I love your podcast “Conscious Chatter, where what we wear matters” and I am totally addicted to all of your episodes. Please tell us about your platform and what your podcast is about?
Conscious Chatter has now become my platform – it recently evolved out of AWEAR World after the podcast took off and garnered more energy from listeners and people interested in the sustainable style conversation. Originally, this space was inspired by a past blog I started during the beginning of my conscious fashion journey. I had recently returned from living abroad and working with People Tree in London, and I needed to do something creative to continue engaging in the fair fashion conversation. After completing this year-long project in conscious fashion buying, I never really shifted back out of it. I became so much more aware of what I was buying, how it was made and what my purchase really meant.
Conscious Chatter is an inclusive audio space where what we wear matters. It’s a community where I connect with designers, farmers, and more about the global supply chain.
What was your motivation to start the Podcast Conscious Chatter?
The podcast was an idea sparked by a good friend Matt who is the guy behind Be Kind Vibes. Matt suggested that I start a podcast to talk about what I was already talking about on AWEAR World. At first, I totally wrote it off – I had NO IDEA how to start a podcast or where to start. Surprisingly, I dove in and went for it, and basically figured it out as I went, and I am so grateful I did.
What is your professional background/experience and how did you encounter sustainable fashion?
During university, I studied Global Studies, Women’s Studies, and International Journalism. I became totally enthralled with the concept of fair trade and I felt like I needed to work near that industry. After I graduated, I had literally no idea what I was going to do; I was actually studying for the LSAT at the time when my mom received a catalog from a company called Fair Indigo – a small fair trade company started by several employees who left Land’s End in search of building a more transparent company. She was like, “Kes – what about fashion?” I remember this so vividly – I was standing with her near the kitchen table and I was like, “Wow, yes!” My mom knew that I was the little kid who changed their outfit multiple times every time someone new came to the house – outfit creation was 100% my creative outlet. Then, I started researching and trying to learn more “fair trade fashion” – which led me to People Tree. Once I found them – the “pioneer in fair trade fashion” – I knew I had to somehow work for them. Several email follow-ups later, and a phone interview, I ended up in London interning in the PR department for 6 months. From there, I knew I had found my world.
Who are your conversation partners on Conscious Chatter? How do you choose them?
My conversation partners on Conscious Chatter have been idols of mine, students, designers, professors, farmers and more. Often, I find future guests through the guests I am speaking with – they suggest other people in the industry that they see as a great fit for a particular conversation. Also, I do a ton of outreach via Instagram. If I find a brand or person I really would love to talk to, I send them an Instagram message – often, this has been a great way to start the conversation to bring someone on for an episode down the line.
Conscious Chatter is mainly focused on sustainable fashion. Can you imagine to add some other topics to your conversations?
Absolutely. I’ve recently started bringing on guests connected to the clean beauty industry; I see this as the most immediate crossover. I’d like to keep the door open to shifting beyond fashion, but at the same time, I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the fashion conversation, especially since it’s continuously evolving and there’s always something new coming to the table that we can learn about.
What was the most surprising truth for you, when it comes to greenwashing?
This is a really interesting question – I guess the concept of greenwashing can be really frustrating and annoying to deal with, especially as a consumer or shopper, whose intentions are to support something good. At the same time, the fact that companies are greenwashing their products and stories means that they see the value in being more transparent and thinking more consciously about their production. They’re obviously being super lazy and lame to not actually go the extra mile into making a true change in their supply chain, but they are noticing how consumers want to know the answers to how their products are made. I guess this is me being an eternal optimist, but it makes me feel like larger change is on the horizon. And in today’s world, there are more and more resources to help you navigate this blurry world, like Project Just or apps like Good On You, who truly want to help bring you more information in a more accessible way so you can make more educated purchasing decisions.
What are your plans for the future with and without conscious chatter?
I have recently begun the development of a new project called Left Edit, Where Fit + Quality Meet.
Also, I have a dream for Conscious Chatter of traveling to locations where manufacturing is taking place; to develop more elaborate interviews with designers, factory workers, artisans, etc and to evolve Conscious Chatter into an audio/video series where we get to actually meet the people behind our clothes and see the places behind our clothes as well.
Thank you for this interview, Kestrel!
Listen to the Conscious Chatter podcast episodes for free on iTunes here. And follow Kestrel Jenkins on her Instagram.