Slowing Down Fast Fashion with Kristen Mandala




Kristen Mandala is a sustainability advocate based in Toronto, Canada who focuses on slow fashion, veganism, and climate justice. Lately, her time has been spent fostering dogs and bridging the gap between self-care and planet care. In this episode, Kristen and Carly get into how Kristen became vegan and how many conversion success stories she has. Kristen explains what fast fashion is and how slow fashion can have a huge environmental impact. Last but certainly not least they talk about the magic of fostering dogs.


Please note, this episode has been transcribed by a computer, expect some typos!


Carly Puch

Welcome back to another episode of Consciously Clueless. I'm your host, Carly, and I'll be your guide on this journey from consciousness to cluelessness and back around again. Today on the podcast, I talked to Kristin Mandela. She is a sustainability advocate based in Toronto, Canada, who focuses on slow fashion, veganism and climate justice. Lately, Your time has been spent on fostering dogs and bridging the gap between self care and planet care. In this episode, we get into veganism, environmental issues, and specifically she does an amazing job of explaining what fast fashion is and the environmental impact it has. Here we go.

Carly Puch

So thank you for joining me on the podcast. Super excited to connect with you.

Kristen Mandala00:52

Yeah, no problem. Thanks for having me.

Carly Puch

It's been really fun. I don't remember how I found you on Instagram. Who knows social media? Really? Yeah. But I've really enjoyed following you and the content you put out in the conversations you start. I feel really aligned with a lot of your material. So I really enjoyed that.

Kristen Mandala

Yeah. Likewise, likewise. Thank you.

Carly Puc

So yeah, yeah, of course. So the podcast is called consciously clueless. And I really liked that name, or is it stuck? I guess, because I feel like I'm on this journey of sometimes you are feeling like, yeah, I totally understand the world. And I'm feeling really conscious and with it, and then there's other days where you're like, I have no idea what I'm doing. I'm so clueless. So I like to start with asking people where they're at right in this moment on that spectrum of conscious to clueless.

Kristen Mandala

Oh, what an interesting, I love I love that idea. And I totally aligned with that. I like that with that mindset. I feel like especially this year, I've had to really requestion and, like, redefine how I find myself and my worldviews and like where I am, I think a lot of people have found themselves in that too. I think for me, I'm probably pretty. I think I just was in a very big, clueless Valley. And now I'm kind of coming over the edge where I'm feeling a little bit more grounded in myself in my in relation to the world. So I'd say I'm, I'm on the cusp of both.

Carly Puch

That's awesome. Yeah, I think it's a constant swing, right? Mm hmm. Back and forth.

Kristen Mandala

Yeah, exactly.

Carly Puch

So one of the things that you talk a lot on your page is about being vegan. So I'm really curious. I love hearing people's like, how, how did that happen for you? So when did that happen? how that happened? What's the story?

