Friday, May 1, 2015

Girl Crush Alert -- Laura Kannan

An interview with -- Laura Kannan


A quote from Lucy Siegle that really resonated with me was “Becoming an opponent of mainstream fashion is not just about the fight- it represents a chance to reconnect with what drew you to fashion in the first place, which I am guessing had nothing to do with the enslavement of Asian women or one-size-fits-all jeggings.”

Tell us a little more about yourself!
Well… I am based in New Zealand (but super excited about a year full of travel to the US, UK and India in 2016). From a young age I have loved anything fashion related and after sewing much of my way through High School decided to complete a Diploma of Fashion Design. I loved this so much I was crazy enough to also go on and complete a Bachelor of Fashion Design. Shockingly all of this study taught me next to nothing about sustainable design and ethical production of fashion. I worked my way from dawn till dusk for minimum wage in various jobs within the small but ever growing New Zealand Fashion industry. This was all before realizing that many young High School students within New Zealand are no longer interested in the design and production of clothing but would rather buy cheap fast fashion to fulfill their want for something new. I retrained as a High School teacher and as testing as it may be at times it’s satisfying to know you might just be inspiring at least one young person to make a change.   

Can you tell us how you got started in your blog/Instagram?
The first time I remember my heart skipping a beat for anything other than a tiny kitten or fried food was when I worked as a Pattern Maker for a womenswear label just after I had graduated, it was the job that many design students wish for but very few get. I was to count myself truly lucky my conscious told me. Exactly how blessed I was to work in a crammed air conditioned office for a small but livable wage was not realized until I had to Skype one of the factory workers in a Chinese factory our company used to produce clothing. The call was to tell them what they had done wrong within a certain garment they had sent for approval. Little did I know that I would discover how much we were doing wrong. On my computer screen was a tired, petite wrinkled women trying to make sense of my quick English. In the background was the muffled sounds of old machinery and a dark unfamiliar smog that hung in the air quite literally of overtired, over worked, underpaid Chinese workers who cared so very dearly about ensuing that the pleats in this seasons new throwaway garment were in fact, exactly 2cm.  My heart would skip a beat a second time when I would see the invoices of just how much this clothing was being sold for verses the very little that was being given to these factories to produce it. Let’s just say I didn’t last in that job much longer. 

What are your three favorite eco-products?

Luckily it’s really hard to pick just three- which means there are plenty of products out there for purchasing. 

I really love this dress by – possibly due to my slight obsession with cats

Juliette Cat Print Flared Dress in Black
Grown Skincare is amazing and is certified organic made next door in Australia

The Loyal Workshop is truly incredible, offering women of Kolkata trapped in the sex trade a way to freedom by offering them work. Etched into each vegetable tanned leather satchel is the name and signature of the artisan.

What was the first step you took to a more eco- friendly lifestyle?
Just like going cold turkey when trying to quit smoking I knew I had to do the same with my Fast Fashion addiction! The feeling of instant satisfaction when getting 5 garments for under $30 was soon superseded by the feelings of guilt and angst when really deep down I knew where this was coming from and how it was being produced, or then again did I?
I made the decision that I would buy nothing new this year unless it was recycled, ethically made or hand made by me. I think drawing a line in the sand really helped for me anyway. Instead of endless hours shopping for unneeded clothing I have begun to read some incredible new Authors who passionately write about “How fashion is wearing out the world”- Lucy Siegle and “The shockingly high cost of cheap fashion”- Elizabeth L. Cline. Now the hours once spent shopping are also spent researching, blogging and connecting with other likeminded people. I have been truly surprised by the response. 

How successful has your journey been so far on the eco-lifestyle train?
I can honestly say I love this new lifestyle because that’s what it truly has become- a lifestyle. It has invaded every part of my thoughts day and night. You know you have truly for a passion for something when a stranger on a plane discovers you blubbering, clutching a soggy book and dares to ask “Are you are ok?” and the only response you can utter, after swallowing the large lump in your throat is how you have just read about how many Uzbekistan cotton farmers commit suicide each year due to debt and depression caused by the low payout for cotton (Suffice to say I don’t think she was expecting that response).

You said in your first post that you were a fast fashion junkie- I think many of our readers would agree that they area as well (I know I used to be). How has your transition been to slow fashion? Where do you shop now or how has your shopping habits changed?
I feel this is the real journey. It takes a lot of effort and resources to continuously find out where each garment you purchase is designed and produced and unsurprisingly many companies make this pretty hard to find out. For the first few months of my fast fashion free journey I shopped at Thrift stores (or my existing exploding wardrobe) and would take the time to alter each piece according to the latest trend. Sadly many Thrift store are overwhelmed by the mass amount of fast fashion that gets thrown their way, it became a real mission to find clothing that was actually made to last amongst last month’s pilled and worn (probably only a few times) clothing.  As time has passed I feel my direction and view of ‘sustainable fashion’ is changing and now I am more interested in minimizing my wardrobe all together and investing in key pieces that are eco-friendly and made to last. This area really is a journey and has impacted much more than just the amount of clothing I have in my wardrobe. Why work at a job that you don’t really enjoy, to buy stuff you don’t really need to fill a home that is already overflowing.

What message would you like to leave with our readers about making the switch to a more eco friendly life style or business?
I think it can be summed up in the wise old words many mothers have said “Treat others the way you would like to be treated” this could come in many forms and can be as simple as beginning to ask where does my clothing/ food/ appliances etc. come from, doing your own research into eco- friendly options, supporting businesses and organizations that are trying to make the change or going the full hog and drawing a line in the sand and saying enough is enough.

Thanks so much Laura! 

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1 comment:

  1. Girl crushes are common and can occur between friends, celebrities, role models, or even fictional characters. They can serve as a source of inspiration and motivation for personal growth and development.