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MEET / QWSTION CRITIC

ALDEN WICKER,
FOUNDER OF ECOCULT

OUR CONNECTION TO ALDEN

Having been following Alden’s blog ecocult.com for quite some time, we were thrilled to be featured in her review of sustainable brands exhibiting at SEEK fashion show in Berlin early 2018. She wanted to know more about us and our way of doing things – a fruitful conversation was kicked off about sustainability in design and fashion.

I wish the Hip Pouch were a tad bigger so I could more easily fit my passport and case in there.
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ALDEN WICKER wearing the Bananatex® Hip Pouch in All Black

WHAT LED YOU TO WHAT YOU DO TODAY?

Sustainability has always been interesting to me. When I was in middle school, I remember hearing that we might run out of oil, and that plastic is made from oil, so I started saying no to plastic bags. This was in the 1990s! I took some classes on environmental issues in high school and college. Then the food movement, led by Michael Pollan and the books and movies "Food Inc.", "Supersize Me", "Fast Food Nation", etc. really transformed my health after college and deepened my passion for thinking about my impact on the world… And I started thinking, if it matters where our food comes from, shouldn’t it matter where our fashion comes from?

This was in 2010, and there was only one brand I could think of that was making sustainable clothing you could wear to the office. I had a silly little blog where I put up bad pictures and wrote about these things. I got an internship at Huffington Post Green making cute animal slideshows (stuff like “8 Adorable Animals Who Are Also Endangered”), then a job on an amazing editorial team writing about personal finance for women. But still, most websites and blogs around sustainability were really dry and into guilt tripping. There was nothing out there for me. So I decided to really go for it. I quit my job, started freelancing, and shut down my neglected blog and relaunched a new one as EcoCult, bringing a journalist’s eye plus a passion for positive impact to this world of blogging and fashion.

I care deeply about finding out the truth.

WHAT DO YOU CARE ABOUT IN LIFE?
I care deeply about finding out the truth. Many fashion advocates play fast and loose with facts and data – their goal is to shock us into action. But is it the right kind of action if it’s based on a falsehood? If the fashion industry wants to be taken seriously and play a role in the future of our planet, it needs to be held to a high standard by watchdogs and journalists like me.

HOW DO YOU ADDRESS THIS WITH YOUR WORK?
I’m always researching and talking to people to figure out what the core issue of the matter is, and then writing it up for EcoCult or another publication so that it’s clear and accessible to people who are curious.

WHAT DO YOU LOOK FOR IN THE THINGS YOU BUY?
There’s a lot to consider! I prefer pure natural materials to synthetics or blends, both for comfort, looks, and sustainability. It should be timeless, versatile, and long-lasting, so I will wear it at least 30 times before I’m done with it. I try to avoid dry-clean only items if possible, because dry cleaning is expensive and also pretty toxic most of the time. Some of my personal favorite fabrics are organic cotton (GOTS-certified is the gold standard), alpaca, merino wool (especially if it’s from a regenerative farm), vegetable-tanned leather, and washable silk. I also look for nontoxic dyes, and some information on where the item was made and under what conditions. Most of all, I want to know that I can trust the brand who made it – what’s my gut feeling on them?

NOW THAT YOU'VE USED THE HIP POUCH FOR A WHILE, WHAT ARE YOUR FINAL THOUGHTS ON IT?
I love it! I wish I had it in black and white for different situations. It’s really helpful while traveling or going to a warehouse party. I wish it were a tad bigger so I could more easily fit my passport and case in there. And every once in a while the strap slips out of the loop – that could be made tighter.

Also, a friend saw it and asked if you make a nice camera bag. He says he’s been looking for a minimalist one but hasn’t found one to his liking yet.

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