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Conscious Chatter with Kestrel Jenkins

English, Arts, 7 seasons, 323 episodes, 2 days, 15 hours, 29 minutes
About
An inclusive audio space, Conscious Chatter opens the door to conversations about our clothing + the layers of stories, meaning and potential impact connected to what we wear. It's a venue that allows us to continue to learn more about the garment industry and how we can all be a bigger part of positive change in the industry.
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Teju Adisa-Farrar of Black Fiber & Textile Network and Author Layla K. Feghali on geography and what our relationship to place can teach us about *sustainability*

Episode 321 features Teju Adisa-Farrar, the founder and co-creator of the Black Fiber & Textile Network and the creator/host of the Black Material Geographies podcast, alongside Layla K. Feghali, the founder of River Rose Remembrance, a Plantcestral & Ancestral Re-Membrance practitioner, cultural worker, author & story re-collector (archivist). Teju is currently the Director of Outreach & Programs for the Fibers Fund, and co-creates with members of BFTN. Layla’s book, The Land In Our Bones, showcases an exploration of the herbs & land-based medicines of Lebanon & Cana’an, highlighting the power of culture’s relationship with land.  “I think of culture as a way of relating to your environment, including those around you, making sense & beliefs based on your environment, & creating a sense of a shared identity based on the place that you are in. With the creation of colonialism & the transatlantic slave trade, and this very globalized neoliberal world, now culture is less connected to a place & more connected to what and how we consume.” -Teju “I feel like that relational way of existing or of relating is kind of what ultimately yields or inspires I guess what folks would call a sustainable way of navigating things. Because it requires a conversation beyond the self and with the entirety of the living world that I dwell in and that I’m a part of and that I impact and that impact me, and the ways that they’re alive.” -Layla  MAY THEME — Connecting With Nature To Unveil Ways To Reimagine Futures As the sustainability conversation continues to evolve, we often will hear mention of regionality, or the importance of thinking more locally in supply chains or manufacturing. While this is a great aspect to explore further, it only touches the surface of the depth connected to geography, location and place. This week’s guests each approach education and storytelling through place-oriented lenses. While they are each uniquely different, these geography-oriented avenues teach us so much about what is often missing from the conversation. As we’ve explored through various angles this season, culture is integral to sustainability. Our guests this week shed light on the many ways that culture can teach us about land, history and legacy. How understanding the land, its history and the cultures woven into it, can lead us toward restorative justice and regenerative practices. As one of our guests so beautifully writes in her book: “The real focus of sustainability should be to recenter these Indigenous technologies rooted in multigenerational relationships to place, and teach younger generations how to harvest in ways that ensure the life of these plants will not only continue but spread per this ancestral knowledge.” Links from the conversation: Teju’s Website Black Fiber & Textile Network River Rose Remembrance Website Follow Teju on Instagram Follow Layla on Instagram
6/11/20241 hour, 23 minutes, 56 seconds
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Wafa Ghnaim of Tatreez and Tea & Dr. Tanveer Ahmed of Central Saint Martins on preserving culture, decolonial frameworks, and how intersectional reform can be a pathway toward sustainable fashion futures

Episode 320 features Wafa Ghnaim, a Senior Research Fellow at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Curator for the Museum of the Palestinian People and Founder of The Tatreez Institute, alongside Dr. Tanveer Ahmed, a Senior Lecturer in Fashion and Race at Central Saint Martins and also Course Development Lead for MA Fashion and Anthropology at London College of Fashion. “Inherently, just by being Palestinian and by teaching about Palestinian life and history, and including oral history in my work as a foundational aspect of my research, I am threatening these kinds of structures, in and of itself. And so, simply my existence is resisting that colonialism and the normalization of destruction and death of Palestinian bodies.” -Wafa “Translating lots of decolonial thought around the canon and Eurocentrism and what shapes our ideas of art and design