Kristen Mandala

Yeah, so it was never really something I thought I was going to be if that makes sense. Like, I always kind of liked the idea. When I was young. My dad would make a joke that I was like a granola in the making, because I like always went to camp and I love being outside. I was just like, I always had dirt on my face somehow. Mm hmm. And I liked the idea of being vegetarian. I think I didn't actually really know what vegan was, especially when I was growing up. I think I was it just wasn't really a movement like it especially not like it is now totally, but I kind of aligned myself I guess with being like all like the hippie kind of vibe. I used to remember always talking about Oh, I wish I was born in like a different era. Like there's no hippies around like, I don't know who I am. Yeah. But now I'm like, Okay, this is like, a different time. But yes, necessary that we are here now. Mm hmm. But yeah, I played around with vegetarianism, but I used to call myself a convenience vegetarian, because I never felt comfortable in any type of social setting. Putting anyone into an uncomfortable position was like, having to make me a separate meal or having the leg choose a different restaurant. Like I hated taking up space in that way. Like, I always felt like it was like super disrespectful. And I would travel a lot. And I'd be like, Oh, if this family made me this meal, like I can never say no. And then I got back after traveling for like, three or so months. And I felt terrible and my skin had broken out everywhere. And I just like, I thought when I would get back from this trip, I guess I'd really romanticize it. I thought I'd like feel the best I'd ever felt and like so healthy and so like in my own body, and I just didn't, I felt really disconnected from myself and I felt really terrible and bloated and lethargic. So I started seeing a naturopath and a dietitian and she was like, Hey, listen, like I know you're dabbling with vegetarianism, but like just try to go cold turkey. No pun intended. No dairy, no dairy for two weeks. And I at that point I had like, I had never really thought about not eating dairy. I wasn't really super into eating red meat at that point, but I was like, Sure, I'll No dairy for two weeks, and after the first week, I literally started to cry because I felt so much better. And I was like, I didn't realize that I could feel this good. Because I had bad feelings so inflamed for so long that I just like, I was in awe. I actually like couldn't I couldn't I was like, Oh my god, like, people feel like this like, so well and my skin was so great. And I was like, holy crap. Okay, this is obviously something that's like real so I I was like, okay, so I feel so much better after dearie. I'm not really eating any meat right now. So why don't I just like go the full? Yeah, Full Monty. But there are still some reservations, obviously around family and friends. They were like, well, the protein and like all my family and friends like eat way worse than I do. Somehow they become all of a sudden dieticians. But yes, it's so funny how often that comes up with people that are like, yeah, and all of a sudden everyone in my life was like nutrition expert. Yeah, exactly. Like people that have so many of their own health issues and like they have like sleep apnea and all these different things. They're all of a sudden worried about my protein intake, but I was like, I'm gonna be okay. And I watched. I was like, Okay, let me just do my research so that at least I have my own talking points to come back with my family. I watched the I watch conspiracy. I watched Earthlings I watched Forks Over Knives. I like cried for three weeks. I had like the full reckoning with myself. And then Lee I think Dominion came out a little bit later once I was already vegan. And that was like a whole different thing. But it was just kind of like an overnight Okay, enough is enough. Like, I've been toying with this idea for so long since I was like, 1716. I always was like, I'll be vegetarian one day. And then yeah, it was in 2015 2016. I was just like that. That's enough. And then I felt so much better. Not only physically, like with my diet, but like, emotionally I don't know how to explain like, I had almost like a, it sounds very cheesy. And I and I recognize that. But I almost had like a compassion, rebirth or something. It was like very powerful. For me. I saw all living things on this, like completely equal spectrum to me. And I saw like, just wait less. Yeah, I don't know, it was hard at the same time, because I was much more emotional about everything. So when I did see somebody eating meat, I was like, Oh, my God, you're eating a dead animal, like, what the hell. But it was a really beautiful, like very transformational experience that I'm like, very grateful that I had, I think it's probably, as most people know, it kind of comes down after a few years, but not in a bad way, you know, in a manageable way. But it was very overwhelming when I first fully stopped eating all animal products.

Carly Puch

It's so interesting, because I think there's a lot of misconception about how people become vegan sometimes, too. Like, it's not necessarily this. I accidentally stumbled onto a farm and saw a slaughterhouse. It's like, my brain was just like, I started with health. I'm lactose intolerant. And I had this same experience where when I really cut out dairy, I was like, Oh my gosh, I've felt shitty only for so long. This is just like feeling.

Kristen Mandala

People just feel this way. Yeah. People have energy all the time. Like...

Carly Puch

Yeah, people's stomachs don't hurt every time they eat.

Kristen Mandala

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, it's so wild to me. And like, it seems. So it becomes so radicalized and how people talk about it. They're like, Whoa, like, You're, you're excluding so much out of your diet and blah, blah. And to be fully honest, like, it wasn't even really an animal thing for me. When I started watching the documentaries, like I'd always been like, I'm an animal lover. I'm an animal lover like that huge cognitive dissonance like yeah, disconnect. But it was really the environmental impacts that had driven a lot of my research and talk in terms of like watching cowspiracy. And I was kind of just curious. When I got back from my trip, I was like, how can I like limit my impact living in an urban environment as much as possible and everything that came back was like, you have to consider limiting or at least or excluding your meat and dairy intake. And then from there, I was like, once I did see the slaughterhouse footage, I felt like my eyes were like, completely open to just how terrible the industrial animal agriculture practices are.

Carly Puch

Did you go through you talked about how like at first you were a lot more emotional with everything did you go through the angry VA and Reagan days because I talked about that a bit ago cuz I would have scoffed at that.

