By Sica Schmitz
Founder of Bead & Reel, frequent speaker, writer, and sustainable stylist.
This post is proudly sponsored by Kind Karma Jewelry
As someone who doesn’t believe in absolutes or one-size-fits-all approaches (in sizing or ideology), I realize how silly it is that I’m about to share something that I think every person should be wearing.
But it would be too absolute to rule out all absolutes, right?
So, if you’re like me and starting to feel the excitement for summer and the urge for a fresh warm-weather wardrobe, there’s something I’d love to encourage you to at least try on. It’s not a specific style, color, or cut. It’s not a specific ethic (though, of course there are plenty I recommend). And it’s very affordable and doesn’t require dry cleaning!
We may not have the power to immediately change the entire world, but we can always start by helping individuals around us. You never know how far the ripple effect can take a simple act of kindness and transform it into an ultimate change for an entire community.
– Laurinda Lee, Kind Karma Jewelry
This is honestly the biggest thing I see missing across fashion makers and consumers, but I also see it as perhaps one of the easiest things to change. It removes a lot of the need to debate over which fabric is more sustainable or which brand is more ethical and instead narrows our fashion choices down to something very simple: is it kind?
Kind Karma not only sponsored but also inspired this post – I mean, “kind” is literally in their name!
Kindness means something different to every one and every company, and for Kind Karma it means working with at-risk and homeless youth in Toronto, offering workshops and employment through the creation of custom-crafted, affordable jewelry, like the beautiful pieces I am wearing here.
By giving our younger generations an opportunity for dignified jobs, Kind Karma hopes they will become positive influences to others, and ultimately, pay kindness forward by helping others in need.
WHAT I’M WEARING
Necklace: Kind Karma Long Gold Bar Y-Necklace
Earrings: Kind Karma Druzy Quartz Studs
Bralette: Azura Bay Nikki Bralette
Jumpsuit: EcoVibe Apparel Emily Jumpsuit
Sweater: Devinto Analies Wrap Jacket
KINDNESS TO OTHERS
I’ve been thinking a lot about what it means to be kind to others in fashion. Fashion has incredibly long and complex supply chains, and while often I talk about the garment workers or animals impacted by our choices, there are so many lives that fashion touches – and therefore so many opportunities to bring kindness into our closets in both obvious and subtle ways.
- Buy fair trade fashion
- Buy fair trade cotton (which, Fairtrade America now certifies!)
- Buy vegan fashion
- Shop with companies owned by women, POC, LGBTQ, or other less represented leadership
- Shop with local small businesses
- Shop with your friend’s businesses
- Shop with companies who pay their interns
- Shop with companies who give back to charity in meaningful ways
- Shop with companies who employ marginalized populations
- Tell your friends about your favorite kind brands
- Don’t criticize brands, models, and content creators (and if you have a complaint, try these instead)
- Give genuine compliments to people and companies you admire
- Donate your unused fashion to a shelter or individual who can truly use it
With Kind Karma jewelry, each piece is “Made For You.” Not only does this cut down on the possibility of overproduction (which is a major contributor to waste in the fashion industry), but it also celebrates that everyone has a different shape, size, and style,
Something that might be the perfect length for one individual may not be right for others, and I love that you are able to customize every piece in their collection so it will be the perfect fit.
As a petite (read: short) person, I really appreciate this personalization!
WHAT I’M WEARING
Poncho: PERI Hi Lo Poncho Hoodie
KINDNESS TO OURSELVES
In the past 14 years of helping dress women through costume design, styling, and Bead & Reel, I’m not sure if I’ve ever met someone who didn’t loathe some part (or many parts) of their body.
And it’s not our fault that we feel this way – we’re basically trained through the patriarchy and advertising and photoshop to be perpetually dissatisfied with what we look like. But I really have come to believe that being kind to ourselves is as important a part of ethical fashion as being kind to others.
- Ignore the fashion rules
- Ignore the size tag
- Get rid of your scale
- Wear things you truly love
- Buy things that were made with good energy
- Meditate on loving your body
- Cover your most “loathsome” part of yourself in your favorite decadent oil and tell it that you love it. Then do it again. And again. Until you mean it!
- Let go of your criticisms about yourself (and any others have sent your way, too)
- Unfollow anyone who makes you feel badly about your body/life/self
- Make time for your self care
In such a hyper-critical time, what I especially love about Kind Karma’s approach is that they don’t view anyone as lost or hopeless and instead see the humanity in every person – every youth they employ, every customer they supply.
Kind Karma talks about, “for most of [our] youth, sometimes all they require is one person to believe in them, one person to give them encouragement and to empower them with the right tools. Sometimes, all they need is a boost of confidence to help them take the first step towards their goals and positive futures.”
But I think we can all use that in our lives, and every time I wear their jewelry, I am reminded to give – and allow myself to receive – more kindness.
WHAT I’M WEARING
Necklace: Kind Karma Aromatherapy Choker
Shop the full Kind Karma collection here.
Photographer: Julie Lawrence Studios
Make-Up: EccoBella Beauty