We don’t have to look far to see the connections between fast fashion and fast media. Just take one look at a social media platform like TikTok, and you’ll find microtrends, shopping hauls, and invitations to overconsume with discount codes and flash sales.
Just as fashion has been getting faster and faster, the pace of media has also been speeding up right along with it.
That’s why today’s guest, Kestrel Jenkins of Conscious Chatter believes that if we want to slow down fashion, then we also have to talk about slowing down media.
In this episode, Kestrel also shares:
- If slow media could ever be compatible with social media
- How algorithms impact us as content creators and content consumers
- How news cycles have been speeding up — and what the impact has been
- Why podcasting is such a powerful form of media
- How we can start to slow down our consumption (and production) of media
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Listen to This Episode:
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Read the Transcript From This Interview:
Hey there and welcome or welcome back to the show. Today we’re talking slow media with Kestrel Jenkins, the host of Conscious Chatter.
A few months ago, Kestrel shared a Reel on Instagram talking about why if we want to slow down fashion, we also need to slow down media. And this post resonated with me so deeply.
As a content creator myself, I often feel overwhelmed with what is expected of us in terms of the frequency and timeliness of the content. Social media algorithms prioritize consistency. Audiences have come to expect relevant content that speaks to the main stories of the week, or even of the day. News cycles move so quickly that you feel like you can’t talk about a topic a week later, or you’re too late.
On a personal level, this feels overwhelming of course. Beyond that too, I often wonder if I’m really able to provide the best value to my audience, all of you, if I’m creating content with such urgency.
So I was super stoked when Kestrel accepted my invitation to come onto this show to talk all things slow media. And this conversation was just as incredible as I was expecting — and I know you’re going to get a lot out of it too.
In this episode, Kestrel is sharing:
- What slow media is
- Her thoughts on if slow media could ever be compatible with social media
- How algorithms impact us as content creators and as content consumers
- How news cycles have been speeding up, what the impact of that is, and how we can maybe start to slow it down
- Why podcasting is such a powerful form of media and much more.
We are covering a lot in this one. I feel like I say that in every episode, but it’s always true! So you can find the transcript and all of the relevant links mentioned over in the show notes on conscoiuslifeandstyle.com.
And if you know someone else who might enjoy this conversation on slow media, send this episode over their way!
Alright, now let’s get to it. Kestrel is going to start us off by sharing her background, what got her into slow fashion, and why she created Conscious Chatter….
First of all, thank you so much for having me. I’m really excited to talk about all of these layers around slow media.
For my background, I studied international journalism and Global Studies. My senior year at college, I interned with a local listener-supported radio station in Minneapolis, Minnesota. And I actually got to read the news report every Monday night.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but I guess I learned a lot of the basics then when it comes telling stories through audio.
But after university, I was really intrigued with this idea of Fairtrade. But I didn’t really know what that meant in practice, or what I really wanted to do with it.
And when I think back, to be honest, at the time, like 15 years ago, it was a very different job scene, when it comes to impact-driven companies or Fairtrade companies or more sustainably minded companies, there wasn’t a lot happening on a large scale, especially when it comes to the job market.
So, after I graduated, I was living at home and was with my parents and was kind of in this funk, trying to figure out what my next move was going to be. And my mom got this catalog from a company called fair Indigo. And it was started by this group of folks who worked at Land’s End, and then they left and started their own Fairtrade clothing brand.
And so she shared this with me, and I was like, oh, okay, this is like connecting some dots of some of the things that I love in the world. And it really just planted like a huge seed in my mind. Thank you, mom.
So I just like started researching and trying to understand more about this kind of connection between Fairtrade and fashion. And I ended up stumbling upon People Tree, which they call themselves the pioneers in Fairtrade fashion. And once I learned about them, I was kind of sold.
I was like, okay, so I have to intern with them, how can I make it happen? And so I would send them an email once a week, pretty much just like checking in on the internship status.
And eventually, I got the opportunity to have an interview, and then the opportunity to actually intern with the PR department there. And when I, when I got to London, they were like, Oh, this is the crazy American who emails me every week, I was like, Hey, it’s me.
But that experience, I got to work with Anthony Waller in the PR department, and with Safia Minney actually the founder, quite a bit.
And it was just an experience that gave me this crash course in how fashion as a system is really inequitable, and really a mess. And I just felt like, I was kind of in the space that I was meant to be in.
And so from there, I guess I’ve kind of like navigated my way through different jobs across the space from online publishing, about green and sustainable design, to working with retail tech startups.
I’ve always had this primary goal of wanting to bring the conversation around fashion and sustainability to a broader audience. I know, this is something that you and I have talked about in the past, but the podcast started over six years ago now. And it’s been quite a journey.
