We live in a highly connected and globalised world (those of us who have access to the internet that is) and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and search engines are all free to access, so there is no longer any excuses for being uninformed and uneducated on social justice, racial justice and environmental justice issues and ignoring the voices and views of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and minority and marginalised communities – unless, of course, you are new to the sustainability community. If that’s the case, welcome! So glad that you are here and willing to learn.
To get right back to basics, in the Western world, mainstream media is run by the dominant culture and the mic is hogged again and again by, surprise surprise, those belonging in the dominant group. Even further afield, from popular fashion magazines, right through to event panels, and everywhere in between, the people who are represented, the narratives pushed on the broader audience and the stories we are told and hear are sometimes not reflective of ourselves, our own experiences or representative of the communities that we are a part of.
To help highlight profiles and accounts that are doing amazing work within sustainability, help you diversify your social media feed (but please don’t make this a box-ticking exercise and actively LISTEN) and encourage you to become more educated on why social and racial justice is central to the environmental justice cause, I’ve curated this list of accounts led by black, brown and POC that create content on these subject matters.
We invite you to follow them, to actively listen to them, to learn from them, to share their work, to financially support them (either by buying their products, resources or offering a donation etc) and show up for them in whatever way you can.
1. Aja Barber
Aja Barber is a writer, personal stylist and fashion consultant living in South East London but is originally from Virginia, USA. Her direct and and honest approach is refreshing. She doesn’t shy away from the tough issues and has been a support and source of strength for many BIPOC.
Topics explored: Sustainable fashion, ethical business, intersectional feminism and racism.
Quote: “Before you come into my mentions to dispute anything: Take a moment. Breathe. And think to yourself “Maybe I should shut up forever”.
2. Dominique Drakeford
Brooklyn-based Dominique Drakeford is an environmental educator with a with a BA in Business Environmental Management and a Master’s Degree from NYU in Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Fashion. She is also the creative director and founder of online publication MelaninASS (Melanin & Sustainable Style) and co-founder of Sustainable Brooklyn, an organisation that “champions the voices of disenfranchised communities in the sustainability movement”.
Topics explored: Equity-based sustainability, environmental justice, ethical style and sustainable fashion.
Quote: “We’re getting the definition of sustainability wrong. What we have to do is go back and relearn what sustainability really means and make sure the mic is passed to those who have created the ideology of sustainability in the first place.”
3. Kristy Drutman
Kristy Drutman is a Filipina-American activist, eco podcaster, content producer and the creator of Brown Girl Green, a platform that explores the intersectionality of diversity, inclusion and media within the environmental movement. She is also an Assistant Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley at the Haas School of Business.
Topics explored: Cultural identity, climate justice, environmental education and advocacy.
Quote: “Nature may be ‘color blind’ but people are not.”
4. Mikaela Loach
Climate justice activist Mikaela Loach focuses on sustainability with inclusivity. Based in Edinburgh, she is also the co-host and co-producer of the YIKES podcast which explore climate change, human rights and social justice.
Topics explored: Climate activism, anti-racism, veganism and ethical fashion.
Quote: “Any white or non-black influencers or celebs you follow that have stayed silent on anti-racism are doing so because brand deals mean more to them than black lives. Not talking about antiracism because you don’t want to jeapordise your power upholds white supremacy. It is violence.”
5. Jihea Kim
London-based sustainability consultant Jihea Kim shares eco-friendly lifestyle tips on Instagram. From second-hand fashion, vegan food, anti-racism books and day-to-day products her accounts is an ‘eco diary’ of sorts; a great resource for those making the switch to a sustainable life.
Topics explored: Slow fashion, mindful living and low-impact lifestyle choices.
Quote: “I started this [Instagram] page about a year and a half ago because I wanted to persuade other young professionals in the city that sustainability was important and something everyone could incorporate into their lives. I’m so glad that I’ve been able to engage others outside this group, because actually none of my tips are specifically for professionals.”
6. Natalie Shehata
Sydney-based Natalie Shehata is an eco stylist, creative director and founder of tommie magazine and is one of Australia’s leading voices on the topics of diversity, inclusivity and representation in fashion, and uses her platforms to encourage and empower women of colour and “creative women with a conscious”.
Topics explored: Social justice, equity, representation, vintage and sustainable style.
Quote: “If our environmentalism isn’t intersectional, then it isn’t part of a sustainable future that sustains us all.”
7. Addie Fisher
Addie Fisher is the Dallas-based writer and founder of the blog Old World New. She shares practical eco-friendly tips in the home, in the garden, in the closet and everywhere in between.
Topics explored: Zero waste, minimalism, sustainable lifestyle and thrift fashion.
Quote: “Now remember, listen to and believe black folks. Don’t go centreing yourself and perpetuating racism. Put your listening ears on and learn, then check yourself and call out those who perpetrate. Don’t just participate for the ‘gram. Today/this week is just a start. There is much more work to be done.”
8. Nina Gbor
Nina Gbor is the Melbourne-based eco-fashion writer and activist behind eco blog Eco Styles. She is also a public speaker, RMIT university tutor and the founder of clothes swapping event, Clothes Swap & Style. Her work has also been featured on EWP.
Topics explored: Gender, racial and social equality, zero waste and vintage fashion, diversity and representation and equity-based sustainability.
Quote: “If you believe #BlackLivesMatter and want to carry on this commitment, look around you at your workplace, across your country’s primetime TV channels, politics, educators, school textbooks, senior board members, big business owners, executive boards, senior management, panels, public events etc. If there is only one token black person or none at all, then know that there is a problem.”
9. Isaias Hernandez
Isaias Hernandez is an eco educator and the creator of Queer Brown Vegan, where he makes environmental education content accessible.
Topics explored: Zero waste, veganism, sustainability and LGBTQ+ representation in the climate movement.
Quote: “If you are an ally, then you should also be supporting BLACK TRANS LIVES MATTER.”
10. Jennifer Nnamani
Jennifer Nnamani is the Nigerian-born, NYC-based, LA-transplant founder and creator of eco-focused creative agency Beau Monde Society and fashion forward platform #FashionEnvie A self-described “Afrofuturist” her philosophy and work is shaped by her vibrant and colorful upbringing.
Topics explored: Event production, eco-fashion storytelling/editorials, and creative direction.
Quote: “We protest because our future depends on it.”
Have a favourite black, brown and POC blogger or influencer that isn’t on the list? Feel free to share their social links below so we can all check them out!
- We Know Racism and Recessions Go Together. Australia Must Prepare to Stop a Racism Spike Here
- 25+ Powerful Quotes on Racial Justice and Anti-Racism
- Stop Paying Lip-Service. Here’s How to Improve Diversity and Inclusion in Fashion, Media and Business…
- Where’s the Ethnic and Racial Diversity in Australia’s Green Community?
- Rin Models Bringing Diversity to the Fashion and Modelling Industry
- Sustainable Fashion Has An Inclusion Issue
- Communicating Sustainable Living: Expanding the Narrative So That It’s Culturally Inclusive
- Racism in the Time of a Pandemic
Cover image of Dominique Drakeford via her website.