is really crucial to understand how we then deconstruct the canon. It’s not just a question about changing reading lists or to me, about representation and bringing in more Black and Brown academics into our institutions, although that is part of the equation. I think what we need to do and what I think is the most important role for me is to undue the harms that coloniality has done to our disciplines and within our institutions.” -Tanveer  APRIL THEME — COMING TOGETHER TO BUILD A BETTER FASHION FUTURE Decolonizing fashion, intersectionality, identifying the knowledge holders, cultural inheritance and systems change were some of the key themes we explored in this week’s episode. We take a look at some of the areas that fashion educators are dismantling when it comes to heteronormative and Eurocentric views on fashion education and design. And how this knowledge can translate from the classroom or across cultural communities into practical ways. Building off of our last episode, we question – what are the biggest challenges we still face and how can we work toward more transformation?  We learn from one of our guests that this focus and lens on decolonising fashion where marginalization and othering is built into the foundation, is very different to the offerings of cultural preservation, which holistically exists to share lived experience, pass over craft practice, history, culture and honor the hands and bodies of the people at the center of this. As our guest shares, what else is there if we cannot honor the people preserving culture. Fashion as it exists, still has a ways to go in embracing this at its roots, but our guests give us hope as they move through the world, sharing their wisdom and truth, and teaching us the meaning of how to be good custodians and stewards, so we can uphold this legacy with care and intention and continue to center Indigenous craft, culture and practice.  Links from the conversation: Tatreez & Tea Website Tanveer’s Work Profile Follow Wafa (@tatreezandtea) on Instagram
4/23/20241 hour, 21 minutes, 11 seconds
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Sustainable fashion podcasters unite — Emily Stochl of Pre-Loved Podcast & Stella Hertantyo of Conscious Style Podcast help us reflect on 11 years since Rana Plaza, celebrating collective movements & ways to focus our continued advocacy

Episode 319 features guests Stella Hertantyo, the co-host of the Conscious Style Podcast, alongside Emily Stochl, the host and creator of Pre-Loved Podcast. Stella also works as writer and communications coordinator, while Emily also works as the Vice President of Advocacy & Community Engagement at Remake. “There are so many painful roots when you look back at the way that certain dyes came about and you know, cotton farming — there are so many different legacies of colonialism that existed and still exist. But I also want to take the word painful out of that sentence and say that we have also learned to acknowledge the roots of sustainability because not all of them have pain at the center. And I think what I've learned with so much interest and joy is the different textile heritages that exist across the continent — from natural dyes to hand looming to the ways that people grow certain crops, and yeah, just different ways of expressing and using textiles as ways to archive and also to preserve culture. And there are so many people that do this incredible work and I think that that is a really, really important acknowledgment that I had to come to realize in my own journey.” -Stella “Labor rights are the foundation of what we know to be fashion activism in general, if we think back to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, which I know that something here in the United States, folks maybe learn about in school. This was another fashion industry-related disaster that led to a swath of movement-building around how we advocate for safer workplaces for people working inside the fashion industry. You know, roots to International Women’s Day, roots to some of the labor protections that we know and understand today, like the 40-hour work week. These are all things that if you look at the fashion industry from a history perspective, labor and the fashion industry, it is totally intertwined.” -Emily APRIL THEME — COMING TOGETHER TO BUILD A BETTER FASHION FUTURE Whether it’s legislation, science research & innovation, transformation in language, the storytelling tools & platforms in which we use to communicate, the evolution of definitions, the popularization of the second hand economy or labor rights advocacy – so much has changed within the sustainable fashion movement over the last decade.  This week, we really put our new round table format to work. We dissect the sustainable fashion industry through a timeline of events, paying homage to Fashion Revolution Day – a movement that, in conjunction with many others, has brought more mobilization and change to the space. Join the four of us – all podcasters & storytellers – for this expansive breakdown. Links from the conversation: “What Is Extended Producer Responsibility in Textiles — and What’s Missing From Current Policies?”, article on Conscious Life & Style by Stella Become a Good Ancestor Podcast by Layla Saad (mentioned by Stella) Conscious Style Podcast Website Pre-Loved Podcast Website Follow Stella on Instagram Follow Conscious Style Podcast on Instagram Follow Emily on Instagram Follow Remake on Instagram