Kristen Mandala

You know, but it's a real thing. That can happen. very real thing. I would say I didn't go Fully angry vegan? I don't know, maybe I did. But it's, it was more just like I became I started bombarding myself with information. I think, for me what was really difficult and what was such a huge learning was, once I did learn all these things, and I tried to educate people in my life in the way that I learned it, which is not how everybody learns, I was really upset that people didn't take to the information, the way that I did, you know, I was turned off, I wish I would show them a video like James asked me the best speech you've ever seen below, blah. And I'd be like, in this crazy, like, you can never eat meat again or whatever. And they'd be like, wow, like, that's really interesting. And then they'd go and finish their pork chop, or whatever. And I'd be like, wait, why isn't this having the exact same effect that it's having on me. And that was what caused more anger, I think, than anything is that I just couldn't relate to people who were confronted with this information, and then still decided that they wanted to, like continue eating and living in the same way. I just couldn't relate to that. I was like, wait, what's that? What What's happening here? Like, what's this disconnect? And then, a few years later, obviously, you kind of realize that everyone's life story kind of affects their perception of the world. And you can't just put my life experiences on somebody else and be like, see, did you have this exact same reaction? Because that's just not how you how things work. So it just took me a little bit of time to get there about the beginning, especially I was like, very confused as to why everyone wasn't vegan once they figured it out. You know what I mean?

Carly Puch

Yeah, I relate so much to that I've actually apologized to people in my life, and been like, look, I'm sorry, man.

Kristen Mandala

I'm sorry.

Carly Puch

Like, I did not approach these conversations with the same love and passion, I would want someone to approach them with me. Totally. Not fair. And I'm sorry. judged because of that, because that's the last thing I was trying to do. But it's coming from this place of being like, I just want you to be happy.

Kristen Mandala

Yeah, exactly. It's an it... I've had it related almost to like, like a born again, Christian mentality. Almost. I know that that might be kind of controversial, but like, in terms of seeing the world in a completely different way, and just wanting other people to also experience it in that way. Yes. And when somebody kind of brought brought it to me like that, I was like, Oh, my God, like that, isn't a I can understand. Because once your worldview is changed, so drastically, you do kind of want to show people, your mindset, but it can also be quite an isolating, and kind of a confrontational way of communicating that. And I think when you just meet people where they are and be like, Listen, these are the reasons that I make my decisions. I think that there is a rational line of reasoning that, like I have been confronted with this information, and this is my action because of it. But I also recognize that like, that may not be the same line for you. But I think the biggest thing that I've learned is just living by example, I think when you're like a very happy fun, not always, you don't always have to be happy and fun. But I think when you confront those conversations with just being like super light hearted and easygoing, people are gonna be more naturally drawn to having a conversation with you. And that's going to be a more success by like planting seeds almost rather than just expecting someone to like, vowed to be vegan in the conversation.

Carly Puch

Totally. There's people in my life that I can see, as soon as I backed off, they started asking me questions. I was like,

Kristen Mandala

Right. Oh, that's awesome.

Carly Puch

Like, this is how that works. Yeah, this makes more sense. Okay. Did you have you had people in your life that you've converted?

Kristen Mandala

I do have I do have a few success stories that I'm quite proud of. My parents I'm still working on to be honest. So they're like, that's gonna be the long that's going to be the long haul. My dad has, I would say flirted with veganism, because he had a concussion. And his doctor that he was working with was just saying like, he basically had to eliminate all inflammatory foods. And a big part of that was gluten and dairy, which eats a lot of my my dad's side is Italian. So that's like a big part of just food in general and enjoying food, but also eating nice cheeses and all that kind of stuff. So when he did cut that out, he felt amazing, but I think for him, especially because I don't live in the house anymore. It's hard to he's not going to make himself a meal that the rest of the family won't be eating. So I think until the whole I have to get my little sister and my mom and then once I get all of them, I think my dad will probably convert. But um, my roommate right now is vegan. It has been vegan for I guess almost like a year and a half. We started living together in February and before then she was kind of always like would would order the vegetarian items on the menu but had the same kind of conflict with not wanting to Put anyone out. And then we had this big conversation and she would be like, well, I would be vegan if it wasn't for this. And I was like, Okay, then be vegan except for that, like, you know what I mean? I kind of called her out, I'm like, Okay, then at least try then try. Like, if you want to be that then just try. And when we started living together, we just made all of our meals. And now she like is yes, super happy to be vegan, I would say I'm not gonna see for her. She's always been out here. But like, behind everything, like you're happy, right? Yeah. And then my partner, and his roommate, him and I have been together for like, over two years. And we've known each other for like, forever, but he's now plant based at home. And then his family is Mexican and Spanish. So when he's home, it's quite difficult to eliminate me. And I would say, that's going to be a bit of a longer thing. But he doesn't bring any meat or animal products into the house, which is like, which is awesome.

