DACY: To me, sustainability means using what you have. It means not wasting things. Most importantly, it means resisting the messages that we should always be purchasing something new. If we all gave a little more thought to which of these new purchases we actually need, the production of “stuff” would have to slow down, and we’d use fewer resources as a society.
ROUTE: Do you make it a habit to practice mindfulness & intention? If so, how?
D: I’m constantly working on mindfulness and intention and don’t feel as though I ever get better at it, although I guess that’s kind of the point! Currently, my biggest focus in this area is on being intentional with my digital life. I’m trying to set limits around when and how I use social media and scrutinizing my reasons for opening my phone or computer. It’s a huge challenge.
ROUTE: What are some ways you incorporate or live sustainable fashion? Favorite brands?
D: The most sustainable thing you can do is to make use of something that already exist in the world, so if I’m looking for a new article of clothing, I check secondhand sources first (usually thrift stores, resale shops, and Poshmark). My style aligns really well with lots of ethical fashion retailers, so I love to patronize them. A couple of my favorites are Elizabeth Suzann, Ali Golden, and of course Route! The price points can be higher, but I know that that’s because people are being paid a higher wage to produce them, so I make room in my budget by saving on secondhand pieces.
ROUTE: Name 3 sources of inspiration that have been life giving for you lately:
D: This might sound odd, but I’ve been staying away from the usual “inspiration” lately. Instagram has lots of pretty pictures, but also the potential to make me feel bad about myself. I’ve been limiting my time there, but I have been recently getting inspired by sewists (sewer+artist) Sienna and Abolaji. Pinterest and I are still cool and I’m into all the content on The Cut.
ROUTE: What are you so passionate about that you will experience discomfort to see it through?
D: It was actually really uncomfortable for me to start my personal styling business, mindful closet. I’m an introvert and pretty risk-averse. However, I get so much joy from showing women that they are worthy without the latest trend or fad that’s being marketed to them. I see my job as helping them find the styles that they feel most themselves in and letting go of all the rest. Contrary to what you might think, the fewer better things you have, the easier it is to get dressed.
Dacy has an upcoming 5 day capsule creation challenge starting tomorrow August 1st, so hop on over and get the details on that.She also shared a couple of her ROUTE favorites with us:
“I love the Hana Saddlebag because there’s nothing better than being hands free, especially when you’ve got two kids to wrangle.”
“I’m all about geometric earrings these days. The Stevie earring makes a big impact, but it’s leather, so it’s not heavy.”
Click through to check them out.
Thank you Dacy!
Be sure to follow Dacy on Instagram & check out her website where she helps empower you to simplify your closet.
Let us know what you think about this new series, who would you like to hear from? We have a lot of wonderful women coming up.
It was such an amazing experience to stop for a few minutes and ask some women in our community what their favorite experience was being gifted time. Each of the women gave us a different answer, each one had a unique and specific experience. That is one of the most exciting things about non-traditional giving – you have to be specific, it is about thinking deep about the other person, empathizing with their life and then making the gift about them. Here are 5 ideas that we came up with around quality time, with our FAVORITE Route gifts to give when you spend time.
Gift time AWAY – watching someone’s children, doing their dishes, walking their dog, or doing anything that carries someone else’s load so that they can have a minute to themselves or doing a special activity that they don’t have time for. Maybe helping someone with phone calls or doing some organizing for them. Try using your time to give someone else a little more time.
Spend Time TOGETHER – This only works with the most special people. Who is the friend or family member who comes to you for advice, help, support? Give those people your time and listen to them. This simple act makes people feel TAKEN CARE of and ENCOURAGED.
Gift your Expertise – what can you do, that would be a gift to others. This may mean teaching someone something that you know, maybe it’s helping someone with their business or fixing something in their house. What do you know that could bless others? Give them your time this year.
4. The Esther Vest – Our current favorite layer. An alpaca blend that is at once warm but not too bulky. You will love layering this beautiful piece with light or dark colors and will feel so great knowing that it was made ethically and your purchase supports each maker in Bolivia.
5. The Athena earring – gifting the good means giving with out purchasing AND purchasing with purpose. Each of our pieces has great purpose, the Athena is not alone. But these recycled glass earrings that are hand pieced have a special place in our hearts. They are the creation of an amazing women, Christine who was so moved by women that she has known come out of trafficking that she has used her expertise and time to create a jewelry line that helps others into a safe life and healthy employment! Try them out for you or a gift.