4/9/20241 hour, 13 minutes, 36 seconds
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Upcycling artists Francisco Alcazar & Ella Wiznia of Series NY are redefining sustainable fashion while reimagining craft & challenging the gender binary

*DISCLAIMER — this episode features stories connected to eating disorders and sexual abuse.  Episode 318 features guests Francisco Alcazar, a zero waste designer based in Los Angeles, California, alongside Ella Wiznia, the founder and designer of Series NY. Using his 25 years experience as a structural engineer, Francisco is leading the movement that promotes circularity in fashion, and expanding these principles to other disciplines, whilst celebrating the material stories of each textile and the individuality they represent. A New York based brand of ethically made genderless clothing and accessories, Series NY makes every piece in NY in partnership with skilled artisans who set their own rates using only pre-existing and sustainable materials. “What I like about upcycling is the freedom that it gives you. When you’re upcycling, you actually remix, rework, reuse. And in the process of doing that, the power is back to you. What I mean by that is when we go to a secondhand shop, all the clothes there are mixed up. You have the power to choose — there is no trend, there is no fashion. And the good thing is it’s hard because you have to deal with your inner ‘what you actually like’. And some people follow trends because the process of learning about you is hard. It’s easy to just conform and follow trends, you know, you go to magazines and copy a trend. You don’t have to actually learn about yourself anymore.” -Francisco “Fashion kind of seems to be one of the only forms of art that is quote unquote gendered in most peoples’ minds. I mean, you don’t go into an art gallery and say ‘oh no, this is for men; no, that piece is for a girl’ — you know, it’s just not how it’s done. Or architecture — ‘no, this building was for this these types of people’. We’re all able to experience them how we want.” -Ella MARCH THEME — Acknowledging The Confines of Gender & The Folks Disrupting Stereotypes The fashion industry can often be described as frivolous with labels, stereotypes and binaries boxing us in – telling us how we need to dress and what identities are deemed quote unquote ‘acceptable’, which can create spaces that are harmful, toxic and void of any sort of individuality and uniqueness – it can often be a place where difference in not celebrated but rather hidden. This week, our incredible guests share the power that upcycling has in being a paintbrush to the art you wish to create and see in the world - a world where the gender binary is challenged, where we go against ultra fashion trends, and have the permission to dress freely without societal bias and prejudice. We hear how pain can be the source of our purpose, and how textiles and materials are the vehicle in this journey of pride, play and personal empowerment. We explore the origins of gender-based crafts, the passing over of traditional skills and techniques, and how our guests are challenging the confines of gender stereotypes through reimagining materiality. Links from the conversation: Lynden B. Miller (artist that Ella mentions) Fran’s Website Series NY Website Follow Francisco on Instagram Follow Series NY on Instagram
3/26/20241 hour, 3 minutes, 57 seconds
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How gender plays into the devaluing of knowledge and its links to sustainable fashion & wellness with Megan Schnitker of Lakota Made and Niha Elety of Tega Collective

