I’m beyond thrilled to share this interview with you today! I’ve been following Jasmine for a while now and I’ve been floored by her honesty, her vulnerability and her commitment to growing and being gentle with herself. She is incredibly stylish and is for sure a monochrome, minimalist queen that you don’t want to miss. Please read on to hear more from this sweet lady.
Tell me a little about yourself? Who are you, where are you from / living, etc?
I currently live in Los Angeles with my boyfriend, Brandon, and our 31 plant babies in a 400-square-foot studio apartment. During the week, I’m a fourth grade teacher at an arts integrated school in Los Feliz, and on the weekends, I haunt cute coffee shops and blog about my minimalism journey.
How did you first get into ethical / sustainable fashion?
After being stuck in a vicious cycle of over consuming and purging for years, I got tired (and was, honestly, disgusted) with all the waste I was producing. I felt like the solution to all that was a capsule wardrobe. I chased the idea of a capsule wardrobe for months, which led me down a rabbit hole of minimalism, ethical fashion, and sustainability.
Two years ago, I let go of 70% of my wardrobe and I’ve been able to maintain a small wardrobe of around 65 items total (not including shoes) since the big purge. While researching capsule wardrobes, I found the documentary, The True Cost, and that’s when I started try to shop more ethically and shop more secondhand. It’s been so interesting to see also how changing my shopping habits has also spilled over into changing other habits like I’m incredibly neurotic now about bringing reusable cups, straws, and utensils with me everywhere.
What’s something you really want other people to know about ethical / sustainable fashion?
I think it’s really important that people know that everyone’s ethical and sustainable fashion journeys look and feel different, and that’s 100% okay. There’s no right way to go about it—what’s minimal for someone else may be excessive for someone else—and that’s okay! There are so many layers that go into ethical fashion—namely, accessibility and inclusivity—that make it so complicated to divide simply into right and wrong. Clothing is also so incredibly personal and so tied to body image and body positivity that I feel like we shouldn’t get to dictate what someone else’s journey should look or feel like.
It’s so, so, so important to find what works for you, your body, and your lifestyle. While I was downsizing my closet, I realized just how influenced I was into thinking I needed all these things (like going-out tops even though I hate going out [*introvert alert!*]), and that I really needed to figure out what minimalism meant for me and my life. It’s taken me years to figure that out. About half a year into my journey, I transitioned my wardrobe to be mostly monochromatic because I realized if it wasn’t black, I wouldn’t wear it. Since then, I’ve realized that for me, shopping minimally is a HUGE part of shopping ethically. Waste is waste, even if it’s ethically made waste, and so I no longer settle on pieces if they’re not 100% what I want or if they don’t make sense for my slow and casual lifestyle. It’s important for me to have a small wardrobe, but that might not be important to someone else—and that’s totally okay! We’re all doing the best we can with what we have.
It’s so easy to get lost in all the noise that comes with being on Instagram. Listen to your own voice. Be gentle with yourself (and others) while you’re on this journey. Go slow. You’re doing the best you can.
Who are your inspirations (ethical fashion or otherwise)?
I find a lot of inspiration from artists and writers. Writers like Morgan Harper Nichols, Lisa Congdon, and Rupi Kaur have helped me figure out so much of who I am over the years just from their pretty words. In my journey in chasing minimalism, I’ve learned that I am such a mood dresser, and so I’m often inspired by a mood or a feeling.
I’ve also been so lucky to have met so many incredible people through Instagram (IRL and online). There are so many inspirational people out there! Some of the people I make a point to look at their Instagram or blog regularly are: @petraalexandra, @candicemtay, and @shotfromthestreet.
Do you have any ethical brands you’d recommend or tips for how to find great thrifted pieces?
I absolutely adore @sotela. I’m so lucky that I get to call Hanna my friend because she’s doing some pretty radical and amazing things in the ethical fashion world when it comes to size inclusivity. Other ethical brands that fill my closet are: @mienstudios and @tradlands.
I’ve been really trying to make the shift towards shopping more secondhand this year—even with ethical pieces. My greatest tips when it comes to thrifting is: practice a whole lot of patience and know your measurements. My favorite way to shop for secondhand pieces is through Poshmark (mostly because I can shop from the comfort of my bed). You can definitely find some great pieces from your favorite fast fashion stores that you might miss after making the shift to shopping ethically. Sometimes I will go into the stores that I miss (like Madewell or Free People), and I’ll try on clothes to get an idea of sizing and then I’ll patiently wait for it to come on Poshmark. Sometimes those pieces pop up within days! It’s kind of crazy just how fast fast fashion can be with that kind of turnaround so let’s use it to our advantage!
What is one of your current favorite items of clothing you own?
Honestly…I love all of them! Because I only have 60 of them right now, all of them are my favorites. But since I don’t want to cop out of this question…I’d say my go to pieces are: my Mien Lakeside jumpsuit, my Nisolo Ama Mules, my Sotela Lena Pants, and my thrifted vintage belt that I got for $5 at a local vintage store.
What are you reading, listening to, and/or watching right now?
Episodes of Friends, The Office, Gilmore Girls, and Sex and the City are typically on in the background when we’re at home. I also love a good True Crime show (i.e. Mindhunter, True Detective, etc.). Similarly, I’m usually always playing Fleetwood Mac, Haim, Father John Misty, or old 80s music. When I am in the mood for Podcasts, I love listening to Goop and Wardrobe Crisis.
Where can we find you? Share your blog, social media, interviews, etc!
Jasmine is an excellent writer, and I would particularly recommend her recent blogs A New Direction: Part 1 and A New Direction: Part 2. I really appreciated her perspective and have come back it more than once!