Episode 124: Accountability In Fashion with Lauren B. Fay of The New Fashion Initiative
This week on the podcast LaChaun is speaking with Lauren B. Fay the founder and executive director of the New Fashion Initiative. The New Fashion Initiative is a foundation creating interdisciplinary education and communications initiatives to promote circulatory collaboration, and accountability in the fashion industry. Lauren Fay is a connector and producer committed to creating a paradigm shift in the fashion industry. As a sustainability consultant, she’s developed initiatives and strategic planning in order to improve the transparency of her clients’ supply chains. Comment below to keep the conversation going!
WEAVE Podcast Transcript Episode 124 with Lauren B. Fay
Sarah Resnick: I’m Sarah Resnick.
LaChaun Moore: And I’m LaChaun Moore. Sarah Resnick: And we are the hosts of the WEAVE Podcast, a project of the weaving yarn shop, GIST Yarn & Fiber.
LaChaun Moore: Hello. Hi, everyone. I hope all is well. On this week’s episode, I’m speaking with Lauren B. Fay, the founder and executive director of The New Fashion Initiative. The New Fashion Initiative is a foundation creating interdisciplinary education and communications initiatives in order to promote circulatory collaboration and accountability within the fashion industry. Lauren Fay is a connector and producer, committed to creating a paradigm shift within the fashion industry. As a sustainability consultant, she’s developed initiatives and strategic planning in order to improve the transparency of her clients’ supply chains. Hey, Lauren. Welcome to the podcast. Thank you for joining us today.
Lauren Fay: Thank you so much. Yeah. It’s great to be here. Thanks for having me.
LaChaun Moore: Can you start out by introducing yourself and giving us a bit of your background, and also talking about Thew New Fashion Initiative? Lauren Fay: Yes. So, my name is Lauren Fay. I am the founder of a nonprofit called The New Fashion Initiative. I am a native Manhattanite, but I’ve also lived in California, in Montana, and now live in Seattle, and I’ve been in and out of the fashion industry for most of my career. So, I worked initially in publishing. I’ve had a couple of different startups. I’ve done some styling. I have a lot of friends who were photographers, and models, and designers, and buyers, and really all the different roles in fashion, but I’ve had a very strong push-pull love-hate dynamic with the industry. So, a number of years ago, still wanting to be involved, I left IT, which is where I had landed, and went back into fashion starting with classes at FIT. They have a sustainable design, similar to a master’s program. Started taking courses with them and learning more and more about the negative impacts of fashion. So, the social and environmental damage, essentially, that this huge industry has, and how opaque it is, how purposefully opaque it is in terms of people not knowing the people who make their clothes, and what is being done in these developed and developing economies that is really set up in an extraction and exploitation model that is really… You know, we talk about sustainable fashion, so we are… Our mission is to just raise awareness about the impact of fashion, and then looking at how to make fashion more sustainable is a big question, and has a lot of layers, and is truly a challenge and something that I’m very interested in being involved in solving.
LaChaun Moore: And so, your background kind of informed what inspired you to start The New Fashion Initiative?
Lauren Fay: So, my background, yeah. I had always loved fashion. As I said, I had thought designers were rock stars. I grew up with… My age, so I’m 41, so Mark Jacobs, Anna Sui, Alaia, some of these designers just were incredible to me and are incredible. They’re incredibly creative people. But I started, I have a lot of friends… Essentially, when I re-entered fashion and knew that I wanted to be back in the industry, I wanted to be part of solving for some of these problems. I didn’t want to just start working with a brand that was sort of business as usual, because there’s so much that’s broken in the system, and that’s really from C-suite, from executive suite, down to how the majority of garment workers aren’t paid a living wage. So, I started, again, those classes at FIT, and I actually started initially volunteering with Fashion Revolution, which is a large movement. It’s essentially a social media platform that tasks people with asking the question, “Who made my clothes?” Which is a very straightforward, simple question, but that often even brands don’t know the answer to, because they go through so many different middlemen to actually get to the factories that make their product, and so they don’t know whether they are… For example, you’ve probably seen a lot of the work camps, the exposés that have been coming out recently in the press about these work camps in China. Muslims that are forced labor that’s happening still to this day. And there’s forced labor that’s happening in L.A., in the U.S., so it’s not just a problem in China. There’s folks who are, especially now with ICE super active, there’s a lot of people who’ve come to the U.S. to work in the garment production industry in L.A. and get exploited, and certainly underpaid, so Garment Worker Center, I’ll just shout them out. They’re a wonderful nonprofit looking at that. So, it’s a combination of me being somebody who is just wanting to be aware in the world of my personal ability to use some of my education and my background just overall of knowing a lot of people in the fashion industry and trying to use that to push for change.