Episode 317 features guests Megan L. Schnitker, an Indigenous Traditional Herbalist and Niha Elety, a fashion advocate, designer, chef, and storyteller. Megan is the owner of Lakota Made LLC, who offer plant medicinals and personal care products. Niha is the founder and CEO of fashion brand, Tega Collective, a brand that co-creates with Adivasi (Indigenous) communities celebrating their craft and knowledge with each collection. “American herbalism was founded on Indigenous knowledge and use of all the plants that are in North America. And so, American herbalism is founded on Indigenous women’s knowledge, Indigenous storytellers’ knowledge. And we’re very rarely credited for giving colonizers that knowledge. I credit the herbalists that saved a lot of that knowledge and are using it and kept it alive, but it came from Indigenous people, it came from Indigenous women, it came from Indigenous medicine; it came from us.” -Megan “The history of fashion production for centuries has been by women primarily. I’m from India, so in India, there’s large groups of artisans and garment workers and weavers, and a majority of the population that are in those kinds of professions are women. And over the years, I would say with the industrialization of textile production and all of that, men often became the heads of big fashion companies that we see today. So, a lot of them have profited from knowledge that a lot of female artisans and designers have been creating for a long time.” -Niha MARCH THEME — Acknowledging The Confines of Gender & The Folks Disrupting Stereotypes One of the recurring themes our incredibly powerful guests shared this week is that for true sustainability to exist, we must go beyond commodification and capitalism to focus on consent, compensation, credit, collaboration and co-creation where the individual human is valued and respected, and where preserving culture is at the forefront.  We question things like ownership and agency, and the power dynamics that play into who gets to decide what is deemed “fashion” or “medicine”. Who are the knowledge holders in fashion, wellness, herbalism & health spaces? Whose knowledge do we value? And what are the deep rooted reasons our society often doesn’t give credit to certain genders and their intersectionalities?  We learn that craft and wellness are embedded into the wisdom and intuitive ways of life for Indigenous people and cultures, from the Adivasi communities in South Asia to Indigenous people like the Lakota here in the U.S. And that by design, the erasure and extraction of female knowledge, the matriarchs of so many cultures, is a constant struggle.  The solution is more than just words, it’s the actions and uplifting and amplifying of Indigenous peoples, and the honoring of traditional ways that have real potential to impact systemic change. It’s also in slowing down our everyday interactions and the way we share information and knowledge, in a way where we actually respect and pay homage to the origins of ideas.  NOTE: Megan had to jump off our call to make it to her child’s parent teacher conference, so we weren’t able to hear her thoughts on our last question during the episode. We were thankful that she was able to send through her ideas on “how to slow down when everything feels fast” so we can share them with you here: I take time at least one day a week or one morning a week. I have nothing scheduled and I clean my house so I can sit in a clean house in silence.  I sit there and look at all my family pictures on the walls, family that's passed on, good times, and sad times and I practice gratitude. Gratitude for everything I have, everything I receive and for the moments that brought me this far. If it's warm out (my fibromyalgia doesn’t like cold), I'll go outside and drink a cup of tea or coffee in my backyard and listen to the sounds of nature, and just sit and practice gratitude for everything that brought me to that moment. I sit with the chaos of my kiddos and I smile and thank the universe / Tunkasila for sending me these amazing beings I get to mother, I thank my girls all the time for being who they are and teaching me so much and also bringing so much value to my life; without them, the motivation wouldn't be there. Before bedtime, I read my girls books, and as I read them this story, I cherish the moments before sleep and thank the universe for keeping me here and getting me here. -Megan Quotes & links from the conversation: Lakota Made Website Niha’s Website Tega Collective’s Website Follow Lakota Made on Instagram Follow Niha on Instagram
3/12/20241 hour, 12 minutes, 12 seconds
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Intergenerational knowledge & sustainable fashion — how clothing is more than just aesthetics; it’s about the upholding of cultural practices and the amplifying of knowledge & traditions

