Lexy Silverstein: You’ll never believe who I have on this week’s episode of eLEXYfy: The Place for Fashion Podcast. She’s a content creator focused on slow sustainable fashion. Hello, Catherine. How are you?
Project Catherine: Hi Lexy, nice to meet you. I’m Project Catherine for those who are listening. I’m so excited to be on your podcast. It’s an honor and a privilege to sit here and have a chat with you about all things sustainable.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Lexy Silverstein: Yes. Oh my God. Well, I’m so, so, so excited to have you on today. So for those who don’t know you, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Project Catherine: Yes, well, I am a content creator in the slow fashion space and I’m based out in Sydney, Australia. So I’m on the opposite time zone of Lexy. I started this Instagram during the pandemic, like a lot of people, but I was mostly focusing on YouTube. But then I realized Instagram was a bit more rewarding than YouTube and less work. It’s my lifestyle because I also work full-time, so I kind of stuck out with Instagram and yeah, it’s kind of grown since the pandemic.
Lexy Silverstein: Amazing. That’s so amazing. Yeah, I have a YouTube channel. It’s just, I’m like, “Oh my God, I have to get a YouTube video out tomorrow.” You just reminded me. I’m like, “I’m stressed.” Yeah, Instagram, it’s just so confusing now because it just keeps changing its algorithm and I’m like, “I have no idea what’s happening.” But I love social media because it’s just such a great way of meeting other people that have like-minded videos.
Project Catherine: That’s what I like about it too. I’ve discovered that as more and more I grow on Instagram, like, “Oh, I actually like talking to like-minded people but also brands as well.”
Lexy Silverstein: Yeah, it’s been a great way of reaching out to other people and brands, and I feel like the whole sustainable fashion side of things is really growing on social media. So, it’s been great to kind of educate others and then also meet people, but we’ll get into that later.
So how did you get into fashion?
Lexy Silverstein: So, how did you first get into more of the fashion side of things?
Project Catherine: Well, I think as a small child, in my early teens, I did go to school with Margaret Zang who’s now the editor of Vogue China, and she’s quite a well-known blogger internationally, as well as being an Australian blogger.
So, she kind of inspired me to start blogging. I think at 12 years old, I had a Blogspot with blog posts which, if you remember, but yeah, so I started blogging there with like a few of my friends and I, and then it was just being like on and off, and you know, then during the pandemic, I wanted to start YouTube, and then that’s how I got into Instagram and TikTok. My TikTok has also been another platform for me to grow and educate people.
So yeah, it’s been an ever-evolving passion of mine, which has started, stopped, started, stopped, and yeah, finally found a rhythm and a groove, and yeah, it’s kind of just I’ve just continued just creating things on there.
Lexy Silverstein: Yeah, that’s amazing. I feel like that’s so funny because whenever I mentioned to people I started blogging and stuff at like 13, they’re always like, “Uh, that’s really young,” and so I don’t think I’ve ever met someone that did it also as young as me, so it’s great to meet a fellow blogger when it comes to blogging and getting into fashion.
I feel like that is a common theme that people that are into fashion are just always into fashion as a young kid. I always look back at videos of myself when I was a kid, and it was like me doing like a fashion show or like I used to do the last video with my dad, and I’m like, “And you guys, you guys shouldn’t have been shocked when I went into fashion and podcasting and stuff,” yeah, because you can literally see so much in like my childhood home videos. Like I’m like, that’s so funny.
Project Catherine: With my friends and I, we used to do photo shoots just out on the streets, and dress up in colorful clothes and stuff like that, and just kind of express our creativity through fashion and photography.
Lexy Silverstein: That’s amazing. I love it, I love it, I love it for us.
How did you get into sustainability?
Lexy Silverstein: Now, more on the sustainability side, how did you first get into that?
Project Catherine: Yeah, I think it was a very natural progression. My background is also in the construction architecture side, so during uni, I was exposed to sustainable practices in the construction industry. So, I guess that kind of also translated to my passion and interest with slow fashion, so kind of come hand in hand.
And then I also realized that I don’t consume a lot of clothing compared to the general public, I reckon. I’ve always wanted to save money so I hardly buy any clothes, and my mom has an amazing taste in fashion, and so I’ve just borrowed a lot of clothes from her, so I haven’t felt the need to buy. And I realized, hey, there’s actually like a word for this, it’s like slow fashion, and so I kind of coined that term and made it my brand at Project Catherine.
