Recently, I was interviewed by Dunitz & Company’s founder Nancy Dunitz! They’re a Fair Trade company that produces beautiful jewelry. If you remember my farm photo shoot pictures, I was decked out in Dunitz. She recently asked to interview me and I was so excited! Definitely feels like I’ve reach some sort of blogger milestone.
For the interview, she was interested in learning more about what motivated me to get into sustainable fashion. Read the full interview here, or read a few of my favorite questions below!
NANCY: I’m so impressed when I see someone your age advocating for change. Was there a pivotal life experience that encouraged you to educate others about sustainability and environmental issues? Can you tell me about that?
KRISTEN: Thank you so much. A few years ago I was working as a stock girl in a luxury women’s fashion store in an outlet mall in New York. There, I learned so many valuable lessons about fashion and what needs to change within the industry. This company produced really beautiful clothes and showed two collection each year. We were told to tell customers that the clothing was made in France when it was really made in China. The way the company got away with this was there were no “Made in” tags sewn into the clothing. Some customers came in with their recently purchased clothing and showed us holes or split seams. At the time, it was somewhat easy to shake these feelings of customer exploitation. Or maybe each event was too small on its own for me to make a fuss. But it wasn’t until me and my sister, who also worked at this store, were scanning out damaged goods, did the manager tell us that some of the blouses being sold for $300 or more only cost the company five dollars. We knew this small price tag had to include material costs, labor costs and transportation costs. This was hard to shake off.
I did some light research and found that this was the norm for most fashion retailers. Companies with transparent supply chains were few and far between. But when I found companies that were transparent, it was refreshing to say the least. I wanted to give these companies a platform to showcase the amazing efforts they were making to change the industry. With this knowledge I wanted to show people that they can change how the fashion industry operates by supporting companies that operate with higher morals.
NANCY: I was thrilled when you wrote about Dunitz & Company and our fair trade jewelry line. So obviously you’re interested in promoting fair trade. Is there a cause you’re most passionate about?
KRISTEN: It was so much fun writing that piece. Fair Trade is such an important topic to cover when it comes to many industries, including fashion. Being Fair Trade is always my first check-mark when it comes to what I consider sustainable. I have so many Fair Trade causes that I’m passionate about, but I think one cause that is sometimes overlooked is job security. For so many women around the world, including America, maternity leave isn’t guaranteed. Even if a policy exists, there is no guarantee that the same job will be there after you return. Sometimes the working contracts are questionable and sometimes they are down right wrong. Workers should be able to take a sick day or a personal day and not worry about losing their job. I believe fostering healthy work environments is important for employees and can generate creativity. When people are comfortable and valued, it shows in their work.
NANCY: It’s clear you love fashion. You and Rowan Eo take amazing shots for your Instagram feed and blog. Do you ever think about launching your own fashion brand?
KRISTEN: Rowan is such an amazing photographer (and person). I don’t think I have too much of an eye for design. I’ll leave that to the (design) professionals. With that said, I would love to work alongside those designers to creative a sustainable fashion line. I think my talents are geared more toward the communication side of a business. Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll be wearing Moral Women designs. (last comment clearly communicated with a smile.)