WHY GIVING UP “FAST FASHION” IS ONE OF THE BEST THINGS I'VE DONE

Renee Peters_WhoMadeMyCLothes_Fashion Revoltuion_Fast Fashion

     Staying relevant in the fashion industry, while maintaining my ethics, was something that I grappled with a lot. As issues of sustainability and ethics became more important in my life, I began to question if “staying relevant” was really an issue at all. Was this just an insecurity that I developed after 15 years of advertising telling me I wasn’t good enough if I didn’t have the latest trend? I realized the questions I was having were actually masking an even deeper truth. I was unsure about who I was, and fast fashion only perpetuated that confusion. 

"I was unsure about who I was, and fast fashion only perpetuated that confusion."

     Beginning as a teenager, as most of us deal with issues of identity, I questioned who I was and how I wanted to present that person to the world. One year I felt goth and the next year hippie. As fast as I could throw out one identity (and the clothes that went along with it), I was replacing it with a new one. Stores like Hot Topic, Wet Seal, and Forever 21 provided trendy clothes at dirt cheap prices, and fueled my search with lots of wear and waste. Although I am thankful for these years of exploration, they lasted way too long, and far beyond my years of teenage angst.

     Throughout college, and into my career as a model, this confusion didn’t go away. With newer, more trendy stores like H&M and Zara, I never wanted to stop and think about my own personal style… the one that reflected who I am deep inside. I wanted to keep up with the trends and remained prey to the constant “Hot and Not” lists that advertisers and fast fashion CEOs count on. It wasn’t until graduating college, going vegan, and investigating the vast environmental issues facing us, that I started to even question who made my clothes. 

     A film premiere in New York of the documentary called True Cost was the catalyst for my journey. Released after the Rana Plaza disaster on April 24, 2013, it highlights the astonishing inequality that garment workers are subjected to across the globe. It shows the horror of the 1,134 people who were killed and the over 2,500 that were injured in Dhaka, Bangladesh when the complex collapsed. Despite earning my degree in Biology, the massive affect of the clothing we wear on the environment hadn't occurred to me. True Cost demonstrates how and why the fashion industry is one of the largest polluter on Earth, perhaps less damaging than the oil industry alone.** Fast fashion being the main culprit. This film was not only an eye-opener but it also marked a huge turning point in my life.

     I knew something had to change and that my mindless consumption of fast fashion had to stop. My true identity, no longer a question of outward appearance but something deep within, was finally able to take shape. Limiting my purchases to consciously manufactured pieces and consuming only that which I truly need, each item of clothing that I would own from that day forward needed to truly reflect the person that I am. My clothing also needed to last, which meant I had to be comfortable with that identity for a long period of time.

     For the first time I was forced to really ask myself, "Who am I?" and "How will I present this person to the World?". Although it was difficult at first, with practice and time I have been able to curate a wardrobe I feel confident in wearing over and over again. I have pieces that are sustainable and ethically made that all fit together. I have formed a unique capsule collection of clothing that confidently reflects my true self. 

"Limiting my purchases to consciously manufactured pieces and consuming only that which I truly need, each item of clothing that I would own from that day forward needed to truly reflect the person that I am."

     I now know that the clothing choices I make have a huge impact. “80 billion pieces of clothing are bought each year, and on average we only wear 20% of the clothes in our closet. The average American also throws away 82 pounds of textiles each year, adding to 11 million tons of textile waste in the U.S. alone." Giving up fast fashion therefore reduces huge amounts of toxic waste in landfills. Without much effort on the part of consumers, buying less and choosing well, also reduces the degradation of Earth’s waterways and ecosystems.

     Climate change is real. We are using up the Earth’s resources at a rate that compares to no other time in history. In order to sustain life in the way that humans are living now, we would need SEVEN planet Earths. The little things that we, as individuals, do everyday all add up to combat climate change. Ask the question, “Who made my Clothes?”, and stop supporting brands that exploit their labor. Investigate the environmental affects that our clothing has. Fashion Revolution and one of my favorite brands, Zady, both have vast amounts of information on their websites available for free. If you haven't seen the movie, True Cost is available for viewing via their website, Netflix, Amazon and iTunes. I cannot recommend it enough.