What is slow fashion?
Lexy Silverstein: Amazing, yeah that’s so cool. And so, what exactly is slow fashion? Obviously, I know about it, but for our listeners, can you tell us or tell them what low fashion is?
Project Catherine: So a lot of people associate slow fashion with buying sustainable clothes, but it’s not just that. It’s mostly about reducing your consumption of clothing, of garments, of pieces. So basically, buying less but also buying quality-made garments so that they last longer. And basically, you kind of just want your clothing to last for the rest of your life. And also consuming styles that are trendless or suits your lifestyle.
So you might not like, you know, basic neutral pieces, but whatever reflects your lifestyle and your personal style. Something that can last for a really long time, and I hope all the pieces I’ve carefully collected now will be passed on to my children, just like how my mom’s passed on her clothes to me. So yeah, that’s basically slow fashion in a nutshell.
Lexy Silverstein: I love it, yeah, and I feel like that, you know, it has a lot to do with like, kind of minimalism or not necessarily, but like, like pieces that have, I mean, I feel like it’s commonly like, self-fashion is commonly associated with minimalism, whether it’s wearing like, you said, like wearing the neutrals and just sticking to like maybe a few colors.
But it’s also basically like creating one big capsule wardrobe, and then just like making new outfits out of that. And for anyone that doesn’t know what a capsule wardrobe is, it’s basically like if you collect a few pieces and then just style them in a bunch of different ways, rather than constantly buying new things, just kind of using what you already have and building up a wardrobe that you can just constantly keep re-wearing.
A lot of people do like, when they’re going on big trips or something, they’ll do like capsule wardrobe, like, “With me to Italy,” and so you’re bringing like, a button-down, a neutral button-down, and a new button-down, a white button-down, and then a jean skirt and a black skirt, and one pair of boots, and then you’re just constantly re-wearing those things and styling them in different ways. I don’t know if I can put that in a great way.
Project Catherine: That was a great explanation. But also, following from what you’re saying, like, I don’t believe it’s just like neutral pieces, it’s basically pieces that you are going to wear on a regular basis. So, if you prefer to wear, you know, floral prints or colorful, vibrant colors, then that’s basically your capsule wardrobe, and you should be curating your wardrobe to have these pieces because you know that you’re going to constantly wear them. So, it’s more your personal style.
So I feel like there’s a misconception with what capsule wardrobes are. It’s really just a wardrobe that is made to your life, and it’s not just about neutral pieces which, yeah, hopefully we can educate people on that.
People get so, you know, a bit thrown off by like, “Oh, I don’t have a capsule wardrobe.” I’m like, “Yeah, you do. It’s whatever you wear the most.”
Lexy Silverstein: My friend actually just came over and went through my closet because we were doing a photoshoot together and he was styling it. He was like, “You’ve got such a great collection of different pieces here.” And I was like, “Thank you.” Like, I honestly feel like I’ve collected so many fun and unique pieces that I will legitimately keep for the rest of my life. That’s my capsule wardrobe. I’m kind of the opposite of neutral and stuff. I love wearing crazy colors and all that jazz. While I still borrow clothes and stuff like that, I do have a good little collection of clothing that I will keep for the rest of my life, and that’s my little capsule wardrobe.
So I completely agree, it doesn’t have to be just neutrals. I feel like yes, that’s a kind of misconception, but also is something that if you are more of a neutrals person, it’s definitely awesome. It’s like what you were saying, it’s whatever your version of a capsule wardrobe is.
Project Catherine: Yeah, exactly. I’ve seen a lot of Youtube videos about capsule wardrobes and it’s literally always like neutral or very basic pieces, just like a T-shirt, but if you like ruffles, then you know that you can incorporate that into your capsule wardrobe. It’s your personality or whatever is suited to your lifestyle.
What tips do you have for someone who is looking to start being sustainable or is having a hard time transitioning over?
Lexy Silverstein: So, what tips could you give to someone who’s looking to start being sustainable or having a hard time transitioning over? Just tips in general for trying to become sustainable.