LaChaun Moore: It’s really interesting to hear you talk about some of the issues that plague the fashion industry and I love the way that you described it as being really opaque, because I feel like that is such a really great analogy for the way that things really are. I saw a quote and I wish I could remember where I saw it, but it said all clothes are handmade. And it’s so true when you really think about where clothes come from and how they’re made, and there’s just no way that you can justify the prices of fast fashion goods against the labor that it requires, and it is so entrenched with the current political system and the injustices that immigrants are facing. It’s really a telltale sign. And so, I’m really interested in learning about some of the steps that you think can be made or should be made at this phase, while we’re having the conversation, like what are some of the things that you see as being critical in changing the current state of the fashion industry?
Lauren Fay: Yeah. I think there’s different components, right? So, there’s just citizens looking at themselves as not just consumers, but really citizens, so that means being… informing themselves and knowing this. I mean, I’m 41, so I remember some of the exposés that happened around Nike and knowing that they were underpaying folks for the shoes and some of the things that they were making, and frankly probably still are. And to your earlier point, when you look at a t-shirt that’s $5, something’s gotta give. There’s just no way that that could be made wherever it’s made and shipped here, and somebody make a profit. And you know, these huge conglomerates, or they’re not conglomerates, they’re actually family owned. Two of the huge fast fashion companies, Zara and H&M, are owned by families. Billionaires. And so, they don’t have this excuse, frankly, of shareholders, needing to report back profits to them, which I think we could talk about that, too. I think that’s sort of BS. That’s just an excuse, that’s cover, because you can’t keep exploiting these workers. And they’re everywhere in the world. A lot of them… Right now, we’re active in a campaign called the PayUp Campaign, which is trying to get… Post-COVID, so many of these manufacturers canceled orders, and then because of the way that their contracts are set up, because they’re the big players and they put in the big orders, and ultimately they have the money, they canceled all these orders and then are leaving these factories high and dry. So, for countries like Bangladesh, where 80% of their DP or more is from this money, it’s a humanitarian crisis to have those bills not paid and those orders not coming in. And so, I think the first step is for citizens to know the scope of the problem and really to look at their part in it, so that’s voting with their wallet. That’s buying less. That’s voting with your wallet. So, I always think the more local and smaller you can get with brands, the better, really, because you’ll know… I mean, it’s a lot. Or some of these newer brands that started with transparency from the beginning, but you have to really be discerning, because there also is a lot of what is called green washing, and this is people knowing that sustainability, circularity, these things are buzzwords that people know a little bit about, so I think it’s really just individuals have… The way that we go walk within the world, there’s definitely responsibility. And secondhand, I personally love and shop secondhand. I’ve worked in thrift stores before, multiple times in my life. I have always shopped secondhand. Now sometimes it’s consignment for some nicer pieces, but it’s… I think that there’s an inherent value in clothing that doesn’t go away just because somebody is bored with the piece. If the clothing has been well treated, it’s got a lot of life in it, so… But bigger than individuals, policy needs to change. So, one of the main things that’s been happening actually during COVID, which is great, is California… Once again, I’ll shout out the Garment Worker Center, because they’ve been doing a lot of work here for this, but they’re trying to change a law that allows for Californian manufacturers to pay piecemeal, so they pay like per neckline, per seam almost, like… So, you build the arm of a shirt, 20 cents, 30 cents, whatever it is. $1.10 to the sewer. So, it doesn’t guarantee any kind of a minimum wage, and it basically means that a lot of these folks have to work overtime in order to make anywhere not just a minimum but a living wage. So, things like that legislation needs to be gone. I think brands should be accountable for their footprint, for their impact, for their output. There needs to be, whether that is that they do buybacks and they are made to be responsible for their stuff, or whether that means that they… I mean, there’s a few different ways to solve for that problem, but they can’t just be producing, especially these fast fashion brands, at the volume that they’re producing. I mean, you may have read about H&M being caught burning tens of thousands of tons of clothing, because that’s how they’re…
LaChaun Moore: Yeah.
