280 episodes

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. Hosted by Kestrel Jenkins, Conscious Chatter reimagines the narrative around sustainability, explores the importance of resourcefulness, questions conscious consumerism, and works to deconstruct how oppressive systems impact the sustainable fashion space.

Conscious Chatter with Kestrel Jenkins Kestrel Jenkins

    • Arts
    • 4.7 • 13 Ratings

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. Hosted by Kestrel Jenkins, Conscious Chatter reimagines the narrative around sustainability, explores the importance of resourcefulness, questions conscious consumerism, and works to deconstruct how oppressive systems impact the sustainable fashion space.

    Shubhi Sachan on why we must approach waste holistically & how Material Library Of India is reimagining & documenting neglected materials while advocating for systems change

    Shubhi Sachan on why we must approach waste holistically & how Material Library Of India is reimagining & documenting neglected materials while advocating for systems change

    In episode 279, Kestrel welcomes Shubhi Sachan, a multidisciplinary designer and the the founder of Material Library of India, to the show. A research and design space, Material Library of India is the first material library in India, and is focused on remodeling the use of industrial & agricultural waste materials, by combining the knowledge and skills of traditional crafts with modern materials.
    "We are not talking about waste holistically. And to be able to get the best output in my experience when you’re working with recycling or post-consumer for any industry (not just picking on textile industry), you have to think about system change, because the more marriages you make while making that particular product or a material, the more complex the recycling cycle is. And the more complicated the recycling cycle is, the more difficult it is to get anything out of that, at the end of life.” -Shubhi
    When we talk about *textile industry waste* – what comes to mind? For me, it’s fabric piling up, off-cuts scattered about, rolls and rolls of fabric, and heaps of garments that were overproduced and unsold.
    However – as our guest Shubhi reminds us – when we talk about *textile industry waste* we can’t just talk about textiles. The entire industry produces a lot more than just fabric in excess. From underwires to buttons to rivets to zippers … fashion uses materials like polymers, metal, rubber, adhesives, and of course - textiles.
    Basically, we are NOT talking about waste holistically.
    And when we are thinking about solutions, yet again – the approach thus far has predominantly been reactionary instead of preventative. 
    As Shubhi shares, in order to get the best output (meaning that at the end of life, there is the best potential for it to be recycled well or to go back to the earth through composting) … you have to think about systems change. Because if not, the recycling process at the end of a garment’s life just gets more and more complicated and less and less productive.
    Quotes & links from the conversation:
    “Industries are producing textiles, and yes, the rejents, the off-cuts, and all those things. They, put together, make industrial textile waste. But, the moment you move into a post consumer textile waste section — post consumer textile waste section is comprised of zippers, buttons, labels, your underwires of bra, and everything that you’ve sandwiched together to make that fabric or a garment behave in a certain manner. It’s a marriage and an amalgamation of any material and every material from polymer industry to textile industry to metal to rubber to adhesives to everything.” -Shubhi (21:11)
    “But once you trap anything in resin, it’s not good to take care of its own self. Natural materials are capable of taking care of their own selves. But once you trap them into a manmade material or any poly resin or any synthetic matter, for that matter — maybe you’re able to justify, which often is the case, that you’re using less virgin material of that particular polymer, but you’re trapping that particular agricultural waste in a position where it can’t take care of itself and it’s actually becoming another piece of plastic.” -Shubhi (38:26)
    Material Library Of India’s Website >
    Follow Material Library of India on Instagram >

    • 47 min
    Questioning how we *value* garments & respecting the limits of partnership across fashion with Jesus Herrera

    Questioning how we *value* garments & respecting the limits of partnership across fashion with Jesus Herrera