Project Catherine: I think the first thing that really helped me was unsubscribing from email notifications and marketing emails from brands that constantly bombard you with sales and new trendy styles. That lures you every time. Every time it comes to your mailbox, I was like, “Oh my god, they’re having a sale. I must buy something.” So, getting rid of that temptation will help you so much to just kind of help you on your journey to sustainable fashion.
From there, I think just kind of removing yourself from things that make you want to shop for new clothing. So, maybe stop watching TV shows that make you want to buy into that type of style.
From there, try to figure out your own personal style, looking at your wardrobe for what’s the pieces that you wear most often, and then educating yourself about the impacts of fashion on the environment because that will also open your mind to the negative impact it’s having on our environment.
I think that will kind of throw you off fast fashion as well.
Lexy Silverstein: That’s so interesting because I feel like that’s a commonly asked question that I ask guests on my podcast. Like, “Oh, could you give…?” And the unsubscribing from emails is something that I do literally all the time. And I probably could have spent a day unsubscribing to all of them because I’m just slowly doing it one at a time. But that’s something that’s so smart to think about. Like, I’ve never even thought about that. I just unsubscribe to them now because it’s like, I don’t support you and I don’t want you to email me.
I do have to say, I remember I unsubscribed to Zara years ago. And then I had to resubscribe because I had an assignment for my school where they were like, “Oh, can you guys subscribe to your guys’ brands that you’re working on?” Because I think we were given the assignment was like, you’re given a brand that’s been canceled or something, or like, it doesn’t follow the best practices, and then you’re changing it.
So, I think I did Zara or whatever because I was like, “No, they’re fast fashion.” And so I remember, like, recently I resubscribed and I was like, “That’s so funny because I literally remember taking the time to unsubscribe to these places because I don’t support them anymore.” And it’s such a tiny, minimal thing that you don’t think about, but it’s very active. So I love that you said that because I don’t think anyone’s ever had that response before, but it’s such a smart thing to do.
Project Catherine: Oh my gosh, I was so tempted by their sales! Because every time you shop for something online, sometimes they make you put in your email address, and they won’t let you leave that page until you’ve signed up. So, by mitigating that, it actually really releases you from having the need to buy or consume new clothing. So, I think that’s definitely the first step that everyone can start with.
It’s so easy, like, if an email comes in and you don’t want to see it, just unsubscribe. You don’t have to sit down in a day and do it all, you can just do it as the email comes through. So, yeah, it’s pretty achievable, I reckon.
Lexy Silverstein: I love that. I do that all the time and I never even thought about how effective it was until you said it. That’s such a small thing to do, but it has such a big impact because you’re right. Obviously, if I see a fast fashion store emailing me, I’m like, “No, I don’t care.” But back in the day, when I didn’t know what sustainable fashion was, those things… those “Oh my god, 50% off the whole store,” I’d be like, “Oh my god, I’m buying the whole store.”
Project Catherine: You don’t have that much money, but it’s 50% off.
What is the #ProjectRewear Movement?
Lexy Silverstein: So, let’s get into Project ReWear. So, what is the hashtag Project Re-Wear movement?
Project Catherine: So, I guess it’s like a play-off of Project Catherine. All my collaborations, all the posts I do, or the reels that I upload are all like mini-projects. And so, with the Project ReWear, it’s a small movement, a little project that we can all take to get a big part of together and just post our outfits that we constantly repeat. To kind of just share with the general public like, “hey, it’s okay to outfit repeat. You don’t need to feel ashamed about wearing the same thing over and over again. It’s actually totally okay that we need to normalize outfit repeating.”
And so, I just started this hashtag because I think a majority of my audience is interested in sustainable fashion or are sustainable fashion creators or people who practice sustainable fashion in their lifestyle. So yeah, I just wanted it to be something that this Project Catherine community can do together and show off the fits. And then I just scroll into the hashtags and kind of engage with my audience and see what they’re up to.
It’s pretty empowering to see that a lot of people are excited to be part of this movement. I thought it would not have much engagement with it, but yeah, it’s nice to see that everyone’s kind of jumped on board with it.
Lexy Silverstein: That’s amazing. I love outfit repeating, and I think that it’s also just such an easy way of being sustainable. Not even if it’s outfit repeating, but also if you’re just constantly rewearing a garment. I think I wear this sweatshirt that I’m wearing now multiple times a week, and I’m like, “It’s comfy, and I love it, and it makes me feel confident, so why not just re-wear it?”