Like, I’m… I guess, so grateful that I get to talk to such knowledgeable folks on a regular basis and learn from them and challenge myself and continue to try to challenge the narrative around sustainability and fashion.
Yeah, wow, six years ago, I think that’s about when I started my slow fashion journey. And I probably started listening to your podcasts not long after that, your show has been so transformative for me on my own journey. I listen like religiously and my commute to work.
And I just so appreciate everything that you’re putting out in the world and all the guests that you’re speaking with and sharing their stories, and just challenging us all to think a bit deeper about all of these aspects of fashion.
So first of all, thank you. Second of all, thank you for coming on this show. I’m really honored.
Yeah, thank you! You can’t see me because there’s no video but I’m definitely blushing over here right now. So thank you!
Yeah, if I just told myself five years ago, you’re gonna have a podcast and get to interview Kestrel Jenkins and be like, no. So, fangirl moment. But anyway, there are just so, so many topics that I feel like we could dive into, I mean, you cover so much on Conscious Chatter.
But for this conversation, we’re going to be exploring slow media. And you’re actually the first person I heard use this term, I heard you use it on Instagram, and I believe, a few times on your podcast. So could you define for us what you see as slow media?
Yes, for sure. Okay. So to me, slow media is at its core, pretty simple is as we think about it with reference to slowing down food or slowing down fashion. Slow media means slowing down the production and consumption of media.
I guess, the process to reach that mindset and concept in practice is entirely different and a lot more complicated. But for me, when we think about degrowth with regard to fashion, or even on a bigger picture level, like with regard to capitalism, we can’t imagine new systems or ways of doing things without creatively finding ways to slow down the way that we’re currently doing things.
And so I think just overarching in general, it’s just that slowdown process with a specific attention to detail on media.
Yeah. And what first inspired you to start thinking about this concept of slowing down media?
Yeah, so I had a conversation, I was thinking back and I had a conversation with Reza Cristián, who’s the editor in chief at SUSTAIN the Mag, I looked back to see what episode it was, it was episode 213 of the show from the 2020 season. And we talked about the future of media in this conversation.
And so I didn’t really have any ideas about slow media in my mind yet at that time. But I really think that that conversation with Reza planted a lot of the seeds that kind of, I don’t know, percolated in my mind over the last couple of years.
And I guess, to bring it back to concepts around degrowth. This is my general approach on this year’s season of the show. And so for me thinking about degrowth in practice, across societies, across business, across community, that really made me envision how to apply these general theories to all the ways that I interact in the world.
And so I’m obviously very entwined with media in the work that I do. And so it just kind of, I guess, was natural to start self-analyzing myself and how I was interacting with media, and what a degrowth mindset or sort of a degrowth framework would look like, when it’s applied to media.
Yeah, definitely. Degrowth is something that has been sort of, I think, increasing in awareness. It’s definitely something that I’ve learned about in the past year, and I’ve been thinking a lot more about and I think that hearing you talk about slow media was the first time I sort of connected it with media. And I feel like you sort of planted the seeds in my head about that.
And then I read the book, Stolen Focus, which just totally transformed the way that I think about media and the connections with also like, capitalism and the endless pursuit of growth and how we consume media and all that stuff.
So I’m just so excited for this conversation, because I feel like it’s not something I’ve really heard talked about before, but it’s so necessary. And I just, I’m really looking forward to this.
Yeah me too. And thank you for the recommendation to Stolen Focus because I’m looking at it right now on my bookshelf and I’m partway into it as well and really love the narrative that’s building.
Yeah, super good book. I think I’ve mentioned it on like several podcast episodes now. But so before we go too much into like the specifics of slow media. I was curious to hear your thoughts on how slow media is connected with slow fashion.
So like we’re thinking about degrowth in fashion. How are these concepts intertwined or related?
Yeah, great question. I think it is impossible to disconnect media from fashion today. They’re entirely interconnected.
When we think about how we produce and consume content today, so much of the photos, or the videos, or Reels or TikToks that we take in, or basically crafted around consumption, whether we want to actually admit it or not, we can think about the obvious influencers, or we can just think about, the mom next door, who has a tiny social following of friends, and shares their outfits every once in a while, and then their friends comment and ask about where they got that shirt, or that jacket or whatever.
So I guess I’ve said this before. And this is something that I said in that Reel that you mentioned about slow media, but for me, slowing down fashion means slowing down the production and consumption of media.
And from a content creation perspective, it’s like, there’s all these constant, like internal battles, right? So from a content creator perspective, we never think we’ve posted enough. And we constantly question the value of our engagement.
And from a content consumer perspective, we’re always looking for the next thing, we’re never satisfied. And we always are just feeling worse and worse about ourselves, because the platforms tend to constantly tell us that we’re not enough.
