My Take on the Fashion Industry: Being A Part of the Sustainable Fashion Initiative

 

Hi everyone,

As you may know, one of my jobs is being the lead blogger and freelance photographer for a Seattle based fashion company, Fashion for Conservation. I’m sharing my thoughts on the fashion industry, because I’ve been working in it for about a year now.

I’ve always loved having my own personal style, however, I was skeptical of getting involved in an industry that is driven by mass consumerism.

I love certain aspects of fashion, but I haven’t been fully on board until I was introduced to the idea of sustainable fashion. Why are we not focusing on driving a massive industry towards sustainable practices? Why can’t our clothes be the best of both worlds; sustainable and fashionable?

Fashion for Conservation aims to combine conservation and fashion, best of both coexisting worlds. That’s what drew me in.

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Photography: Kelly Zwicker
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Photography: Kelly Zwicker
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Photography: Kelly Zwicker

The tough thing is, it is completely possible, it’s just a matter of creating a shift in thinking from big brands and the audience that keep those brands afloat and relevant. People love their stuff, their clothes, their possessions. They love the fabrics that made it all happen, the precious fibers that hold their statement pieces together.

But there’s a bigger picture here. As the earth warms and animals are in a panic trying to  migrate from their beloved habitats, are we still going to care more about how exactly our clothes are made? If we have to switch to sustainably made clothes and accessories, is this going to drastically change our lives? No. But it could for the creatures we should be aiming to protect.

In 2017, I attended London Fashion Week with Fashion for Conservation, viewing designers’ work from all over the world. Yet as I attended the shows, I started to observe the people attending, as opposed to the designs. Why? I started to ask myself if they were there for the art and fashion design, or for the entitlement.

Why can’t beautiful designs be both sustainable and a representation of art and talent?

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Photography: Kelly Zwicker
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Photography: Kelly Zwicker

I have an entirely new view of fashion from working with Fashion for Conservation. There are multiple aspects of the industry I don’t care for, but collaborating with sustainable brands and designers, or featuring animal rights activists and wildlife photographers, is what makes it worth it for me. I feel like I’m playing a part in this bigger initiative, to make fashion and conservation work together for a brighter future.

As a blogger, I aim to work with sustainable brands, or cruelty-free makeup and skincare lines. It feels better ethically to be using products that don’t support animal testing, because I love animals. I refuse to wear them and I don’t believe in fashion sacrificing them for a trend.

I see zoos differently, and tourism. I now know what elephants, the majestic and beautiful creatures that they are, have to endure in order for a tourist to ride them. I know the history of what circuses did to their animals to get them to jump through rings of fire or behave absurdly for human amusement. I’m not trying to impose guilt with these words, I’m trying to share the progress we’ve already made and how much farther we still have to go.

In reality, we could learn from Animals. Fashion for Conservation’s Elephantasia campaign celebrated the elephant. How could they not be a priority?

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Photography: Chantelle Melzer
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Photography: Chantelle Melzer

I love personal style, finding new skincare products that work for me, and products here and there that compliment my everyday life. But they don’t have to come with the expense of an animal’s life. Animals aren’t here for our amusement or utility. We can all aim higher with our contribution to conservation efforts, and as long as I hold this position within Fashion for Conservation, I will keep doing so and inspire other individuals to do the same.

I consider this piece from a reporter’s perspective, given my realization London. I’m also thinking of starting a series of ethical and sustainable fashion trends. Thoughts?

How are you being sustainably fashionable? Let me know in the comments. xx

Happy Wednesday!

-Kelly

 

 

 

The Increasing Value of Creative Individuals in Our Society

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Hi everyone,

I’ve gone a bit off the grid from blogging the past two weeks, so my apologies in advance for the absent content. I have in this time taken on two jobs, one internship and one paid part-time. After landing these positions, I wanted to discuss the need of things in life that cannot be bought, or achieved by climbing a ladder of accomplishment or praise.

I am currently in the post-graduate phase of major contemplation. I want to start making strides to my future career, and build a life for myself. A life that makes me happy, and one of substance. On the other hand, I think this period of my life is crucial in other ways. Self-reflection and development need to be put at a high value, in addition to resume qualifications.

Breaking the mold of the typical race to post-graduate employment is something I have been considering myself. I’m not ready for a 9 to 5 office job, nor do I think I ever will be. I am just now having the chance to act on all of my interests, my side hobbies pushed aside due to previous obligations.

I can’t even narrow down a label for myself in my Instagram bio. I want to explore and create through my twenties, and always be reminded of why I get to be myself every day. I am passionate about health, but I want to write wherever and whenever possible, and embrace my creative outlets. I’m not concerned with making money, because the saying “money doesn’t buy happiness” is not just motivational, it’s also a warning not to falsely prioritize your life.

