How Four Influencers in Sustainability Focus on Fashion

Timberland is giving voice to its sustainability initiatives now more than ever before. But last night, the outdoor standout — in conjunction with female-focused entrepreneurial organization Create & Cultivate — provided a platform for others to talk about their own environmentally-friendly missions.

At the brand’s New York City flagship, four thought leaders in sustainability — Aditi Mayer, Deb Shepherd, Erin Boyle and Lauren Singer — discussed in front of a packed crowd why putting the planet first is good for all.

“This is about inspiring people and equipping them with the knowledge and the ideas to step outside and work together and make [the world] better. It’s about how we activate our purpose statement not just as a business but also as a cultural movement,” Timberland sustainability director Colleen Vien told FN after the event. “There are so many small actions that people can be taking by thinking creatively and outside of the box. Together, we can create this movement. Nature needs us.”

Below, read four impactful quotes on sustainable fashion and the benefits of doing more with less.

Aditi Mayer


“When it comes to closets, I use this analogy: think of your closet as an art gallery. Before you buy a piece of art you ask yourself, ‘Do I want to look at this for the next 10 years? Is this worth the investment?’ When you walk into sustainability as a lifestyle you really need to have a strong personal style because you aren’t motivated by trends, you have a more innate sense of self. I’m a big thrifter and I think thrifting lends itself to that. There is no mannequin there that tells you what’s in right now, it’s a treasure hunt. And there’s also the idea of buying quality over quantity but I think where we run into an issue is most sustainable fashion brands, if you aren’t buying second hand, have a higher price point and I think that’s something we need to talk about and unpack more within this space. Beyond the material level, when it comes to sustainable fashion and infiltrating the fast fashion industry, there are three major pillars to find a solution, in my opinion: corporate accountability, building workers power and workers rights, and consumer education. If you can give your time or your money to any three of those causes in some capacity then you’re doing something.”

Lauren Singer


“When I first started reducing my waste the first thing I started with was plastic and trying to eliminate plastic in all aspects of my life and at the time even though I deeply cared about sustainability my consumption habits weren’t aligned with that. I was buying a lot of fast fashion, and why is fast fashion so cheap? Inexpensive labor and terrible materials that are synthetic, which are made from oil and gas, petroleum which is heavily subsidized which makes it to inexpensive. One of the first things that I did was stop buying any new clothing and anything I’ve worn for the past eight years has been second hand. There’s great places like Poshmark or, in New York, there are a million amazing second had stores or it’s things that are gifted or borrowed.”

Erin Boyle


“I think that everyone who is looking for simplicity or minimalism or conscious consumerism or living a low-impact lifestyle, I think restraints and constraints are really helpful. I think it’s nice to have a small apartment because there’s only things that I can fit in it. When I’m 35 and paying my student loans I think about I have a budget like all of us do. Living within my means and sticking to my core values, I think that helps it not feel like a challenge. I don’t look at the challenge in a negative way, I look at it as something I can rise to meet. I don’t know, maybe it’s because I was raised Catholic, there’s something about making do with what you have and finding ways to be creative with what you have that’s really exciting and a challenge that I really like. I don’t think of it as a negative, I think about it as a positive.”

Deb Shepherd


“Abundance, essentially, is something you define for yourself and even with minimalism it’s not that you have to have exactly 34 pieces in your wardrobe and you have to wear black and white and eat vegan. You can do what works best for you and your lifestyle. For me, being a plus-size woman, I have to shop sometimes [places] that aren’t that ethical and I’m very open about that on my blog and with my community because of where I’m at. It also inspires me to work with brands who do want to be more inclusive, not just with race or anything like that but also size inclusivity is huge and also economic inclusivity of people can’t afford a $400 jumpsuit even though it’s ethical and made the right way. Maybe you could go to the thrift store and it might be $20 from goodwill. I see abundance as possible and I used to have a limited mindset and I think my approach to minimalism and ethics as a more holistic way has brought more joy to my life versus trying to meet some 34 capsule thing that’s more constraining because I do like fashion and style.”

Want more?

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