And so I guess with that sort of context, I feel like this is the same mindset that fuels our fast fashion addictions: our obsessions with more newness all the time. And overall, this subconscious participation in capitalism’s core model of take-make-waste.
I guess I don’t want to totally barrage social media because I do clearly see a value in it. Like, I’m still on it. I’m still using it. And I definitely am still learning from folks that are using it. But I think that there are some deeply embedded issues in the way that it operates and the way that we interact with it.
Yeah, I mean, this is a big question that doesn’t have a simple answer. But do you think that slow media is compatible with social media? Do you think it’s possible to implement slow media concepts on a platform like TikTok or Instagram?
Mm hmm. Yeah, I think that’s like the question that we all always want to ask around these sorts of things. When we have these big systems in place.
You know, it’s like the question of can degrowth exist within a capitalistic society? Which, again, is a question that I’ve asked on my past shows. So I’m totally with you on the curiosity. I think like in theory, no, it can’t. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t try to strive toward that direction.
And also, if we want to shift the way that media is operating, like yet again, we have to operate within the systems to some extent, in order to transform how things are happening, as well as to get everyday people on board to advocate for it.
And I think the more that you have a groundswell from everyday people asking questions and kind of challenging those systems, the more possibility there is for change.
Yeah, that’s so well put, I also feel this sort of conflict of like, I use social media, I learn from social media, certainly on a business and on a content level, I benefit from social media.
And I think about I don’t even know if I would have ever began my slow fashion journey if it wasn’t for social media and the people that I found on Instagram. Because there wasn’t really that many people talking about it, certainly not like, in the Midwest and in the suburbs of Chicago.
But, there’s also, I mean, I don’t want to like give away too much of the Stolen Focus book, but like he talks about, like surveillance capitalism and how that sort of altered how what social media has turned in to and like he argues that social media can be better but yeah, the big question is like, how do we get there?
Yeah, the big, big, big question.
So you mentioned that, you know, social media can have impacts both on content creators and content consumers. And so I think that, I think that’s something that not a lot of people think about. Like, I know, I didn’t think about that when I was more of a content consumer, but like, that content creators are feeling the same stuff, the same sort of need to keep up.
And it got me thinking about how the algorithm works sort of both ways, addicting both the consumers of content and the creators of content.
But I don’t know if like, everyday people think about the word algorithm and how algorithms impact social media. But could you speak to, as a content creator, how the algorithm impacts you, and then maybe how that impacts the types of content that people consume on social media?
Yeah, the algorithms are so I don’t know, it’s just like this big, like, airy-fairy thing it feels like because it’s so unclear how they actually operate. But they definitely impact me. I mean, I feel like anybody who looks at their analytics is somewhat aware of the algorithms.
For me, I used to do these detailed, like multi-image posts that were, kind of like the cliff notes of my episodes, but they were just never being seen. So I kind of pulled back and stopped taking the time to do them on a regular basis.
I don’t know, it’s really tough because you create something, you feel really strongly about it. And you believe that folks should hear about it, or read about it, because it’s meaningful to you. And then it can be really frustrating, because the reaction is, you know, radio silence.
And they go through these waves of, I guess, not posting on the feed now, because it’s too much of a downer, in a sense. But then if I do a Reel, it’s usually way more successful. But sometimes that’s not the medium that I want to use. Like, it’s not the best way to translate information always.
And I don’t know, it’s just so inconsistent with how many people will see what you create, even if you have a good following, it’s just so, the numbers are so disconnected, in a sense.
So I don’t know, it’s wild, how all of these algorithms which are, so blurry to us console largely impact the way that we run our businesses nowadays.
And so it’s like, instead of having a plan of action in the way you want to approach things, we’re kind of like flailing around out here, posting things and hoping that some algorithm god will give us what we need that day to make it all happen.
And I think it’s, it’s just leading us towards this really bad direction when we’re counting on that. And like, putting so much of our eggs in that basket, when I think we need to think of alternate ways to be connecting and to be building community.
Yeah, totally. It’s like creating content, because that’s what the algorithms are preferring like Reels, I think is the best example. Recently, how Instagram has been pushing Reels so much that, for a while, you could almost guarantee that a Reel would do better than a regular post.
But if that’s not the medium that makes most sense with the type of content that you’re trying to get across. Like, I often struggle with that because I’ll post like 10 image carousels on Instagram, with like, a bunch of information and I couldn’t possibly fit that all into a Reel. So yeah, it’s… it’s hard.
I always question that, but I feel like yours get a pretty good action. And so maybe, it’s the approach to there’s so many different factors. Like, it’s so hard to know. And then it’s like, you could do the same sort of format of a post, posted at the same time, the same day of the week, two separate weeks, and the reaction is extremely different.