Lauren Fay: I mean, how messed up is that business model that the energy from the burning of the clothing is actually worth more in money than the actual clothing itself? That’s a broken system.
LaChaun Moore: Yeah. Absolutely. I don’t even know where to start. Thank you for sharing so much and going so depth. The first thing that I wanted to ask you about was when you first started sort of explaining the issue with family-owned fast… You mentioned something about stakeholders.
Lauren Fay: Shareholders was what I meant. So, you’ll have a larger company like Nike, where the CEO will say, and I’m paraphrasing and I’m not exactly… Don’t quote me on Nike, per se, although I will call Nike out as having bad labor practices. But they hide behind the fact that they are publicly traded, and they need to report certain margins, and that’s why they can’t fundamentally disrupt their supply chain, because they need to deliver collections. Those need to be sold. They need to make this per quarter. All these quotas that they have. This big machine of a company is set up. But you know, as you said earlier, we’re seeing firsthand, especially through COVID, how dangerous this system of capitalism and the pace of it is overall. Do we really value that over life? Should we? I mean, personally I don’t know if that’s the world that I want to live in. I don’t know. I mean, group thought solutions like communism isn’t the way that I would necessarily go, but there’s gotta be… Something’s gotta give. There’s gotta be a better way.
LaChaun Moore: I think that really speaks to the level of importance that the fashion industry plays in creating jobs, and also how if we can change and transform the fashion industry, we can affect communities.
Lauren Fay: Very much so. Yeah. I think… and give them an opportunity to create their own stronger robust economies, so they’re not just the bulk of them are sewers, some of them are factory owners, none of them are… Just give them an opportunity for there to be more independent brands that are coming out of these countries, and there’s just more opportunity for people for some mobile mobility, or for different… for them to even branch out into different industries. So, India for example is starting to get much more, and China as well, much more active in solar power, and wind power, and those kinds of technologies and industries. And so, yeah, if you’ve got more of a population that is free to go to schools, and study different things, and become other types of workers, then you have a much more diverse, sturdier economy.
LaChaun Moore: And what are some of the ways that you’re connecting to people to sort of facilitate or create the conversation around creating change?
Lauren Fay: Yeah, so we started last year. One of the first things that we did was we had a popup about circularity in South Street Seaport, and so that was really… A lot of that was about extending the lifecycle, so a key part in a cycle of circularity, which is you’re really trying to reuse everything that’s been produced, is using things for longer. So, buying secondhand furniture, buying secondhand clothing, or when you are buying new clothing or new home goods, trying to get it repurposed from other things. So, whether that’s recycled, or upcycled, just looking at all the companies that are innovating in that. So, we created a space that was like an apartment and had different rooms. It didn’t have a kitchen, but it had living room, bedroom, dining room, and the idea was to show how much of the things that you have in your house can be thoughtfully chosen. And that can also save you money, so it’s not just going to Bed Bath & Beyond. I’m name dropping them specifically, but like one of these big catch-all retailers to buy everything new every time you move. It’s really trying to actively live sort of thinking about those things and supporting these brands that are having these innovations. And then we also had a workshop that we did, which was with academics, so that’s a long-term project that we’re working on, which is really connecting programs like… So, we had Bard, and Parsons, and Brown, and NYU, academics from those schools together, to initially for the beta project just to talk about the work that they’re doing and kind of connect some of those professors to each other, so that they can start to share resources and have some visiting lectures, so that future leaders and future… The students who are studying design, they’re aware of some sustainable MBA, like the viability of some of these business ideas they might have. Or environmental science, looking at design, design students being aware of their fabric choices. So, knowing about micro plastics. Knowing about how these blends, which so much fabric is made from, if you have nylon or polyester, just the impact that fabric has, both in being made typically from oil, a lot of the synthetics are made from oil, and then also when you wash said clothing, it releases microfibers into the water. So, there’s just… The idea was to cross-pollinate these different thinkers and different students, so that they start thinking in around about just how interconnected all these problems are. And NYU was there to talk about labor rights, which are a constant issue, and really labor is something, that’s one of the things we’ve been focusing on during COVID is PayUp, and just saying these brands can’t hide under these initiatives of say the recycled jacket that they’re making, right? They make a jacket out of recycled bottles. Is that great? Maybe, but also this is a brand that doesn’t pay living wages to anybody in their Cambodian factories, right? So, we can’t call them sustainable. They shouldn’t be able to green wash like that. They shouldn’t be able to get away with that claim. And so, trying to really do a bit of name and shaming, which we work with Remake, which is a nonprofit, and Garment Worker Center is also a part of this campaign, the PayUp Campaign, the Clean Clothes Campaign is an international group. They’re based in Amsterdam and they’re also working essentially for labor rights, but there’s just… I mean, it’s a really colonial construct, right? You’ve got these mostly European and American-owned brands. There certainly is fast fashion in Asia, as well. But the idea is the money is concentrated with a few people at the top making a ton of money, and then everybody at the bottom barely getting by, and everybody at the bottom is typically brown, non-white women, essentially, is really what the bulk of the workforce is made up of. And that needs to change.