     Giving up fast fashion has not only been an inspiring and fun journey for me with my clothes, but also helped me find confidence in how I present myself to the world. Never underestimate the power of small, daily actions that all add up to be a huge reduction in our carbon footprint. Not only will you be supporting our fellow humans and the planet, but you may even find out more about yourself. 

-Renee Peters


Want to get involved?

“Take two very simple actions that we perform every single day: getting dressed and eating. Now start a journey backwards – to where your food and your clothes come from. At the other end, you will rarely find happy people, treated with dignity and respect. Human beings working at the bottom of any supply chain are often treated like slaves, without reference to our common humanity. So ‘fashion’ – i.e. what we wear every single day, has huge relevance and huge consequences on human, social and environmental capital.”     - Liva Firth, Eco Age
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***2018 UPDATE: A report conducted by Quantis and Climate Works, released in February of 2018, now shows that, "Combined, the global apparel and footwear industries account for an estimated 8% of the world ́s greenhouse gas emissions." Read the full report here --> Measuring Fashion: Insights from the Environmental Impact of the Global Apparel and Footwear Industries study

 

I'M DYING TO TRY THESE NEW, NYC, PLANT-BASED RESTAURANTS

     There is something to be said about the plant-based movement, when so many new innovative, and delicious plant-based restaurants keep opening up. Manhattan and the surrounding Burroughs have always been a haven for vegans and vegetarians, providing a huge number of restaurants, bakeries, cafes, and juice shops to chose from.

     New York City already boasts the most extensive list of restaurants in my Plant-based Restaurant Guide, and until this point I have tried all of the restaurants myself. I am excited to discover even more, all having opened since January 2015, that I have yet to enjoy and am dying to try! Check out the newest plant-based restaurants of NYC, and experience them for the first time with me.

00 + Co

Image courtesy of  matthewkenneycuisine.com

Image courtesy of matthewkenneycuisine.com

00+Co, a new plant-based pizza concept from Matthew Kenney, opened its doors in New York City’s East Village in February 2016. Serving small plates, organic pizza prepared in a wood burning oven, vegan ice cream and organic wines, 00 + Co showcases Matthew Kenney’s delicious, beautiful, vibrant, and nutritious cuisine in one of New York’s favorite neighborhoods.
— www.matthewkenneycuisine.com

by CHLOE.

Photo by  Lisa Elaine Held . courtesy of  Well+Good.com

Photo by Lisa Elaine Held. courtesy of Well+Good.com

by CHLOE. is 100% vegan, plant-based and kosher certified. Our menu is free of meat, dairy and egg products and contains no saturated animal fats, cholesterol, added preservatives and/or artificial flavors.

by CHLOE. is committed to using seasonal & locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. All menu items are preparedfrom scratch including our patties, condiments, sauces, cheeses + grab and go offerings. All Sweets by CHLOE. are baked fresh in-house daily.
— www.bychefchloe.com
Image courtesy of  Andrea Strong

Image courtesy of Andrea Strong

Amanda Cohen is the chef and owner of Dirt Candy, the award-winning vegetable restaurant on New York City’s Lower East Side. Dirt Candy was the first vegetable-focused restaurant in the city and the leader of the vegetable-forward movement. The restaurant’s original location only had 18 seats and was open for six years, during which time it became the first vegetarian restaurant in 17 years to receive two stars from the New York Times, was recognized by the Michelin Guide five years in a row, and won awards from Gourmet Magazine, the Village Voice, and many others. Its new location opened in January, 2015 and it was the first restaurant in the city to eliminate tipping and share profits with its employees.
— www.dirtcandynyc.com/amanda-cohen
photo by  Sarah Elliott

photo by Sarah Elliott

Indian cuisine is rooted in the belief that food should provide nourishment for your body and balance for your life. INDAY is born from this tradition: a place where you don’t have to decide between eating delicious, exciting food and eating healthy, responsible food.
— www.indaynyc.com
Image by  Geert Teuwen . COurtesy of  Well+GOod .

Image by Geert Teuwen. COurtesy of Well+GOod.

