- What is your name:
I am karen glass.
- What is your occupation?
I am a fashion artist and entrepreneur.
- What was your favorite green memory growing up?
I was born in Youngstown Ohio, in the Mahoning Valley- used to be called the steel valley. The city alone produced 1/5 of the entire nations steel at the time- this was a factoid from my 9th grade geography book.
Not exactly filled with green memories. That said, my italian grandfather had a vegetable garden and a fruit orchard. This touched me then and still does when I think of it. He used everything. I mean everything. If there was house paint left over, it became the fresh coat of paint for my grandmothers ironing board, as well as their steamer trunk. My grandparents were especially disciplined about food waste.
- What was the inspiration for Zero Waste and core purpose?
Not as much an inspiration as is a culmination of life events, the zerø waste aspect of this work is about balancing transgression. I have been accountable to make millions of pieces of clothing in my life time. Many of them are now consumer waste, in landfills releasing methane gas, in households as dead apparel (you own it, but do nothing with it) in 2nd hand stores having lost their aesthetic appeal, or on a barge somewhere going to another country to manage. I began seeing clothes I had been accountable to make in situ, at the same time I was developing an organic farm in florida with my ex husband. organic farming is inherently a ø process. I often thought back to my grandparents in the days that we first started planting.
- Where do you see the future for sustainable fashion?
I read yesterday in a WGSN report that sustainable fashion is currently the largest growing retail sector.
currently 19% growth in 1 year. I want to believe this and I can see this shift in the next 2 generations of consumers. sustainability is a key value shift from boomers to millenials and into gen Z, also including are early adopter boomers. The mindset is to be informed, to know where your consumables come from, of what and how they are made, this is the power of individual/collective action, the people mold the process through civil disobedience. Don’t buy what you don’t know or can assign value to and it will stop being made with negative impact.
- What are the most rewarding and challenging part of your job?
Rewarding? The work, I love making beautiful exquisite clothes and helping people (especially women) heal and learn. I live for this only right now. Sustainable process and product is part of this.
- What is one environmental change you vow to make this year?
I don’t vow. I don’t put time parameters to resolution. I believe in process and practice. My commitment to environmental (and social) changes is on going. It is a discipline that is fully integrated into my life and into my work.
- Can you tell us more about the philanthropic component of Zero Waste?
Ø partners with beloved atlanta http://www.belovedatlanta.org and soon to be with out of darkness https://outofdarkness.org, to rehabilitate victimized women. Beloved is a 2 year rehabilitation program with housing, counsel, case management and one to one care. The Ø life work project is a commitment to providing advocacy for their mission and work development with rehabilitation to beloved graduates. Beloved candidates work as apprentices with in an 18 month program with Ø and then can either stay with the company or use their work development time as reference and work experience.
- If there was one industry/product that you could make more eco friendly, what would it be?
Textiles and apparel first and foremost! Then it would be technology hardware. This scares me. Kind of terminator like scary. All kidding aside. I…