Brittany is not only one of our beautiful models for our Fall / Winter 2018 collection, but she’s also a powerhouse force advocating for a more fair and sustainable fashion industry. This incredible woman inspires us, and we’re so excited to introduce you to her today…
Share a little about your background…
I’m a PR and Marketing Strategist and the Founder of The Sustainable Fashion Forum, an online platform, and offline community that aims to educate, inspire and promote ethical and sustainable fashion by fostering an honest and open dialogue about the social and environmental affects fashion has on our world and what we can do individually and collectively to improve it.
Born and raised in Portland, Oregon I always thought I would have to move to LA or New York in order to get involved in the fashion industry, however, I’m so thankful to have found my own piece of fashion right here in PDX. I got my start in PR and marketing almost five years ago as the social media manager for Portland Fashion Week. After interning for a season I became apart of PFW’s core staff and eventually launched my boutique agency, Arreis where I help fashion and retail entrepreneurs build and grow their brand. Two years later I founded Laptops & Smalltalk which eventually lead me to create the SFF. In the past five years, I’ve tried a lot of things — some that worked out and some that didn’t but, along the way, I learned that my true passion is educating others and providing a platform to promote and highlight purpose-driven fashion brands.
What inspired you to start the Sustainable Fashion Forum?
Truthfully, it was never my intention to create The Sustainable Fashion Forum that exists today. It was a completely organic evolution. A few years ago I attended a fashion show that initially sparked my curiosity about sustainable fashion. During the event, there was a speaker who talked about the effects fashion has on our world both environmentally and socially. I had heard some of the facts before, but for some reason when I heard them this time it was like a lightbulb went off. I didn’t know much about ethical or sustainable fashion at the time but I was inspired by curiosity and wanted to learn more. After talking with a few people I decided to host the first ever Sustainable Fashion Forum here in Portland with the purpose of connecting fashion industry professionals with its community to spark an intimate and informative conversation about ethical and sustainable fashion.
Truthfully, I put together the event as an excuse to get the people I admired in the same room to learn directly from the people who were making a conscious effort to make change happen. The SFF originally started as a one-day event but after our first event, press mentions in the newspapers and on tv and 250 at our first shindig I knew we had something. After the success of our second summit, we decided that we wanted to do something year-round to keep the conversation going. So, we created a digital space and community for like-minded individuals who want to share their voice with the intention of educating, motivating and inspiring others on ethical and sustainable fashion.
What’s been the best part about being an entrepreneur?
The best part of being an entrepreneur is finding the sweet spot between creating something that you love and seeing other people fall in love with it too. Of course being an entrepreneur I love the business that I’ve created, it’s my baby. But to see other people fall in love with it and to find joy and excitement in it… that’s a feeling like no other.
How about the hardest part?
The hardest thing about being an entrepreneur is that it can be lonely. Not everyone understands what it takes to create something from the ground up. Your time, money and resources, especially in the begging all go to building something that you may or may not see a financial ROI on. I spend way too much time behind my computer screen or phone sometimes until crazy hours at night which is mentally and physically exhausting. When I finally log off I don’t want to go out for dinner or grab drinks with friends. Because of that, I spend a lot of time alone and sometimes miss opportunities to connect with friends. I’m trying to find a work-life balance but I haven’t figured that part out yet!
Do you have a morning routine?
I wish I could say I have a glamorous morning routine but I don’t. I tend to fly by the seat of my pants which in some ways has gotten me to where I am now but has also gotten me into some sticky situations in the past. Right now my personal goal is to be more purposeful with my time which includes creating routines, making time for self-care and investing in myself just like I invest in my business. I saw a quote the other day that read, “What if we recharged our bodies as much as we charge our phones?” That really stuck with me because in my line of work I’m constantly charging my phone but definitely not mind, body or soul.
Our theme this season is Sisterhood… in all forms! Who have been some sisters in your life who have shaped you into who you are?
She’s not my sister but sometimes our bond feels as though she could be. My mom has been the biggest influence in shaping me into the woman I am today. Not just because she raised me but because she set a true example of what it looks like to be a phenomenal woman. From a very young age, I watched her build her business from the ground up. I watched her maneuver the business world and seemingly make the impossible happen. At the time I didn’t realize what it meant to be an entrepreneur and how hard it must have been to balance a family without all the apps and things we have today but I definitely do now and that makes me appreciate her so much more. Whether it’s asking her advice about a potential partnership or asking her to proofread a blog post, my mom is hands down one of the main reasons why The Sustainable Fashion Forum exists.
What was your favorite Sseko item that you wore in the photo shoot?
The wide leg trousers hands down! They’re so incredibly comfortable and the fit is super flattering. I loved that we paired them with an oversized sweater. I wouldn’t have thought to pair two oversized items together but it totally worked! Did I mention how comfortable the trousers are?
What is one piece of advice you’d offer other women?
Something that I’m learning, it’s okay to put yourself first. As women, we tend to try to please everyone. So often we run yourself ragged and put self-care on the back burner while giving our all to everyone and everything else. That’s not sustainable. It’s okay to make time for yourself. Whether that’s getting your nails done, hair did, getting a massage, reading a book, doing yoga or binge watching a show on Netflix with wine and junk food, do something for yourself often.
If you’d like to start your own impact business that’s making fashion a more fair place, we would love to invite you to join our community at Sseko where you will earn an income, receive mentorship and support… all while you make a difference for women in the world! Whether you want to work at home full-time or do it alongside your current job, there’s something for everyone!