Sparking the Fashion Revolution: An interview with Jessica Kelly of THR3EFOLD
In anticipation for the upcoming Fashion Revolution Panel and Pop Up Event on Monday, April 24th, we interviewed our co-host and inspiration, Jessica Kelly, founder of THR3EFOLD. Read on to learn more about Jessica, how we are banding together to pave a path for a more ethical and sustainable fashion industry, and how YOU can make a difference.
What is THR3EFOLD?
We connect brands to ethical factories around the world. In India, I was surprised to find factories that not only do quality work but significantly support their workforce. I wanted to make it easier for brands to find factories with quality, ethical manufacturing, to empower impoverished groups, and enable these factories to do more great work.
What got you into the fashion industry?
I fell in love with fashion at a very young age, daydreaming over the pages of Vogue. When I got to New York and actually started working in it, the impact this industry has over the world inspired me and I was hooked. I got started in fashion PR working New York Fashion Weeks with brands like Alexander Wang, Tory Burch, Oscar de le Renta and Tommy Hilfiger. From there I worked at PROJECT Tradeshow, communicating with over 300 brands on a daily basis, helping them get ready for market 4x a year, which gave me a broad understanding of the industry, especially on a macro level on what brand needs were and where the industry was headed. At that time, I had gone on a trip to Zimbabwe and it completely impacted my life. I was inspired by the beautiful people of Zimbabwe, and surprised by how far our dollar went to help them. I became completely consumed with figuring out what I could do with my resources, my network and my pocket to be a solution for people in developing economies and places where they need more opportunity. I learned that fashion is the largest labored industry, employing 1 in 6 people, so I knew I was exactly where I needed to be to create large, scalable, and sustainable change... I just had to figure out how.
What makes you so passionate about ethical fashion?
A conversation I had with two teenage girls in a slum in Mumbai. We had been spending the day together in this community center where they teach sewing. They were doodling henna on my hands and we had been laughing taking photos of each other with Snapchat filters and having a great time. I asked them normal questions I had been asked my whole life like, "What do you want to be when you grow up?", "Do you like school?" and "Do you like sewing?" Through broken English their response was, "Oh no, father doesn't let us." As an independent, intelligent, go-getter woman living in NYC, I was heartbroken and furious all at the same time. These young women should have all the opportunity in the world, just like I had. But at the same time, I felt conflicted. Who am I to judge? Like Americans have happiness figured out? It's still an internal struggle I feel, but it made me want to devote my life to providing opportunities for women across the globe. Having a heart to be there for people where they are at, to understand and love people, and also to right some of the wrongs. Ultimately I want to give people the opportunity, if they so choose it, to have the life they might dream.
What made you decide to host this event?
We love what Fashion Revolution has done to organize a global week to bring awareness to a subject that wasn't previously focused on. They're paving the path to a more ethical, and more sustainable fashion industry by starting thousands of conversations. Dozens of brands are responding, from Polo to Merona to Barbour. We want to join forces to make it as easy as possible for brands to be made ethically and for consumers to be conscious of how their purchasing decisions affect the world around them. This, matched with Bond Collective's passionate team and commitment to making a positive impact in their community, created the perfect partnership to curate an event of this scale and importance.
What can people do to become more conscious consumers?
One of the easiest things you can do is start abiding by the "30 Wears Challenge", created by Livia Firth (Colin Firth's wife) who started EcoAge. The rule is to ask yourself every time you're about to purchase an item of clothing, "Will I wear this 30 times?" which is about twice a week per season. That alone will allow you to make smarter decisions about the things you buy, like only the things you need and truly love.
What are your favorite sustainable brands?
I'm so incredibly thankful and lucky that my favorite sustainable brands will be participating in the panel and pop-up event on April 24th! Brands include:
To learn more and attend the Fashion Revolution Panel and Pop Up, go to our event site here and click "Buy Your Ticket Now".
To learn more about how to become a more conscious consumer, follow @thr3efold on Facebook and Instagram and subscribe to their weekly Conscious Consumer for even more great brands and easy tips right to your inbox.
And be sure to follow @bondcollective to learn more about how they are changing the way we work and gather!
Interviewed and Written by Laura Matte
Images courtesy of our in house photographer, Maddie Talias. Check out her work here!