More next week on gifting words of AFFIRMATION! Have a wonderful week and happy ethical gifting!
Ten years ago this month we had our first conversation about whether or not to start a nonprofit that would sell fair trade items to create employment in developing countries. Our goal was to alleviate poverty and we felt so strongly that employment could make that happen. As February starts and we take time to celebrate relationships and love and connection, I can’t help but take a few minutes to share what we have learned.
Employment isn’t enough. Economic development, a good job, lots of money and opportunity are not enough to end poverty and the emotional havoc that it wreaks. It’s the relationships, the connections between the maker, the designer, the supplier and the customer. Every person who carries a product carries love to another.
Three years ago when we were rebranding Route I read and at one point spoke (yikes!) on the essay “I, Pencil”. It’s a brief essay marveling on how supply chains are so complicated and really beautiful in their intricacy. In our world, supply chains are simple, but reflecting on that essay I have come to almost charish how are products are passed on. It is the passing from one person to another that creates the relationships that carry the love and the appreciation and the value. AND then, when we are able to return again and again to those same people for more product, (which of course means more economic support) we also return to them in friendship and support and encouragement.
In ethical fashion, these exchanges are more often than not done through women. So this year, at Route we are going to salute the women who are committed to supporting each other, encouraging each other and giving strength in community to do impossible things.
Thank you to the women in our community who dream with us and challenge and support us. Here is to each one of you, from maker to customer and every incredible person in between. We LOVE you and THANK YOU for carrying the love.
Happy New Year! I’ve been a little quiet the past few weeks. In between the holidays I’ve had a bit of work to catch up on. But I’m back and excited to share the first of many editions of Five Days, Five Ways.
So what is Five Days, Five Ways?
For five days I am taking one article of clothing and showing the versatility of our closets. Too often I want new things because, well, they are new and new is fun. But. And you know me, there is always a but. The closets we currently own hold so many possibilities. So for five days I styled one garment to meet all my weekday needs.
Last week I was lucky enough to test out the Martina Bias Cut Skirt from Route! Partnering with Tonle to bring this perfect skirt from Cambodia I couldn’t imagine having the debut of Five Days, Five Ways be with anything else.
Since it arrived I have not taken it off.
Providing both structure and comfort I’ve easily transitioned this piece from corporate workday to casual evening in seconds. The material of the skirt is so soft and luxurious. It’s the one item I don’t strip off two steps into my front door as I do with other garments following a long day at the office. I would take naps in it if I wasn’t worried about wrinkles.
After a week of running all over town in this skirt I am excited to share with you the many ways it should be the next addition to your wardrobe.
Monday: Office Day in Corporate America
My day job is not glamorous. I’m a financial reporting manager spending most hours with accountants who still believe brown and black can never go together, tailoring is an unnecessary expense, and cardigans are the only way to pull an outfit together.
I stick out a bit.
Heading into the office I paired the Martina Skirt with a classic blush button down blouse (consignment store find a few years ago) and my favorite, take everywhere, Bartaile backpack for an effortlessly chic work outfit. Too often I feel constricted, physically and creatively, in corporate attire. Not with the Martina Skirt. With an elastic waistband on the backside there is plenty of comfort and room. This has been invaluable on the days that I gorge myself on the holiday gift baskets that continue to arrive by the truckload.
Tuesday: Cozy Winter Wear
Although winter hasn’t decided to fully show up in Denver we’ve still had a few chilly days. A skirt of this color is perfect as it can be worn in any season. I found it to be ideal with my over-sized knit sweater and over the knee boots. Spending a few hours in the coffee shop I was cozy while feeling stylish, what more could a girl ask for?
Wednesday: Ladies Night
I might look forward to Wednesday as much as I do Friday. Wednesday is ladies night. Middle of the week pick-me-up makes the first two days and last two days go a lot smoother. I, however, am usually running behind. Either a work meeting went long or my boss had a last second “emergency”. Being able to quickly transition my work clothes into going out clothes while feeling on point is important, it makes me feel good! Only having to change my top and throwing on a jacket makes the Martina skirt a definite go to.
