I apologize for my recent absence and delay in posts over the last week. I've been busy, my recent collections were in a fashion show, then I was traveling over the weekend to visit my partner's family in Florida. Needless to say, not the greatest recipe for blogging daily as well. I've also been painting! Yay! I'm so thrilled I decided to take this up as a part of my overall brand, Aubrey Busek, and make it a part of my general work. About a year and half ago, I started my brand with the intention of it being purely a fashion brand. Here's the problem: I don't just love fashion. I love to write, hence the blog, I love beauty, I love making art, drawing, painting, and more. I spent a year making collections, showing them here in Charlotte, launching my web store and overall just building my portfolio post-college. I had other (real) jobs inbetween, but those were never what I imagined my life leading to full time. They were there more for money's sake. ...On with the story.. As I pursued growing my fashion brand (if you don't know what I make check out the website here) things started to change in a way I wasn't happy about. I like having full control over the things I make. When my seamstress, who I was close to, moved to Seattle, I started looking into factories to make my clothing. Don't get me wrong, most of what I make I have designed and sewn myself, but I need extra assistance with orders, and if I wanted to start selling to stores, which was the original idea. The more and more I started looking into the mass-manufacture side of things, the angrier I got at how difficult it is for a small brand to grow, but keep their ethics in line. Domestic production is of course more expensive than offshore, and just in general, finding things like luxury eco friendly fabrics, artisans that can replicate my hand embroidery, things like that were increasingly difficult to find. I realized just how much the average consumer doesn't know about the industry, and what they SHOULD know that many brands keep from them. I strive to make pieces that are a piece of artwork; something someone will cherish forever, but are also wearable. There is a place for uber-conceptual art-fashion, but I want people to actually wear my pieces. On the flip side, I love drawing and painting, and didn't want to give this up entirely for the sake of growing a brand. This is why I have decided to morph my brand into something a little different than I initially intended. It will be a fusion of fine art and fine fashion, in some very fun and exciting ways.
Why am I telling you this?
Because, I am leading up to talking more on my blog about my brand, about the art I make, and slow fashion in general and what that means for the industry.
Also- It's Fashion Revolution week. This week is the anniversary of the Rana Plaza factory collapse in Bangladesh that ended up killing over 1000 factory workers. This factory made mass market clothing. This terrible thing that happened, happened because of lax production standards in the countries that produce the bulk of the world's clothing. This is not okay. Child labor still exists in the clothing industry. Sweatshops exist..many of them. People don't get paid a living wage and work hours and hours on end sewing garments that cost mere dollars. Clothing is made using techniques and fibers that care little for the environment; using practices that include toxic chemical waste entering drinking water in developing countries due to poor factory standards. This marks a week where the consumer (you and me) decide to get more involved in what we wear on our backs every day and ask the pertinent question, Who made my clothes?
"Much of the global fashion industry is opaque, exploitative and environmentally damaging and desperately needs revolutionary change. We love fashion, but we don’t want our clothes to come at the cost of people or our planet. "- Fashion Revolution
** Images from http://www.fashionrevolution.org**
This is a week to ask yourself why you love the clothes you wear all the time, and wouldn't it feel great to know how those clothes you love are made, what they're made out of, and who made them? Wouldn't it be great if your clothing could tell a story, the story of it's life? This is a week where we call for more transparency from the brands we love, to ask them the simple question of being more open about their supply chain, manufacturing, and what really goes into their garments. As a clothing designer, I know that it is no cake walk making clothes every day. It's hard work from patternmaking to the actual sewing, and I hope that all of my customers know how much care, time, and love I put into every piece I make. Below are two pieces from my Spring 2017 collection; I painted the printed fabric and had a local NC company print the textile, and I use all natural fibers like 100% cotton, linen, and silks. I make all of my patterns, pick every fabric by hand, and sew most of my garments myself (my seamstress helped with a few pieces from this collection). You can check out more of my pieces here.
Shopping from ethical brands means that there is generally a section on their website devoted to how the clothing is made, and more about their supply chain. They are more transparent than your average big box brand. Fashion Revolution has some great material on their website here that can show you ways you can get involved. One of my favorite things and something I advocate for is doing a #haulternative with your own closet. Check out pieces you already own that you may not wear much and ask yourself why? Jazz them up a little with fabric paint or embroidery, put some fun patches on an old denim jacket or pair of jeans, or simply wear the garment in a new way or with a new outfit. There are so many ways to re-purpose clothing you already own instead of just going out and shopping more. Here are some more ideas:
- Shop used: there are great consignment stores EVERYWHERE that sell used designer and well known brand pieces. Also apps like Poshmark are awesome for this too!
- Buy less, throw away less: re-purpose what you already own or wear it differently. Fashion is a form of creative expression so get creative with it! We throw away tons (literally) of clothing a year that ends up in landfills serving absolutely no purpose other than polluting the Earth. Why wouldn't you make an effort to wear the things you own a little bit more before you go shopping again.
- Buy conscious: Shop ethical or sustainable companies whenever possible. Need a list of places to shop? I'll be providing that in another post. Too expensive? Save money. Buy things that really matter; that you will wear a lot. And when in doubt buy used. Designer consignment stores are awesome for gently used pieces as well as places like Buffalo Exchange that buy up more trendy pieces. I have some fun Anthropologie items I have from the Buffalo Exchange here in Charlotte!
The purpose of my blog post today is to inspire you. To ask you to ask yourself to care more. To make more conscious buying decisions and to wonder, who made your clothes?
Here are some great ethical online shopping options:
-Etsy (buy from small brands and artisans)
-Amour Vert (Sustainable; made in USA)
-Zady (Sustainable, ethical clothing)
-Patagonia (Suatainable, fair trade outdoor wear
-Matt and Nat (Eco friendly, vegan accessories)
There are so many more!! I can't wait to share more ethical fashion with you all on this blog. I hope these ideas get you started on a year of more conscious buying choices; let me know what your Fashion Revolution goals are!!