LaChaun Moore: Yeah. Absolutely. One of the things that I really think about when I think about the dynamic between people working in factories and people who own a lot of these businesses is that there’s such a huge, huge, huge margin between not just the financial, the very obvious financial difference, but the cultural differences. The fast fashion industry really has always functioned in this way in using this model. For me, the fast fashion industry still functions to this day off of a slave model.
Lauren Fay: Very much so.
LaChaun Moore: It’s not literally enslaving people in the same way that they did in America with enslaved Africans, but the method of business making is the same. It’s basically an entire industry that creates itself on the backs of a group of people, and then turns its back on that group of people.
Lauren Fay: Completely.
LaChaun Moore: And it’s basically just exported what started here, is now doing it in other countries.
Lauren Fay: I completely agree. I mean, it’s… Look. I don’t know if you read this. I’m gonna forget his name, but there was a Republican Senator who recently just said this this week, right? He was quoted saying like the necessary evil of slavery, which is just like, “What are you talking about? How is there…” Talk about no accountability at all of the fact… You know, he talked about cotton, so yeah, cotton, we became because of slavery, the U.S. started competing with, even though the square footage of like where we were growing cotton was so much smaller, but we had completely free labor, so we suddenly were competing with India. This was 1700s. We just suddenly shot up in our export and growing of cotton. And then it’s still been… That was all consolidated in the hands of a few really wealthy landowners, and it’s… Yeah. That is this very exploitative, capitalistic model, that yeah, it’s having… Seeing it take hold in other countries and seeing its ultimate destruction, again, I’m not someone who… The group thought of communism I think is scary. I mean, it gets into sort of fascist territory in my opinion, but we’re not really talking about politics, but certainly there needs to be more socialism. There needs to be a bigger middle class. There needs to be a lifting up of people. And obviously, at least to me it’s obvious, there certainly should be no forced labor or no undervalued labor, because that’s an incredible resource. People’s labor is a resource and it should be rewarded, and it should be… People should have the ability to learn skills. Anyone. The ability for education should be something that should be accessible to everyone. So, my husband’s European, and I think there are so many… There are lots of things to emulate in some of those countries, which is not to say that this problem doesn’t exist. Certainly if you look at it socially, some of the colonial attitudes and racism and all of that still exist in Europe, and some of these fast fashion brands are in Europe, like CNA, and Primark, and they’re some of the bad players that aren’t paying their bills and aren’t and don’t pay living wages. Yeah. It’s a big problem and it needs to be… Everybody needs to be talking about it. People should know about it. And they shouldn’t be… I think we usually, particularly, I’ll speak for myself, being somebody who is… I don’t come from a wealthy family, but I come from having resources and having… I mean, I started working for myself for pocket money when I was in high school, started babysitting, but I had… Anybody who’s shopping in these stores should know, should be thinking critically about they’re voting with their dollar. What are they doing? Where is that money going to?
LaChaun Moore: Absolutely. Yeah, and to kind of go back to what you were saying before about the Republican- Lauren Fay: Tom something or other. Yeah.
LaChaun Moore: Yeah, who said, “The necessary evil of slavery.” And I guess my response to that would be necessary to who? How can that be a necessary evil? It’s not necessary at all. It’s necessary to a particular group of people, but if it has to be on the backs of a group of people or nation, then it has to be revisited and it has to be revised.
