Meet The Christian Ethical Fashion Blogger Lauren from Curating Contentment
Lauren Hatch, Christian Ethical and Tiny Closet Fashion Blog
Hi everyone! We are back with another interview for #BrokeMinimalBabes, which is a series focused on conscious bloggers. Meet Lauren, the founder of Curating Contentment an ethical blog with a tiny closet where each piece gets 30 wears, always. Lauren currently resides in San Fransisco Bay Area with her husband and cat.
WHEN DID YOU START BLOGGING AND WHAT DO YOU DO/CREATE?
The blogging world first opened up to me when I discovered Liz Morrow from ‘The Brave Life’ (@liz.morrow). Curly haired, tough, and soulful, she documented her journey from the Northern cusp of the United States to the Southern in her vintage Winnebago. Following her journey was compelling and made me feel like I was empowered to throw my measly earnings together, get to work on restoring an old RV, and tour the country on my own.
I was inspired by how her words touched me in such an organic way, and though I wanted to leave fingerprints on other people’s lives in a similar fashion-- long blog posts always seemed daunting and less authentic when I tried my hand at them, and at the time I didn’t know how to articulate what I was passionate about.
After many (and I mean MANY) blogging fails, I came to terms with two things: 1. My passion for clothing and human rights was worthy of sharing 2. I needed to do the ‘blogging’ thing in a way that worked for me, because ‘traditional’ was not working.
I started the Curating Contentment Instagram at the beginning of 2018, with the intention of proving to myself that a small, well loved closet was more empowering and peace-giving than an abundance of fast fashion pieces. Though I have a ‘blog’ for clothing and brand reviews, I think the heart of my writing is documented on each post I create on Instagram.
My Instagram showcases garments in my closet that I have thrifted, have stayed with me over the years, well planned ethical pieces, and the way that they are all mix and matchable. I want those who come across my corner of social media to leave feeling empowered to make better, more sustainable, and ethical choices in their future shopping.
I believe that fashion should be a healthy medium of self expression and utility, not an area of bondage.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO CREATING A CONSCIOUS WARDROBE?
I hadn’t heard of ethical or slow fashion until I found @dearlybethany ‘s Year of Outfits Challenge. I was drawn to her timeless pieces and her styling introduced me to brands like Elizabeth Suzann and Nisolo. I’m a pretty gnarly researcher (total nerd-alert), so I went deep into reading the mission statements of these creators.
At the time I was in a place where I was pretty unhappy at my job. I felt uncomfortable in my workplace and didn’t take pleasure being there day in and day out. So I think it all hit me at once-- At any time, I could leave my job and find another position that fit my lifestyle needs and workplace desires. But the majority of the world doesn’t have that luxury. People are being paid below minimum wage, in countries where fast fashion is THE industry. I felt disgusted that I was essentially bitching about my cozy workplace, when others were trapped in their exploitative jobs, sewing the clothing I was wearing, with no way out.
Ethical fashion became a value in my life, right then and there. How could I claim that I had certain rights to things in my job, when I knew that I was contributing to an industry that took those rights away from others?
Whose hands sewed my clothes? How many women sat numbly over my cheap tops and dresses, thinking about how they would feed their children the next day? How many children went hungry as a result of poor wages? How many human beings wailed in grief at night, crying over an endless sea of polyester waiting to be processed-- while I wore the fruit of their labor once, and then discarded it like it meant nothing?
I had to change. If I said I valued humans as image bearers of God, worthy of love and respect and care, I had to.
DEFINE ETHICAL AND SUSTAINABLE FASHION.
I think that ethical fashion is made up of a community of garment makers and creators who are dedicated to valuing humans above production. It means living wages, benefits, rest breaks, reasonable hours, and safety from seed, to design, to sewing, to customer.
Sustainable fashion is defined by creating garments using methods that protect the planet and its resources, but it is also rooted in the mindset of the consumer. It requires us to think of clothing in terms of utility, not commodity. Even if we aren’t purchasing ‘sustainable’ clothing straight from the brand, we can do our part by thrifting, shopping second hand, doing garment swaps, and ensuring that we care for our clothing well so that they last longer and reach wider wear counts.
WHY DO YOU THINK BLOGGERS + INFLUENCERS DON'T SPEAK OUT ABOUT ETHICAL FASHION?