Thursday: Sushi Thursday…Date Night
When Drew and I started dating three years ago I was working pretty hectic hours. Most nights we didn’t get to see each other. However, my team reserved Thursday nights as an early night in an effort to prepare for the upcoming weekend hours. Drew and I had multiple Thursdays that randomly ended up at Sushi restaurants, and so Sushi Thursday became a thing, our thing. We have tried to keep this tradition alive.
For Sushi Thursday this week I spiced things up a bit with a color block theme. My little red crop top and favorite lightweight jacket brought color blocking to a new level. The jewel tone of the jacket emphasized the richness of the skirt turning a simple outfit into a standout!
Friday: TGICF (Thank Gosh It’s Casual Friday)
My office doesn’t get much right in the fashion department, see Monday example, but casual Friday is something I will not argue with. Denim shirts are my go-to casual Friday look. The flowing femininity of this skirt paired with the structure of my denim shirt had me dancing my way into the weekend.
Our clothes are more than articles to cover our bodies. Our clothes should inspire us. Having staples in my wardrobe inspires me to be creative each day, to see how I can expand my options with what I have. I hope you’ve found some inspiration this week.
It’s been a week and I’m back with part two of my buying sustainable process guide.
During our week apart I indulged myself a little with my favorite type of sustainable buying, recycled! While visiting home, my sister and I disappeared into the wonderful world of consignment fashion, at our local spot. After multiple arm loads to the dressing room, a few laughs, one moment of almost getting stuck in a pair of corduroy pants, I exited with some amazing finds.
A German made sweater, of 100% wool, the softest black and white sweater made of “baby alpaca” and a brand new, tags still on, hat that is made by a USA based sustainable company. I hit the jackpot in the world of sustainable shopping. What makes it all so exciting, is this can happen 9 times out of 10, if you’re willing to dig for it.
So without further ado, part two!
Recycle: When I say recycle I do not mean buying shoes that are made of recycled rubber or purses made of recycled plastic, although these are wonderful recycled options. When I say recycle I am talking about, of course, consignment stores or other secondhand clothing options.
Some may cringe at this thought. Wearing something preloved can be a hurdle but I’m here to preach, again, that it is not only good for your wallet and the planet but it can do incredible things for your style.
The pieces I get the most compliments on have come from consignment stores or thrift shops. For every item bought recycled one less item enters the consumption loop, which in turns decreases the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. For every American, 68 pounds of textiles end up in landfills each year according to research found in Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline. The number is only increasing, recycled can help.
Consignment shopping can be overwhelming, I will admit that. Racks are not usually sorted by size but more often color and when you find something you like but not in your size you don’t have the privilege of asking the sales associate to locate what you need. This, I believe, is the beauty of consignment shops. When you find a piece that fits just right and is unique to you the excitement is like nothing felt in the dressing-room of a cookie cutter shop where ten others may be trying on the same piece.
My recommendation to tackling consignment shops? Grab a friend, or a sister, make a day of it and go experiment with a style that is uniquely your own!
Repair: How often does the rubber on the bottom of your heal fall off? The zipper on a favorite pair of jeans bust open because of one too many cookies? In our world of disposable fashion when this occurs we throw the garment away because “heck, I only spent $50 on these shoes so I might as well just go get a new pair”. Clothing has never been as disposable as it is today and that needs to change.
I have come to love repairing shoes, clothes and everything in between. There is something special about the way I feel in my favorite pair of jeans. If the zipper blows out during the holiday season, yes this has definitely happened (a couple times), I don’t want to replace them, I want to repair them.
It is easy to question why repairing something that was so cheap to begin with has any sound logic. So why not invest in higher quality items and ask yourself, before making the purchase, can I repair this item if it wears out? If the answer is no, maybe it’s not of high quality or maybe it won’t be true to your individual style for long enough to wear out, therefore maybe it’s not the right purchase.
Throughout my adolescent years, okay and even sometimes still today, Carrie Bradshaw was living my New York dream. Although we would disagree on her constant over consumption there is one thing she got right, shoe repair. In season three episode fifteen Carrie learns that her trusted cobbler has been replaced with a comic book store. She is devastated because for Carrie throwing away a $500 pair of Manolo’s is not only ludicrous but financially irresponsible. By no means am I advocating to spend unnecessary amounts of money on designer goods, I sure never have, but $150 for a quality shoe is not unreasonable and if repaired regularly will last for decades.