Lauren Fay: Yeah. And I just had a talk with some friends of mine who work in Ghana in the secondhand markets over there, and I have a friend who grew up in Tanzania, and that’s a whole nother ball of issues, right? The secondhand market and the post-consumer, what we do with post-consumer goods, so not the fast fashion side of things, but the other end of things. And the same constructs are in play oftentimes in those markets, but there’s really an opportunity for some eco-reparations, I think, and for some of these African countries who get this influx of secondhand clothing to build economies and infrastructure, recycling and otherwise, around those goods, around that fabric, and since they’ve been shouldering the burden of this, the volume of stuff, for so long, to have it be hopefully a path to help develop their textile economies and industries. We were talking about Western Africa, and Ghana specifically, but it is… Yeah, I mean some of that has to do just also with the reckoning, I think, that we’re… One of the things that’s happened, and I think silver linings out of COVID, and we could also talk about why it’s sad that there had to be this huge pause in the world for a lot of white folks in America to suddenly really start considering the Black Lives Matter issue, issues rather, and start to get more active in the protests, and join in, and amplify, and all of that. I mean, there’s something kind of sad about that, but there is also a positive about that and some of the traction that’s happening from that, which hopefully is again, a long-term, a longer-term sustained reckoning with history, because that’s there. And that’s definitely tied into the fashion industry, because you see… I mean, look. You see these things like the sweater that came out of… I don’t want to misname the brand. I know Prada had the keychain, but these, or like the-
LaChaun Moore: Oh, was it the Gucci sweater with the-
Lauren Fay: Gucci. Yeah. The turtleneck.
LaChaun Moore: Yeah. The Gucci turtleneck. It came above the mouth and it emulated a Sambo.
Lauren Fay: Yes. Exactly. Totally. And I’m friendly with Kimberly Jenkins, who’s a professor out of… She now works at Ryerson, but she was at Parsons and Pratt for years, and she actually went and consulted with Gucci a bit for some racism and inclusion training for their corporate office. But you look at the C-suites, executive suites, and whole teams of a lot of these… Now, we’re not necessarily talking about the fast fashion now. We’re talking about high fashion, “luxury fashion,” although often luxury fashion is made in the same factories as other fashion, and a lot of the items that are luxury fashion, a lot of the luxury fashion stuff is marketing, pure marketing, and it’s not quality. I mean, some of it is gorgeous, and beautiful, but a lot of it is… I think of Ab Fab, Absolutely Fabulous, where a lot of these women would wear their Gaultier t-shirt, and that’s like the quintessential BS “luxury” piece. But all those teams are white. They’re all white. And it’s like how are you gonna have any kind of inclusion? It’s not about bringing in somebody, and this is no shade to Kimberly, because she’s an incredible… She’s started a database now, which I don’t know if you follow her, but she has… So, Kimberly Jenkins, and Ryerson is her college, and then it’s the Fashion and Race Database. She’d be an incredible podcast guest, frankly. She’s brilliant. But- LaChaun Moore: Yeah, she sounds amazing. I’m gonna have to look her up. Lauren Fay: Yeah. I’m happy to make an introduction. She’s really… She’s great. But she… It’s not about having somebody come out for a week and talk to your team. It’s about bringing in, like we’ve gotta diversify our marketing team. We need to have merchandise. And part of that, the flip side of that, is also let’s look at how expensive these design schools are and how exclusionary that is. I mean, Parsons is what, $50,000 a year, I think? And Parsons is a great school-
LaChaun Moore: Oh, Parsons is… That’s exactly how it is. I remember when I started, when I was taking fashion courses, I remember knowing that things were different because I had classmates who were carrying their supplies in like Louis Vuitton bags, and just wearing $900 t-shirts, and it was just so new to me. I did not grow up like that at all. I have never owned anything designer before, and so it was just like this entirely different thing, and just in addition to that, when it came down to creating collections, the people who often get picked to produce, or who get thrust in the forefront, have the money to support creating a line that they’re naturally gonna like, because they could afford to buy premium fabrics, they could afford to hire a pattern maker, they can afford to send their jackets out to have them lined, and they can afford to have a professional photographer, and they can afford to do the things that make them look more professional. The fashion industry really has a long way to go as far as inclusion, so yeah.
