Aditi Mayer, an activist, on slow travel, sustainable fashion, and reconnecting with nature

The Indian-American activist is a prominent voice in the sustainable fashion community and has recently spoken at the Global Fashion Summit and Billie Eilish’s Overheated conference. She has advocated for the rights of garment workers in her native Los Angeles. Mayer discusses her views on leading a sustainable lifestyle in the paragraphs that follow.


How to create your own sense of fashion

A pretty important beginning point for me was creating my own sense of style and avoiding the trend cycle. I mostly bought clothing at thrift stores when I was younger. It enabled me to enter a store and look for clothing that I was drawn to despite not being displayed on a mannequin or featured in a marketing campaign.


Regarding promoting Indigenous craftsmanship

I believe that slow fashion is frequently based on local artisanal traditions. Many of my favourite companies are from South Asia. One is Joskai, which is collaborating with Assamese indigenous tribes to recapture many handloom industries in northern India. Aroka is yet another. Given the abundance of textiles in our modern society, I’m also a big supporter of companies like Nece Gene and Vaeg Studio that place a strong emphasis on upcycling.


Performing a routine wardrobe inspection

Once every six months, I try to conduct a wardrobe audit. These days, we consume so much that we neglect to look at what we already have in our closets. I believe conducting an inventory may be a really effective approach to reorient yourself with your possessions, come up with new ways to use or upcycle your items, and participate in garment swaps to keep things that you aren’t using in circulation.


Regarding promoting systemic change

Fast fashion is a beast that needs to be dealt with on a systemic level, thus we need to think more broadly than only as consumers and citizens. I became acquainted with garment workers in Los Angeles about two or three years into my involvement in the sustainable fashion field. It all began with going to demonstrate against the main violators of labour rights in LA after hearing their stories of wage theft and labour abuse. The California Garment Worker Protection Act was became the focus of a much bigger policy campaign.


The ability to participate in this movement is restricted when we narrow our influence to merely casting our financial votes. For me, it’s crucial to view sustainability as a social act rather than merely a consumer activity.


Reflecting on slow travel

I have the opportunity of reflecting on slow travel throughout this time. For instance, I travelled by rail whenever I could during my month-long visit in Europe, where I had come for the Global Fashion Summit in Copenhagen. The same holds true for my trips to India. I believe the discussion of sustainable travel needs to entail more than just carbon emissions and instead examine how people are actually interacting with a culture. Can you return your money to a certain culture and consider it more in that context?


Getting in touch with nature

Sustainable fashion
Sustainable fashion
Spending time in nature helps us develop our ideals and challenge our attitudes on disposability and lifespan. I actually began trench composting during the pandemic, where I collect all of my food scraps during the week, dig trenches in my yard, and then place the food waste there. We’ve now succeeded in replenishing the soil. So many of us yearn for a closer connection to the ground through touch.

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