Repurpose: This one just barely made the list. It has only come into my life in the last few months. What I love about repurpose is it was forced upon me. As soon as I stopped shopping at cheap fashion stores and started reevaluating my closet I realized I needed to repurpose items I already owned. Without this change in attitude I would have become frustrated with my wardrobe and probably given in to supporting an industry I adamantly write against.
Repurposing is no easy task. I am fortunate enough to have a very stylish boyfriend, if I do say so myself, and I have been able to incorporate some of his pieces into my rotation, such as a classic destroyed denim jacket (it also works in my favor that the 90’s are back so too then are over-sized pieces). I understand sharing a wardrobe is not a luxury for most women but there are many other options.
Repurposing your wardrobe takes time and creativity which is the best part. I have rediscovered my style without spending a dime. I’ve taken sweaters that are too low cut in the front and worn them backwards, creating a completely unique and new look.
The age old saying “out of sight, out of mind” can be applied to wardrobes. There is something really wonderful about the change in season and pulling out all those long lost garments that have been stored away for months. If you don’t yet do this, give it a try. Pack away your summer clothes, “out of sight, out of mind” and when the ground begins to thaw pulling them out will feel like having an entirely new closet.
It was not long ago that I shopped at fast fashion stores. It was not long ago that I didn’t even consider checking labels before making a purchase and it wasn’t long ago that I stood before an overflowing closet whining “I have nothing to wear” (although that last one still happens from time to time). This process continues to evolve for me.
Over the past few months I have learned a lot about our world and about myself. It is exciting to feel grounded in who I am and in my style more than ever before. This has occurred because I forced myself to reevaluate my shopping habits and my wardrobe. I now work every day to refine my style. To challenge myself. It’s been a wonderfully empowering and creative process that I hope encourages you to give it a try.
Here we are, two weeks in and I have thrown out the term sustainable fashion over and over again. But what truly defines sustainable fashion? How does one begin the process of buying sustainable? How much will I be giving up to only shop sustainable? I started by asking myself these questions, along with many others.
Sustainable, per Webster, is of, relating to, or being a method of harvesting or using a resource so that the resource is not depleted or permanently damaged.
Fashion, per Webster, is defined as a prevailing custom, usage, or style.
Put together, sustainable fashion is the method of using a style textile so that the textile is not depleted or permanently damaged. This definition, that I word scrambled together, is not the end all be all, however, I have found myself needing a broad definition.
Determining this broad definition was a challenge. What has been more of a challenge is determining how and where to buy sustainable. What are the requirements needed to meet the title “sustainable”? Do products have to meet every requirement for me to feel confident in making a purchase?
Sustainable means something different to every individual pursuing this journey. Some take it 100% at face value, buying goods that are only made of organically grown materials, in which resource depletion does not occur. Others believe sustainable is paying a fair, living wage and yet still others believe sustainable is only buying recycled, re-purposed or reused products.
There are so many ways to go about this process and all are great.
I’ve broken sustainable purchasing into a few categories. I strive to base, almost, all my purchases with these categories in mind. It’s impossible to buy completely sustainable 100% of the time, in my life and the life of many others, it’s just not realistic. And that’s okay.
My categories are: ethical, organic, recycle, repair, and repurpose.
But what does this all mean…
Ethical: Ethically made goods are ones in which the individuals in the product chain are paid a living wage, do not work in hazardous environments and are afforded basic human rights.
In China, officially $42.3 million people live in poverty, reported Ellen Ruppel Shell in her book Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture. This was 2009. The Chinese population has only grown since then thus has the number living under the poverty level. What many don’t know is in China the official poverty line is drawn at $156 a year, versus the World Bank poverty limit of $456 a year writes Shell. This translates to millions more living at or well below the poverty level, many of whom work in the factories that make all the cheap goods Americans have come to rely on.
Before learning these heartbreaking details I knew of the sweatshops of many third world countries, of the deaths that occurred, the hours that were worked, and the lost childhoods, all so that I could wear a $5 shirt from Forever 21. Now, knowing more, it is even more important to me to purchase goods that make a difference in the life of the individual who made it.