It’s just really challenging when you are a storyteller. And if that’s been the avenue to reach people, it can be, it’s detrimental to mental health on both sides of the coin, right?
It’s detrimental to the creator side, because we’re aligning our value with the numbers that the algorithm feeds back to us. And then also, it’s damaging from a content consumer perspective of which I’m a little bit unclear on whether I like saying consumer in this sort of context, but I think for our discussion, it helps to understand…
But like, from a content consumer perspective, it’s also damaging. Because you’re in that constant death scroll cycle, and you’re, you’re sucked into it, and you’re comparing yourself to everyone else. And then you’re not doing things. You’re constantly feeling like you’re not doing enough, but then you’re not getting out of that scroll to actually do things.
Right. Like, it would be nice if social media could just be a source of inspiration. And it didn’t get into this, like comparison trap and this doom scrolling, as you sort of hinted at. And because these apps are designed to be addicting, because the longer we’re spending on them, the more advertising revenue all these companies are getting.
And so that was such an aha moment. That just totally transformed the way I thought about social media that like, in the algorithms.
Algorithms are designed to give people content that they’ll spend a longer amount of time on, and that’ll catch their attention. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the algorithm is going to show people what’s most inspiring, or what will get them to close the app and do something. Actually quite the opposite!
The algorithms want people to be engrossed in the content. And with things like the negativity bias, and of course, sensationalized things are going to be inherently more attention-grabbing, then that’s sort of like the content that we’re seeing. And it’s not necessarily healthy.
Yeah, I don’t think it’s healthy. I don’t think it’s healthy. I mean, you know, when you think about it from that sort of content creator perspective, again, it’s just like shopping.
When you actually post and you get a reaction, getting a big blob of likes and comments and views is just another dopamine hit.
But the problem is after that is not sustainable. Because it doesn’t really feed your soul, only I feel like your ego. So then, after that posts are quickly craving the next big hit or post that gets a ton of traction.
And it’s this vicious cycle that leaves you living in the sub-reality, instead of being connected to yourself and connected to the people around you and connected to your community. It basically separates you from the things that actually I feel like feed your soul.
Yeah. So beautifully put. Yeah, I mean, I think I left personal social media a few years ago, because I was feeling like, all these relationships were like, so artificial. And it was keeping me away from building real offline relationships. Like I was seeing sort of a connection, the more I worried about my Facebook presence, the less I was, actually investing in real relationships.
And perhaps some people are better at balancing both. But like, as an introvert, it was sort of exhausting my social energy.
That’s such a good point. And I think it is still like you’re using that mental capacity to engage and if you’re engaging all the time, how do you have any perspective? And how do you even like know what you think?
Oh my gosh, yeah. Wow, what a big question. How do we know even what we think when we’re so inundated with everything?
But yeah, something that you were talking about was the dopamine hit with posting. And I so, so resonate with that.
And I guess my question is, do you feel like breaks help with that like taking some social media breaks? Or do you still feel that desire to keep posting? Because that’s like a constant battle for me. So I’m just curious, if you’ve found ways to manage that?
Yeah, I think taking breaks are really powerful, actually. I think it is, in a sense, a form of resistance against the power that social media can kind of wield over us.
Because if you can separate yourself from the damaging system, you can have a little bit of perspective on how it’s actually engaging with you and how you’re engaging with it.
And so I think taking breaks is really important for like self analyzation, as well. I’ve taken breaks over the weekend, on and off, you know, like, Venetia LaManna, does her Offline 48, which I think is really cool. And she always, goes offline on the weekend, and then shares kind of what you did, or ask folks what they did over the weekend.
And I think, you know, kind of making this fun thing that other people are doing with you, but not really with you because they’re in their own world. It’s kind of a cool way to make it feel more community oriented.
I’ve done it myself, I know, we’ve talked about this before, but I’ve gone offline, like when I had family in town or something. And it was like, I had so much more time. And I could complete and accomplish so many more things that I felt like I was so stressed all the time, like I couldn’t get this done, or I couldn’t get this done, or I couldn’t take time for myself.
And I remember like finishing this embroidery project I was doing. And sitting down and having great conversations with my brother after we put our kid to bed. And just like feeling connected again to myself, and like my little community around me.
And so I think in order for us to really understand the impact that social media is having on us, we have to separate ourselves from it. Because if we don’t separate ourselves from it, we really don’t even know what’s happening. Like we’re just in this sub-reality again, like I kind of mentioned, and we don’t have we have blinders on, in a sense, and we can’t really see what’s happening.
Yeah, totally. I think that going back to like, how do we even know what we think it’s sort of hard when we’re constantly on social media? How do we even know what we like, what we enjoy? If we’re just constantly seeing what other people are saying they enjoy what other what looks appealing? And, yeah, it takes some sort of like, time away and inner reflection.
