TRAVEL & LIFESTYLE

 

Being Thoughtful in a World of Fast Fashion and Travel

Meg Cale

When Lindsay and I were planning our wedding in Ecuador, we wanted it to feel like us. We kept the traditions that felt authentic to who we are and skipped pretty much everything else.

 

I thought a white gown was impractical. Lindsay knew she was wearing pants. We are who we are - that doesn’t stop on our wedding day. Lindsay wanted something androgynous but not too masculine. She wanted a fun color, but something that wouldn’t clash with my green gown.

We wanted to be intentional about the symbolism of our commitment. We wanted our day to be beautiful and honor our beliefs as a queer couple that has built a life around globalization and travel.  

 

My Sacha Ji Wellness Hotel was the perfect venue for our special day.
Photograph by Grace Chu.

 

We live in a day and age where androgynous fashion is gaining attention and we have access to resources like DapperQ. We both knew we’d find an androgynous suit company, it was just a matter of finding the one we liked best. When I discovered Brave GentleMan by Joshua KatcherLindsay immediately fell in love with the design and vibes.

Brave GentleMan is urban chic gender-neutral high fashion at it’s best. Everything about it says… well… cool. Brave GentleMan does things differently. 

 

Brave GentleMan knows fast fashion, unchecked materialism, and a global perspective do not mix.

Brave GentleMan deliberately makes clothing and shoes in smaller sizes to make it easier for women, smaller bodied individuals, and transgender men to find high-end quality clothing that fits. Lindsay is 6 feet tall, thin and has small feet. It’s impossible to find men’s shoes in her size. Their new vegan line of dress shoes fit her perfectly and gave her multiple options to match her personal aesthetic.

Clothing is an extension of our identity. Lindsay dresses the way she does because it best matches how she views herself.

Fashion is a way for people to outwardly express the way they’d like to be viewed by others. It gives others an immediate impression of where we belong in the world. That’s why flight attendants wear uniforms, performers wear costumes, and might be why you choose the clothing in your suitcase.

It can also serve as a counter-narrative to society’s depiction of the oppressed individual. Despite society’s tendency to force us into categories of dress, the way we chose to present ourselves is not a measurement of our credibility.

Lindsay loved the moto inspired details on her Brave GentleMan sweater.
I bet you’re thinking “But… what does this have to do with travel?”

Everything-

Clothing is a form of expression, but it is also a major global industry. According to a recent study conducted by two Ivy League professors, the fashion industry generates about $2.5 trillion a year and employs about 60 million people around the world. The fashion industry impacts labor, animal rights, pollution, big business and even world politics. It’s also the second largest producer of waste and pollution. Because social justice and travel are two of our strongest values, we knew Brave GentleMan was the perfect company for us.

Brave GentleMan embraces a slow-fashion production model. They invest in sustainable innovation, vegan materials, ethical labor & classic styles made with quality materials. They don’t just talk, they walk the walk. The perfect example of their dedication to ethically sourced materials and global vision is the maroon fabric of Lindsay’s suit. It  was constructed from recycled cotton and polyester fibers taken from landfills because much of the world’s cotton is still picked and processed through slavery and forced labor.

Issues of global economics and human rights ARE travel issues. I see it as my responsibility as a travel media professional to cover the intersections of the global issues and human rights with tourism and travel. The ethics of fashion fall into that category. Good travel is thoughtful travel. We as travelers need to be aware of the national issues in countries we are visiting and promoting.  Knowing where, how, and by whom the products we consume are made holds us as consumers and travelers accountable for the choices we make.

While clothing allows us to outwardly project something about our internal identity, travel puts a face on global issues. Both are communicating important messages and both illustrate how wide the gap is between the rich and the poor. America represents about 4% of the global population and controls nearly 50% of the global wealth all while about half the world’s population lives on $2USD per day.

As I was standing next to my queer wife- in her ethically produced vegan suit- while a photographer documented our day with a camera worth several times the annual income of most local people, it felt like consumerism and global poverty were forces far too big for me to opt out. It’s true, I am still learning about global poverty and the consequences of my actions on a larger scale.
Like all people, I’m imperfect in my travel, my politics, and my choices. But I cannot believe my actions have no consequences. I chose to use my actions and my voice to uplift values that work towards a more just world. The way I spend my time and how I spend my money is a reflection of what I value and communicate to the world. We chose travel…. We choose minimalism… and we choose Brave GentleMan because we want our reflection to be queer, ethical, and sustainable.

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Photos courtesy of Grace Chu Photography.