Luckily, in today’s educated society finding companies that carry these products does not hold the challenge that ethical shoppers use to face. Where we choose to spend our hard-earned dollars matters, so chose to spend on products that support and empower workers.
Organic: This category has been more of a search for me. Many companies have begun using organic cotton or other natural fibers but it is still an adventure finding these products. Organic and other natural fibers hold such importance as the process of growing, processing and disposing of them does not deplete resources, as well as chemicals are not used throughout the process. Cotton and other cellulose fabrics are durable and if they make the unfortunate trip to the landfill they do not contribute to methane secretion which causes greenhouse gas buildup.
As clothing interacts with our body all day everyday it is important to remember that our skin, our largest organ, is absorbing aspects of these fibers. Dozens of chemicals are used during the process of harvesting, treating and dying cotton, which then enter our integument system. Research is still in process to pin point the numerous negative impacts of our constant interaction with these chemicals but is it really a chance worth taking?
Give organic a try, treat your body and earth with some respect, our generation and the next generation will thank you.
With the hope of keeping you wanting more, and to not overwhelm with information, I am going to leave recycle (my favorite), repair and repurpose for next week!
No matter how you chose to start the process of buying sustainable remember, it is a process and the best part of any process is all you need to do is start.
I began this journey, as I talked about last week, with a very brief education. However, I am ashamed to admit, the first few months following my passion I was not practicing what I was learning. I was still lured in by sales at H&M, Aldo, and Nordstrom with the thought that once I found brands that were “sustainable” I would stop shopping at these fast fashion behemoths and start practicing my newfound knowledge. I was living two lives, the life of sustainable education, that aligned so seamlessly with my morals, and the life of the deal hunting fashionista who was tempted by 50% off.
Everything negative I was reading I was still embodying.
How was it that I had found something I was so passionate about–everything I was reading and talking about was focused on it–yet I was not changing my behavior? I dug deep into the psychological aspect of consumer buying habits with the help of Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture by Ellen Ruppel Shell. Shell eloquently explains that as consumers we are wired to focus on the dollars saved not the dollars spent.
This is due to the phenomenon of ‘earned savings.’
As consumers we believe that when we find a good savings deal we have earned that deal, we worked hard to track it down, maybe driving many miles to the outlet store or sifting endlessly through the sale racks at our favorite store. This mindset allows us to disregard how much we spent on an item and focus solely on how much we saved forgetting that dollars had still left our pockets.
I realized while reading Shell’s words that I was afraid of losing out on the deal, on my earned savings. I believe this is a hurdle for many others as well. As consumers, we have associated deals with earning savings without question to the quality of the purchase because why would we? We found a good deal and can do the same tomorrow if the garment falls apart. It’s this mindset that I believe needs to be changed and can be changed. Getting a good deal should not be focused on price but on quality.
Our preoccupation with low price makes it easy to forget that every penny we save on markdowns must be taken from someone else or, failing that, extracted from the value of the object of our desire. In discount nation, what once was solid, permanent, and dependable has become disposable, ephemeral, and dicey.
Cheap: The High Cost of Discount Culture, Ellen Ruppel Shell
So how do we change what is fundamentally wired into us as consumers to seek out the best deal? We start by changing our relationship with our clothes. We stop seeing our wardrobes as revolving doors, a constant stream of in and out, and realize that our cheap fashion purchases are not a cost savings but a constant drain on our wallets and our environment.
As an experiment, I went back over the last year and added up all the wardrobe purchases I had made, the ones that I bragged about getting such a great deal on. The cost SHOCKED me. For every dollar I ‘saved’ I had actually spent $15! Rather than having earned any savings I had spent and spent and spent.
Merchants have programmed us to expect sales. Our culture of sales has trained us to think that if merchants can profit on a 50% off sale then us consumers paying full price must be fools. Today an item that doesn’t sell in four or five weeks–or even sooner–may be relegated to the markdown bin, Shell writes, thus hastening the cycle of fast fashion. Merchants want their products out the door and consumers want to earn their savings–leaving us in a cycle of overproduction and waste.
I write all this because I realize there is a significant hurdle to overcome when shifting our shopping habits to sustainability.
Making the switch can seem scary or even overwhelming. Not knowing where to start or who to support.