There is hope for other artists and creatives out there, in fact, I just read an article published by the Guardian about the need of investments of artists and creatives in our society. The article talks about how the arts and culture especially create a basis for overall societal function.

Which word sounds more appealing, price or value?

The artists of our society compliment other sectors. Without creative people, there would be less beauty and pleasure on a wide scale. One can even say a society would not survive without these individuals. Without creativity, amazing award-winning films, opera and orchestra performances, art galleries and many other features would not exist. What kind of world would that be?

Stanford’s Social Intervention Review also dips into this topic with high appraisal of the arts and creative expression, pointing out that they have made our society shift from manufactured to innovative. Culture and art dictate social change, and social change determines the progressive ability of a society.

To think of it another way, everyone is said to have their role, one that they contribute to better the overall community as a whole. Economies are set up with everyone doing their part in order for it to function. Roles, however, are not just positions within a law firm, engineers in the newest apartment complexes, or scientists within large laboratories. The creatives and artists also play a role. Sometimes it’s hard to grasp that these people, who primarily aim to bring inspiration to others, are often concerned about the paycheck while others are at ease financially.

No, this is not a review of the above articles. I’m simply relieved that creative expression is being nationally recognized as a necessity to a well-balanced system. These Sunday reads inspire me to move farther into my years of creativity, and not wait to see how it all lays out financially.

Arts and culture within society ignite an incandescence to our emotional lives. Humans are meant to be emotional beings, as opposed to being desensitized by daily routines and responsibilities.

What makes you feel like your most creative self? Ask yourself, where does the creativity come from? It won’t come from textbooks or a steady income. It comes from within.

Being 22 years old in such a progressive society,  I notice how expectations have changed, even in my lifetime. Master’s degrees are starting to become as vital to employment as bachelor’s degrees were years ago. You’re expected to have work experience when you don’t know where to start. At what point is this constant building of yourself on paper going to resemble a life well lived? It might for some depending on the content. For others, they may feel constantly awkward, not properly conforming.

For example: I want to see more of the United States. I’ve been to a handful of states, and I always crave new adventures. Since I know finances play a role, I’m saving up for these adventures. Once I have enough, I plan to be very mobile at various times, always learning from everyday interaction with people from all over, people that see the world a little more similarly to me in terms of what defines a life well spent.

This can all be a battle between one’s mind and heart. What really resonates with you and what will enrich you most may not make complete logical sense.

I have recently spent time with amazingly talented freelance photographers that are living their creative passions, and I feel as though I have found my people (corny perhaps to say). It’s nothing short of refreshing to be around individuals that wake up and seek out fulfilling moments. Quality company of those that strive for similar things in life really has sent me encouraging vibes that i’m not alone in my deepest desires.

What’s saddening is that people have visions of what they want their life to look like, the experiences they want to have, yet they feel that they are out of reach. In all honesty, they don’t have to be unrealistic.

Will you be a part of the increasing creative initiative?

Thanks for reading, have a lovely week. xx

-Kelly

 

Mental Health and Creative Expression

Hi everyone,

I wanted to emphasize today the benefit of expression, in whichever form of expression you favor. Everyone has heard the phrase “actions speak louder than words.” There is another piece of this to note: there can be a lot of power behind ways we communicate or present ourselves simply through our creative outlets.

Another way I think to describe this is abstract art. One can go to an art gallery and be staring at a piece without a title. There is no concept to ponder when staring at the art piece to find out what it means, what it stands for. There are no words to assist the viewer in telling what the artist was thinking when they created the piece. This situation leaves room for creative expression, and things in life that are abstract can be a real gift in the sense that they challenge a person to go deeper. Additionally, that artist wanted to tell a story or share a visual without the addition of words; they wanted to express themselves completely without words.

What is your creative outlet? When you’re finishing a pile of paperwork or cramming for an exam, what would you rather be doing? If you had that free time to clear your mind, how would you accomplish this?

Here are some ways people often experience creative expression:

  • Photography
  • Graphic arts (drawing, painting, sculpture)
  • Music
  • Movement/Dance
  • Writing (novels, poetry, short stories, blog posts)
  • Sports
  • Theatre

Everyone has their favorites; the mode that takes them into a zone that narrows their vision of focus to optimal levels of expression. This is a beautiful thing.

The actual benefits of creative expression?