And I completely agree. I feel like the mindset, especially with fast fashion, but just like in general, is like, “Oh, you have a new event, you have to wear something new for it.” That used to kind of be my mindset, and now I’m like, ‘No, I have this one beautiful dress, and I’ll wear it to almost every wedding or bar mitzvah or whatever.'”
And then that’s just like big events. I mean, that’s also throughout the week. One of my favorite things to do at school and work is like a practice runway show. So, I’ll wear an outfit, and then if I don’t get a picture in it, or even if I can get a picture in it because again, no shame in outfit rewearing, but I’ll wear whatever to work and kind of get a, “Oh, is this cute enough to get pictures in it?” Or, “Maybe I’ll when I’m not getting pictures today.”
So, over the weekend, if I’m going on a photo shoot with my friends, I’ll just bring the outfit that I already wore earlier that week, because I didn’t get a picture in it and I want to re-wear it.
Project Catherine: I do that as well.
Lexy Silverstein: I pick out clothes for work, and then I’m like, “Oh, but let me get a picture in it later in the week.” But you can also just get a picture in it and then a week later get another picture in it. Like, there’s no shaming outfit rewearing.
Project Catherine: You can archive the outfits that you have in your wardrobe. So, you can always refer back to your phone and go, “Oh, that was a really enjoyable outfit that I liked wearing. So, why don’t I wear it again because it made me feel this certain way.” And then yeah, just now I look back at my Instagram like, “Oh, I haven’t worn this outfit in a while and you know I can wear it for this occasion.”
A lot of people feel like they don’t have anything to wear in your wardrobe but if you’ve taken a photo and you just look back and go, “Hey, actually that outfit was kind of cool,” then you can just re-wear it.
When did you start the #ProjectRewear Movement and how can people join?
Lexy Silverstein: Yeah, that is amazing. So, what made you like, when did you start this kind of like hashtag movement and like why, and then how can people kind of like join the movement?
Project Catherine: When did I start this? I think I started it before Christmas because it was like Christmas break and I didn’t really have much to do. Backtracking, now remember, my friend Bella, who I met through Instagram and now she’s like my content creator bestie, she was like, “You should totally start an Instagram where, you know, we can all share our outfit repeats.” And I was like, “Oh, okay, that’s a good idea.”
So yeah, I just started that during Christmas, well, it was Christmas break and so that I can make announcements to my audience. And then from there, I constantly, I think on a weekly basis, like to have a look to see what people are posting on there. And sometimes I do shoutouts just to let my other audience know that this is happening and if you want to join, all you have to do is put the hashtag #projectrewear in your caption or down in the comments section. And then yeah, I’ll come scroll through and yeah, if you haven’t been featured on my stories yet, then I’ll do a little shoutout.
Lexy Silverstein: That’s amazing, so everyone, if you ever repeat an outfit, which you should all the time because it’s amazing to do and there’s no shame in it, make sure you hashtag #projectrewear.
What are some sustainable brands that you like to shop at?
Lexy Silverstein: Yeah, that’s so cool, and I love that your Instagram is Project Catherine, so you’re just kind of doing all these sustainable projects and kind of keeping the continuity between all of them. So that’s just amazing. So what are some kind of sustainable brands that you like to shop at or are you more of a thrifter, or what brands do you like?
Project Catherine: Um, I’m a mixture of everything you can do to be sustainable. So, you know, rent clothing, I shop from sustainable brands, free web, just shop my mom’s closet, or thrift, but my favorite sustainable brand would be Citizen Wolf. They’re a Sydney-based t-shirt company. So what they do is that they custom fit the t-shirt or custom make it to your body measurement. So before you buy a t-shirt, they’ll ask you for your body measurements, and then you give it to them, and then they actually cut the t-shirt to two sides so it fits you perfectly. And you can also go into the factory, somewhere in Sydney, not sure if you’ll be familiar because you’re from the states, but yeah, you’re actually able to go in and then they can also do in-shop consultation, and they also produce the garments in that factory.
So, it’s pretty transparent. You’re able to see where your garments are made, and it kind of assures you that the people that work for them who make the clothing are paid like a living wage and stuff. So yeah, that’s definitely a brand that I benchmark when shopping for sustainable fashion brands, but they mostly just produce t-shirts.