Episode 315 features guests Amy Denet Deal, the founder of 4Kinship, a Diné (Navajo) owned sustainable artwear brand, alongside Sha’Mira Covington, Ph.D., an interdisciplinary scholar-artist and Assistant Professor in Fashion. “Thinking about sustainability beyond just the textiles, thinking about the land that we’re on, how we can live in reciprocity with the people, the four-legged relatives, everything, the plants, the animals here — in all the work we do. Which is why community focus is so much part of what I consider sustainability ‘cause everyone should be thriving from what we do — not just the brand, not just a couple people, everything around needs to be in that harmony.” -Amy “I’m very much so motivated by truth. We, as a society, have gotten really deep in the business of pretending, pretending that things are ok and they are not. We, as as society, are very spiritually unwell, yet we continue to go on as business as usual. This facade of sorts keeps me up and the performative untruths we have to tell ourselves every day to function in this society is very unsettling to me. This motivates me to be a seeker of truth, to better connect to myself, to nature and to other people.” -Sha’Mira In this week's episode, we explore the topic of INTERGENERATIONAL KNOWLEDGE IN FASHION & TEXTILES. To say this episode was healing, would be an understatement.  We talk about how we can learn from the trees, and the sky and the land that we walk on each day. What Black and Brown Indigenous cultures teach us about truth-telling, and the unlearning and relearning of traditional ways. We also explore how community circles are a solution to creating more social impact and better connections … with one another, with our four legged relatives, and the natural world around us.  This episode teaches us how to live in reciprocity, and how fashion is more than just aesthetics; it’s about the upholding of cultural practices, and the amplifying of intergenerational knowledge and traditions. In order for these to live on, we all must actively participate in honoring and respecting and appreciating them – not appropriating them.  We all have a responsibility to take part in challenging systems to better heal the planet and its Indigenous cultures who have always been the inherent teachers of these connected ways of life. We can’t wait for you to listen and learn from our guests this week who are the holders of so much wisdom, knowledge and truth. Tune in as we contextual our February theme – Sharing Textile Knowledge Across Generations. Quotes & links from the conversation: Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom, children’s book Kestrel mentions  Images above are from Sha’Mira’s recent installation at the Fashion for Good Museum in Amsterdam, Netherlands, entitled Curative: Confronting and Healing the Fashion-industrial Complex 4Kinship currently has 2 fundraisers active for their community initatives: 1) Text SKATEINBEAUTY to 707070 to help them deliver skateboards on Navajo Nation with Diné Skate Garden Project 2) Text ILLUMINATE to 707070 to help amplify and elevate Indigenous creatives with 4KINSHIP INDIGENOUS FUTURES FUND 4Kinship’s Website Sha’Mira’s Website Follow 4Kinship on Instagram Follow Sha’Mira on Instagram
2/13/202458 minutes, 1 second
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Vintage stylist Beth Jones & Dounia Wone of Vestiaire Collective on whether fast fashion brands fit into the resale experience

In episode 314, you’ll hear our first official roundtable format, featuring guests Beth Jones, YouTube star and creator of B. Jones Style, alongside Dounia Wone, the Chief Impact Officer at Vestiaire Collective, a platform that showcases luxury preloved fashion. “It’s few and far between that the fast fashion holds up against vintage or really quality pieces maybe made by a designer or things like that … Even if it has a vintage look to it, there’s something about it that doesn’t hold up in a way. And honestly, I will be a little bummed. It’s Zara. I’d rather have the old Kathys of California blazer or dress. I end up not being excited about it, so often, I just go with something else instead.” -Beth “Vestiaire is a 15 year old company. Our founders really believed in fighting overconsumption and overproduction back then in Paris … When I went to them and said ‘ok, let’s ban fast fashion,’ they were completely in … what we want is that it will educate the consumers on our platform. What we were looking at is the behavior … what we saw for the last year was actually people are staying on the platform, 70% of the people who were impacted by the ban stayed on the platform and actually reinvested more and bought less.” -Dounia JANUARY THEME — Fast Fashion, Consumption & Why Self Work Is Integral To Changemaking When we talk about the messes of the fashion industry, a recurring theme we circle back to is – OVERPRODUCTION – especially with regard to fast fashion. Whether you’re super interested in sustainability and fashion or you’re new to the conversation, most people today are coming to the basic conclusion that fast fashion is problematic, due to its incessant mass production. There has been a lot of commentary over the last 7 years, about I guess, the questioning of our moral compass, when it comes to how we shop for fast fashion. What do I mean by that? Let’s break it down.  