Lauren Fay: Yeah. It’s a little bit like the Oz, don’t look at the man behind the curtain. It’s like jazz hands, diversion, instead of really doing the work. Because the work needs to be done by the white folks in the fashion industry, and that means also passing the mic. I mean, I think it has to do with the exclusionary nature of the fashion industry. Yeah, I mean it really has to change. It needs to be more… Because, and you know this certainly being a design student more so than I do, but you have so much that is taken. So, instead of taking what’s been happening for generations, which is these designers copy street fashions, and then they commodify them, and price them up, and spin, do their own little spin on them, bring in the young talent and designers that are making the fashion that you’re respecting and emulating, and give them the platform to make the clothing. So, yeah, I think it goes back to the really having more and more conversations around it, and I am seeing… I mean, I have a lot of friends that aren’t white that I’ve talked to race about for a long time, and certainly since college. I mean, I actually left New York and went to school in Montana for high school, and that was pretty white high school. We had one family that wasn’t white, but obviously New York is different, and I went to Brown for undergrad, which Brown is a very… I had a U.N. mix from all different countries and backgrounds, and I’m hearing more white friends of mine talk about it, and I think have an understanding about it, or beginning to ask questions about it, and knowing that it’s not just knowing about it, it’s being actively anti-racist, so it’s trying to… To our earlier point, how can I try to help? And this is something that we’re working on in The New Fashion Initiative, and it’s thinking of ideas around to start the change from the inside. So, how to really try to, because I don’t think some of these… You know, some of these larger companies, I mean it’ll be really interesting to see what’s gonna shake out from COVID, right? Because a lot of brands that we would think of as infallible and constant are probably gonna fold. They don’t have the cash.
LaChaun Moore: Yeah. Lauren Fay: You know, so there’s… That is an opportunity for there to be a lot of new talent and some new players. LaChaun Moore: There’s been quite a few fast fashion brands that have gone bankrupt. I think that it’s because the model no longer fits, and so I do see an opportunity for more artisanal brands to create space in the fashion industry, and I think mills are also starting to change requiring people to make orders for thousands of garments. They’re now working and allowing people to work in much smaller batches, as well. And so, I think it’s something that’s catching on, because it really is unsustainable for the environment, but it’s also unsustainable financially. The financial system that it functions on really cannot live. I mean, it has a very short lifespan and we’ve seen that over and over again, and I think that’s why the system has continued to recreate itself, because it has to stop at some point. It can’t keep going. They basically run themselves into the ground.
Lauren Fay: Totally. No, I agree. Yeah. I mean, they’re big, and it’s important just to say one of the underlying themes I think of what we’re saying is just how interconnected all of it is, and we’re gonna see… I think the economic fallout from COVID will just continue, so we’re going to see a lot more people have a lot less expendable income, and one of the things that we’re looking at with a longer-term blog series is going to be, so, how does consumption change? Does COVID really change consumption in the West? In the U.S., in particular? I’m hopeful. I really hope, and I know for me, I’m pretty low impact. I went through a year of no shopping, so I buy all secondhand except for underwear and socks, and I don’t buy a lot of clothing. I have a lot of my own clothes. I did Rent the Runway through my pregnancy, so I didn’t buy maternity clothing. But you know, I think… I don’t know. I just really hope that people, because that’s another key part of all of this, is that the “developed” countries, although I think the U.S. calling itself that is a misnomer, right? I don’t… If you don’t give people education and healthcare, I don’t think you can call yourself a developed country. But you know, we consume huge percentages of the world’s resources and energy, and carbon sort of ration, so it’s… Yeah, there’s a lot. I really… I think that your generation and younger are really pushing for… I mean, I see like Fridays For Future, the groups like that I see a lot of, and I work with an activist who’s a climate activist, who’s just graduated high school. She’s 18. She’s running our podcast. She just interviewed Extinction Rebellion, and Tom Steyer, who was the Democrat who ran for president, unsuccessfully, but in the last election. She’s just a really proactive, engaged, vocal, confident young woman, and she is… Her interest is… Well, she’s first generation, but she’s Lebanese, and her interest is in really translating and sharing climate data with her generation in what we call the Middle East, so in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, all these different countries. And there are so many other examples that are of young people who are like her, who I find completely inspiring. I mean, you. You’ve got a podcast. You’re doing the work that you’re doing with mills and textiles down South. That is incredible work. It’s incredibly important. That’s… Shoring up some manufacturing here is good for our local economies in the U.S., as well.
