Black women are often erased in historical moments and movements, and the sustainability movement is another we can add to the list. It’s important to note that Black people care just as much about our environment and want our planet to thrive for future generations. We just aren’t seeing them because they are not the ones who are the face of the movement (when they should be). There are so many that are doing the work but are getting the little to no recognition that they deserve, and to continue to use their platforms as they do is an act of tenacity that most do not have. Fighting for sustainability in the fashion space, one of the top industries adding to pollution worldwide, is not an easy task. It takes courage to stand up for what is right.
For years via YouTube videos, we watched over consumerism and capitalism rise, and consequently, we saw waste and pollution rise along with it. Now we are here in the middle of a crisis that can only get better if we do something about it. And the influencers below are dedicated to that. They each are using their own platforms to show the world that there is a way to change habits and hope for a safer, cleaner, and healthier planet.
In continuation of the celebration of Women’s History Month, take a look at Black women doing the work to make a difference.
Jazmine Rogers, aka, ThatCurlyTop on Instagram and TikTok, is not new to this. She’s been advocating for followers to slow down with buying clothes and lowering waste by thrifting new clothes instead of shopping through fast fashion. She’s organized clothing swaps through her newest venture, a publication called Sustainable Baddie, which is dedicated to all realms of sustainability practices, from fashion to composting to rallying a community to heal the earth from the inside out. Check out Rogers if you haven’t already.
Akiera Xavina Charles
If you’re based in Bedstuy, I highly encourage you to take a look at what Akiera Charles is doing in her community. She’s removing capitalism from the mix and enlisting the help of a willing community to come together. She hosts monthly clothing swaps and solely uses donations that she gives back to the community through her program called Bedstuy Clothes Swap. She’s also hosted workshops to upcycle your clothes rather than throw them away. In 2018, she created BSCS as a way to uplift the long-standing Black community that has been subject to exploitation threw the New York hustle culture.
While Tara is actually a chef, she’s also constantly the face of a new campaign and uses her platform to speak on the things that matter most to her and, you guessed it — community. Food is the number one thing that brings people together; having a meal with a group of people puts you in one of the most vulnerable positions you can be in. Thomas’s project Breaking Bread NYC seeks to put community fridges throughout New York and nourish its communities with nutritious foods that are donation based. Thomas is a young person that is taking initiative to make the change she wants to see.
Emma Slade Edmondson
Based in the UK, Emma Edmondson is an OG influencer. She’s a writer and a fashion sustainability enthusiast, advocating for thrift over fast fashion and being stylish without the cost of the planet’s well-being. She’s been featured on Forbes100 Environmentalist and has had over a decade of dedication to her cause. She started a campaign called Love Not Landfill that brought awareness to the huge amounts of clothing that end up in landfills. She has a TEDTalk all about the cycles we create in wastefulness and why we should be mindful and action-oriented towards the betterment of the Earth.
The mother of two and self-proclaimed non-traditional environmental educator Dominique Drakeford utilizes her favorite borough and home in Brooklyn to bring awareness to the intersection of style, and sustainability is just as important as other environmental issues. She seeks to heal our relationship with the Earth and rebuild for “equitable change for economic well-being.” Drakeford has a bachelor’s in Business Environmental Management and a master’s degree from NYU in Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Fashion, so the information that she shares can be backed by years of research, and the proof is in the way her community responds.