Another brand that I also like is Jeff Avenue. So I think a lot of people will know Matilda Jeff. Many people will know her as an influencer, Instagrammer, and content creator. She’s based out in the UK but gets all her garments made in Portugal. Portugal is known for ethical working wages and safe and good working conditions compared to the rest of Europe. That’s why she’s picked the home base as Portugal. Those are just my two favorite brands at the moment.
Lexy Silverstein: I love Matilda, and I didn’t know that she even had a fashion brand until recently. When I checked it out and saw that it was sustainable, I was like, “Yes, queen!” So many people love her. A lot of people know her and I love that when you see big influencers promoting sustainable, but not only that, she’s taking the step further and making her own brand sustainable, so I really love that.
It’s amazing to see bigger influencers, especially because the content creative industry is very supportive of fast fashion, so I love to see bigger influencers supporting sustainability.
Is fashion different in Australia?
Lexy Silverstein: So you live in Australia, and it’s so amazing. I want to visit! Is fashion very different in Australia? Has living there influenced the whole sustainability kick? I don’t know if you’ve ever been to the States. I love when people call it that. I just say America.
Project Catherine: Is it the US, America, or the States? I don’t know which phrase to use.
Lexy Silverstein: I say the US or America, but whenever I talk to someone that’s not from here, they always say the States, and I feel like it makes it sound fancier than it is for some reason, so I’m like, “the States.”
Project Catherine: I do have a friend from LA, and she calls it the States. While I was living in college in Sydney, I also had a few friends from the States as well, so they always referred to it as the States.
When I compare our styles, they’re so different. I can tell how an American dresses. I don’t know how; it’s just so different. I think Australian fashion is more like office wear, with blazers and trousers.
I know NYC fashion is kind of based off that, but when I compare LA, it’s more casual and relaxed with vibrant colors, prints, and stuff like that. In Australia, it’s more minimal. I think in Sydney, because we’re based around the coast, it’s just linen, natural fibers, oversized baggy shirts, and pants because it gets so freaking hot here. Hats and oversized shirts, but then you wear your bikini top underneath and shorts like that.
So yeah, it is quite different. I think it’s probably very reflective of our environment. Around here, it’s very blue-green, earthy tones as well, but there are people who wear vibrant colors and stuff, I guess to suit someone.
But it’s hard to say. I feel like I’m generalizing like Australians and the States like that, but there’s definitely a difference, I guess, in styles.
Lexy Silverstein: Like even in the states, like, I feel like even, like, you can tell such a big difference between, like, you were saying with LA and New York, and Miami and LA, and those are just the major cities, but like there’s such an obvious difference to it. And I feel like what’s funny is like, I feel like, well, I don’t really have a set style, so I feel like maybe some days I’m more LA, but like I live in LA, and I feel like myself or New York, or even Miami sometimes.
But even compared to Paris, because I’m going to Paris over this summer, and I’ve been looking for inspo, and I feel like, like over in Paris, it’s also kind of like, you were saying about Australia, it’s very like more on the whole, like, blazer, oversized, like…
Project Catherine: It’s more sophisticated.
Lexy Silverstein: Very sophisticated.
Project Catherine: Yeah, here in Sydney, Australia, or in Australia in general, it’s like relaxed, oversized looks, and then LA would be just… would be, the states is a whole mishmash because you’ve got New York.
Lexy Silverstein: It’s all over the place over here, you know? But it’s so funny because I obviously want to wear my own style in Paris because that’s like, I want to get pictures in my own style. I don’t want to try to be a different style, but I have been looking for inspo, and in Paris, and as you were saying, it’s very sophisticated, but it’s also a lot of those neutrals, which is just like funny because I feel like, like my fashion is very colorful, and I do think that’s because I live in America and just like, I don’t know, yeah, because or I feel like style over here is super colorful, not saying that it’s not other places, but when I look at Pinterest, yeah, like, I feel like it is more neutral. And then you were saying that Australia is also very neutral, so maybe that’s just like an American thing, I don’t know.
Project Catherine: When are you going to Paris?