    In episode 277, Kestrel welcomes Jesus Herrera — a model, clothing designer, vintage curator, and poet — to the show. Also known by their moniker Donatella because of their Instagram handle @donatellaversanchez, Jesus is the cofounder of the vintage jesus online store and Les Jesus fashion brand.
    “I’ve also brought space to my partnerships. I’ve also brought an understanding that I should not interfere and I should not demand from a culture that has existed for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years in one specific way, just because I have a purpose or just because I have a need or just because I have a goal in mind. My purpose, my need and my goal are my own. But my purpose and my need and my goal should not interfere with somebody else’s happiness, with their way of life, with how they think that the best quality of life is lived or led.” -Jesus
    Have you ever noticed the way that certain garments are valued more than others? Or the way that some craftsmanship styles are aligned with couture or exceptional quality, and others are not held to that same regard?
    This week’s guest reminds us of some of these ways that specific garments are valued differently than others, and how so often these perceptions are based largely around who wears those garments.
    For example, how does the fashion industry value a piece of clothing, if it’s worn by the ladies who lunch? What about if it’s worn by an Indigenous person?
    One theme that recurs throughout our conversation is finding ways to resist this dichotomy between who is valued and who is not.
    As this week’s guest notes –
    “Not only one set of people who have a certain set of resources matter more than another set of people in the world. This is how we should be looking at community and politics and life.” 
    We also explore the expectations that come with capitalism, and how surrendering to those can hinder the development of meaningful partnerships and relationships. 
    For this week’s guest, there are so many limits around partnership, and those limits should be respected.
    Quotes & links from the conversation:
    “But when I came to have better resources, I realized that that was not the case — that new things were not made of quality, that new things were not made of wonderful materials, that new things were not warm or didn’t keep you always cozy. So, I think that’s why I gravitated more toward that idea of sustainability — of using vintage things, of making things in really good quality fabrics, because that’s just the experience I grew up with, out of necessity.” -Jesus (9:40)
    “The hardest person to be is the person that you say you are.” -a quote from Teri Agins that Jesus mentions
    The End Of Fashion by Teri Agins, book that Jesus mentions
    “We all live with contradictions — I live with a ton of contradictions and I’m not hiding them, which is something that I’m really proud of.” -Jesus (20:11)
    “This whole thing about never wanting to be wrong is the problem.” -Jesus (33:28)
    "Real partnership and good partnership is not someone coming in somewhere and saying, ‘I’m gonna do you a favor’. I don’t come into any of my relationships thinking I’m going to do the other person a favor. I come into every relationship thinking — I’m gonna learn something. I come excited and I come ready to be impressed and mesmerized, because most of the times when I’ve come into anything with that mindset and with that open heart, I have been mesmerized, I have been impressed, I have learned something, I’ve been humbled by the experience — that’s how I come into every experience, and that’s partnership to me.” -Jesus (35:02)
    “I’ve also brought space to my partnerships. I’ve also brought an understanding that I should not interfere and I should not demand from a culture that has existed for hundreds and sometimes thousands of years in one specific way, just because I have a purpo

    • 53 min
    Fashion psychology, contextualizing our buying behaviors amidst today's *speed* & how shopping is not equal to happiness

    Fashion psychology, contextualizing our buying behaviors amidst today's *speed* & how shopping is not equal to happiness

    In episode 276, Kestrel welcomes Dr. Dion Terrelonge, a chartered psychologist, to the show. A researcher and stylist, Dion’s work explores the connection between clothes and human expression.
    “We live so much of our lives in clothing and we experience the highest points and the lowest points of our lives often in clothing. So, I really do think the stories and the relationships are there, but what has happened, I believe, is with fast fashion and online shopping, is because there is so much clothing being pumped out, this endless conveyor belt of clothes, that we don’t really have as much time to build relationships with our clothing.” -Dion
    When you think about shopping, what feelings come up for you? 
    One emotion that tends to surface for a lot of us is HAPPINESS. We have come to a place where we often align the act of shopping with a state of happiness. 
    I mean, I can definitely understand the alignment between shopping and emotions. As Dion reminds us, there have been a lot of narratives that have reinforced this – statements like *retail therapy* or thinking of shopping as a fun form of entertainment.
    I can point to many instances in my past where buying something was absolutely connected to wanting to make myself feel better, to wanting to find joy through the act of buying something. 
    But this alignment so many of us have – that shopping = happiness – is problematic in so many ways and in the end, isn’t accurate. 
    Dion, a chartered psychologist, sheds light on the arc of happiness or self determination theory. She reminds us that while some of the elements that intersect with shopping may bring us happiness, the act of buying stuff isn’t it. 
    Maybe the time you spend with friends while shopping makes you happy. Maybe putting on a garment that was handed over to you from your mom makes you happy. Maybe owning and embracing your personal style makes you happy. But buying another item isn’t it.
    Throughout our conversation, Dion also helps contextualize a lot about our shopping behaviors, especially when it comes to the speed of today’s buying culture, so we can find ways to become more consciously engaged in our own lives.
    Quotes & links from the conversation:
    “Tackling fast fashion must be our next global battle” in Big Issue; article Dion was featured in
    “This is what actually happens to your brain when you shop online” in Stylist; article Dion was featured in
    Thinking Fast & Slow by Daniel Kahneman, book that Dion mentions
    Dion’s reel about the Peak-End Rule
    “We’re just really living in an era of living beyond our means.” (45:25)
    Additional pieces Dion has contributed to:
    ‘We live our lives in clothes’ | The British Psychological Society
    Red Or White? How My Wedding Dress Choice Is Affecting My Thoughts On Identity | British Vogue
    How fashion’s erratic sizing is fuelling a clothing waste crisis | Dazed
    What happens to our brains when we shop online? | stylist.co.uk
    What Does Your Jewelry Say About You? | PORTER
    How to talk to your friends about sustainable fashion | HURR
    Dion’s Website > Follow Dion on Instagram >

