I’ve loved getting to interact with this absolutely gorgeous lady who is a passionate advocate for ethical fashion, a photographer, a wife and a mama, somehow making it all look easy. She is genuine, kind and consistent and I look to her as a leader—I also can’t wait to see her family grow to four! Read on to learn more about the lovely and ethereal Arren.
Tell me a little about yourself? Who are you, where are you from / living, etc?
“I am Arren Mills, a minimalist mother. My maiden name is De La Torre because my family is from the Philippines. I am currently living in Jacksonville, FL with my husband and soon-to-be-TWO strong, assertive daughters. My first is current 1.5 years old and I am due in July!”
How did you first get into ethical / sustainable fashion?
“I inherited my minimalist lifestyle pretty early on in my life simply because I came from a poor immigrant family. We reused, refashioned, — well, basically, re-EVERYTHING; from big butter plastic containers to hold leftovers to hand-me-downs and thrift store hunts for school supplies, we did it. It was our way of life. I was grateful to understand that beauty and life was not always associated with “new.”
Shortly before I got married and became a mother, I was in the Philippines teaching high school students about human trafficking and forced labor prevention. Nine months of exchanging stories, shedding tears, and living out of a suitcase, I came back with a fiery passion to share more than information about human trafficking and forced labor. I wanted to share through my actions — particularly my closet. On my 25th birthday, I pledged to (1) only buy “new” from ethical, slow fashion companies who support human rights through fair-trade and (2) buy second hand to save the world from drowning in clothing waste.”
What’s something you really want other people to know about ethical / sustainable fashion?
“That it affects others. When you purchase from a fast-fashion company, you are supporting illicit practices in other countries (whether that is forced labor, impractical working conditions, or textile waste) . So just be conscious of the next thing you buy and know that you don’t necessarily have to have it in that second. When you decide to overrule your impulse, you understand that you can take control of your life and help the lives of others. “
Who are your inspirations (ethical fashion or otherwise)?
“Everyone who I follow on IG LOL honestly, I get so many ideas from pictures, IG stories, IGTV on styling from secondhand and thrifted items! My favorite hashtags are created by @alissa_etc #thriftclubweek #neutralaboutit #10x10friends #wardrobemagic anyone in the #slowfashion hashtag I follow and get inspo from.”
Do you have any ethical brands you’d recommend or tips for how to find great thrifted pieces?
- Ethical brands I would recommend for all stages of life including mamahood would be @mienstudios . They are a small company and make comfy dresses and jumpsuits! I seriously wear my jumpsuit three out of five days of the week.
- I also love my linen pieces from @billandjayclothing and @notperfectlinen .
- I love supporting @dressember and @elegantees because their clothes are ethically made in Nepal by overcomers of human trafficking.
- I find great thrifted pieces by setting aside time and rolling up my sleeves. I seriously dig into piles and clothing racks to find what’s on my list.
- Making a list is also another approachable way to enter a thrift store. Sometimes it can become easy to buy things you don’t need because they are heavily discounted at thrift stores, so make a list of things you’ve been meaning to add to your wardrobe (like on your phone) and remember to only buy what’s on the list.
- If you are willing to pay a premium, but want something quicker than going into a brick and mortar, consider resale places like @thredup and @poshmark ! I find great things on my list by simply searching via search bar!
What is one of your current favorite items of clothing you own?
“So I am 36 weeks pregnant, BUT I still love my button-down linen dresses from @thelinenroot and my newest linen button down dress from a recent thrift haul!”
What are you reading, listening to and/or watching right now?
“I am reading/watching ‘The Handmaids Tale’ (love a good, strong female lead/revolution) and am perpetually listening to a bit of disney songs, sesame street, and classical piano with the little one :)”
Where can we find you?
I am a contributor on www.theminimalistwardrobe.com
7 ways to gradually start a Capsule wardrobe
Your Simplified Checklist for Ethical and Sustainable Companies
1 Dress, 8 Different Styles
I absolutely love seeing all of Arren’s posts and she is such a sweet light in our ethical fashion community that constantly inspires us—I hope you’ll check her out and be encouraged yourself!