straight talk as much as style, so you won’t have to worry about fluffy, PR-soaked, greenwashing nonsense.”
I recently had the pleasure of chatting with the blog’s chief editor and head writer, Kyeann Sayer (pronounced like “cayenne” pepper). As a long-time writer for Treehugger.com, Kyeann has an impressive media resume – she has been featured on CNN, MSN, I.D. Magazine, Domino, Spin, Outside, and Women’s Wear Daily … just to name a few.
In our lively conversation, Kyeann and I talk about the beginning of Wearing the Future, her favorite eco-fashion brands, personal style’s place in the world of green living and more – read on for all the juicy details!
Victoria Everman: How did you get connected with Hank Green of EcoGeek? Did the two of you come up with the idea for Wearing the Future together or was he on the look-out for an editor and writer already?
Kyeann Sayer: Hank and I were both writers at TreeHugger and have both lived in Missoula, MT. We had been discussing the idea of working together for a while, and when he decided to expand the EcoGeek network it was a perfect opportunity for me to do an eco-fashion blog without having to worry about all of the tech and other stuff that isn’t my forte.
VE: How would you describe your relationship with fashion?
KS: Conflicted! I love shopping and always having new clothes but also recognize the very un-sexy truth: we are completely overconsuming the earth’s resources and even my small wardrobe is likely larger than most people’s around the globe. So, it’s an ongoing back and forth of justification, compromise, satisfaction and guilt. I need to learn to sew so I can start re-fashioning my own garments.
VE: What do you think some of the major roadblocks are for making all clothing sustainable?
KS: There are so many. One aspect is that the production chain is so decentralized that it’s very difficult for even the most well-meaning of designers to know that their fabrics meet their own social/eco standards. That same decentralization also adds a lot to our garments’ footprints since they’re likely to be grown on one continent, constructed on another, and sold on yet another. Without universally agreed upon standards, we have these vague notions of “sustainability” at the levels of sourcing, manufacturing and consuming. The marketplace is challenging for shoppers. How do they know they’re really getting “green” or “socially responsible” products when we don’t have a universal understanding of those terms?
VE: Do you have any favorite sustainable style brands? Which ones and why?
KS: I love Nau because on a day to day basis I rely on basics and theirs are so smart and versatile. Also, they’ve clearly made such an effort to integrate smart, earth-friendlier design practices into all aspects of their operations. Every year I buy a pair of Tierra Del Forte’s jeans and wear them out. The fit is always amazing and I have a lot of respect for Tierra’s organic and domestic manufacturing efforts. My favorite top is from London’s Junky Styling — I have a huge soft spot for re-use designers. Stewart+Brown is a company with a ton of integrity and I know I’ll be wearing my favorite sweater for years. There are so many more!
VE: What makes Wearing the Future different from other eco-fashion blogs?
KS: We offer a little something for everyone, from shoppers to design students to designers to the tech-obsessed. First, we strive to be a trusted source of information on what out there is actually “green” and “ethical.” Since there are so many problems with recommending “green” products, we’re less product focused and not afraid to point out false claims (greenwashing). Second, we address our readership as citizens first and consumers second. Since we’ve already succeeded in making green sexy, maybe it’s time to make politics of fashion sexy? We all want to make a difference, and often writing a quick email or signing a petition can do more than buying bamboo socks! Finally, we are really interested in people and technology. What are nanotech fabrics? Do we want radio frequency identification in our underwear? What can we do about forced child labor in the cotton fields of Uzbekistan?
VE: Do you see personal style as an integral part of the green living movement or simply frivolous?
KS: I see it as both! I love clothes and adore creativity and innovation in design. But on my death bed I’ll care more about having done my part to help create a safe, secure and healthy world than how I looked doing it. I feel great supporting truly ethical designers and retailers and think green design is a fabulous gateway to creating substantive change. The impact of the textile/apparel industries is significant and so trying to make a difference in those arenas is definitely not frivolous.
VE: What do you say to the folks that still believe global warming is just a myth?
KS: Well, I don’t have a scientific brain, but I believe the scientific consensus. If people aren’t convinced that they need to advocate for the energy policy changes we need, I would recommend they focus on our eroding civil liberties and government censorship of scientific information. Without an informed populace who can exercise free speech and the right of assembly, we’re all in bad shape no matter what. But an ongoing struggle for a safe future against an energy lobby that is supported wholeheartedly by the executive branch and most of congress will be impossible without those rights.
VE: Do you have any other nifty, secret projects in the works that you could hint at?
KS: I wish I did! We’ll keep you posted…