Fashioning Change has come a long way. Since it launched last fall, the online marketplace has conducted nearly 60,000 “green shopping interventions” by helping consumers recreate name-brand looks using sustainable and ethical brands. Its flagship product is “Wear This, Not That,” a web-based app that compares two similar styles—the status-quo option versus an ethically made alternative—with comparable price points. Bullet points below each look explain the sustainable (or not-so-sustainable) practices behind the brand. More often than not, the obvious choice is the better choice, both socially and environmentally. We tracked down Kestrel Jenkins, a former writer at Ecouterre and the product and sourcing coordinator for Fashioning Change, to learn more. Plus, scroll down for an exclusive 25 percent discount on all Afia products.
Last time we reported on Fashioning Change, it had just launched. How has your mission grown since then?
Since our launch Cyber Monday last November, Fashioning Change has been growing and expanding tremendously. We are connecting with the 143 million online shoppers who want to make better purchases, and we’re adding new fashion-forward brands every week. In addition, we are now a go-to shopping site, as well as a resource for shoppers who are interested in understanding the stories behind their clothing.
As the person who curates new looks and creates the “Wear This, Not That” looks for Fashioning Change, what do you look for when searching for new designers to add to your roster?
We have a large number of amazing brands coming to Fashioning Change, wanting to be part of our platform and we are always seeking the next and best up-and-coming designers out there, but we have really high standards. Our brands have to meet these five criteria: they must be stylish, must be quality, must protect your health, the Earth, and human rights. If a brand doesn’t meet just one of those criteria, they don’t make the cut. You are able to clearly see why our brands have met these standards through their transparent lifecycle function which truly tells each brand’s unique story.
You’ve had the chance to interview many designers and hear about how they work. Who are some designers who have stood out to you for their innovative approach to fashion and creating ethical business practices?
Each of our designers and brands stand out in their own unique way. We have brands that are made proudly in the US like Zkano – an organic cotton sock company that has brought production and jobs back to Alabama (turns out that Alabama used to be the sock-making capital of the world). We have fair trade brands like Olga Road (who make upcycled leather jackets in small workshops in Thailand) and Love Is Mighty (who make vegan footwear from vintage Indian tapestries and recycled plastic fiber). And, we have innovative performance brands like Modrobes who make fabrics from sustainable materials like Eucalyptus and recycled plastic bottles. We love sharing their stories with our shoppers and are undoubtedly inspired by each and every one of them every single day.
What are some of the main challenges the designers you work with encounter when trying to source and work responsibly?
Designing ethically has become more accessible and the proof of this is in the growth of the industry. Large mainstream brands have taken notice of eco-friendly and ethical design and are trying to find their footing alongside the independent brands we work with.
The market has really evolved to provide resources for designers of any size wanting to design and source responsibly. The ecosystem has developed and now boasts more resources, including two that we partner with: The Ethical Fashion Forum and Source4Style.
If designers are interested in having their line featured on Fashioning Change, how do they go about doing so and what are the basic requirements?
Shoppers and designers alike can submit their brands or brand suggestions to us on our website.
It’s that combination of style, ethics and transparency that we are always seeking and always excited to discover from up-and-coming designers.
How do you see Fashioning Change impacting the way consumers approach fashion and what are your long term goals for the company?
Fashioning Change is a marketplace for anyone looking to find better fashion, because the aesthetics of our brands appeal to mainstream shoppers, we showcase on trend independent designers, and we appeal to individuals who seek to buy things that help protect the Earth and human rights. But don’t let the name fool you. Fashioning Change is a retail tech company that’s on a mission to provide quality, stylish, do-good alternatives to anything that goes in and on your body, in your home, or in your community.
We are starting in fashion because we have deep roots in the fashion community (I used to work for Fair Trade fashion label People Tree in London and our Founder and CEO, Adriana Herrera used to domestically manufacture eco-friendly and ethical handbags), but we have future plans for the company to expand into other industries. We see ourselves being a one-stop shop for shoppers. Adriana has us on a path to give Jeff Bezos a run for his money; the main difference is that everything we do positively impacts the world while also looking good.
Get 25 percent off all Afia clothing at Fashioning Change till July 31 with the code AFIAAction.