But we know that social media is not the only form of fast media, though it might be the most obvious. I feel like, we’re also seeing new cycles constantly speeding up. And that also causes like stories to be oversimplified, since it takes time to understand the nuance of complex realities and stories.
So looping back to the beginning and with your background and education in journalism. What do you see as the driving forces behind the speeding up of media and news? And how do you think that media platforms or journalists can start to shift this and perhaps try to like, slow it down? Again, another big question.
Yeah, absolutely. I was thinking about this question, and I was sitting on a train and my daughter was passed out sleeping on my lap. And I was like, everything is fast nowadays, I feel like being on a train kind of makes you slow down for some reason, like, even if you’re on a fast train, like, everything kind of slows down around you and you feel like you’re in a, I don’t know, I feel like I’m in a different era.
And so, as always, as I was sitting there, I was like, everything is fast, you know, it’s not just our news, it’s the way our packages arrive, the next day, it’s the way we expect to hear back from somebody immediately, like our friend that we just texted.
And it’s like, when we request a ride, it can show up to your house in four minutes. It’s everything.
And the other issue is that everything has been structured around this sort of scarcity model. It’s like, if you don’t get the story out first, your article doesn’t even matter. If you don’t get to the point fast enough, you already lost your reader.
And I think it’s like we’re constantly operating out of these, like fears of missing out, these fears of not doing it fast enough. And I think there are some platforms who are reimagining media a little bit. But overall, it’s just this big rat race to nothing. You know, it’s like the race to the first people who pop in, read the first paragraph and then click out.
And I think yet again, we need to be thinking about quality over quantity. From a news perspective, there are definitely journalists out there who I admire. Folks who put, you know, extensive research into their pieces, and they develop stories for months and months. And, for me, this is the kind of journalism that I really believe has true power, and could help take us toward a more sustainable direction.
But if we keep going on this path toward oversimplification, which I guess for me is part of the issue with social media, it’s like, we’re not going to welcome space for nuance and complexities like you mentioned, which is going to lead to our demise. Like we can sum up every topic into five or 10, square slides, and expect to understand everything about it.
It’s not possible, and it shouldn’t be overwhelming. And that shouldn’t be defeating to us, that should actually be exciting and thrilling, and make us want to explore more beyond the grid, in search of other research or other perspectives on the topic. But instead, we think we’re going to find all of our answers in those little squares.
And I think that’s part of our issue is that we need to allow ourselves to disconnect like we talked about earlier, and to explore beyond that, and like utilize it as this inspiration space, which I think in its origins more, more in its origins, that is what it was. But now it’s become this like massive, you know, beast. But we need to use it as an inspiration tool, and then continue our learnings beyond that not expect social media to give us all the answers.
Yeah, yeah, so true. And I feel like it makes everything feel more divisive, like and othering. And instead of like, let’s talk about it and see, you know, where do we agree, where do we disagree? Is there anywhere that we can bridge the gap? Or maybe it’s just interesting to hear somebody else’s perspective, even if you don’t agree with them, but having like, a conversation, and yeah, exploring that nuance, it’s so, so challenging on social media.
Going back to the, the dopamine hit, and like performance of posts. I feel like I don’t like when post, I mean, obviously, it’s not nice when a post doesn’t do well, but it’s also it’s a bit overwhelming if a post does do really well, because inevitably it’ll bring some sort of negative comments, strongly disagreeing comments, sometimes offensive comments. And as a privileged white woman, I don’t receive even the worst of it.
But people can just get so almost like defensive and angry so fast on social media, somehow with the way it’s laid out, I don’t know.
Absolutely, I mean, it’s a space that really, really, I think cultivates and perpetuates call-out culture. And I feel like again, as a privileged white woman, there definitely spaces for call-out culture. And I think it’s important in certain situations, but I think social media allows it to really kind of become a disease.
Because like you say, okay, so with algorithms what takes off? The posts that take off are the ones that people are gonna stay on for a while.
So when you have some sort of conversation that gets heated in any sort of capacity, all of a sudden, the comments section sounds off. And that is where people are going to get stuck. They’re going to be looking through and trying to understand all of the drama and what happened.
And to be honest, like, I never can keep up with that. Like somebody will say, Oh, did you see this? Or did you hear about this? And I’m like, oh, no, I gotta go back and look and try to understand what’s going on. But like, I am the worst at keeping up with those things. So the algorithm is not benefiting from the way I interact with those.
But, you know, I think the way that it can kind of lift up, sometimes toxic conversations or toxic sorts of environments, is not cool, and is a problem.