We know that fast fashion is everywhere, and that so much of our clothing ends up in charity shops, where sadly, a great deal of it is destined for landfill.  So, to address this cycle, does it make sense to buy fast fashion from the secondhand economy? Can we then prevent these clothes from ending up in landfills?  It’s not that simple. Other questions come up like – “If we adopt the same shopping behaviors in the secondhand economy as we have with fast fashion, what really changes? Where do we draw the line?” Or Aren’t we just encouraging the fast fashion industry to churn out more *stuff* to feed the overproducing system it has generated? In this week's episode, we chat with two incredible powerhouse women from very different realms of the fashion industry. They each contribute so much to helping dissect this tension –  We explore the layers of responsibility we hold as everyday individuals The power organizations hold in enacting change And how lobbying and legislation is an integral part of fashioning a better future for fashion.  We also discuss the power of personal style and how we can all start shifting our buying behavior by ‘Always Playing Dress Up’. Sound familiar? One of our guests coined that very phrase. Tune in as we dive deeper into our January theme – Fast Fashion, Consumption & Why Self Work Is Integral To Changemaking.  Quotes & links from the conversation: “Not-So-Fast Fashion: Embracing Responsible Consumption Through Online Activism”, article by Dounia that Nat mentions B. Jones Style Website Vestiaire Collective Website Beth’s YouTube Follow Beth on TikTok Follow Vestiaire on TikTok Follow Beth on Instagram Follow Dounia on Instagram Follow Vestiaire Collective on Instagram
1/30/20241 hour, 5 minutes, 55 seconds
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Why self work is integral to advocating for transformation in fashion & why we must deeply question our personal values to truly get active in creating a more sustainable fashion future

In episode 313, you’ll hear from co-hosts (yes, co-hosts!) Kestrel Jenkins and Natalie Shehata in the launch of Season 7. This is also the first episode in which Kestrel and Nat showcase their new co-host dynamic. With this powerful community-driven change, they’ve teamed up to reimagine some aspects of the show. Here’s what you can expect this season: Roundtable Discussions — featuring at least 2 guests per episode Focus On Making The Conversation More Circular — bringing more folks to the table to learn from various voices at the same time Monthly Themes — we’ll hone in on a specific topic each month Bi-Weekly Episodes — expect to hear 2 episodes per month, instead of the previous 4 because, slow media :) JANUARY THEME — FAST FASHION, CONSUMPTION & WHY SELF WORK IS INTEGRAL TO CHANGEMAKING Do you remember episode 303 when we talked about slow media and telling stories through love, not labor? In our kickoff to the new season, we decided to go deeper into this love-not-labor concept – to explore what it really means and how this approach directly relates to sustainable fashion.  Pulling back a little further – our focus of this show is Self Work. But what does this really mean? In general, it gets aligned with the idea of self improvement. Across the fashion media landscape and socials lately, we’ve seen a heightened interest in looking inward to question what you really want out of your life. Why? Well, it’s the time for annual resolutions, as we just celebrated the launch of a new year. And with that – in sustainable fashion lately, there’s been a lot of commentary about how things need to be reimagined across the industry, with folks voicing different approaches to achieve larger scalable transformation. At the same time, it feels like the movement needs to have a more organic approach and not be so defined or limited – because as it stands, sustainability is so different to each of us, and in order to cultivate a space that is truly diverse, we all need to be at the table to provide our unique approaches.  But whether or not we’re at the table, in order to take any sort of action, we need to go back to the beginning and tune into ourselves. When was the last time you questioned your values? What do you truly care about? Until we are clear on these aspects within ourselves, how can we live out these values and put them into practice?  Therein lies the crux of what we break down in this week's show.  Find more notes at www.ConsciousChatter.com.
1/16/20241 hour, 23 minutes, 30 seconds