Le Botanitse is a healthy, delicious, plant-based, organic food & natural wine bar. It is a responsible food concept that cares about health and our planet, and is a positive way to appreciate food. Everything we serve is 100 % Botanical, 99 % Organic, and Gluten-free.
— www.lebotaniste.us
Photos by  Stephen Johnson  courtesy of Nix

Photos by Stephen Johnson courtesy of Nix

Nix is a new restaurant from Michelin-starred chef John Fraser, drawing on his personal passion for cooking with vegetables. The menu will feature an array of affordable and seasonal dishes, largely sourced from the Union Square Greenmarket, along with an innovative list of cocktails and wines, all served in a fun and lively Greenwich Village atmosphere. Opening first for dinner only, Nix will also serve lunch and brunch beginning in the late spring.
— www.nixny.com

     Have you tried any of these delicious, plant-based restaurants in NYC? Do you have any favorite restaurants that you don't see featured here? Let me know by leaving a comment below. I love hearing from all of you... and especially trying new food. Thanks, as always, for reading!

Q&A WITH FREEDOM OF ANIMALS FOUNDER MORGAN BOGLE

Freedom of Animals is one of my favorite accessory brands.

Beautiful Handbags, including Clutches, Totes, Cross-Body Purses, Backpacks, and Day Bags for work that transition to night, are some of the staples of the current collection.  

The founder, Morgan Bogle, designs her bags with a complete understanding of the modern aesthetic that women desire in a handbag today.  Freedom Of Animals has been featured in many contemporary fashion publications, is completely vegan, and is as sustainability sourced as possible.

Morgan uses her social media as a platform to spread awareness about the issues closest to her heart; from Pitbull rescue and adoption, to the anti-Ivory trade movement, to the importance of volunteering for everyone. 

See a capture from her Instagram below:

A screenshot from the Freedom Of Animals Instagram account.

Sustainable Fashion is moving beyond the trend now. 

Morgan is such an inspiration to me, because F.O.A. not only fills a much-needed void in the accessories market, but she also uses her place in the spotlight to highlight greater issues. She is an avid animal-rights activist, and donates a part of every purchase to wildlife conservation efforts around the world.

Values such as Morgan's are so important to be highlighted. I hope you enjoy the interview, that they have inspired, below:


Q&A with Morgan Bogle

What is your name, Where were you born/ where do you currently call home, and what is your occupation?

Morgan Bogle. Portland Maine, but I grew up on a sailboat in the Caribbean. I call the East Village, NYC my home. I am the  founder of Freedom of Animals

Please describe your company, Freedom Of Animals

Freedom of Animals is a sustainable and cruelty free bag line that is made in the USA. We use the most eco friendly materials that don't harm any people or animals and support a local economy. Additionally we partner with conservation organizations and big retailers to spread the message of the importance of conscious consumption.
Morgan Bogle wearing the "Melia" bag from 2013.

Morgan Bogle wearing the "Melia" bag from 2013.

What does “Sustainable Fashion" mean to you?

As a designer it means using materials that are post consumer, have low chemical content and are made locally. As a consumer it is being aware of where the products come from, what they are made of and who was impacted during production.
Do you think more local/ sustainable fashion is possible? Totally. There is incredible craftsmanship in the USA and a plethora of sustainable and technologically advanced materials on the market. I am not against supporting communities world wide but having one element of your product being eco friendly is important to me.


What does "green living" mean to you? 

Being mindful of our actions. Daily reminders such as recycling and using less energy is always important but bigger picture decisions are even more important and that is being consciously aware of everything that you are consuming from fashion to transportation to food to living arrangements. 

How can a green message reach a broader audience??

It will take time but social media, inspiring marketing and coming up against not having much of a choice anymore will start to change peoples perspective.


I truly believe that living an AMAZING, ABUNDANT, FUN, and FASHIONABLE LIFE does not have to be in opposition with living green and sustainably. 

...Do you have any tips for like-minded companies/ bloggers/ designers to help better reach the young women and men (teens-twenties) that are the audience for current magazine and television marketing?