    • 54 min
    The Or Foundation's take on their recent agreement with SHEIN, how these grant funds are/will be used within the Kantamanto community & extended producer responsibility (EPR)

    The Or Foundation's take on their recent agreement with SHEIN, how these grant funds are/will be used within the Kantamanto community & extended producer responsibility (EPR)

    In episode 275, Kestrel welcomes Liz Ricketts (the cofounder and Director of The Or Foundation), alongside Sammy Oteng (a fashion designer, researcher, and the Community Design Lab Manager at The Or Foundation), to the show. A nonprofit based in the USA and Ghana, The Or Foundation’s primary goal is to catalyze what they call a justice-led circular economy.
    “What’s so unfair about what fast fashion has done is that it’s created a situation where every single garment that’s created, whether it was from me or from Sammy or if it’s upcycled or recycled — it’s still waste until proven otherwise, because we just have so much excess in circulation right now, and it’s just very unfair to anyone who’s trying to do the right thing.” -Liz
    Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)
    Before we get into it, there’s one thing I want to contextualize. And it’s probably something you’ve heard about - maybe something you’ve even heard a lot about recently. That thing is – Extended Producer Responsibility or EPR.
    EPR policy would ideally ensure that producers are required to assume the costs of collection, treating, and recycling of their end-of-life products. Basically, it puts the financial burden of the waste management on the actual brands to deal with their products after citizens are done with them.
    In 2007, France was the first country to declare a legal framework for managing textile waste through EPR policy with the goal of holding textile producers responsible for the collection and recycling of end-of-use clothing, linen, and shoes. The EU also recently announced EPR schemes to help address textile waste from fast fashion. 
    However – France and the EU’s policies fail to compensate the communities where the majority of that waste ends up. So, the tax is supposed to go to waste management, but when a great deal of that textile waste ends up being exported to countries in Africa as a part of that so-called “waste management”, AND those tax funds stay within France or Europe, these policies are only continuing to perpetuate a long history of waste colonialism.
    This is only a very brief overview – but it gives you a little context on EPR before we get deeper into it.
    The Or Foundation x Shein Agreement To Create EPR Fund
    There were shockwaves sent across the fashion industry, after an announcement at the Global Fashion Summit this year (2022). The Or Foundation unveiled their agreement with SHEIN to receive $15 million over three years, as the first grant recipient of SHEIN’s new Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) Fund to help manage textile waste. 
    The commentary and discussions across social media and the web have been intense, with a lot of very emotionally-charged reactions from varying vantage points. Here’s just a glimpse of some of the feedback that has been shared –
    Concerns about the way this is blatant greenwashing by SHEIN, considering that their ultra fast fashion business model is largely to blame for the waste being dumped in Ghana and other areas of the Global South
    Concerns about how SHEIN will be able to use this partnership as a way to *look good* while continuing to perpetuate a savorist mindset
    Concerns over the criticism of this partnership being directed at The Or Foundation instead of at SHEIN
    Concerns about what this showcases with regard to the nonprofit industrial complex
    Concerns about the apparent need for wealth redistribution, but the question of when and why the origin of those funds should matter
    Concerns over when and how SHEIN will address the root causes of its impact, instead of simply throwing cash at the problem, which some have identified as only offering a bandaid solution
    And so many more. In this week’s conversation, I had the privilege to speak with the folks at The Or Foundation to get their take on it all. And more importantly, to hear some of the responses of the community in Kantamanto, and how this money wi

    • 1 hr 12 min
    What are biosynthetic dyes & could they replace the toxic petroleum-heavy ingredients in today's predominant indigo garment dye?

    What are biosynthetic dyes & could they replace the toxic petroleum-heavy ingredients in today's predominant indigo garment dye?

