By Alesia Stradford
Over the years, we have seen many industries adopting sustainable practices in hopes of saving the earth. There’s eco-friendly cars, tiny homes, shopping bags, and even phone cases. The fashion industry is no stranger to this trend, as many sustainable fashion brands are on the rise. According to Business Wire, the sustainable fashion market is projected to grow to $8.2 million in 2023 and $9.8 million by 2025. For the eco-friendly fashionistas, shopping with fashion brands who are environmentally conscious is a win.
Cassell Ferere, photographer, writer, and digital creative, has created a platform that blends fashion, sustainability, and culture through his fashion publication PAGE magazine. I interviewed Cassell to learn more about his publication and passion for sustainable fashion.
Alesia: Tell us a little about yourself.
Cassell: I was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. Early in my life I was into drawing and sports like, basketball, soccer, and football. My parents were born in Haiti and came to America in their teens and met here in the states. I grew up wanting to be everything I could and acknowledge my passion for arts and exploration.
My parents would foster my creativity as much as they did my active sporting life when I was younger. As I got older I would become more unhinged from the things I had to do to the things I wanted to do, and consequently would make bad decisions throughout high school. But I would learn a valuable lesson correlating the things I want from life and the things I have to do to get them.
After dropping out Sophomore year, I would return to graduate high school on time, with the class I came in with. I wouldn’t read all the books front to back, but I turned in assignments to get the grades necessary. From there, I went on to college to discover business wasn’t something I wanted to study, in fact, it was something innate to me.
I quickly shifted gears to creative courses and would graduate college with a design degree, minoring in English. I would get jobs early in my career as a photographer and a videographer, as well as various positions on set. A long road as that was, I had a new found love for writing and affinity for reading after a trip to Paris Fashion Week.
I was asked by the Fashion Week Online Editor in Chief to submit photographs from the weeks-long, city-wide event, along with a write-up of the experience. The feedback that came in queued me into the type of content that would open my world.
It was organic for me to express the moment in a way the readers connected with, feeling as if they themselves were in Paris for the shows. This moment gave me a great deal of confidence in my ability to create however that may be.
Alesia: What inspired you to create PAGE magazine?
Cassell: Writing for Fashion Week Online was the direct spark to taking my Senior project at University and turning it into reality. I created an A-typical spec fashion magazine for my portfolio class during my final semesters and devised – in part – the template for PAGE magazine.
The project used images I had taken when working with a modeling agency here in New York City that never got to see the day of light. I wrote the first paragraphs to all the articles followed by a preset digital language as a filler. I created the masthead logo and styled articles with design elements to complement the aesthetic.
The only thing different in the actual PAGE magazine is the sustainability-focused content. Fashion to me is still the same in regards to its luster, but it was important for me to address consumerism. Something I saw hinder my community growing up in the inner city. I was happy to learn about the Recycle, Reduce, Reuse program as an elementary school student and lived by those standards since.
I figured if fashion has to pivot to sustainability, then what were they doing before? And who is responsible for a lot of the social backlash to ethical fashion, which includes diversity and economic opportunity. These questions really gave PAGE gravity for me.
Alesia: How does PAGE differ from other fashion publications?
Cassell: PAGE is fluid; we are the magazine that isn’t telling you what you’re doing wrong in fashion. We’re the magazine providing solutions on how to do “sustainability,” for fashion and consumers. We go beyond the normal connotation of sustainable fashion and boil it down for consumers to digest. We believe consumers are the key to a sustainable future so we talk to them. We cater to them as well as the environment with pre-order print issues and made-to-order merchandise, keeping waste to a minimum.
Alesia: What fascinates you about sustainable fashion?
Cassell: Sustainable fashion is an anomaly and not a monolith. This is what holds my interest because it is a continuous discovery of the world we inhibit and the lives we create for ourselves. How we present ourselves through our fashion has always spoken volumes and that still holds true with the choices we make when we shop – or not shop.
Alesia: What are some of your favorite sustainable brands?
Cassell: I like brands like Alyx, Heron Preston, and Greg Lauren for their different approaches to sustainable fashion. Alyx uses 100% recycled fabric in making their graphic tees, Heron Preston does a similar upcycle process and has refurbished counterfeit Heron Preston pieces into certified garments approved by Heron Preston himself. Greg Lauren has tapped into repurposing and upcycling men’s and women’s clothing to create collections, notably from his Father’s archives at a time.
Alesia: What do you hope to see in the future regarding fashion and sustainability?
Cassell: I hope to see better and much more efficient processes for getting fashion to consumers and for consumers to have a much more measured and thoughtful approach to their everyday style.
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