Lexy Silverstein: I’m going in like, end of June, early July. I’m going with my school, very exciting, yeah. But I want to go to Australia so badly. It’s funny, me and my boyfriend, we’ve been together for a really long time now, and we always just like, make-believe our future, I don’t know, and we’re like, “Oh, like, where would we live?” And I’m like, “I don’t want to live in America, like, I want to live in like, Italy, like southern Italy so badly.” And he’s like, “Oh yeah, like, I would do that.”
And he’s like, “You know where I really want to live, though?” And I’m like, “Where?” And he’s like, “Australia.” And I’m like, “We can live there. I’d be down.”
Project Catherine: It’s very nice to live here, because I lived in Europe for a year in the Netherlands, and I don’t know, I just felt like I just could never get used to it. It’s so different over there, and with the states as well, just from news and stuff, and when I traveled there a while ago, just I don’t know, like a mixture of everything, like in between you get best of both worlds.
Lexy Silverstein: Yeah, with me wanting to live in Italy and not knowing a literal word in Italian, but I’ll learn it at some point. We’ll get there. But no, he always talks about Australian accents and how he thinks they’re so cool. And I’m like, “You do realize if we went to Australia, you wouldn’t have an Australian accent, right?”
Project Catherine: Maybe your kids.
Lexy Silverstein: If I’m ever in Australia, I’ll let you know because it seems really cool.
Project Catherine: You should go to Sydney, because I know that people usually go down to Melbourne to travel, but you know, Sydney is the coolest.
Lexy Silverstein: I’m gonna have to check it out. As a sustainable fashion advocate, I feel like I have to travel the world that I’m attempting to save, just because I want to see how beautiful it is. Because I know it’s beautiful from living in America and seeing the beautiful parts here, but I know that there are even more beautiful places, and I just want to see it. So I’m like, “I want to travel everywhere at some point.” Sydney seems so cool, all of Australia seems so cool, all of everywhere seems so cool.
How fashion impacts everyone
Project Catherine: It is a beautiful country, and I guess that’s why sustainable fashion means so much to me is because I am exposed to the natural environment because I basically live in it. The beach is probably like a 10-minute run to get to, and sometimes when you go swimming, you see bits of plastic or face masks just floating in the ocean, and you’re like, “Oh god, that’s terrible.” You just hear about the effects of global warming in the water. The other day, we had a great white shark attack, and it literally ate someone. Yeah, it kind of makes you think, why are they swimming closest to the shore? Are they running out of food and stuff like that?
And then fashion is basically the largest polluter of greenhouse emissions, as well as waste. But the same old fashion, I mean, fashion in general does have a huge impact on the environment, and everyone consumes fashion. Everyone’s got to wear clothes. So, I think everyone needs to just be a bit more conscious about their consumption of fashion.
Lexy Silverstein: No, I 100% agree, and I think that what I love so much about fashion is that even if you think that you’re exempt from the fashion industry and even if you don’t care what clothes you wear, if you wear sweats every day, you’re still wearing something every single day, and you’re making the decision to put that specific thing on your body. If you’ve ever seen The Devil Wears Prada, there’s that really amazing scene where Meryl Streep goes, “Well, you think you’re exempt,” and then she goes on this whole rant about where the color blue from Andy’s sweater came from, and how she thinks that she just got it out of a goodwill bin, but actually, it was made by millions of designers for millions of dollars, and that’s my favorite quote of any movie, and I mention it all the time.
But, I think that that’s what’s so interesting about fashion, is that it legitimately affects every single one of us. We wear it every single day, and well, yeah, I mean, most people wear it every single day. I don’t know if people go out there naked, but I feel like most people, a majority of people wear it every single day.
Project Catherine: A majority of people are affected by fashion. There are garment workers in third world countries that make our clothes. There are people in Africa that… our second-hand clothes that don’t get donated to charities end up being shipped to African countries. Then, the powerful nations such as the US produce the majority of fast fashion brands. So, everyone has some sort of connection to the fashion industry.
Lexy Silverstein: Definitely, and what’s also so interesting is that I feel like it’s a misconception that there are only sweatshops in other developing countries, which isn’t true at all. There are literally sweatshops in Los Angeles. People working in them are under terrible conditions and getting paid literally…
Brands who are unaware of sustainability and who greenwash
Project Catherine: It’s also immigrants that come through. Just so that you brought this up, there was this US brand that wanted to collaborate with me, and then their website was very vague about where their garments were made and where they sourced their cotton, etc.
