Onward

This I Wear | Onward

I love the fresh start of a new year, and this year in particular, there were so many things that I was glad to leave behind – probably more things than I could say that about in quite awhile and many of which left me exhausted enough to where writing wasn’t in the cards for the last few weeks! Gratitude, possibly the most overused word of 2014, seems like a burden more than a blessing after such a strange year for me. But actually once I gave it a moment of thought, I realized I was grateful for something this year. Not little “write a thank you note” level of grateful, but more like exploding fireworks levels of grateful.

What could inspire such levels of gratitude?

Well, this year, I’m grateful for what others might mistakenly call competition.

As I look back over 2014, I am filled with gratitude for something that I don’t talk about enough here: the other amazing writers/thinkers/doers that are making sustainable and ethical fashion and more thoughtful living and consuming an accessible and easier way of being for truly everyone.

I’ve written about it before, but for a long time I felt alone in this – looking for sustainable and responsible alternatives to what I was finding in stores as well as thinking differently about buying things. There have been other small movements – trends in buying secondhand and vintage clothes, the DIY movement, etc – but I’ve been waiting for the movement that emphasized quality and responsibility without compromising on aesthetics. The movement that was more about a lifestyle change than a small shift.

And looking back over this year, I feel like it’s arrived.

So for my moment of gratitude for 2014, I want to personally thank the people whom I think are doing an amazing job in this area – some of whom I know personally, and others I have only admired from afar; some of whom I agree with completely, and others that bring a different perspective but share a similar vision. These are my go-to visionaries and I am so grateful for what they’re adding to the conversation.

Susie, Style Bubble – for introducing ideas of sustainability in a brand new way to her fashion-focused audience. While the ideas might not seem revolutionary to those of us who have been exposed to sustainability for awhile now, Susie’s coverage of these ideas feels truly groundbreaking given her high fashion audience and her voice in the industry. I’ve become a huge fan over the last year.
Vanessa Friedman, NYTimes – for being bold enough to use an incredibly powerful position to shake some shit up in the fashion industry and question fashion’s seemingly untouchable modus operandi.
Bruno Pieters, Honest By – for being the best example of what real transparency is, and bringing authenticity to a historically inauthentic industry
Natalie, Alabama Chanin – for teaching everyone what’s actually possible for a fashion company to do. From fair wages to growing your own organic cotton, it might sound easier than it is in practice, but Natalie has shown us it’s not as impossible as it seems.
Danielle Vermeer – for her incredible passion for connecting people in sustainability
Anuschka, Into Mind – for breaking minimalism down for us so that simplicity is suddenly accessible
Courtney, Be More with Less (whom I recently discovered) – for showing that minimalism isn’t about stripping away everything, but bringing more meaning to what you have
The Ethical Writers Coalition – for taking the competition out of fashion blogging and showing that making eco-fashion the only kind of fashion is going to be a group effort.
Rita, The American Edit – for using her background in manufacturing to introduce us to the brands and people who are actually doing “Made in US” the right way. I’m not a “Made In USA” adherent but I really appreciate Rita’s perspective and wisdom.
Shannon Whitehead – honestly is there anything this woman is NOT doing? From teaching startups how to manufacture responsibly in the US to teaching us all more about sustainability in fashion, Shannon is killing IT on the ethical fashion education front and we’re all reaping the rewards.

This is a big list, but I would encourage all of you to check out these individuals and their work and be inspired. I think fashion is seen as a competitive field, and maybe blogging is too. But when I think about sustainability and the shared vision of a world that will be here and livable for future generations, there is no place for competition, only collaboration.

And I am so incredibly grateful and inspired by the people who each day use their voices and influence to promote a different vision, a different world where people are more happy, more content, living in sync and with respect for our earth, and not drowning in stuff.

Photo Sources (clockwise from top left): 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

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6 comments

    • Rebecca

      Hi Ashlee, so glad to hear it! I know, I can barely keep up with all the great writers who are covering ethical fashion issues these days, but this is a good problem to have :) Looking forward to checking out your blog as well!

  1. rita

    thank you so much for including TAE! Similarly I love your blog and many of the resources you posted – and you shared some new ones I’m so excited to check out!

  2. Elizabeth

    Thanks for the shout out to the Ethical Writers Coalition! We are grateful for you and your voice too. Cheers to adding more voices to the conversation this year!

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