And it’s something that I’m not exactly sure how we address that. Because I think a lot of people are so wound into it. They feel like they need to always insert themselves to those conversations. And I’m not saying people shouldn’t be checking in on people and making sure that things are going in like a positive direction.
But I think that the way that social media is set up, it often shuts down the conversation and just turns people into like the good guy versus the bad guy, which we all know is never the case in the end. If we think about humans, like there’s nuance again, like we are people, and there are lots of different layers involved there.
So when we just shut people down and say that’s it the end, I don’t really know how that’s benefiting anything. Because when we have something happen, that’s an issue, how do we actually learn from it? How do we take that information, and think about it and process it, and try to find more intentional ways to move forward?
And if you wronged things, how do you right them if you’re like, if you’re shut down? I don’t know, those are just questions that I’m always asking. And again, like I don’t want to say that call-out culture doesn’t have a place. But I think at times that can kind of spiral in a not-so-great direction on social.
Yeah, totally. I think that it was call-out culture is sort of tough to navigate. When is it appropriate, when is it not? I mean, I’m happy to always call it fast fashion brands, that’s for sure. Or fast fashion billionaires.
Yeah, I saw Venetia LaManna, again, she posted something about like how we need to call up not down in a sense. Because often, like we’re picking on the little guys in the sense, when really, is that helping anything?
If they’re trying to figure it out and trying to work through things like shouldn’t we be calling out those above the big systemic giants that are really doing the most detrimental damage?
Yeah it just goes back to sort of the limitations of social media, I feel like.
But as a podcaster yourself, you talk a lot about the power of media in an audio format. So can you speak to that and why you’ve been so drawn to podcasting?
Yeah, definitely. This is something that I feel like I felt from when I started it. Like really early on I was like talking about it in a sense like this and it’s only kind of deepened over the years.
But I believe that audio has a unique ability to connect us on an intimate level, and will allow us to get a lot deeper, a lot quicker than other mediums. There’s something powerful about only hearing folks voices, and stripping away at all of the extra layers of distraction that we regularly are consumed with today, especially nowadays, when like video is king. Right?
And I guess I have had extremely deep and nuanced conversations with guests on my show, when I had never talked to them at all, prior to the recording.
And I think given the right circumstances, audio can feel both like a safe space and a space where exploring something new or something revolutionary is possible.
I guess when it comes to discussions around revolutionary ideas, I really believe audio has a distinct ability to help cultivate those conversations, rather than shut them down, or have people kind of roll their eyes at you, or some other sort of reaction that can sometimes happen.
I think because you’re so stripped down to just a voice. That’s all you have to go off of. It’s just so intimate, that we can talk about deep things. And we can get into it.
Like we started out with a video for this call. And I was like, I think we have to take the video off. If I’m gonna speak candidly about like, what I think the power of audio is, I think we have to really do it.
And there’s something it’s different. Like, I love seeing your face at first and getting to chat with you. But then taking that element away, just allows you to get more raw and allows you to get like really connected really fast.
Yeah. So beautifully said, I think I’ve responded like that after so many of your responses. But yeah, I mean, first of all, the conversations that you have on the show are so powerful. And you know, of course, partially because you ask great questions and do your research.
And it’s so interesting to also consider this other layer of it being this audio format that also invites this sort of intimacy. And I think about like that app Clubhouse was like, basically the can audio social media. And I don’t know if it’s still popular, I kind of fell away from it.
But I think about how powerful that could potentially be, like really engaging with people on that level and sort of that could like sort of transform what social media is. I don’t know. Were you ever on it?
I think I went to a couple of chats. But again, I’m not so great at testing out all the new social platforms — whatever they are, because I feel like I don’t have the mental space right now in my life to do that.
But I do agree that that could be a really good platform. I remember Kamea doing a lot of conversations on there earlier on and I popped in for a couple of those to kind of listen in. Again yeah, I do think that getting creative and thinking differently about how we can integrate audio really could be beneficial.
So something that we’ve talked about as content creators in the conscious fashion space, is the big challenge of partnerships or sponsorships with brands. So what are your thoughts on brand partnerships within slow media?
The big question. So this is like a never-ending conundrum. And something that I feel like is always evolving for me.
I go through waves where I entirely remove myself from doing partnerships. And then I swing back on the pendulum and find myself feeling really confident in partnerships, as long as I articulate the specifics with listeners, so they can clearly understand how they’re operating.
But it’s just, it’s not easy being a content creator and being an advocate for a more equitable fashion industry is tricky. And the two can often feel like they’re, I guess at odds. I definitely don’t have all the answers here. But I guess I’ll say one thing we don’t talk about enough in the sustainability space is financial sustainability.