    In episode 274, Kestrel welcomes Michelle Zhu, the CEO & cofounder of Huue, to the show. In an effort to replace toxic chemical dyes in apparel, Huue are developing biosynthetic dyes — their initial focus is to provide an alternative to synthetic indigo.
    “We are creating a biosynthetic solution that is a one-to-one drop-in replacement into the textile supply chain. We’re creating these bio-identicals that can minimize the footprint of production of these dyes and pigments, but without disrupting the supply chain process that is required to make the authentic look and feel of denim that everybody knows and loves.”
    -Michelle Zhu
    Are you familiar with biosynthetics? If so, do you understand what they are or how they operate? So often terms like this get thrown around in the *sustainability* space, without a lot of context or definitions. They are assumed to fall into the good box or the bad box, when yet again – there is a lot more information needed to understand the bigger picture.
    So, here’s the super basics – biosynthetics are made of renewable materials, instead of being petroleum based. We often hear about them from a fiber stance, so fabrics made up of biopolymers from corn or sugar or other ingredients. But on this week’s show, we’re diving into more on how biosynthetics are being used for textile dyeing.                  
    Today, the majority of our clothes are colored with synthetic dyes. If we look back, the first synthetic dye was accidentally discovered in the 1850s when an 18-year old chemist was searching for a treatment for malaria. And since then, they’ve gradually taken over due to their speed and efficacy. 
    But take indigo – the color that we align with denim. Today, every kilogram of synthetic indigo produced uses 75x the amount of petroleum. And it involves the use of dangerous chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde, and sodamide.
    This week’s guest cofounded a company that’s leveraging biosynthetics to address the extreme toxicity across the textile dye industry. They’ve started with indigo blue, and are building one-to-one solutions that can be inserted directly into the current manufacturing infrastructure. 
    Quotes & links from the conversation:
    “This Melinda Gates-backed biotech startup is growing bacteria that make sustainable dye for denim”, article in Fast Company
    "How These Founders Are Detoxifying the Denim Industry--and Saving the Planet", article in Inc.
    "Using synthetic biology platforms to clean up indigo dye-making", article in Axios
    "Best Inventions of 2021 - Huue: Blue Jeans Go Green", article in TIME
    Huue’s Website >
    Follow Huue on Instagram >

    • 42 min
    Kesiena Onosigho on slow art as a tool for liberation and why sustainability isn't passive – it's something you live

    Kesiena Onosigho on slow art as a tool for liberation and why sustainability isn't passive – it's something you live

    In episode 273, Kestrel welcomes Kesiena Onosigho, a textile and mixed-media artist, to the show. Through the study of materials and patterns, Kesiena intuitively explores textiles and a range of media to create atmospheric abstractions focused on intersectionality, as coined by Kimberle Crenshaw, engaging in themes of social & environmental justice. “My work really is about reclaiming and retelling these narratives around Black cultural contributions to textiles and crafts and sustainability. And really dedicating my work to uplifting and centering Black women in particular, but Black people in general, their work and their history across the African diaspora.” -Kesiena
    This week’s guest is a natural dyer, a knitter, a botanical ink-maker and beyond. An exceptional textile and mixed media artist, Kesiena’s work is grounded in historical context and lived experiences, and focused on themes around social and environmental justice.
    Growing up within a very matriarchal family, surrounded by a community of Black women, she has collected experiences and knowledge, and navigated her way to discovering that art is a tool for liberation – in particular slow art. 
    As she says, “for Black people today, finding that space is an act of rebellion.”
    Through her work, she creates what she calls “atmospheric abstractions” – I love this so much. And it’s beyond accurate because so often with art, we end up being able to feel it before we actually understand it. And when it comes to her process, sustainability is woven into each step along the way – as she says: sustainability isn’t passive, it’s something you live, and something you are. 
    Quotes & links from the conversation:
    Gist Yarn's upcoming textile residency (starting in July) that Kesiena was selected to be a part of this year
    Garbage Goddess — a great resource for natural dyers that Kesiena recommended, after the recording. They sometimes offer free flowers for natural dyers in NYC, and Kesiena sometimes freelances with them.
    Teju Adisa-Farrar’s Black Material Geographies Podcast (Kesiena mentions)
    Sustainable Brooklyn (organization to support that Kesiena mentions)
    The Root Series with Dominique Drakeford 
    Kesiena encourages folks to check out and support the work of Lisa Betty (who was featured on episode 1 of The Root series)
    Conscious Chatter episode 228 with Catherine McKinley >
    Kesiena’s website >
    Follow Kesiena on Instagram >

    • 52 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
13 Ratings

13 Ratings

Saranne Sanders ,

Informative

One of my favourite ways to dive deep into Fair Trade Fashion. Thanks so much for bringing so many facets of Fashion to light Kestrel.

Natalie Shehata ,

tommie magazine

Kestrel is a wonderful story teller hosting leading changemakers in their desiganted fields. She broaches the topics of ethical and sustainable fashion in an easy to digest, inspiring and thought provoking manner. An inspiring youg woman who is leading the converstion with integrity and kindness. Tune in!

iim92 ,

Must Listen

So engaging and informative. Everyone should listen to this podcast!

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