Recently I had the pleasure of talking with Cassandra Ciarallo, founder of both Chic Made Consciously and Wear the Change Movement. Her story is inspirational, and her movement is exactly what we’re about here at Fair + Frugal.
Wear the Change Movement was/is a free online educational event seeking to teach people how to be more mindful consumers. She was able to bring together more than 20 “influential entrepreneurs, professionals and leaders in their industry” to help guide us toward a more sustainable future. The event covers four main categories: fashion, lifestyle, health and beauty, and sustainability. It originally launched from June 6-14, but Cassandra is relaunching each video for 48 hours, starting today! They will be available from June 19-21, 2017, so you should definitely head over to her site and check it out. After that, the videos will be available (with some bonuses) for purchase.
I can’t wait for you to hear what Cassandra had to say about this event!
Questions + Answers about Wear the Change Movement
1. How did you first become interested in eco-conscious, ethical fashion?
I have to say it’s been a real journey over the past few years! Back in 2014, I traveled to Bali, Indonesia where I met artisans Dana and Pat who were handcrafting a line of accessories made from tire inner tubes. I was incredibly blown away by their passion for upcycling and infusing their creativity and love into each piece. It was the unique-ness of the designs and the novel idea to repurpose that inspired me to join their movement to infuse fashion and sustainability.
From there, I decided I wanted to distribute their intricately made accessories in Toronto. Truth be told, I had no idea what ethical fashion was at the time. But from that day, I started to learn, read, and understand the incredible social and environmental issues that are imposed by the fashion industry: that the average worker abroad only makes 1-3% of the retail cost of an item (Labour Beyond the Label, 2015), and that the industry is the second largest world polluter after oil (EcoWatch, 2015). This learning has made me incredibly passionate about the story behind the label and ensuring that we as consumers align our purchases with what we believe in.
2. What has motivated you to keep going?
It seems I started Chic Made Consciously at a time when people are waking up. Consumers are asking more questions and demanding answers. It is inspiring to see others use their voice as a force for good. It’s almost every week that I uncover a new startup in the sustainable fashion realm, and it makes me happy to know that it is now becoming the norm in how business is conducted. I think the more demand for this kind of business will push big industry to follow suit, and soon it will be the norm that all fast fashion brands operate while considering people + planet! Even big industry is shifting; we see brands like H&M jumping on the sustainable bandwagon with their new conscious collection. It’s incredibly powerful and motivating to be part of this movement of change!
3. What inspired you to start Wear the Change Movement?
Wear the Change Movement was inspired by my own shift in behavior. Prior to my sustainable fashion education, I had no idea the ridiculous impact of the industry. Starting Chic Made Consciously pushed me to learn the truths and I noticed that I began to change and slowly align my purchasing decisions to reflect more of what I believed in. I no longer wanted to wear the story of Rana Plaza (the factory collapse that killed over 1,100 people in Bangladesh) on my back. I wanted to wear stories that reflected ethical and conscious choices that were mindful of people and the planet.
I realized there was a need for more awareness and I wanted to make this education available for people to start understanding what the problems are. Hence, I launched Wear the Change Movement in order to bring this education to consumers and emphasize the mindfulness aspect to how we consume. More importantly, each video leaves viewers with actionable steps they can start implementing right away in order to make change and transform!
4. You have an awesome lineup of speakers for the event. How did you decide who to ask to be a part of it?
The lineup of 20+ experts, entrepreneurs, and change-makers was carefully curated to ensure that there would be incredible value for the viewers. We cover topics in fashion, health + beauty, sustainability, and wellness, as I felt it was important to connect with areas other than fashion that were still connected to being a conscious consumer. I started brainstorming who would be a great fit and reached out to them — I had no idea I would get the response I did! It was an amazing feeling to have so many people on board with this movement.
We have Andrew Morgan (who I was star-struck by!), the director of The True Cost, who talks about the true cost of clothing and how to connect to the story behind your clothes. Kelly Drennan, the founder of Fashion Takes Action, who gives us the 101 on sustainable fashion. Kate Black, author and editor-in-chief of MagnifECO.com, who shares how to be MagnifECO. We have Jenise Lee, founder of CertClean, sharing her thoughts on clean beauty. Max Goldberg on why organic food matters. LaRhea Pepper on how organic cotton impacts lives. Adria Vasil on how to be an Ecoholic and many, many more! There are even some speakers who teach us about the connection to our spiritual selves and how that reflects the way we consume, too.
“If we can’t be mindful of ourselves, how can we be mindful of the world around us?” Ann-Marie Ahye
4. The original event was June 6-14, but how can someone listen to the interviews again?
We are relaunching all the interviews again for FREE for 3 days – starting Monday, June 19th at 9:00am EST until Wednesday, June 21st at 11:59pm EST. In order to keep the video files to access forever, there is the option to sign up for the Change-Maker Bundle for only $28!
5. What is included in the Change-Maker Bundle?
We decided to create the Change-Maker Bundle to make it easy and convenient to access the content and education – for a super reasonable price. For only $28, you can get access to all 20+ video files, more than 10 amazing bonuses from our guest speakers, including discounts on fab products and services to get you started on living an eco-fashionable and sustainable life! Not only that, we are donating a portion of all proceeds to the My Clothes, My World Program!
6. Why did you choose to donate some of the proceeds to the My Clothes, My World Program? What does that program do, and why do you believe in it?
This program, hosted by Fashion Takes Action (FTA), is near and dear to my heart. I have been working with FTA for two years now, facilitating the My Clothes, My World Youth Program. It educates and empowers youth from grades 4-12 of the social and environmental impact of fashion on our planet. Through my time facilitating this program, it brings me great joy to see youth incredibly engaged, questioning, and attentive during the daylong workshop. We discuss the very complex system of fashion and tackle the world issues that surround it. It always makes me smile to see the shift in their minds and how eager most are to make change with bright ideas for our future! They are the next generation of change-makers, and I believe that every school in the greater Toronto area should have access to this wonderful program in order to build a sustainable future for our planet. Luckily, we have been receiving some funding and grants for various schools who don’t have the budget for the program, but my intention is that this donation will help subsidize the program for schools that aren’t able to afford it.
7. What are your goals for the future? Do you plan on making this an annual event?
Funny, a few people have asked me if I will make this an annual event, and I didn’t have that as my intention at the beginning. However, creating, organizing, and launching this has brought me so much gratitude for the work that I do that it may totally be something for next year – stay tuned! Aside from that, I am working to build my own profile as a sustainable fashion trendsetter as I will continue to work on the education and fashion side hand-in-hand.
8. What are two interesting facts about you, your company, or your vision that you would like our readers to know?
First, I love to read! The book I’m reading now is Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. My intention is to learn and put more energy into being creative in order to help the business thrive!
Second, a huge thing for me over the past few years (that I am still learning a lot about) is mindset. It is truly number 1 with everything you do — if you believe you will succeed, then you will! It has totally helped shape me and my business for the better.
“Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, you’re right!” Henry Ford
9. Is there anything else you would like to add?
I always love and am open to collaboration! I believe that we can each succeed by working and growing together! Feel free to connect with me if you have any questions or comments at cassandra [at] chicmc [dot] com. And remember – the talks are LIVE again from June 19-21, and you can sign up for free access on the Wear the Change Movement site. Check your email for all links to access the interviews.