I think that influencers don’t talk about slow fashion for two reasons:
Influencers just don’t know. I was a stylist and have been into clothing for years, but I just became aware of the ethical fashion movement last year-- as a 26 year old woman! While artisan clothing is becoming more popular, the big box stores are still king because they are so easily accessible. If you’re not actively looking for ethical or sustainable fashion, chances are you won’t find it, because there’s always going to be a strip mall within a few miles. That’s why it’s SO important to share on social media or tell your friends, because I never would have known if not for @dearlybethany sharing her closet on Instagram.
Influencers don’t want to change. I feel like I come off as harsh a lot of the time, because I am so passionate about this. So let me first clarify that it is not the intention of my heart to sound judgemental, nor do I look down on anyone for their choices. From a simply logical, detached standpoint, a person can be given all of the information in the world, and still choose that they want to do what they want to do.
I think that it’s appealing to receive product and affiliation with big fast fashion brands for a lot of reasons: More product, more affiliate links that bring in financial support for the influencer, and known brands tend to be more ‘budget friendly’ for the average consumer which converts to more commission sales. In reality, there are just more fast fashion tycoons out there that can finance influencers than smaller ethical enterprises.
It takes a mindset shift to go from fast fashion to slowly saving for smaller, better quality ethical pieces. Influencers have to consider that they will likely get a drop in followers if they head this route, as this mindset shift takes time and not everyone will take to it. This could result in a huge drop in finances for the influencer, which they have to take into account. I get it. It’s scary. Especially if your entire income is wrapped up in your partnerships.
WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE CONSCIOUS/ETHICAL FASHION MOVEMENT?
I have so much to say! But I’ve said so much already, so I’ll be brief. I have never found a more uplifting community of human beings on social media. The ethical fashion community is kind, body positive, respectful, and genuinely encouraging of one another. I have also noticed that the slow fashion movement is DYING for DIVERSITY in both ethnicity and income! I’m a poverty level, mixed race, first generation, Bay Area native-- and I want to see the same diversity I see every day on the street, reflected on my Instagram feed!
I also think that there’s some kind of undue ‘shame’ that holds people back from posting their outfit photos, if their clothing came from places like Goodwill or Savers. So let me say right now-- It doesn’t matter if it’s some expensive designer artisan top, or if its a damn striped tee you got for a dollar at the Goodwill! SHARE IT! We are all working towards the same goals-- keeping clothing from the landfill, large wear totals, and showing that ethical alternatives are out there for all incomes! I want to see your thrift finds that you wear every day!
HOW DID YOU GET INTO WARDROBE STYLING AND HOW HAS THAT SHAPED THE WAY YOU DRESS?
I’ve always worn what I wanted, how I wanted, where I wanted, and took other people’s reactions in stride. I grew up and still live in the [low-income neighborhood], so I’ve had to shoulder days where I’ve been laughed at, asked if I’m a hooker, or been told I look like Lady Gaga. While it hurt my feelings at the time, I’m so thankful for those words, because they pushed me to grow in confidence as I shaped my style. Eventually, I took a stylist job at Anthropologie, where I worked in bridal! It was amazing working with such lovely, artistic women, in an environment where I could put my creativity to use. It gave me such a confidence boost having other women affirming my outfit choices and styling decisions (FINALLY) after roughing it so long. But even now working at the very bottom of Law, I still receive the same commentary on my outfits, just in more polite verbiage. Now it’s, ‘Did you just come to court from graduating? Is that why you’re wearing a graduation gown?’ or ‘You look like a grandma’ or ‘That’s interesting’.
Ultimately I’ve learned to be confident and joyful in my clothing! No matter where you are in life, people are gonna think something sideways about you-- but the beauty of it is, you are making life more vibrant and diverse and beautiful. So keep it up! Your intrinsic worth is not defined by other people’s opinions of you or what you put on your body. Be creative and confident and strive to be the best version of yourself. That’s the only styling advice that matters.
Thank you for reading the 3rd installment of the #BrokeMinimalBabes interview! View the previous installment here!!
Check out Lauren's intentional and inspiring blog for ethical and conscious fashion reviews, styling tips to maximize your wardrobe, and faith-based encouragement. Don't forget to be-friend this #BrokeMinimalBabe on Instagram.