I asked Christina, Route’s founder and director about this and this was her response:
“Start with us. Try out Route, even for one item, our goal is for you to not just like what you purchased, but to love it, wear it regularly and feel deeply connected to the process that that item took to get to you. So much love was put into every step. It’s a risk to try a new boutique and trust that you’ll like the item when it is in your hand and not on Instagram, but we want to do everything we can to make it worth the risk for you.”
Try out their new fall line here to explore their incredible pieces!
Buying sustainable does not mean giving up current fashion trends or putting a big dent into your shopping budget. Buying sustainable does not mean only wearing hemp clothing and other recycled goods.
Buying sustainable means purchasing quality products, made by individuals who are trying to overcome challenges in our oftentimes oppressive world. Buying sustainable means empowering designers and producers in our world to earn a living wage. Buying sustainable means taking an enormous weight off our environment. Buying sustainable means making a difference.
It is difficult to fully trade deal-hunting desires for the desire to improve our world through fashion. But it’s a worthwhile journey that I’m on and inviting you to join.
“She was dressing herself before she could walk,” has been my parents’ favorite way to describe my stubbornness and love of style for as long I can remember. From the beginning, the battle my mama bear would never win was attempting to get me to change my mind about what I was going to wear. Until recently this has rang all too true. I love clothes and I love style but I had no idea where my clothes came from, who made them, or how much the textile worker was paid.
I didn’t know the route.
Hi! I’m Jasmin, a lover of style, interested in all things sustainable, and striving every day to leave the world better than when I found it. Through a most serendipitous introduction I became connected to Route and the lovely Christina. I knew I had to be involved from the moment I learned about Route.
Luckily for me Christina was willing to take a chance—on a friend of a friend—and allow me the privilege of guest blogging for Route! I’ll be here weekly to share my ideas, research, and opinions regarding my continued journey toward ethical and sustainable fashion. I’ll also highlight the incredible steps Route is taking to bring this important movement mainstream and ways for you, our lovely supporters, to join the movement!
A year ago I started my clothing education journey, completely unaware of the impact it would have on my life and the lives of my loved ones. (Thanks for allowing me to get on a soapbox regularly dear loved ones!)
So where did it all begin? Where else but the spot where countless hours, by countless women, have been spent standing in front of an overflowing closet wondering what to wear and yelling “I have nothing to wear!” I was frustrated, exhausted and downright over it when I began questioning why this happens. Why, on a weekly basis I was running late to work, or appointments, or to meet friends? Not getting up early enough? Probably. But also because of an irrational thought that I have ‘nothing to wear’ even in the midst of an overflowing closet of options. I pondered on this notion for days and finally landed on one overarching question I continue to come back to, which is more important: Style or Fashion?
Fashion has evolved from a predictable four season cycle to a revolving door of 52 yearly changes. Style on the other hand is specific to an individual, one who embraces the idea of pushing ever changing fashion trends behind and embarking on a journey that forces the question, “who am I, what makes ME feel good, and what face do I want to present to the world?” What we oftentimes forget is how impactful clothes are to our mood, first impressions and social success, not to even mention the environmental impact.
Style is an identity that does not change week to week but instead is yours and yours alone. This is not to say stylish people are not fashionable, quite the opposite actually, stylish people are the most fashionable, the only difference is, they do not follow trends because they are the trends, they invest in pieces that are flattering on their figures, in line with their personal design, and above all else make them happy!
This important realization gave life to my current clothing education journey.
Right as I found myself exhausted from trying to keep my closet filled with the most on trend looks, I was introduced toThe Sustainable Fashion Handbook by Sandy Black, which was conveniently on my family’s coffee table during a weekend visit. I would later learn that my sister had taken an interest in the book at the library and before I knew it I was devouring page after page. My desire to move away from rotating fashion trends, all for very selfish reasons; physical, mental and financial exhaustion, turned into a passion to create social awareness and change surrounding an issue that impacts each and every one of us. I realized my personal style is minimal chic and smothered in sustainability!
I began checking labels, I began asking…
What if we reevaluated our closets? What if we asked where things come from and who made them? What if we started investing in lasting items and did away with weekly shopping? What if we learned the Route?
To these what if’s I say: it’s a worthwhile challenge. But it is a challenge nonetheless. I have embarked on this journey to answer these questions, to change my relationship with clothes, and to share my newfound passion with others.