I spent a year researching what I could do to be a part of the betterment of the world and I think it is everyone's responsibility to do the same. It is now more available than ever so my suggestion would be to research how we can all be a little bit more mindful on a day to day basis.

     The values that designers like Morgan are building around their businesses, are not only necessary for our earth and future generations, but can also inspire beautiful design for fashion-conscious consumers. Please visit the LABELS I LOVE page, featuring FREEDOM OF ANIMALS for more info. Also please be sure to check out Morgan's Instagram and follow the Freedom of Animals website to shop and see updates! 

Thank you for reading!

 
Renee Peters_Signature_Model4greenliving


THE BEST DOCUMENTARIES ABOUT SUSTAINABILITY AND HEALTHY LIVING

     Living sustainably and eating a healthy vegan diet were not inherent parts of my life growing up. As a child of America in the 90s, I was first and foremost a consumer. A consumer of fast fashion, fast food, and meat... lots of meat.  The journey to where I am now has been a long one: A journey filled with personal change and progress... a journey of ups and downs... But ultimately a journey to a healthier, happier, and "more sustainable" me.

     The person who I am today has been fueled not only by my travels and the people I have met, but also in large part by my constant seeking of knowledge. I started at first by reading books such as The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan; Eating Animals by Johnathan Safran Foer; Eat Right For Your Type by Dr. Peter D'Adamo; The China Study by Dr. T. Colin Campbell; and many more. These books made references to documentaries, peaking my interest to explore further. I have since watched hundreds of documentary films on a wide array of subjects surrounding sustainable living.

     Ranging from diet and health; environmental protection and sustainability; living with less; the fast fashion industry; the way we interact with one another; to the awe and beauty of the world we live in.

Here are my Top Documentaries that Inspire Sustainable, Healthy Living:


Forks Over Knives

Forks Over Knives_Model4greenliving

 A film explaining why a plant-based diet, free of processed foods is necessary for optimal health. It focuses on the ethical principles of veganism, but more so on the scientific proof that plant-based diets work best for our bodies. "Examines the profound claim that most, if not all, of the degenerative diseases that afflict us can be controlled, or even reversed, by rejecting our present menu of animal-based and processed foods." - Brian L. Wendel


That Sugar Film

That Sugar Film_model4greenliving

"One man's journey to discover the bitter truth about sugar. Damon Gameau embarks on a unique experiment to document the effects of a high sugar diet on a healthy body, consuming only foods that are commonly perceived as 'healthy'. Through this entertaining and informative journey, Damon highlights some of the issues that plague the sugar industry, and where sugar lurks on supermarket shelves"- Madman Entertainmen


Cowspiracy: the Sustainability Secret

Cowspiracy_Model4greenliving

"The World's largest environmental organizations are failing to address the single most destructive force facing the planet today. Follow the shocking, yet humorous, journey of an aspiring environmentalist, as he daringly seeks to find the real solution to the most pressing environmental issues and true path to sustainability." -Imbd.com


 Racing Extinction 

Racing Extinction_model4greenliving

"Utilizing state-of-the-art equipment, Oscar-winner Louie Psihoyos (The Cove) assembles a team of artists and activists intent on showing the world never-before-seen images that expose issues of endangered species and mass extinction. Whether infiltrating notorious black markets with guerrilla-style tactics or exploring the scientific causes affecting changes to the environment, RACING EXTINCTION will change the way we see the world and our role within it." -Imbd.com


Dirt! The Movie

Dirt! the Movie_model4greenliving

 "DIRT! The Movie brings to life the environmental, economic, social, and political impact that the soil has. It shares the stories of experts from all over the world who study and harness the beauty and power of a respectful and mutually beneficial relationship with soil. ...DIRT! The Movie is a call to action. 'The only remedy for disconnecting people from the natural world is connecting them to it again.' What we've destroyed, we can heal." - Common Ground Media, Inc.


