| By Rachel Monique Maskell

Can we ever be sustainable?

Hello my lovely friend,

How are you this beautiful autumn day?

A few weeks ago I was having brunch in LA with some friends. And, of course, the topic of fashion and sustainability came up.  One friend simply said I don’t believe in sustainability. It was bold but I wasn’t surprised. It’s something I have been hearing do you define it, how do you achieve it, are brands really adhering to it or are they just green washing?

By its very definition sustainability assumes no depletion of the earth's natural resources. Although I think we could do better as a society to reduce our consumption, it seems unrealistic and potentially not even desirable to stop altogether. Perhaps just by using the word ‘sustainable’ we are setting ourselves up for failure, taking on an unachievable lofty goal.

What we need is a real solution. One that empowers change that lasts and new ways of thinking. What we need is something cyclical, that honors the paradigm of giving and receiving. 

As my friend put it, “what we need is regenerative fashion.”

The food movement opened the conversation and continues to propel it forward with regenerative agriculture. Putting back into the soil the nutrients and minerals we depleted. This can be done for the textile industry as well but also for brands. An example he gave is TOMS and the first ‘one for one’ initiative. This approach to social responsibility is growing but can go further...oh so much further. 

I think the approach to regenerative fashion can be dynamic and creative, allowing brands to give back in new ways, to participate in the conversation that aligns with their values, and still support the needs of the planet now. 

I choose to participate in the movement through the resell of vintage natural fibers and accessories. Finding items that still have life and value to add to a wardrobe. I choose to work with pre-existing materials and limiting the purchase of new items. I look for ways to rework things before throwing them out, even conventional trash. 

So now it’s your turn. How do you participate? What does sustainability or regenerative fashion mean to you? Does one resonate more than another? 

Drop a line if you have time.