Thursday 31 July 2014

changemaker : kestrel jenkins

One of my favourite parts of being involved in the sustainability movement is meeting passionate people with strong visions for creating our sustainable future. Many of these people I know in person, other relationships remain online, yet all have inspired and encouraged me along my journey. I am starting this changemaker segment on my blog to introduce you to some of these amazing individuals - some may be familiar names, others are quiet achievers, but they all make up the face of the sustainability / consciousness movement that is sweeping the globe.

Without further ado, allow me to introduce sustainable fashionista, Kestrel Jenkins.

I didn’t know exactly where I was going next but I knew it had to be related to conscious fashion.

Photos c/o Drew Mcgill for Mermaid by Hand Jewelry's summer lookbook.

Kestrel (who lives in Southern California) and I first met online following the launch of Sustainability with Style when she asked me to create a look for the Fashioning Change website. It was a very fun project, and I could tell through our brief email interactions that this was one clever and dedicated woman. Ever since she's been on my radar through twitter and various projects, and her latest project is the AWEAR campaign - inspiring stylish change, one real person at a time.

I recently sat down for an e-interview with Kestrel - below is an excerpt from our conversation:

Tell me about how you became involved in conscious clothing:

After graduating from college with degrees in Global Studies & International Journalism, I was at a loss for what my next step would be. I knew that I wanted to be connected to the fair trade movement but I didn't know in what way. While back home in Wisconsin, my mom had a light bulb moment and said, “what about fashion?” I immediately jumped online and searched high and low for any fair trade fashion companies around the world. I found People Tree, the pioneer in fair trade fashion, and was set on securing an internship with them. Finally, months later, I had a phone interview with their London office and was offered the internship. Two weeks after the interview, I had moved across the ocean and was living in London, absorbing everything I could about the world of sustainable fashion. This experience working and learning from People Tree sparked this deep fire inside of me. I didn’t know exactly where I was going next but I knew it had to be related to conscious fashion.

Photos c/o Drew Mcgill for
Mermaid by Hand Jewelry's summer lookbook.

What is your favourite part of dressing with awareness (awearness)?

Undoubtedly, having the opportunity to share the stories behind my style. I love being able to embrace a more intimate connection with what I am wearing. Basically, my canvas has always been my own body -- what I wear has become a form of art for me. I'm the most able to express myself / share the way I feel / or simply have a creative outlet via the way I style my outfits. Understanding the depth of the stories behind what I wear and being able to relay those powerful supply chain messages to others gives me the purest joy.

How did you come up with the idea for AWEAR?

In 2009, I completed a yearlong project called Make Fashion Fair, in which I pledged to only purchase clothing that was made consciously with regard to people & the planet. This project evolved into becoming the core of the way I generally function. I took a brief hiatus from being engulfed in sustainable fashion last year :: mostly for my soul and a personal need to reconnect with myself and my true passions. The idea for AWEAR evolved after this break :: it takes the Make Fashion Fair concept and applies it to a large community who are ready to be stylish changemakers - for me, the larger intention in the sustainable fashion sphere has always been about reaching the mainstream consumers.

Photos c/o Drew Mcgill for
Mermaid by Hand Jewelry's summer lookbook.

Tell me about the fabulous AWEAR logo

The AWEAR logo was designed by one of my best friends, Ian Kearns. He has seen me grow up, watched me evolve as a person, and heard my stories along the way. In this case, there is incredible depth in his design of the AWEAR falcon. My name is Kestrel -- which is a type of falcon -- that's where it begins. Ian explains this far better than myself :: 

"One of the wonderful things about you [Kestrel] is the multitude of experiences in travel, people you've met, and stories you've garnered to make you who you are today. I see this as a direct correlation to your AWEAR idea:  to bring a collection of people with different experiences, viewpoints, and stories together. So with this in mind, along with the qualities of stitching and patching, I thought of a quilt. A well-made quilt tells a story, whether it's literally through a depicted story on a square or even through the stitching handwork of the craftsman that made it. An AWEAR quilt could start with the looks of a Kestrel Quilt, but perhaps it gets filled in along the way with all of the participants and their stories and ideas." 

Ian's final design of the AWEAR logo is basically a quilted falcon. The design is just as beautiful as the story behind what it meant for Ian in the creation process, and that's exactly what the foundation of AWEAR is built on for me.

Thank you so much, Kestrel, for sharing your story with me! I look forward to the day when we can meet in person, but until then, I love knowing that I have a conscious-style soul sister living across the Pacific.

So, are you all ready to become AWEAR? Join the movement today.

You can see my AWEAR look here - I am so regretting not wearing sunnies on that extremely bright day, pardon the squinting and just enjoy the sustainable look instead.

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I hope you all enjoyed meeting Kestrel. Do you know any other chagemakers I need to meet? Shoot me an email and let me know.


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