Speaking to My Asian Folx
What does it mean to be Asian in America?
To assimilate?

Interview with Shanice Tadeo

After spending weeks rallying emails back and forth to find a time to sit down and talk via Zoom, Shanice graciously agreed to send her answers over to me, despite us both seeking a more personal approach to Overachiever’s very first slow fashion series interview. Shanice’s blog, ever so slow, is a versatile beacon of light in a flurry of internet picture-perfect-eco-friendly schemes, as she prioritizes challenging all aspects of transparency and sustainability: from fashion to food consumption to major lifestyle changes. ever so slow is a collective journey, offering not only Shanice’s vulnerability and drive but also an exhaustive list of direct resources for anyone willing to come along. 

Introduce yourself! 

Hi! I’m Shanice. I’m the blogger behind ever so slow. I mostly share about sustainable and slow fashion and living. And I’m starting to incorporate intersectionality in sustainability.

How did you become drawn to and aware of sustainability, particularly sustainable fashion?

My love for fashion came from my mom. Plus, most of my family are sewers, so I learned to sew at seven years old. As I grew older, I researched more about the fashion industry and discovered its bad side.  Then I stumbled upon the True Cost documentary, and that was it. Something in me couldn’t continue to shop guilt-free from my used-to-be favourite fast fashion stores, considering what I knew.

How and why did you transition into more sustainable living and slow fashion consumerism?

I have always shopped secondhand and vintage. So I was able to shift from fast fashion to secondhand fashion probably more easily than others who haven’t beforehand. It was definitely a journey, something I am still going through as I continue to learn. As I learned more about the value of items rather than the cost, I started investing in sustainable pieces and shopping less. This is, of course, a privilege that I acknowledge that I have and am able to do. I think sustainability is not something that you can buy, it’s a way of life. So I decided to transition simply because it’s important and needs to be done.

 There have been memes and tweets circulating about how Asian households have always encouraged sustainable living by reusing single-use plastics, etc. even though white people have become the face of sustainability and slow fashion in recent years. Do you find this to be true for you?

100%. I can’t speak for all Asians, but my family was definitely reusing everything that they can, plastic bags, take-out containers, even paper towels. That doesn’t mean that we don’t contribute to other environmental or sustainability damages. There’s always improvement to be done. As for the face of sustainability, it’s no surprise. We live in a society where the narrative of the White Savior is still alive and well, which is quite ironic as the Global North is responsible for most of the damage.

 Beyond living sustainably, what other environmentally-friendly actions have you taken, and what else do you encourage others to do to help care for the earth?

Getting political. We can do so much with our individual actions, but we also need collective action. We need governmental and corporate action. Voting is one thing that we can do; another is contacting local representatives, signing petitions, support and volunteer/work for organizations who are trying to advocate for a better planet.

 While it is impactful to be mindful and sustainable consumers, there is no doubt that major corporations and factories are the main sources of pollution, worker exploitation, and climate change. How do you think everyday folks can stay motivated to consume, reuse, and dispose of waste responsibility despite how hopeless this fact may seem? 

Honestly, it’s tough. You need to find it within yourself to take action. Be open-minded and see what you can do. I am a big believer in individual action on a collective level. As I’ve mentioned, there’s also a lot more that you can do, like getting political. The system is connected with three important stakeholders: businesses, the government and citizens. You do have power and influence to lead change and have an impact. Don’t underestimate your voice!

What are your thoughts on the inaccessibility of slow fashion with how expensive sustainably-made clothing can be? How can we combat this and work around it?

I think that this is true. Slow and sustainable fashion is not accessible to everyone right now. And asking people to simply change their life and habits is not as black and white. For those who can afford to do so, continue to do so and encourage those who can to do so. However, I believe the solution is systemic change.

While thrift shopping is a good method of consuming sustainably at a low cost, what do you suggest folks do to ensure they don’t strip low-income and homeless people of the opportunity to buy clothing they need? 

If you can afford to do so, support sustainable businesses instead, and invest in pieces that you love. You can also swap, rent, or buy on secondhand C2C marketplace apps like @depop or @vinted. Ultimately, I think people need to focus more on reducing their consumption than shifting their old fast fashion habits to thrift shopping.

 I’m currently writing a series about the effects of fast fashion on female garment workers in Asia for Overachiever Magazine in order to help highlight the implications of fast fashion and capitalism, and I’ve found that not many people are aware of the women who labor away for inhumane pay and in unsafe conditions in order to put clothes on our backs. Throughout your sustainable fashion journey, what is something you’ve learned that you had never considered before in regards to the implications of fast fashion? 

Probably how it’s connected to so many issues in the world, contributing to this oppressive system. It’s that intersectionality that includes the environment, race, culture, LGBTQ+, women’s, and basic human rights.

Do you have any final thoughts on sustainability and slow fashion you’d like to share? Any tips?

Remember that you cannot buy your way into sustainability. You can start small and progressively make bigger changes or change drastically, going from 0 to 100, whichever works for you. It’s a journey, so don’t be discouraged. Always be open to learning (and unlearning)! I find it helpful and motivating to follow people sharing about or resources relating to sustainability and slow fashion and living.

Shanice is the blogger behind eversoslow.com (@eversoslow). She is a strong believer in sustainable, fair trade, and slow fashion. Since she was young, she has been interested in the fashion industry. But she eventually turned that interest into a passion for change. Her constant curiosity and love of learning pushes her to research and learn about different organizations’ ecological and social footprint, while helping her better understand the economics of the industry. Currently working with a non-profit, with her business background, she hopes to engage and mobilize citizens towards a more sustainable lifestyle while pushing collective action to influence governmental and corporate decisions.

Overachiever Magazine was started by Rehana Paul in October of 2018 to give a platform to all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities.

Our name is poking fun at the stereotype that all Asians are overachievers, especially Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. It’s also in recognition of all of us who have had no choice but to be overachievers: managing societal expectations, family obligations, and educational opportunities, all while fighting the patriarchy.

We have grown since then, putting out bimonthly issues (we are contributor powered: apply to write for our next one!), and weekly reviews of culture, and news that is important to us.

You can find announcements, more news, and get to know our staff on social media: give us a follow, and learn how you can get involved today!

We do not claim to speak for all Asian women, non-binary people, and other gender minorities. We are just here to give them a place to speak for themselves.

We hope you’ll join us.

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