All the while let’s remember we are human and we will falter in our efforts to eliminate cheap fashion. We will be tempted by low prices and new fashion trends and occasionally we will cave to a deal too good to pass up.
What is important is when we care about where our products are made and of what quality and what textile, we are making a difference. We are supporting living wages, safe working conditions, and a respect for our environment. If, as often as we can, we know the Route our products have taken to our closets we are already making a difference. We are creating the change we want to see in the world.
Our social media intern, Kylie, interviewed Aliyah, our summer merchandising intern for our Women en Route series. Here’s what she had to say:
When were you happiest?
I am happiest when I am around Friends & Family, I don’t get much free time in between work and school so when i get that free time to be around them i am happy and at peace.
What is your greatest fear?
My greatest fear is not succeeding in life. I work so hard in school making the dean’s list every semester and achieving a 4.0 gpa while working in management at work just so i can shoot for an even higher position when I graduate. I feel that school is important but to have real work experience that relates to your studies is just as important and helps you way more than some think.
What is your earliest memory?
My earliest memory has to be back in fifth grade when i started planning my own clothing line and drawing out garments. From that moment I knew fashion would be my passion and it has not changed to this day.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I always wanted to be a fashion designer and design my own clothes. I took several sewing classses, started my own online store and even tailored clothing on the side. After high school I was over fashion design and fell in love with fashion marketing & management.
What is your five year plan? 10 year plan?
Five year plan: Continue to work in store management and build my résumé.
Ten year plan: move into corporate and become a buyer for a major retail company.
Who is the biggest influence on you? Why?
My mother. She is my biggest supporter and cheerleader, she pushes me to go after what I want, be fearless and to never give up.
Who is your fashion icon?
Pinterest- I literally have two rooms in my house that are closets full of clothes and handbags. I don’t have a particular style, but I do lean towards the casual/ street style look. But, I’ll have an idea of what I want to wear type it into pinterest to give me some inspiration and I go from there.
What would you wear every day if you could?
DISTRESSED JEANS! We can’t wear jeans at work so if we could I would because you can’t go wrong with a cute pair of distressed jeans to go with anything, whether you dress it up or down it can make your outfit pop.
Why Steven’s College?
Stephens College was my one & only choice for the simple fact that they were the only school who offered Fashion Marketing and Management. Stephens College School of Design is a top ranked, accredited program that is one of the best in the country. The way the program is set up it allows you to gain so much real world, hands on experience that can give you the right tools to succeed after graduation. Stephens also puts you in front of several industry professionals who you can network with, build relationships with and help pave a way for you in the industry. I love Stephens because of how broad my major is and how my opportunities are endless I can be in store management, visual merchandising, marketing, communications, buying, allocations, planner, styling and so much more!
What is one problem in the world you would spend your whole life fixing?
We met Liz over coffee and tea in her kitchen on a cozy, rainy day with her dog, Olaf. Liz currently works as an emergency room nurse in the city of St. Louis, and also happens to be on the Route board!
Route: What are you currently struggling with?
Questioning the value of employee loyalty is something I am struggling with at the moment. Loyalty was ingrained into my psyche by my mother. “Do your job to the best of your ability, go above and beyond, always be honest” my mother said. As of late I’ve had experiences that make me question whether my employer holds my value to the place where that hold theirs. What am I worth to my employer, am I a dime a dozen? And if the true answer is that I am of little worth, do I continue my level of loyalty regardless? Should I base my work decisions on my selfish gains or the betterment of the business? At a certain point character comes into question and integrity will guide my actions. Perhaps there is a middle ground.
Route: Where do you find your peace?
I find my peace at night lying in bed with my pit-bull Olaf curled next to me, my tea on my coffee stand, and reading material in hand. My competing place of peace is my neighborhood park early in the mornings. Nature has a way of bringing me out of my thoughts and back to the realization I am but a blade of grass in this large fleeting world. I have much to learn and life isn’t all about me.
Our time with Liz has taught us how to cherish conversation and enjoy quiet moments. Her confident and caring personality inspires us to enjoy each relationship more. Her passion for righting wrong and pursuing change keeps us focused everyday.
Thanks, Liz, we are inspired by you!!
P.S. Liz recently started a blog about thoughts on global issues, specifically tailored to women and ethical fashion. Check it out here.