Mission Blue

Mission Blue_model4greenliving

"Legendary oceanographer and TED prize winner Dr. Sylvia Earle is on a mission to save our oceans. Mission Blue is part action-adventure, part expose of an Eco-disaster. More than 100 scientists, philanthropists and activists gather in the Galapagos Islands to help fulfill Dr. Earle's lifelong wish: build a global network of marine protected areas, like underwater national parks, to protect the natural systems that keep humans alive. As the expedition ends, Sylvia and an environmental dream team race around the world trying to defend her 'Hope Spots'." -imbd.com


True Cost

The True Cost_model4greenliving

"This is a story about clothing. It's about the clothes we wear, the people who make them, and the impact the industry is having on our world. The price of clothing has been decreasing for decades, while the human and environmental costs have grown dramatically. The True Cost is a groundbreaking documentary film that pulls back the curtain on the untold story and asks us to consider, who really pays the price for our clothing?" -Michael Ross


We the Tiny House People

We the Tiny House People 2.jpeg

"TV producer and Internet-video personality Kirsten Dirksen invites us on her journey into the tiny homes of people searching for simplicity, self-sufficiency, minimalism and happiness by creating shelter in tiny spaces." -Imbd.com


Unity 

Unity Film_model4greenliving

 "Despite the advent of science, literature, technology, philosophy, religion, and so on -- none of these has assuaged humankind from killing one another, the animals, and nature. UNITY is a film about why we can't seem to get along, even after thousands and thousands of years." -Nation Earth


Samsara 

Samsara_model4greenliving

"Filmed over nearly five years in twenty-five countries on five continents, and shot on seventy-millimetre film, Samsara transports us to the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders." -Imbd.com


I hope you are as moved by these documentaries as I have been. And as always thanks for reading.

 

COVERING ACNE NATURALLY WITH KRISTEN ARNETT

     I am so happy to present you with my first-ever YouTube video! It features me and one of my favorite Makeup Artists in NYC, Kristen Arnett. Kristen is a self described, "eco" makeup artist, and the Founder of the Green Beauty Team.

     I had been having problems with my skin since I got off of birth control, and needed some "green beauty" advice on how to conceal my blemishes. Kristen knows all of the best products from her extensive career in the industry, so she was a perfect fit.

     Switching out my makeup to all natural products with no silicones, petroleum or paraffin ingredients really helped, and I hope this tutorial can benefit you just as much as it has me!

     The video features Kristen's professional advice on products that let your skin breathe and won't clog your pores. She shows me several leading brands of eco-minded concealers and foundations along with the best tools and techniques to use when applying them.

     "Finding a great all natural foundation that won't clog your pores can be hard. In this video, I offer my professional advice on foundation and concealers that let your skin breathe. You’ll also pick up tips on how to use brushes and various application techniques to get luminous looking skin that feels great too."

- KRISTEN ARNETT

Stay tuned for more "Makeup Overhaul" videos. This is just part 1 of a series of 3, where Kristen helps me "CLEAN OUT and GREEN OUT" my makeup bag. Be sure to visit GreenBeautyTeam.com for more great beauty advice!

 

Renee Peters_Keith Morrison

SUSTAINABLE STYLING TIP from Model4greenLiving:

I am wearing some of my favorite brands in the video. Click their following names to view their sites! Reformation Top, Rag & Bone Denim, Makeup Bag by Remember Me Green.

LET ME ANSWER YOUR QUESTIONS!

Hello everyone!

With the relaunch of Model4greenliving.com, I am eager to hear from you all! This website is intended to be a free resource for you all... One that caters the the REAL QUESTIONS that you have. I want to have as much information available to you as possible, and that means having all of you involved in deciding what gets featured... What truly matters to you?

Renee Peters_Maximillian Menacher

What kind of things would you like to see featured on the site?

 What questions about living more healthy and sustainably can I help you with?

Your continued support and following means the world to me, and I cannot express my gratitude enough.

Thank you and please comment below with your questions!

 





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Renee Peters

Renee Peters is a NYC-based model, blogger, and advocate of mindful, sustainable living. She strives to be a role model by using her platform for positive change. Through her blog, Model4GreenLiving, Peters seeks to reshape the way people think about environmental issues and provide practical tips and everyday actions for readers.  Peters uses social media to promote that same message, as well as one of self-love and body-positivity. She also volunteers, is an environmental activist, and is an avid learner of anything relating to the planet and its health. For booking inquires visit Muse Models NYC or Nomad Management Miami.