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Creating a more ethical closet with mayette raisa villanueva

Creating a more ethical closet with mayette raisa villanueva

Aug 14, 2019



Mayette, one of our fall models, is a Sacramento-based advocate for slow fashion and clean beauty. In this Q&A, we dive into what exactly these terms mean, as well as what we can do to be more mindful of the clothing and skincare products we put on our skin.


In the Trail Light Thermal, Relaxed Responsible Flannel, and Offtrail Pant  


Mayette, you’re all about slow fashion and clean beauty. Let’s start with the first onewhat does slow fashion mean to you?

It’s conscious consumerism. Shopping and supporting transparent brands that produce high quality garments designed for longevity, in a sustainable way that doesn’t harm the environment.

In the Printed Responsible Flannel and Offtrail Pant, with the Packable Tote


Why is it important? 

The fast fashion industry produces so much waste, and we’ve been conditioned to consume more and more—the cycle has to end. Another disappointment in this industry is how workers are treated. They are often underpaid, overworked, and spend their days in unfair and unacceptable working conditions.

In the Offtrail Pant with the Forsake Maya Sneakers


What "counts" as slow fashion?

Anything designed or crafted thoughtfully in regard to production, material sourcing, environmental impact, and employee treatment. On the flip side, shopping secondhand and wearing what you already own also counts as slow fashion because you aren’t contributing more waste and you’re giving garments a long, second life.


Do you have any tips for people who can't afford the clothes usually placed in this category? 

Try to find what you’re looking for secondhand in thrift stores or reselling apps like Poshmark, thredUP, Depop, @selltradeslowfashion on IG, etc. Another tip is to shop one piece at a time. Make a wishlist, start saving, and over a few months, see if you still feel the same about those items and if time can help whittle down that list for you.

In the Long Sleeve Ridley Swing Dress, with The Responsible Flannel, Mariner Beanie, and Forsake Maya Sneakers


For someone looking to create a more ethical closet, where does one start? 

Get to know what's already in your closet! Take each piece out, try it on, rediscover what it means to you, how you feel in it, and explore the versatility it serves. You don't need to replace every item you own immediately. Appreciating the value of the pieces you already have and taking care of them is the first step. The most sustainable thing you can do is wear what you already have.


You mentioned that noticing the toxic ingredients in skincare and makeup products has changed your perspective on the beauty industry. Is it hard to find products that don't have harmful ingredients? 

It’s much easier now than it was five years ago. There are so many independent companies coming up making green beauty products that don’t compromise on quality.

In the Parkside 3/4 Sleeve Tee and 5 Pocket Twill Pant

Where do you look for them?

My main source is through word of mouth online. I follow some great people in the clean beauty space and they share their recent finds on their blogs, Instagram, etc. There are also a few retailers I frequent - Credo Beauty, Integrity Botanicals and The Detox Market.


Do you think companies are getting better at offering products with cleaner ingredients? 

Yes! The movement seems to have taken hold. I’m seeing more conscious brands at local drugstores, which means these products are becoming more accessible to more people.


Do you have any tips for people looking to be more intentional about the products they put on their skin?

I think you have to identify what matters to you and where you draw your line. Some people are purists and don’t settle for anything less than 100% organic. Others are fine with vegan, cruelty-free, paraben-free, or silicone-free products. Personally, I stay away from certain ingredients that I know irritate my skin, and if I can’t easily suss out an ingredient list, I try to find an alternative.

In The Responsible Flannel and 5 Pocket Twill Pant 


How has increasing your awareness of ingredients affected you as a consumer in general?

I feel more mindful. I didn’t start buying clean makeup thinking it would affect my overall buying habits, but now I’m replacing ziplocs and straws with more reusable options and trying to reduce the waste our household creates.


As you may know, our entire mission centers around ocean pollution, to which the beauty industry is a major contributor. How does one avoid all (or some of) the waste associated with these products (shampoo bottles, makeup brushes, etc.)? 

It’s still difficult to avoid, but there are ways to lessen our contributions. There are companies out there that will refill your shampoo/dish soap/laundry detergent container with product. Some beauty brands are developing eco-friendly refill systems for their eyeshadow pans, mascaras, etc. Makeup brushes are a tough one—I think the best thing you can do for things like that is take good care of them. Wash them regularly, store them carefully, make them last as long as you can, and when you feel they’re no longer usable for applying makeup, find another use for them that doesn’t require such precision like applying face masks, dusting dry shampoo or body powder, cleaning electronics, or using them as paint/craft brushes.

Follow along as Mayette explores conscious consumerism and clean beauty. Her blog is full of useful tips and information on brands offering sustainable and ethical alternatives. 


In the Himley Waffle Sweater and Offtrail Pant