#BrokeMinimalBabes: Meet Sustainable Fashion Blogger Cat from Restitchstance (001)
New #BrokeMinimalBabe Series: 001
Cat Chiang: Sustainable Fashion Blogger
Hi everyone! I'm excited to announce a #BrokeMinimalBabes, which is a new series focused on conscious bloggers. Meet Cat Chiang, the founder of Restitchstance, a sustainable fashion blogger who's passionate about social justice. Cat graduated from Scripps college and is currently living in Seattle, WA.
*Cat's answers are in italics
When did you start blogging and what do you create?
I started at the end of March 2017, blogging about fashion, DIY, thrifting, and that kind of stuff. I ended up falling into sustainable and ethical fashion because I just felt bad blogging about unethical brands. I've always been passionate about social justice so my love for fashion can't go outside my moral guidelines. Since starting my blog, I've discovered other sustainable and ethical fashion bloggers and it's really inspiring. It gives me hope!
How did you get into sustainable and ethical fashion?
As my political consciousness grew in college, I started caring about how my clothes are made, their environmental impact, and the people who made them. I followed a lot of fashion influencers but didn't see any of them talk about the unethical and unsustainable issues of the fashion industry, and it made me really sad! For a really long time, I always wanted to see more sustainable and ethical fashion bloggers...so I decided to become one.
"For a really long time, I always wanted to [see more] sustainable fashion bloggers...so I decided to become one."
Define ethical fashion and sustainability.
Sustainable fashion is all about minimizing the impact on the environment that it takes to produce clothing. It takes 2700 liters of water to make one cotton T-shirt. That's the amount you could drink in 12 years. Some brands use recycled textiles and plastics, which helps reduce waste. Sustainable brands also tend to make higher quality clothing compared to fast fashion brands, which create clothing only meant to be worn for a season or two. That way, you buy less and create less waste.
Ethical fashion is all about treating the people who made your clothing fairly. It's also about knowing who made the clothing and where. We're so detached from how our clothing is made, so we're often unaware of what the working conditions are like or how workers are treated or if they make enough to live comfortably. Some companies are starting to be transparent about who their workers are, what the factories are like, and how much employees are paid. It's great because then you can put a human face to the people who made your clothes, and realize that they're human beings who deserve a fair wage.
"You start to realize that they are human beings who deserve a fair wage."
Why do you think the fashion + fashion bloggers don’t speak out about the unethical practices and environmental harms of the fashion industry.
There's a lot of money in the fashion fashion industry. A lot of people also don't realize that fast fashion negatively impacts the environment so much or that the people who made their clothes aren't making enough to live or aren't working in safe conditions. But I think it's also because as consumers, we are so detached from all of the negative effects of fast fashion, and influencers make so much money from fast fashion that it's probably an issue they don't want to address.
What are your thoughts on the sustainable fashion movement?
Sustainable and ethical fashion, also called "slow fashion" (as opposed to fast fashion) is becoming more trendy. More people are starting to talk about it and it's pretty exciting! If you want to get started with slow fashion, I would start at a thrift store. Only 20% of donated clothing is sold and the rest ends up in landfills. And, Goodwill donates proceeds toward job training, so you're also doing good by shopping there. If you want to buy new clothing, I would recommend Girlfriend Collective for activewear (their leggings are really amazing!) and Everlane or Alternative Apparel for basics. There are also some brands that I haven't tried but have been eyeing: Lacausa, sustainably and ethically made in LA, has beautiful breezy and simple pieces that I love even though they're totally not practical for Seattle, and Vetta Capsule makes capsule wardrobes with pieces that you can wear in multiple ways!
What is your hope for the up and coming ethical + sustainable fashion industry?
In a perfect world, the people who make clothing would be able to afford clothes as easily as other consumers. People would consume less and be satisfied with less. I think there's a lot of innovation that can be done in fashion besides just creating and following new trends. Another thing that would be cool is if people could go to a factory and learn about the manufacturing process, see it with their own eyes. Or if everyone who loves fashion learned to make their own clothing. It's so important to bridge the gap between the consumer and the person who makes the clothing.
Thank you for reading the first installment of the #BrokeMinimalBabes interview!
Also, My lovely friend Cat interviewed little old me. Find out how I got started blogging in 2008, getting raw about being an African-American influencer, and how my faith has kept me writing, here.