  1. Happiness. I put this first because we all strive to be happy, however, the task is often much easier to daydream about rather than act on. Expressing ourselves makes us more genuinely happy with ourselves and with our lives. Expression can also increase our personality and behavioral development.
  2. A form of release. Expression allows us to release stress and anxiety, and even take us out of reality and into a more positive mindset and vision. In other words, we take our foot off the gas pedal. Even a couple minutes will slow us down and bring us a sense of calm.
  3. Your chosen forms of expression can be contagious. Those around you may find themselves inspired or heavily influenced by your expression. Whether it is your artwork that is being viewed in the gallery or your photo that pops up on the explore feed, you can make another person want to discover their own creativity.
  4. Connecting with others. Through your creativity you can connect with others on a more personal level, beyond common dialogue. People that share interests in creative expression can learn from one another or even enjoy doing it together.

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A study done in New Zealand revealed that expressive writing has ways of healing. Another prestigious journal, Advances of Psychiatric Treatment, stated that this form of writing can improve one’s mood, reduce depression, and lower blood pressure.

Literature is a language that authors have expressed themselves through their personal biographies, short stories, poetry, or even novels on topics of love and loss. Tragedy combined with literature can give the mind that sense of release, by channeling the events into ways to learn and reflect on them, and maybe even turn them into something beautiful.

The American Journal of Public Health presented a review in 2010 that targeted the association between art and health. More than 100 studies were done to explore this association; many patients studied included those with cancer or other chronic illnesses. The engagement with music was found to decrease anxiety in these patients, and improve a more positive emotional balance.

I love classical music in certain settings. I had much more anxiety in high school as opposed to college before exams, and I would actually play Frank Sinatra in the background to calm my nerves and get me to focus. The softness of the tune became a routine for me.

Cancer patients have been benefitted by visual arts, such as pottery and painting. These practices help them to focus on positive experiences and maintain their sense of social identity. Various studies have also shown that visual arts tend to lead to shorter stays in hospitals and less reliance on pain medication.

If you are surprised with the above content, do not feel at fault. Our society does not often advertise the benefits of art and expression for our mental health. I just urge you to experiment and see if anything (if not all) interests you, because it could mean long-term health and less emphasis on things like pills. In no way am I disregarding modern medicine, just don’t forget the natural medicine that is all around you.

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Reading in the park is one of my favorites (all photography on the blog is my own)

Creative expression I practice:

Poetry 

Photography

Drawing & Ceramics

Blogging

Yes, I do enjoy all four of those categories. I don’t limit myself to one, and they all bring me happiness. Blogging is the newest addition, one that I am so happy I started.

Poetry: 

Poetry is a condensed way of writing and can be so incredibly raw. You can be abstract or specific, playful or serious. Poetry is known as the language of love, but not always between people. You can write about the love you have for a place, a concept, or a feeling you have yet to feel but think about it in your most idealistic dreams.

I’ve written poetry about the hardest experiences in my life where I felt most betrayed and vulnerable, and I read these poems still to reflect. Sometimes I smile that I’ve grown so much since then, and sometimes they make me cry. And that’s okay. This is a healthy release.

Photography:

This is a somewhat new hobby and expression for me. I’m so excited to join millions of people that love to adjust the lenses of cameras and find the perfect (or imperfect) shot. It’s a whole new perspective, seeing things behind an object like that. I recently invested into a legitimate DSLR camera for myself; a very much desired graduation present.

I love looking at pictures of landscapes and art, and the little things.

Drawing and Ceramics:

Both visual arts, I love both of these forms of expression. Sketching can be done everywhere, you just need the notepad and pencil. Sketching takes a while to do, so it forces you to stay put and enjoy the present moment of your desired image. Ceramics is working with your hands; a very therapeutic activity. I’ve taken three years of it now and I would highly recommend it as a course. You can also do this type of work in studios if you are no longer in school. Starting from scratch up until the final product is an amazing process.

Blogging:

Blogging is the newest expression for me. I’ve always wanted to start a blog, however, in college I didn’t believe I could dedicate the time and energy in my schedule to plan thoughtful posts. The words are flowing out of me now, and I hope you enjoy them and find them insightful!

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Remember that those around you don’t necessarily need to see your forms of expression. The main point is that you are internally satisfied. It’s not about followers or likes in a world of increasing social media, it’s much more organic than that when examined at the source. You don’t need validation for your expression. Do it because you love it, and if others love it too, that’s just an added bonus.

Some of the most talented and original people I have met are so engrossed in their forms of expression. They have made them their everyday, their professions, their passions. Some have chosen to forgo college education all together because they trusted their expression to lead them a different route. Everyone is different, and all forms of expression should be valued.

I just got lost in this blog post and my coffee got cold. I hope you find your own way to get lost. Thanks for reading. xx

-Kelly ❤