storyteller, founder of sustinable fashion blog ADIMAY
“be mindful of harmful narratives of constant output and productivity. that’s not our purpose here.”
Aditi Mayer is an advocate for style, for sustainability and for social justice — equally and all at once. it’s an interestingly specific focus, and one that’s only gaining momentum as the current state of the world continues to expose the connection of systemic flaws in our society. here, Aditi on how she ended up where she is today — and what she hopes for the future.
what do you do — professionally, personally, passionately?
“i define myself as a storyteller who explores the domains of style, sustainability, and social justice — and, more specifically, the intersections of all three.”
you explore this intersection of style, sustainability, and social justice on your blog ADIMAY. how did you land on this focus?
“fashion is my chosen vehicle to help illuminate the inherent ties between the environmental movement with social justice issues. fashion is inherently political, from the politics of labor to the way to the ways that environmental injustice disproportionately affects people of color. and yet at the same time, fashion is an incredibly powerful medium that allows us to explore our aesthetics, identities, cultures and more. fashion gives the means to explore and unpack questions of identity and culture on a personal level, while also understanding our positionality in larger systems of power and injustice.”
what path led you here?
“my journey in sustainable fashion began almost seven years ago, after the 2013 Rana Plaza Factory Collapse in Bangladesh. Rana Plaza framed one of the biggest industrial disasters of human history — an eight-story factory collapse that killed more than 1,134 workers and injured over 2,500. it’s almost fair to call it not just an industrial disaster, but homicide: the collapse of Rana Plaza was not an unpredictable disaster. structural cracks were identified the day before the building’s collapse, and workers had complained about sounds coming from the building. however, due to pressure from upper management, workers were called into work the next day to finish orders.
when this happened, i was just starting college — and my blog, too. at the time, my understanding of sustainable fashion was quite elementary — i always describe my blog as a platform that grew alongside me and my nuanced understanding of sustainability.
Rana Plaza catalyzed a new understanding of the fashion industry, an industry that disproportionately affected people of color globally (especially women), fueled climate degradation, and was predicated on colonial values of extraction and exploitation as the means for exponential growth.”
something you’ve learned along the way?
“i often look at the fashion industry through a lens of decolonization. here’s one fact that i find quite illuminating: as noted in The Cut, taking a look at fast fashion from a macro perspective reveals that supply chains for most major clothing and apparel manufacturers have the same world trade routes as 150 years ago — in other words: during the height of European colonial exploitation.”
we are living in crazy times. What is life like right now for you?
COVID has presented a great deal of challenges in places where there were already cracks in the system — such as the current plight of garment workers internationally. i’ve been putting my efforts into organizing where I can (often digitally now), and also trying to find the time and space to focus on myself. one respite has been focusing on building my home! i’ve also had a great amount of time to tend to my new plant babies, which is great.”
what’s important to your daily routine (now more than ever)?
“my time outdoors has become special — there was a point in early quarantine times where even hiking trails / parks were closed in Los Angeles. but even getting a daily long walk in my neighborhood completely changes my mood and energy.”
how are you staying fit?
“those daily walks, biking, occasional yoga sessions with my mom!”
how are you staying connected with friends and family?
“i feel like i often become all “Zoom”-ed out for business meetings, so i’m a fan of texting right now.”
what are you listening to? reading?
“i’m listening to Kimberle Crenshaw’s new podcast, Intersectionality Matters. i also just got my order of Alok Menon’s book, Beyond the Gender Binary, and i’m excited to jump into that as well.”
what are you wearing everyday?
“i adore the Edit Shirt — it reminds me of the silhouette and neckline found in a lot of South Asian clothing, specifically kurtas.”
all-around life hack you swear by?
“force yourself to spend at least one hour outdoors! photosynthesize, embrace the sun!”
advice to other women navigating it all?
“have grace for yourself. be mindful of harmful narratives of constant output and productivity. that’s not our purpose here.
“lead with love; low ego, high impact; move at the speed of trust: the three organizing guidelines for the Black Lives Matter Movement.”