Anyways, I asked the founder, “I was just wondering, could you share with me who your manufacturer is?” and she sent me a link. Basically, that manufacturer was super closed off about who they were and stuff. I couldn’t find any information about them. I even tried emailing them, but yeah. I just wanted to make sure that their factory was paying the workers a fair living wage. I could have just taken the founder’s words as the truth, but I just wanted to do a bit more digging, a bit more investigation. Unfortunately, I didn’t proceed with collaboration because there was just not enough transparency to back up anything.
While I was researching about garment factories in LA, I kind of found out that there is still exploitation happening. I think there was a fast fashion brand, I can’t remember who it was, but they were also using garment factories in LA, and they were still underpaying people as well. I was like, “Wow, this is still happening.”
Lexy Silverstein: It’s crazy. It’s so crazy. While you think that maybe it doesn’t necessarily affect you, a lot of people I talk to think it’s happening somewhere else…
Project Catherine: And it’s happening in your backyard.
Lexy Silverstein: I live in the fashion district in LA, and it’s legitimately happening a block away from my place. There are sweatshops in downtown LA, and I’m like, “So actually, it 100% affects you.” Even if it was in a completely different country, why does that still not affect you? If you were in those people’s shoes, wouldn’t you want someone else fighting for you?
I think that it’s just so important that we all educate each other, and I’m so glad that you really took the time to research the brand that was reaching out to you. I feel like greenwashing is also another huge problem, and I feel like if the brand’s not being transparent, there’s a reason why they’re not being transparent.
Project Catherine: If they weren’t able to provide me with the information, then you know that they’re not even interested. They’re just using sustainability just to market their clothing to be a bit more, just a bit more attractive to consumers. And the founder wasn’t able to provide me with more information. I was just like, “You definitely haven’t done your research as well, so how can I effectively promote your brand if you’re not able to give me these answers, straight up?”
Lexy Silverstein: Yeah, no, definitely. I remember an underwear brand from however long ago reached out to me, and they were like, “Yeah, like we sell our things in recyclable packaging.”
Project Catherine: Brands are like, “Okay, so yeah, my products aren’t made of sustainable fibers, but the packaging I use is made out of recyclable, compostable plastic, and we make sure that we use like sustainable stickers and we package it up in like tissue paper.”
That’s not enough. That’s just your packaging. It really isn’t your supply chain, or the things that you are selling. What are they made out of? It’s not just your packaging. You’re not selling me the packaging. No, you’re selling me the clothes. I don’t care what you are packaging it in. Well, I do care, but I actually care more about the rest of your brand.
Lexy Silverstein: And it’s, oh my god, one of my, like, it’s not funny, but every time I see it, I’m like, “Do they really think like?” I laugh a little because I’m like, “Do people really see that as okay?” It’s this razor company. I can’t even remember, but whenever on TV, whenever it’s on TV, they always go, “Oh, packaging is recyclable,” and I go, “The literal razor, the literal razor that you’re selling is made out of plastic.” And I’m like, “But, oh, but the packaging.”
Project Catherine: They’re just trying to take the attention away from how the razor isn’t sustainable to their packaging, and I’m like, “Don’t, don’t do that, please.” As soon as they do that, I’m just like, “Not sorry, I can’t collaborate. It’s, you don’t get the message.”
Lexy Silverstein: But it blows my mind. One of my favorite TikTokers, I had around my podcast a few weeks ago, and her @ is like ReLauren. Um, and she got sent this cake by TikTok, I don’t remember exactly why, but the whole cake came in like this huge plastic, like there was so much plastic wrap around it. And in the next TikTok, she literally, she said, “I don’t know why they sent this like a sustainable content creator this much plastic.” And then she in the next TikTok, she wrote, she like told us that she wrote this heavy detailed email to TikTok about how she appreciated the cake but how the packaging was just like not it and how they shouldn’t do that. And I was like, “Queen.”
Do you feel that it’s okay to call out brands?
Project Catherine: Do you feel like it’s okay to call out brands? I do, I really do. I mean, I am a part of Remake, and I feel like that’s like one of their biggest things is always being like, “Email this brand, email this brand, like tag them on social, comment on their posts,” and it’s been really effective.
