Kestrel Jenkins is a conscious fashion maven and host of the popular podcast, Conscious Chatter. Whether she’s interviewing employees from Eileen Fisher about their clothing take back program or diving into reducing waste in the floral industry with Farm Girl Flowers, Kestrel explores ways that we can all create sustainable lifestyles that work for each of us. As a dress line rooted in sustainable business practices, Kestrel has been speaking our language and we knew she’d make an awesome ZANNI girl. Read on for her tips on how to make your wardrobe sustainable.
Talk to us a little bit about your sustainable living journey. How has it impacted both your personal life and your professional life?
I’ve been a fashion freak basically ever since I could put on an outfit and walk around. For me, fashion has always been my personal art form. Composing an outfit is the truest way for me to express my creativity.
However, for many years, I pushed back on allowing fashion to become part of my professional life. For some reason, I fell into the ridiculous trap of thinking that working in fashion meant I was somehow less intellectual. Luckily, after studying global studies in college, my mom discovered a catalog that helped me realize that fashion and fair trade could go together. With this lightbulb moment, I found the pioneer in fair trade fashion, People Tree. I had the opportunity to intern with their team in London and that was it. I was hooked on the industry and being a part of the conscious fashion conversation. Since then, I have worked as an editor for sustainable design and fashion publications, and for startups in the space.
I launched my podcast Conscious Chatter, “where what we wear matters.” That was almost two years ago now. It’s an inclusive audio space with the mission to open the door to conversations about our clothing, the potential impact, and meaning behind what we wear. I’m 100 episodes in, and there are so many more conversations to be had and still so much work to be done. It’s an exciting and powerful time to be in the industry.
What are some of the main reasons you encourage people to create a sustainable wardrobe?
For me, it honestly comes back to the stories. Building a sustainable wardrobe means you will have pieces for years to come. It means that the garments in your closet are quality pieces that could become heirlooms one to day pass down to the next generation.
With a conscious wardrobe, our clothes have depth and stories that connect the us to the people behind the scenes who made them. There is a power and confidence that comes with wearing pieces that are reflective of your values and who you really are.
How do you recommend they start? Any tips for first-timers?
Start small. Find something that is important to you. Maybe it’s local manufacturing, organic agriculture, reducing waste, innovative materials, or worker’s rights. Then try to ask questions before you make a purchase so you can support what’s important to you. There’s definitely a snowball effect once you start learning, but it’s an individual process that’s different and unique for everyone.
In your experience, what are the biggest roadblocks to maintaining a more sustainable lifestyle/wardrobe?
Access to information in terms of where to find what you’re looking for. But there are so many more bloggers, publications, and platforms out there today to help you out. And you can always just cruise to your local thrift store and find something one-of-a-kind.
What are 3 things you look for when you buy from new brands?
Style that I’m in love with, transparency and versatility and longevity of the design.
What are some new trends that are on your radar?
While I try not to be totally trend-driven in my aesthetic, it’s hard not to be when you love fashion and the art of dressing. I’m all about the blush tones, and I love getting all monochrome in pink lately, which is hilarious since I was a total pink hater as a kid. Also, not sure how much it’s currently trending now, but I’ve always been obsessed with mixing prints, especially florals and stripes.