324 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 & Natalie Shehata, Conscious Chatter tackles nuanced sustainable fashion topics via a roundtable format. Through deep dive monthly themes, the focus is on making the conversation more circular.

Conscious Chatter Kestrel Jenkins & Natalie Shehata

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 136 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 & Natalie Shehata, Conscious Chatter tackles nuanced sustainable fashion topics via a roundtable format. Through deep dive monthly themes, the focus is on making the conversation more circular.

    Nelson ZêPequéno of Black Men With Gardens and Cayetano Talavera of Hecho By Caye on why fashion needs to listen to nature’s lessons on slowing down, tuning in, practicing patience & cultivating creativity to better center sustainability

    Nelson ZêPequéno of Black Men With Gardens and Cayetano Talavera of Hecho By Caye on why fashion needs to listen to nature’s lessons on slowing down, tuning in, practicing patience & cultivating creativity to better center sustainability

    Episode 322 features Nelson ZêPequéno, a Ghanaian-American Artist and the founder of Black Men With Gardens and Sustain Creative, alongside Cayetano Talavera, a fiber artist, zero waste fashion designer, and the creative force behind HECHO BY CAYE.
    Through ‘Black Men With Gardens’, a digital and print publication, Nelson spotlights the connection Black and Brown communities cultivate with nature through agriculture and the arts. He further exploring cultural identity and environmental stewardship through his Los Angeles-based studio 'Sustain Creative', his current body of works offer a fresh perspective on sustainable contemporary design.
    Based in Los Angeles, Cayetano transforms foraged plants, homegrown flowers, insects, and even food waste into natural dyes, for his designs in the cocina de su mamá. His journey into the world of sustainable design was shaped by his humble upbringing, where he discovered the importance of resourcefulness and waste reduction.
    “Creativity is a way of looking at life differently, and by stepping outside of the way that we’re seeing life or our own perceptions and experimenting, we’re able to open up those new neural pathways and to reach these new places in life. For me specifically, I like to think that creativity is actually the solution not only to the mental health crisis that we’re all dealing with, but to actually the sustainability challenges that we’re facing. We need to embolden creativity in our culture and our communities so that people can look at the challenges that we have and come up with different ways of approaching it. We can’t essentially just fix the problems that we face now with the same thought processes that led us here, and the only way to get outside of that actually is to be creative.” -Nelson
    “The rhythmic movement that comes from making a craft — I find it to be very therapeutic. Whether it’s stirring a dye pot, painting strokes, I think also just the physical aspect that goes into being creative plays a role in ... it’s almost like you get so into what you’re creating that you kind of escape from your worries and anxieties for a bit. Once I start working, I totally forget whatever is going on around me, even if it’s for a split second. I am always encouraging people to just be creative; and don’t let the insecurities take over. I host natural dye workshops and a lot of adults tend to be like ‘but this isn’t for me’; ‘my tie dye bandana is going to come out super ugly’. And I’m like "‘no, everyone’s piece ends up looking really good and unique in their own way’. And so I think there’s fear that comes from being creative and I think people need to get over that hurdle first.”
    - Cayetano
    MAY THEME —
    CONNECTING WITH NATURE TO UNVEIL WAYS TO REIMAGINE FUTURES
    Narratives today often separate humans from nature – think of statements like “we need to protect nature” as if we aren’t a part of nature. But we are. Even though we often live and spend a lot of time inside buildings somewhat “separated” from nature, we are still intrinsically linked and woven into the natural world around us.
    As we have learned through so many of our guests this season, being connected to the world around us is not something new – it’s something that has been cultivated by Black and Brown Indigenous communities across the world through culture and tradition and a reverence for the ecosystems that we as humans are a part of.
    This week’s guests both interact with nature through their unique creative avenues – in very different yet overlapping ways. One works more directly with *fashion* through sewing and natural dyes, and the other not so directly with fashion but rather with plants and repurposing.  The myriad of ideas they share remind us of the many things we can learn from nature (when we slow down enough to listen). 
    What can fashion learn from nature to reimagine a better today and a more thoughtf

    • 1 hr 4 min
    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*

    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

    • 1 hr 23 min
    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

    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

    • 1 hr 21 min
    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

    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

    • 1 hr 13 min
    Upcycling artists Francisco Alcazar & Ella Wiznia of Series NY are redefining sustainable fashion while reimagining craft & challenging the gender binary

    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

    • 1 hr 3 min
    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

    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 everythi

    • 1 hr 12 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
136 Ratings

136 Ratings

Refashion Bainbridge ,

Must listen!

I cannot rave enough about this show. It is exactly what we need right now and you have to sit down and listen to the episodes right now. Go through this journey with Kestral and then Nat and please work on making a difference. I have learned so much about the fashion industry and the world from these shows. Keep it up!

amy839359 ,

10/10 LOVE

If you’re looking for a podcast that has a heart and asks the tough questions, look no further! I absolutely love this podcast. Kestrel is a force to be reckoned with. A pioneer in the fashion industry and someone who holds a space for everyone to be a part of the conversation.

Cplou ,

Essential Podcast

In today’s world of fast fashion and over-consumption, we need to hear more about the issues with this. Kestrel interviews amazing people in this space. Her show notes are also great! 10/10 recommend

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