Forbidden Love – Fashion & Sustainability

How do I reconcile my love of retail and fashion with the overconsumption the industry promotes especially at this time of year even when supply chain issues are making it difficult to keep product stocked? No brand is perfect and sustainability is a journey, but the reality is… No Money, no mission. After all, a business has to sell to survive.

I’ve been in the industry since I was 15 years old. My career started at Steiger’s, a family owned regional department store in New England. In November 1991, I learned the “Steigers Way” and what good customer service is. It was my first retail holiday season and I spent the following 2 months working side by side with Sue Warner who taught me the joy of retail, the art of gift wrapping, creative problem solving and how to wholeheartedly engage with strangers in an instant. She was my Yoda, and while she was old enough to be my mom (she actually was the mom of my childhood friend), we formed a bond and had lots of fun the next 3 holiday seasons.

I’m not sure when I exactly fell in love with fashion and Retail but at some point I did. I LOVE the scrappy and tenacious nature of retail and being in the trenches … I love its ability to bring people together.  More importantly however, I love the transformation that takes place and the escape it provides. People shop for all sorts of reasons… to escape a stressful day, body image or self-esteem issues. They shop to socialize and bond with friends or family. Shopping is emotional! It’s an escape, and it’s so much more… A good shopping experience creates an emotional connection to consumers. When done right you aren’t buying a thing you are actually buying a memory.

Part of the reason I decided to dig into this topic is because I want to provide a space for honest conversation while being realistic about what’s going on in the world of fashion and what all the possibilities are. I want to be seen as a resource and ally for many and let people know there is a purpose to be found in even the most “frivolous industries”. I personally feel like history is slipping away. How do you preserve it and pass it down so others can cherish it and build on it?

Over the holiday season I will be diving deeper into the following topics – 

✔️ The evolution of Department Stores and its impact on how we shop, regional markets, family owned and small businesses.

✔️ Quality over quantity and how #LovedClothesLasts. 

✔️ Clutter-free gifts

✔️ How to support small businesses