Hello everyone! I hope you are doing well and enjoying your weekend so far. This is the second chapter of our blog series called “The Stories Of Us.” If you’re new here, the premise behind this series is to connect, collaborate and share the experiences of inspiring people in an authentic way. With each Chapter, we will chat with someone who has a unique story and share their journey. For this specific Story, we will be doing an Instagram Live with Cynthia Dam on Sunday, April 26, 2020 over on our instagram ~ @bellantonidesigns.
Before we begin, let me share how Cynthia and I met! It was back in either 2013 or 2014 when we both attended the WEAR Conference (World Ethical Apparel Roundtable). We met at the bus stop after the event, chatted about our experience and shared contact info. Fast-forward to 2020 and we’ve become instagram friends and have worked together on multiple collaborations. Cynthia is an inspiring gal, and I’m excited for you to hear her story!
Hi everyone, I’m Cynthia! I’ve been sharing my journey with sustainability without sacrificing style for years. You may know me from my thrifting videos on Youtube, but I also create tons of content on how to be a conscious consumer. I’m actually a full time marketing manager for an email marketing startup, so content creation is my side hustle! Over the years, it’s been my passion to continue to learn about sustainability and stay updated with shifts in the fashion industry. I find I always get an urge to connect with others over the internet, especially if I can inspire others to be more conscious.
You’ve done a lot in the work in the sustainable, conscious fashion realm, from working with sustainable fashion brands like us and Eileen Fisher to starting your own online shop. Can you tell us a bit about this work, what inspired you, how you got started?
I’ve been passionate about sustainable fashion since high school (I learned about fast fashion through a business model report on Zara), so it’s been this growing internal flame for years. All my experiences have happened because of this need to inspire others to learn about sustainability too!
I got started on Youtube, when I decided to document my journey of quitting fast fashion. That led to me trying capsule wardrobes, sharing my thrift finds, anything and everything related to sustainability. Through Youtube, I actually landed my dream internship with Eileen Fisher after graduating university, as a Wholesale Sales intern for all of Canadian accounts. My experience there was such an amazing and pivotal point - it’s inspiring to hear how a brand that size operates with sustainability at its core. Now, I focus on creating educational content to help make learning about sustainability less overwhelming. And part of that means partnering with brands like Bellantoni, and helping these brands get the recognition and support they deserve.
I’m constantly inspired by small brands, business owners like Bianca, and role models like Greta, to be a changemaker in the fashion space. No voice is too small to make a difference!
What advice or tips do you have for those who are looking to create a more conscious wardrobe?
My biggest piece of advice, and the most important thing, is to be aware of what you already own! I think it’s easy for us as consumers to constantly crave new, and emotionally buy pieces for that split second of gratification. But we tend to gravitate towards the same pieces, so I think being conscious of what we already have, can help us make informed decisions on what ‘new’ pieces will actually add the most value to our wardrobes!
I recently shared a video with 5 tips and ways to shop more consciously too - highly recommend checking it out!
“…be aware of what you already own! I think it’s easy for us as consumers to constantly crave new, and emotionally buy pieces for that split second of gratification. ”
What did you do for fashion revolution week?
I’ve filmed and planned a ton of educational videos around sustainable fashion - it’s been a goal of mine to shift back to this type of content for a while, but I’ve been preparing behind the scenes and doing research to be the most informed! I’ve also been closely engaging with accounts like Fashion Revolution and The Slow Factory, so I can help spread their initiatives with my audience.
I’ve also done my share of Fashion Revolution week activities, like asking brands who made my clothes and what’s in my clothes. It’s important for us to make noise this week as consumers, so I’m doing my part! Another account I recommend following is @ajabarber - she’s an amazing activist and her Instagram sheds lights to a ton of important conversations we should all be a part of as consumers!
What is one of the biggest struggles you have encountered, either personally or within your line of work?
Feeling like I’m not doing enough. Or feeling overwhelmed that nothing seems perfectly sustainable.
But I’ve learned that the smallest changes can make a huge difference, especially when collectively, we make those changes together! I’ve always believed and advocated for us as consumers to take baby steps, with this philosophy. I think it’s so important for us not to be preachy, or be hard on others for not being ‘perfectly’ sustainable because there’s no real definition of sustainable in fashion at the moment. I hope we continue to support and encourage each other to make as many changes as we can!
“Know that your impact matters, and your individual actions can make a difference!”
How has COVID-19 affected you, your work, your life? and what are you doing to keep your mental and physical health in check during this odd time?
I’ve been isolating alone for about 7 weeks now, and there are definitely hard days and pretty ok days too. I think I’ve turned to Youtube to connect with people more than ever. And I definitely have my fair share of comfort food, wine, and CBD oil haha. My best advice is to make time and space to calm your mind and relax your soul. Things like self care baths and hikes to reconnect with nature have helped me cope and stay sane.
What’s next for you? any big 2020/2021 plans?
My biggest focus right now is to shift my YouTube channel into a hub where people can learn about sustainability without being overwhelmed. I’m also learning about material science and researching factories and technology that, one day, I could potentially partner with to create my own line!
You recently had a month long pop up for your vintage clothing line. how was this experience?
It was incredible. It’s always been a dream of mine to have my own store, and this was an amazing “first taste” at what that can look like. I loved meeting and connecting with everyone, and being able to share my passion for sustainability with them. It still warms my heart to think of all the instances people told me I had inspired them to learn more!
If you could leave us with one message today, what would it be?
Know that your impact matters, and your individual actions can make a difference!
Where can we find your work?
We hope you enjoyed Chapter 2 of The Stories Of Us. Huge thank you to Cynthia for sharing her sustainable fashion journey with us. Please let us know in the comments what you think!