Updated: Jun 10, 2018
As I’m just starting out on my own ethical journey I wanted to interview some inspiring women who have embraced the ethical, sustainable and green lifestyle that so many of us are striving for – whether to save the planet, reduce their environmental impact or for health reasons. I’ve been following Kaméa Chayne, founder of @ConsciousFashion for a while now and really love what this green-fashionista stands for. I had the pleasure of interviewing Kaméa from her LA home and hope you’ll be just as inspired as I am by the full interview below.
I know that like so many of us you used to shop fast-fashion and luxury labels – what made you switch to slow-fashion and was there a defining moment?
I don't think I had a particular aha-moment, but it definitely came about from my accumulation of knowledge on how unhealthy our current fashion industry is. I minored in Environmental Studies in college, but at the same time I loved buying new clothes and wearing something different to every event. Naturally, when I learned how toxic the fashion industry was for workers, the wearers, and for our planet, that feeling of misalignment made me more mindful to question things. It was a learning journey, and it still is. I'm excited and eager to learn more and more, which continually guides me to make healthier fashion choices.
You’re a fan of mixing what’s already in your wardrobe with some amazing ethical brands. Can you share some of your favourite slow-fashion brands with us.
I love Ankura Brand earthy pieces with-an-edge; By Far Shoes ‘conscious collection’ that uses surplus-leather that would otherwise be trashed; and Christy Dawn for their free-spirited dresses made of deadstock fabric.
Your style is what I’d call ‘luxe-minimalist’ – where do you get your fashion inspiration?
My style is my way of expressing who I am as a person. In life I like to keep things simple, which inspires me to keep my outfits simple. I'm really intrigued by the complexity of nature and our planet's diverse, beautiful ecosystems, which is why I wear a lot of earthy colors. I'm also proudly embracing being a millennial, self-motivated and purpose-driven woman, which leads me to incorporate pops of blush pink into my outfits. But at times, I also enjoy getting adventurous, which is when you'll find me wearing bolder colors and patterns on occasion. That said, I'm sure my style will evolve over time. I'm excited for it too!
As a stylist, I’m an advocate for buying pre-loved fashion as it’s already had a lifecycle. What are your favourite LA thrift stores?
There are tons! Thrift shopping is like treasure hunting — you never know what you'll find. I enjoy browsing at Wasteland's physical stores, and also online shops like ThredUp, The Real Real, and Tradesy (which I believe is LA-based).
You’re the founder of @ConsciousFashion – an empowering lookbook of eco-warrior women, showcasing their eco-fashion and zero-waste lifestyle choices. What drove you to start this collective and what are your goals?
Conscious Fashion Collective is an evolution of my sustainability-driven-work in fashion, within the digital space. It started out as a personal blog, but then I got so excited by the important work so many brands were doing and incredibly inspired by so many other creatives in the space, that I eventually evolved this digital space into a curation of creatives; products; and brands — all pushing the fashion industry in a healthier direction.
My hope is that it will be a resourceful lookbook for the eco-curious modern woman. Someone looking to gain inspiration or discover new products and brands in line with her personal values and style.
You travel extensively – can you offer any tips for someone starting out on the zero-waste path?
The easiest first step to reduce our eco-footprint while traveling is to bring reusable bags, water bottles, and utensils wherever we go! Oh, and packing lightly! Opting for versatile clothes that can transition easily from morning to evening is also a simple tip to traveling more mindfully.
Holisitic health is a big part of your life (as it is for me), how do you stay healthy whilst travelling?
Oh jeez, this is a huge topic. I'm not sure it's just about fitting it into my busy lifestyle per se, but living it as part of my lifestyle. From being more self-aware so I can reframe toxic thoughts throughout the day; to making sure I get up to walk, stretch, and do some 3-minute quick exercises (from jumping jacks, running in place, quick squats) every hour or so; or getting out in nature to recenter. It’s about listening to my body and striving for progress over perfection in all that I do — while still being kind to myself when I make mistakes or relapse on anything.
‘Holistic health’ isn't a separate part of my day that I have to add in, but rather an integral part of it, infused within it.
What are your favourite green-beauty items in your bathroom right now?
I love my facial serum by Osea (I love seaweed everything!); the body oil from Nelum Botanics which I use after every shower; the all-purpose serum by Ellume Naturals for the ends of my hair and to nourish dry patches of skin; and my rose-scented Shea balm by Shea Brand.
I’ve just finished reading ‘Wear no evil’ – what was the last book you read?
I'm the slowest reader — currently still reading Sapiens, which I started ages ago. It's making me question everything.
You’re an advocate for mindful living and practise mindfulness daily. Are there any apps that you could recommend?
I use Insight Timer every morning for my daily 5 minutes of mindfulness — it's free!
Finally, is there a quote or mantra that you live by?
There's a Chinese idiom which directly translates to —
"If you keep a sycamore tree in your heart, maybe the phoenix will come"
— meaning if there's something we want for ourselves, we have to be open to it first; create an inviting, warm space for it and take care to notice what that thing would want and be drawn to, rather than focusing on what we want. I'm going to purposefully keep this abstract because it's totally up for self-interpretation. I have this incursive tattooed, and it reminds me every day to stay grounded and maintain an open heart.
Follow Kaméa Chayne @kameachayne @consciousfashion