What does sustainable fashion mean to you?
It’s a question that some people may or may not be able to answer. Before I became an Ethical Fashion Advocate it was fair to say I really didn’t know the answer either. That’s perfectly fine to admit because it led me to my beliefs now. I’m naturally a curious person. So I decided to educate myself on the topic with a combination of research, from documentaries to articles in hopes of answering this very question. What I found out was that every single piece of clothing has a consequence on people, animals, and the environment in its own way. Some consequences are positive while other fashion goods have a negative outcome. For me, sustainable (or ethical) fashion is cruelty-free, meaning, no animals or humans were harmed in the making of a fashion item. Sustainable fashion also means the fabrics are eco, upcycled or sustainable, the brand believes in a sustainable business model, local or handmade and there is a charity or positive cause that benefits from a purchase. There are a lot of aspects that you can consider (and that a brand can consider) as you decide to go the ethical fashion route. Now, by all means, I’m not saying brands (or you) have to consider every single aspect I mentioned above (some do) but as a start, you can decide which aspect means the most to you.
So after asking yourself what does sustainable fashion mean, it’s then important to learn what brands are doing in order to call themselves ethical or sustainable. One of my favorite practices is upcycling. I create things and I have a special place in my heart for brands that do as well. Always on the prowl for the perfect upcycled piece, I came across IconaWear and let me tell you it’s as if you fell into upcycling heaven. You “upcycle junkies” know exactly what I mean.
What I found out about IconaWear is that they create small batches of a variety of pieces. The great thing is they serve to a vast range of styles as well. I was fortunate enough to chat with Fashion Designer & Stylist of IconaWear, Sophia Marie and got the scoop on the brand and her beliefs.
Here’s what she had to say…
This Is The Life Jacket
What does ethical fashion mean to you?
Well, after being informed of the critical conditions the world is in and knowing the impact I make as a contributing factor to the issue, I believe we have to take responsibility for our actions. We have the power to make those choices. No matter how big or small, it is up to the consumer. It is up to us to invest in the well-being of mama nature.
What made you start IconaWear?
January 2017, I was practicing detachment. I cut off all my hair and purged my closet of all its excess. I saved some of the better quality items and thought to open an online shop to sell these secondhand pieces. Once the store was up, I asked my friends what they thought of the site, and they said: “Ehhhh, there is nothing special about the clothes.” There was always that voice inside of me that wanted to add, tear, or mend clothes to make them more unique. So after that feedback, I started reconstructing the clothes I had on the site. After a month of putting together the first collection called Rebel Rose, February 2017 I saw the documentary, The True Cost. This film was a HUGE eye-opener. It gave me goosebumps down my spine. I felt betrayed, lied to, cheated by all these fast fashion companies and honestly just this industry as a whole. When those feelings occurred, I didn’t want any part of the fashion industry. Then my brain started stirring and I thought of a quote, If you don’t like something, change it. I realized that what I unintentionally was doing can be a positive contributing factor in fast fashion! After that film, I have yet to step foot in another fast fashion retailer. I started watching Ted talks, attending panel discussions and educating myself on the topic and what it means to be sustainable in the fashion industry.
The voice behind IconaWear is powerful, stimulating, and gets your blood boiling. It is meant to ignite the fire within us to get up and do something. This is what drives me, that this voice can lead others into the same way of thinking. This voice can influence your choices when it comes to your buying power and overall morals. Sustainable fashion is a sprouting topic. Similar to the organic food wave. Once people started finding out what GMO’s and pesticides were, they didn’t want anything to do with it. People need to know what certain textiles are made of (oil, toxins, etc.) and understand the “life” of a garment. How exactly did that garment travel through the world to then end up in your closet? It is going to be a long road, and all of us are still learning. It all starts with education, which then leads to awareness. As long as people are aware, it is up to them to make the final (ethical) decision.
What does IconaWear mean?
IconaWear’s end goal is to be a symbol of influence, direction, and change. This name came to me as I was brainstorming for an image for the brand.
I (as a dress form) – I (as a person) – I (as the information symbol)
The power of I.
Spring semester 2017 I took a class called “Icons of the Fashion Industry”
In that class, we went through the time periods, 1800’s to current years, and talked about the different silhouettes of the decades and what influenced that particular style. For example, the exchange of cultures from East to West, War, Women’s Liberation, T.V., Hollywood, The Hippie Movement, Style Tribes, Celebrities, Presidents Inauguration and their wives. Each event, person, place, and thing contributed to the way society dressed. People who were on the front pages influenced trends and styles of the decade. IconaWear will speak through the wearer. As a wearer, there will be understanding (even just a little) of the change that they are making by investing in upcycled garments. This, in turn, will create a cultural movement towards a more sustainable industry.
Why is upcycling fashion goods important?
The amount of stuff we have, as individuals and as a collective, reach beyond our needs. The majority of it takes thousands of years to decompose too. So, why don’t we just be resourceful with what we already have? Giving items a second chance leads to a more sustainable future.
What has been your favorite piece you created?
It is hard to choose just one! I love all the jackets, they are always fun to play with and style. I can’t wait to try new techniques such as patchwork this coming spring collection, April 2018. We will debut the collection at San Francisco Sustainable Fashion Week. IconaWear will also be organizing a DIY event, including fashion show/panel discussion for Fashion Revolution Week (April 23rd – 29th 2018) in San Francisco, California!
– Sophia Marie
How I styled my IconaWear, This Is The Life, cruelty-free jacket
I fell in love with the brand and their ethics, so if you are thinking of buying ethically this Holiday Season below are my Top 3 Picks from IconaWear
- Avoir Embellished Jacket
- Wallflower Chain Necklace
- Deceiving Lace Thigh High Cavallini
Discover more Sustainable Pieces at IconaWear
Shop Sustainably! Live Balanced. Live Great.