So I want to give a shout-out to Ibada Wadud and Akilah Stewart who were guests on The Root podcast series that Dominique Drakeford hosted. And the three of them had this really honest and unfiltered conversation on episode four of that series, where they talked about the complexities of financial sustainability.
And I really appreciated you know, how they talked about it in a really practical sense, because I think, like we talked about, we’re in this call-out culture era, where sometimes everything goes back to how you did something wrong, even when you may really be trying to do something good. And we all can always be learning, but also, like, if we can’t pay our bills, we can’t continue to do the work to challenge the systems at large.
And it’s like, let’s look at again, like who should we be calling out? And I think that’s a question we always should be asking ourselves when we feel this need to call people out?
Are we the person who should be calling them out? Like, check yourself. What is your positionality to the situation? What is your positionality and the systems of power that are operating around you? And then also is this target the right target?
Because there’s like this heightened feeling that you should always be doing the “right thing”. But when we operate in these systems, we all are going to have to make decisions that aren’t perfect.
Yeah, totally. There’s so much more we could go into with that. But I wanted to shift gears a little bit, because we’ve been talking a lot about slow media from a content creator perspective. And I wanted to also talk about slow media from like a content consumer, content viewer, watcher, listener perspective.
So how do you think that we can start to slow down our consumption or viewing or watching or reading of media?
Yeah, I mean, it’s complicated, because we’re so wrapped around it. But I do think, you know, like we talked about earlier, taking breaks from our phones is huge. Like, I think, go outside and get away from it for moments. Like, don’t feel like you have to read everything.
I go through these waves, where I start feeling really bad about myself and thinking that I just don’t know enough and that I will never know enough. And guess what that is what the platform wants you to think, that’s them winning, because then you feel like you have to keep getting sucked in to try to catch up on all that you’ve missed. Which leads you to then just continue on the never-ending scroll, afraid to step outside of it all and concern that you’re going to miss something if you do.
And scared that you can’t make an impact on the things you want to change. But you can and we can collectively, but I think it’s all about perspective. And so if we don’t get outside of that bubble, we can again, have that just like basic perspective.
And so as we start to round out our conversation here, are there any, like main takeaways that you hope listeners consider or any actionable steps that listeners might be able to take to, to try to reframe our mindset around media and like how we consume it?
Yeah, I think it’s really important to kind of step away, like we talked about, and also to become a bit more aware of how we’re individually using social media, or how we’re interacting with media.
You know, I think the first step is always paying attention and observing your own behaviors. So you can, I guess, analyze what ways you want to adjust things to feel better. And above all, like, bring more joy into your life.
So again, it’s like self analyzation, check on what is actually going on, be aware of those things, and then think about how you want to shift it. And you don’t have to shift it all right away. Like that’s never how things happen when it comes to behavior. But I think, kind of taking that self-assessment process is probably the first good step.
Yeah. Like noticing how certain things make you feel, I think can already start to get the wheels turning and start to make a difference. Like there was an article on like NPR life kit that I recently shared. I think I might have also been a podcast episode. But in any case, it was talking about, like FOMO, like the fear of missing out. And of course, it’s a huge feeling on social media, because we’re seeing everybody doing everything.
And we feel like we’re not doing enough. And there’s some really good advice. And they’re talking about, you know, when you start to feel that way, just pause and think, like, Okay, I’m feeling this way. Why am I feeling this way? And do I need to feel this way? Because some of it is also just sort of subconscious, or, like, ingrained in us from evolution, you know, as for survival, we had to be part of community.
And so if we feel like we’re somehow being left out, that might have hurt our survival. And I’ve never thought about it that way. But that might explain some of that instinct with FOMO. And just sort of like recognizing that.
And thinking, Okay, do I want to be doing that? Do I want to be part of this group or not? Is it just as instinct? And if it is something that I want to do, or something, I want to be a part of, how can I be a part of it? And if I don’t, then I’m like, yeah, actually, I don’t need to have this feeling, if that makes sense.
Yeah, no, absolutely. Absolutely. I think that’s a really smart way of thinking about it.
So I always like to end the episodes on an inspiring note asking guests about, you know, what a better future for fashion would look like to them.
But since this conversation was really focused on media, I first wanted to ask you, what does a better future for media look like to you?
Okay, this is a big one. I think, it would look like reimagining new content production cycles, just like we don’t need 2,000 new styles a day, (hello, Shein!) we don’t need to release so many articles, or posts or reels or whatever, each day.
A better future for media would value quality over quantity. And I guess it would allow content producers to have more time and space to develop stories. So they have real perspective.
And it would allow content consumers again, like I don’t really love that word. But so you can get it here. It would allow content consumers to actually take the information in, in a way where it can actually settle in, and we can have time and space to question those ideas and think about whether we actually agree with them.