We were talking about how one of the biggest wage theft cases (I think it was in India) happened recently, and how we were just doing nothing but bombarding people’s emails, like H&M and stuff like that. And then recently, they sent an email saying…
Project Catherine: Yeah, they’re going to do it.
Lexy Silverstein: Yeah, they’re going to pay their garment workers, and so that’s amazing. But I think that it’s really truly effective in that if brands… I think that it sucks that we have to do it, because brands should just want to do the right thing, but I guess that’s unrealistic.
So seeing that consumers really do care about this, and that we’re going to boycott these brands if they don’t change their ways, and they’re going to lose money if they don’t change their ways, like if that’s the action that needs to be taken to change their ways, then it’s effective, and that’s all that matters, is that in the end, they’re going to change their ways.
Project Catherine: Yeah, that’s a good point. Yeah, that’s good because I was always like, “Oh my gosh.” This brand the other day, Glassons, reached out to me about their sustainable puffer jackets. I was like, “Oh, cringe.” And you’re just reaching out to the same content creators so that you can, you know, greenwash.
Lexy Silverstein: Yeah. One of my least favorite things is when a fast fashion brand emails me, and I’m like, “You obviously didn’t take the time in the day, and not even to promote a sustainable thing. Like, they just reach out to me, and they’re like, “You want to work together?” And I’m like, “Did you even, I don’t know, glance at my profile?” Because if you did, the first thing you see in the bio is sustainable and thrifted content. Like, that is the first thing there. So I’m like, it really just, like, like you said, leaves a bad taste in my mouth because I’m like, you obviously just don’t care about the people that you’re working with, which is obvious already, because you’re like a fast fashion brand that probably doesn’t pay your workers,
Project Catherine: I still see people collaborating with them, and I’m like, they don’t care about you. They really don’t. They just want to make a profit off of you. And there’s so many content creators who say, “Oh, how do I make this brand, you know, want to pay me for my services?” And I’m like, “They’re never going to.”
Lexy Silverstein: Yeah. I feel like that with content creation since it is such like a newer thing, it’s very common to not get paid what you should be to be working with brands. But I know that it is a new thing, but it’s basically just marketing in a different… It is just marketing and advertising in a new way. So it’s been a thing that’s been around forever. We’re just using it in a different manner now. And it’s like, this is a job, you know? And like, yes, we’re bringing profits to these brands, like, it could be like millions and millions of dollars worth if we, you know, if we have enough followers, if we influence enough people, to like buy certain things. Like, if the shirt’s like a hundred dollars and we influence someone to buy it, or we influenced, you know, five people to buy it, that brand just got, you know, an extra 500 because of us.
And then, I feel like content creators aren’t understanding their worth because news and influencing is like such a big way of selling things now. So it’s just interesting to see.
Project Catherine: It is. That could be another podcast in itself. Like, I have so much to say.
Lexy Silverstein: I know, I know. I’m like, I wish that, um, like, I wish I could just cover everything in podcasts. I wish that, like, I don’t know, I just feel like I could talk for days about sustainability and content creation and all that. I’m like, hold me back, stop me.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Lexy Silverstein: Well, speaking about, you know, not being able to talk enough, is there anything else that you would like to say to our listeners before we wrap up the podcast?
Project Catherine: All I just wanted to say is that, definitely feel comfortable in the clothes that you’re wearing. Don’t feel pressured by media, influencers, or brands. Don’t feel pressured to shop from them constantly or buy into the latest trends because we’re only just human and we need to somehow reduce our impacts on the environment. So yeah, definitely outfit repeat and don’t feel ashamed about it.
Lexy Silverstein: And if you outfit repeat, put #ProjectRewear.
Project Catherine: Yes, do that as well.
Lexy Silverstein: So, where can people find you on social media?
Project Catherine: You can find me at @project.catherine on Instagram and TikTok as well. If you really enjoyed what we talked about today, definitely feel free to follow me and pop into my DMs. I’d love to have a chat with you, and if you have any questions that you want to ask, feel free to.Lexy Silverstein: Amazing. Well, everyone, make sure you follow Catherine on all of her socials. And while you’re at it, you can follow me. My TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube are all @LexySilverstein. That’s L-E-X-Y, silver, like the color, S-T-E-I-N. And remember to make the ordinary extraordinary.