about me: my thesis, lol ! @mulsymouse
hi! my name is Melissa Lehman (soon to be Tacconi ;) )...
My friends call me Mulsy Mouse.
I bought these clothes second hand, and I want to help you find clothes in a conscious way.
“A few years ago, I took a big long look at myself, and I decided to change my spending habits. .”
anti fast fashion
All my life I've been obsessed with clothes. I grew up in California, and without knowing it my mom sort of enforced a 'low waste' lifestyle. The girls I grew up with spent a lot of money on clothes, and it was cool to wear expensive brands, but my parents didn't allow me to spend money like that. It used to drive me insane that instead of going to a store, we would head down to Joann's fabrics and my mom would buy a pattern and make me a dress instead. We regularly went to antique stores and vintage shops, and I became obsessed with thrifting. I sort of created my indentity out of picking out one of a kind pieces at local shops. I loved searching through piles of stuff and finding a gem. It felt cool to me that no one else had anything like what I had. No, it wasn't 'expensive' or a brand name, but it was different and funky. Sizing at secondhand shops can be all over the place and I learned to like clothing that fit in different ways, after all my mom is a brilliant seamstress. 'I can fix anything'! She'd always say. Then, late in middle school I discovered forever21. Their styles were just like the expensive stores but for SO cheap. I could have the latest trend at an amazing price. I was the queen of H&M and an old friend of mind reminded me that in high school on our choir trip she remembers me coming home with bags and bags of stuff from H&M. I moved my love of finding a gem from a secondhand shop to a fast fashion shop having no idea of the ramifications of that.
Then, everything changed when I watched the documentary 'the true cost' which explores how detrimental the fast fashion industry is to our environment and especially to the people who make our clothes. I can't believe how ignorant and blind I was to the detriment buying these clothes have on the planet. I now am deeply anti fast fashion, and am constantly trying to tell others to stop buying from these companies.
Not only are the folks who make clothes underpaid and usually subject to harsh working conditions, the dyes and chemicals used to make the clothes pollute their air and water supplies, leaving regions susceptible to cancers and many other health issues. It's a huge, nuanced and complicated conversation but, it's also quite simple. Brands like h&m shouldn't be releasing clothes on a monthly basis. 'fast fashion' means they are creating cheap clothes at a very low cost, which are not intended to last.
Sustainable, ethical and local... in Lehman's terms.
“shop small, empower workers with fair wages and don't harm the planet”
Sounds easy enough, right? Not exactly. It can be confusing hearing words like 'sustainable' and 'ethical'. Maybe you're thinking, I can intuit what these mean...but how exactly should this affect what I'm buying? Well I've created a sort of umbrella term which includes these concepts. I like to call the way I shop, 'conscious consuming'. I like my purchases to check at least one of those three boxes, if not all of them. Most importantly, I want the pieces I buy to be sustainable.
Simply, sustainable means the production of the product and the 'end of life' of the product do not harm the planet. There are a lot of factors that go into this but one main one is that a product is biodegradable. I took a class on sustainability at FIDM and learned the phrase 'end of life' and it became obvious to me companies aren't always considering what happens to an item once the consumer is finished with it. Many products do not biodegrade and cannot be recycled...so what's the plan? Before I buy something I ask myself, can this biodegrade? A lot of fabrics are not biodegradable, and as much as we love schlepping them off to the goodwill and hoping someone else can we purchase them, MOST of our clothing ends up in a landfill. So what happens when it sits there? Well, pieces made of cotton just biodegrade! But, blends made with nylons and polyesters stay there a very VERY long time...maybe forever. Ew. Polyester also releases little tiny bits of plastic called micro plastics into our waterways. A new study came out recently that said they found micro plastics in 100% of human organs tested. What? How? ...More on this later. If I freaked you out already just wash your poly in a 'GUPPY FRIEND' it traps micro plastics from getting out of the washing machine.
Ethical is a general term to describe the way the employees are being treated. In general, brands that treat their employees well like to brag about it. You should be able to find information about where clothing is made on their website. Some brands don't neccessarily fully tell the truth about this, but I tend to trust small businesses. Zara claiming that their employees love working in the conditions they do... (they haven't done this I am literally making up this example)....I would be wary of. If a company makes a ton of clothing, it's probably not done in a very great and ethical way. It also likely creates a ton of waste.
Local and small businesses are one in the same in my eyes. Buying from a local, sustainable, ethical small business is seriously a chefs kiss!!!!!!!!
Buying secondhand reduces a garments carbon footprint by 85%. I did not buy any new clothing for over a year, and just recently opened it up a little and started buying from small local sustainable and ethical brands. It is seriously so easy to shop second hand. With apps like poshmark and thred-up you can find basically anything on the internet.
I'm going to talk more about all of this, but just wanted to give a little background. Hope you enjoy my blog, I'd love to hear from you! DM me @mulsymouse, or drop me a line here. Love ya!