And if not, why? Because I think we’re in this space where it’s like this herd mentality. So if somebody says that, then you automatically agree with them. But like, do we always automatically agree with our friends? No!
And so why do we feel this need to constantly always or automatically agree with someone that we follow on social media? I think we need to give ourselves time and space and more information, again, beyond the grid. Before we make these decisions or kind of cultivate our own ideas and mindset around topics.
Yeah, I love that. I think that would help so much. I feel very inundated with so much news.
Education and awareness is so important, but like, how do we also get more action? Do you have any thoughts on that? I know I put you on the spot!
Yeah, no, that’s a good question. I think it’s something that I’ve been thinking about a lot over the last couple of years too, because I do so much work in this virtual space that sometimes I feel like I’m not doing anything. Because it’s not tactile, in a sense.
You know, when you have conversations and you’re cultivating narratives, and you’re welcoming guests on to tell stories, like, it’s all really important. But then sometimes it feels like there’s nothing tangible that attaches to it.
And for me, I’ve been trying to figure out different ways to get more connected to just local community, like that’s been a huge thing to me is like, how can we do more things just in our area that support things that we believe in.
And so like, one of the things that we do is, we volunteer with this Canyonlands nonprofit, and they help to weed invasive species and plant native plants in the canyons where we hike nearby our house all the time.
And so just going and volunteering, whenever I do that. It’s like game-changing for a mental state. And I think, a lot of times, we don’t realize how doing tiny things in our community can like help us. Like, yes, it’s helping on a larger scale.
But also, it really helps us, which allows us to keep doing the work that we’re doing, which I think is so key is that sort of sustainability, from a perspective of doing whatever work you’re doing within sustainability and fashion, like, what you’re doing has to be sustainable. And so what do you need to do in order to feel connected?
And I think because of the way social media operates, we think we’re “so connected”, but actually, we’re so disconnected. Because we’re not in person, we’re not getting our hands in the dirt. We’re not having face-to-face conversations with people. We’re not feeling the energy of community around us enough. And we need that.
And of course, we’re still existing within a global pandemic. So it’s not as easy as it could have been in the past. But I think that we’re in a place now where there are more opportunities to get more involved.
And I think that we all are lacking in that department, and can really benefit from those moments, like whatever it is, like find something nearby that you can invest a couple hours into, and just see how that feels and then go from there.
Because I feel like when you do it, it’s like a different kind of addiction. That’s probably a lot more, a lot, a lot healthier in the long run.
Yeah, I love that. I love that advice.
So we are coming to a close of this conversation. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I feel like we could talk for hours. But there’s so much there that I think listeners are going to take away. I know I’m going to be thinking about this conversation long after we stop the recording.
So I will make sure to link your podcast Conscious Chatter and all of your links in the show notes for everybody to check out. And then I had one final question for you. What would a better future for fashion look like to you?
Thank you for wanting to have this conversation, it really got me in this mindset to kind of further cultivate these ideas that were in my brain. And so I really, I really think that there’s a lot more we can all be exploring around this.
But I guess a better future for fashion, from a super basic level, it would be slower on all levels.
To me, a better future for fashion would be more regionally connected. It would not solely be built around newness and product development. It would also be structured around mending and reuse, and sharing, and a celebration of resourcefulness.
And it wouldn’t look the same everywhere because we can’t cut and paste one idea into another location and expect it to have the same effect. It would be about honoring and respecting the history connected to how we make things.
And it would also be about welcoming new ideas to the table because setting too many standards on anything can I think constrain creativity. But it would be about loving your clothes and wearing the heck out of them.
And it would be about collecting stories to embed into the clothes that you wear and passing them over, the stories and the garments to the next generations. I guess having a child of my own. I’m always thinking about how I can take care of my pieces. So one day, the little one could wear them in their life.
And that’s a wrap for this episode with Kestrel Jenkins. If you want to hear more from Kestrel, definitely check out her podcast, Conscious Chatter. It’s one of my absolute favorite shows and I think you’ll love it too.
Thank you so much for tuning in today. If you’ve been enjoying the Conscious Style Podcast so far, it would really help us if you left a rating and/or review on Apple Podcasts or share this show with someone else you think might like it.
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So, I will catch you again here next Tuesday for another episode of the podcast — or on Saturday if you’re a newsletter subscriber!
In the meantime, another similar episode you might like is Ep.37 The Challenges and Complexities of Being a ‘Sustainable’ Influencer or Creator
Kestrel (she/her) is the host and producer of Conscious Chatter, a leading podcast that reimagines the narrative around sustainability, questions conscious consumerism, and works to deconstruct how oppressive systems impact the sustainable fashion space. Her fashion advocacy is also woven through her work as the cofounder of intentional fashion brand Left Edit & Group Chat, an online community for the consciously curious.