LaChaun Moore: Yeah. And do you have any new projects that you’d like to share with our listeners? Lauren Fay: Well, we’re building a new workshop program, so that’s gonna be… We’re gonna be announcing that later this year and we’re gonna be including students in that, which I’m excited about, so having professors learn from students and vice versa, and we have the podcast that I mentioned, so that’s Sophia Kianni. I should name her. I don’t know why I didn’t say her name earlier, who’s our host, and that’s gonna be continuing and growing. And that’s climate focused. And then we have… Although, sorry, it might be bad form to mention a podcast on a podcast. Sorry.
LaChaun Moore: No, please! Please. You should let everyone know where they can listen and support.
Lauren Fay: Yeah. It’s linked on our Instagram and then we have a series that we just started I mentioned on secondhand clothing, and that is about this huge, large system, and how we’re going to try to institute some true circularity and find the different opportunities. One thing I will say, and I’m an optimist, so I look at it this way. When systems are so broken, there’s nothing but opportunity. There’s just nothing but a better solution. So, that’s how I want to focus on it, so that’s what we’re… We work with a couple of experts in that field and we’re going to be just educating people more on that and finding opportunity to help these players continue their work. So, I would say that’s what I’ll shout out for now, but stay tuned. Definitely follow us on Instagram.
LaChaun Moore: We’ll definitely make sure that we have links, so that people can follow your work and see how you progress. It’s been amazing talking to you. I’ve really enjoyed this conversation and all of the insights that you’ve shared. Really, really excited about the work that you’re doing. And before you go, we have one question that we ask everyone that joins the podcast, and that is do you have any advice or words of wisdom to share with weavers and textile enthusiasts?
Lauren Fay: Yeah. I mean, so I am someone who has so much respect for weavers. I think it’s not a skill that I have, but I think that I do think that there is, as you said, I think there’s an acknowledgement. That kind of craft, I don’t think that’s going anywhere in terms of people’s respect for that, so I just hope that there is a growing appreciation for that by consumers of fashion and makers of fashion. And then textiles, I think I’m excited by some of the innovations in recycling that have recently happened. I will shout out a friend of mine who is based in Oregon, who has a recycling fabrics company called Osomtex, so that’s O-S-O-M-T-E-X, and she just partnered actually with Nike to make a shoe, the Space Hippie, which is pretty cool. So, I think there’s some really interesting-
LaChaun Moore: That sounds so amazing.
Lauren Fay: Yeah. It’s very neat. It’s cool. And then there’s Evernew, which is doing some neat stuff with cotton, based out of Seattle. So, I think there’s… And I also, one of our advisors, there’s a lot happening with vegan textiles, so with bio mimicry, and also with biomaterials, and so the brand is called Brave Gentleman. One of our advisors, Joshua Katcher, does work and research there. AlgiKnit is another great one that came out of FIT. Algae fabric. So, I think for textile enthusiasts, I think that’s kind of the new frontier, is some of these biomaterials that are going to hopefully be replacing things like wool and leather that have such a big environmental footprint. But I think it’s… The stuff that our clothing is made out of is where there’s a huge opportunity for innovation and betterment, for lack of a better word. Certainly, we can do a lot better than nylon. That’s for sure.
LaChaun Moore: Absolutely. Well, thank you so much for joining the podcast and for sharing your amazing insights. Lauren Fay: Thank you. It was great to chat with you. Wonderful to get into it. And yeah, I wish you all the best with everything and I’m excited to tell people about your podcast.
LaChaun Moore: That’s a wrap. If you’re interested in supporting The New Fashion Initiative, you can find links in the show notes at www.GISTYarn.com/episode-124. On next week’s episode, I’m really excited to speak with Jessie Mordine Young. Jessie is a textile curator, teacher of traditional textile techniques, and a maker living in New York City. Thank you for tuning into this week’s episode. Please stay tuned for next week’s episode. Until next time, happy weaving!