Carmen C [ Seattle, WA ]
I am a Mom first, earned my BA in English Lit. left college, but i went back and after experiencing some issues with some folks, I had to quickly learn and become an Activist/Advocate for my children, my family, and myself. I am an ex-track, cheerleader, gymnast with 10yrs of dance training, come from a fishing based family, love reading, music, food, gorgeous men and movies - Not necessarily in that order.
I grew up wearing hand-me-downs as a kid. Unlike most, all the women in my family had/have great taste, we all sew and two of my sisters were models all influenced by designers like Jones of New York, Donna Karan, Albert Nippon and Diane Von Furstenberg among others and they all definitely had a significant impact on my love for fashion over the years. I definitely redesigned my sisters Levis jeans and my own, shortened skirts, dresses and made rompers for summer while at home. When I left home, i became an avid designer & thrift shopper while in college. I have to be honest where i came from designer and great thrift shopping was not that close but the move to the city changed that. Urban and Thrift shops were everywhere prices and the fashion choices beyond right. I say avid because shopping is definitely a sport and by definition avid means having an ardent desire marked by a keen interest and enthusiasm, which describes my state of my mind when I shop for designer and or thrift.
After becoming a part of the workforce my shopping changed to more designer brands and the thrift shopper waned ...not forgotten but my preference changed. Then life stepped in and I became a single parent. This was definitely a lifestyle change - in a good way and forced me into taking a step back and looking at what is important and the decision to make a quick move back to basics better food while working and selling at various places. I cannot begin to tell people how compelled i feel sometimes, to take home- reclaim pieces sitting on the curbside that have absolutely nothing wrong or a slight flaw that might need a little work or that my kids have been beyond embarrassed at times and thankful as well after taking a redo! Yes, we are at a time when going back to the basics makes sense, yet this is not why i do and to be sure, I do not take every piece for obvious reasons.
It is important to say that living a more sustainable lifestyle is not just more cost effective it was the way my family lived. My mom, who along with some friends were green living activists in our neighborhood and advocates for those in need. They quilted blankets, jarred, smoked and pickled all kinds of fish but mostly salmon, made soap, and when making soap became too tedious my mom and friends collected "leftover" slivers of soap; created both liquid and bar soap. Hey, do not forget the marble; anyway, my mom recycled everything that can be and biodegradable stuff was usually used in her garden -she lived a green life. My mom was active in the community, registered voters, and marched for civil, human rights with a focus on VETS. My mom worked hard to maintain a household of 10. Yes, we all had chores but her garden of greens, herbs, etc. worked only by her and often accompanied by food from the fishing and hunting trips my dad and brothers went on. My mom was and still is my DIY Mentor and I think about her every day like most children; admit I definitely was a hand-full as a kid fortunately followed in her footsteps. After years of watching others be subjected to and having experienced discrimination myself in school and in the workforce I felt a need to stand up against, mobilize and find solutions for issues like discrimination, child care, landlord tenant ,union and worker rights, which came very easy. I cannot say it led immediately to Be a Seed for Change, but several business names and experiences later, definitely had a profound impact on wanting to live a more socially conscience life.