Updated: Apr 7, 2019
I started my career in the Fashion Industry at 16 years old, as a retail associate at TjMaxx. During that time my biggest intentions were to make some extra money and get cute clothes with my employee discount, I wanted to go to school for criminal justice (thanks to Law and Order: SVU) I never thought about studying fashion, I'm from a small town so the idea seemed so out of reach. But it sounded exciting, and moving to New York City sounded even more exciting.
My senior year of high school my mind was set. I wanted to go to the Fashion Institute of Technology and study Fashion Business Management. I wanted to be a buyer for retail stores, because who doesn't want to get paid to shop for a living?! I got accepted, and before I knew it I was saying goodbye to family, friends, and my beloved furry friend and starting a new chapter in my life. Naturally, I fell in love with the city, the people, the energy, everything about it made me want to be someone - to excel in my career, to push myself outside of my comfort zone.
Freshman year I realized I didn't want to be a buyer, I wanted to be involved in something that allowed me to be a little more creative. I tried styling, merchandising, style blogging, but nothing really stuck. I wanted to find a balance between business and creativity. I started an internship in 2016 with a small startup brand. I there learned the role of Product Development. It was so much fun to be hands-on in making clothes and working directly with factories overseas. Putting on fashion shows, and photo shoots. I knew then this is what I want to continue to do. I later landed an internship with a more established and larger company in 2017 learning design functions and responsibilities. Making a seasonal collection from sourcing the raw materials all the way up to get the final sample in. All the pieces I was looking for started to fall together.
Then I learned that the fashion Industry isn't as innocent and fun as I had always thought. And unfortunately, neither are most of the brands you shop at. Some have gone far enough to state that the Fashion Industry is the 2nd largest polluter to the environment next to the oil industry. Many of the factories that are sewing together your $10 "steal" from a fast fashion company are in toxic factories that have little to no regulations. The physical building is in is not maintained or up to standards. Endless hours are worked for little to nothing in return.
Factories have collapsed and killed hundreds to thousands of people. Children are being born in foreign countries with deformities and mental illness because the number of toxic chemicals is being breathed in. There are not many regulations on how to dispose of this hazardous waste that goes into making the shirt or jeans you are wearing right now. It most likely was touched by a lot of hands, a lot of chemicals and a lot of countries to get into your favorite store - so you can have your shirt for this season and throw it out when the next season comes around.
As a professional in the Fashion Industry, I feel an obligation to make a change, and I know there are many out there like me too that see that this is a huge problem and if nothing is done soon - it may be too big of a mess to clean up. While I am still educating myself on exactly how to make a difference I know that I can not do it alone and that's why I created this website. To share with you my findings and hope that you become more conscious and aware of the impact you have had and how to make it into a positive impact rather than negative. I want to explain to you the "behind the scenes" of the industry, as I try to find change and raise the bar.
Please stay tuned for upcoming posts on how to get involved, and more information on sustainability and the fashion industry!