Sustainable style tips from The Peace Exchange‘s, Katie Bond.
Promoting sustainable clothing choices has always been a huge part of the Stylust mission, so when the opportunity to work with Sica Schmitz of Bead and Reel came to us, we knew it was meant to be. We decided to partner with the ethical boutique to style looks with women who are aiming to perpetuate the ethical fashion movement, like Katie Bond of The Peace Exchange, a not-for-profit organization that works with marginalized regions of the world to create social enterprise, economic growth, sustainability, and entrepreneurial training for citizens of developing nations. We had the honor of asking Katie a few questions on what sustainability means to her and how exactly she works it into her daily life.
At the root “sustainable” means to be able to maintain at a certain rate or level… I see sustainability as commitment. For me, as the founder of The Peace Exchange, a “sustainable” fair trade company – this word really hits home. I am committed to the women I work with in Congo and Nepal. I am also committed to living a lifestyle that represents kindness and compassion, even in my wardrobe. It is important for me to make choices in the fashion realm that support the artisan and represent sustainable/ethical business practices.
Tell us a little about your style journey: when did you decide to go vegan/eco-friendly/fair-trade/made-in-america in your closet and what troubles did you face?
I would say this has been a slow progression for me over the last 10 years. Within the last three years, the growth has gained momentum. The troubles I faced was finding a place where I could find fashionable pieces under one umbrella… well, that was the trouble until my friend and fair trade fashion partner Sica Schmitz opened Bead and Reel. Honestly, before this company, it was hard finding ethical fashion pieces that looked great. Now, working with her hosting our annual Fair Trade Fashion Show in Los Angeles – it has become so easy. It’s harder for me now to buy clothes/pieces that are not in line with my fashion ethos.
Ethical Fashion. Fair Trade. Human Rights. Kindness. Compassion. This is not a mantra so to speak, but yet qualities I look for in fashion. I want my style as a business woman and even as a yoga teacher to represent the above.
What advice do you have for those who are interested in starting to introduce more sustainable options into their lives?
Change does not happen over night. Start with 5 staple pieces. Build your wardrobe. Do your research. Not all non-profits or companies practice what they preach and for me it is important to work alongside and partner with business leaders/humanitarians/activists that are living a lifestyle that I to strive to live. Be patient with yourself when it comes to making style changes… baby steps. Before you know it, you’ll be wearing a wardrobe that is cool for more reasons than just the look of the design.
What do you think is the biggest misconception about ethical fashion and how can people help change it?
The phrase, ethical fashion is expensive… I hear that a lot. This is where it all goes back to sustainability… Making a commitment to maintain at a certain level. Just think – maybe one less night out on the town or one less irresponsible purchase. Thoughtful consumption voids the phrase ‘ethical fashion’ is expensive. When committed to a cause, you find ways to raise your own level of consciousness and hopefully leave a positive impact on those around you. At least that is what I desire to do in my work as a yoga teach, ethical fashionista, and as the fair trade Peace Exchange founder/enthusiast.