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Now onto the show…
I came across Carol Miltimore’s work when I was adding to our resources for the Go Low Tox e-course’s clothing day. She’s a Brooklyn based designer who spends a fair part of the year in India – her second home. I thought it would be great to chat to Carol about her journey which wasn’t always centred around ethics and sustainability, working for some big brands and mainstream fast fashion in her earlier training. It’s always comforting for most of us out there to know that people aren’t born, cross legged meditating on a hill contemplating the way they can best serve the health of their customers and the planet – PHEW! The transition is always an interesting one to explore and Carol was just lovely to chat to about it. She talks about the challenges, the true cost of fashion if you want it to be ethical and sustainable, and what drives her artistically and environmentally in her work. If you’ve been curious about moving towards more sustainable choices it’s a great show to understand in great detail what goes on behind the scenes from the farming to the dyes, the environment to the manufacturing and then trying to actually cut a break out there and thrive in the very fast page, noisy fashion world of today while staying true to your design values.
Here’s a little snapshot of the juicy bits in today’s episode…
- The parameters of ethical fashion are very different to conventional fashion and require more creativity to find new, sustainable and innovative solutions to the traditional ways of making clothes.
- Carol is based in the US and produces her collections in India. The process she uses to dye garments for her collections is completely natural. Dyes are made with specific types of flowers, as well as fermented iron metal mixed with sugar and water to turn the fabric black for example. Carol also ensures that there’s a closed water loop system through the dyeing process.
- When it comes to buying ethical fashion you should take more time to do your research: don’t fall for the phrases “mindfully made” or “eco”. Investigate and make sure the brands you choose are truly ethical throughout their value chain. Then you will feel so much more passionate about the pieces you buy.
- Ultimately clothes are a tool for self-expression. You should feel happy and comfortable in whatever you’re wearing. Buy a couple of nice pieces every season that you can play with throughout the year.
- We need to reframe the way we talk about what we’re wearing. It’s not about how cheap something is and how many of the “cheap” things we can buy, it should be about how ethical it is and how much thought has been put into making it sustainably. We should be proud of the clothes we buy as much as we should feel good when wearing them. There’s always a higher human or environmental cost to the “cheap” items of clothing we buy.
- Carol recommends silk as a wardrobe staple that is both durable and biodegradable. It’s something you can dress up or down easily. Versatility is key when looking at clothing.
- Nothing should be considered so “precious” that you can’t wear it everyday.
- One way to help reduce the size of your wardrobe is to look at each item of clothing and ask the question “how does it make me feel when I wear this”. If it doesn’t make you feel anything it’s probably not worth having it in your wardrobe.
- Challenge yourself to look at your wardrobe and make a list of things you’re going to stop buying because you don’t find them useful or beautiful – feel free to share your comments and what you found out when going through this process in the comment box below.
And here are a few extra important links:
Find out more about Carol’s work and her brand Seek Collective HERE.
Enjoy the show and thanks again for taking the time to rate and review the show – it’s like tipping the bartender and it means the world.
Low Tox. Happy us. Happy planet