Carly Puch

Was that hard for you? Or is that hard for you? For him not to be fully vegan? Like, is that ever a point of contention?

Kristen Mandala

I thought it would be to be honest. And it was with my previous partner, which is really funny. So for him, I kind of was like, Listen, hop on or get off like, you're like, or we're not together anymore. And I think that speaks to like larger issues in that relationship. I and then he became vegan. And then once we broke up, he immediately went back to eating meat. And one big conversation that Andres and I had, yeah, it was like immediate, it was like a little bit rude. It was like, okay, we get it. You only did it for me, I guess, but fine. Which I didn't want in this relationship. So Andres and I had a big conversation. And he was like, Listen, like, I totally understand where you're coming from. I like I love your passion around this, and I respect why you are vegan. But this is going to have to happen like because I want it to happen not because you want me to become vegan. So once we took it off of the table as being you can't really be in a relationship when you're loving people conditionally. And I agree that if we were going to have a good relationship, I couldn't love him on the condition of him eventually becoming vegan. I just had the lesson for where he's at now, because I'm far from perfect as well. So it goes both ways. So right now like whenever he does, whenever you have meals together, they're always vegan when we go to restaurants together, they're always vegan restaurants, when that was a thing post or pre this whole year. And, yeah, I think he is well on the way like he watches vegan documentaries without me even badgering him about it. And he'll text me about them. And I'm like, okay, we're getting somewhere. Yeah, but I think it does have to happen on your own at your own pace.

Carly Puch

Yeah I think what you said is so crucial, like remembering like, Oh, I'm not perfect either. And I think that is something especially when you like first dive into all these issues. Like I strove for perfection, like when I started learning about your environment and veganism and started living more low waist, like I would have a frickin panic attack. If I accidentally forgot to ask my god for no straw in a drink at a restaurant, I'd be like, well, I've failed as a human have what?

Kristen Mandala

Anyone seeing me? Does anyone see me cheating?

Carly Puch

Yes, exactly. And then it's like, that's not fun. And that's also you like, no one's gonna want to listen to me if I look crazy, because I gotta like, is the straw the problem?

Kristen Mandala

Honestly, so if you had asked me like three years ago, I would be like, yes, individual action is the problem. Like it's the people's disconnect from nature. And I think that there is validity to that argument. I think that there are a lot of issues surrounding like how individuals consume without having any thought to kind of the consequences of the repercussions that there are in our natural world, which is the world that we live in, no matter how disconnected we do feel from it, right. But I think on a larger scale, the bigger problem is the fact that there can be like millions, or like multinational corporations that can kind of like operate unimpeded without regulations can dump forever chemicals into our water systems can kind of like live in a climate like a world where they really don't have any consequences for their actions. And I think that I have learned is much more of an issue like the system versus the individual I was given them. Like Barna has way more of an issue in terms of like the climate and the climate crisis that we're in right now. But I do think that there is a lot to be gained from feeling more in touch with nature, through your actions and through your consumer behaviors and through Yeah, like how you operate every single day. Like even little Things like turning on the tap and having gratitude and understanding where that water is coming from right? To like picking up garbage in your neighborhood understanding how the waste system works so that you're not putting things that are in the garbage or that are meant for the garbage or the landfill into the recycling and vice versa. I think those are very important things. But I think on a bigger scale, on an individual level, like the recycling, for example, a lot of it's going to get mixed up by other houses like it is kind of like a losing battle in a lot of cases. But I, if I go through that, like, argument, I feel like it's like pulling a thread on a sweater or whatever that saying is my feeling in my brain, my brain goes in in several things like it is the individual, but it is a system. Yeah, I don't think you can have necessarily one without the other.

Carly Puch

Definitely, which I think segues really well into this conversation about fast fashion. And that's something that is one of the newer things to me. And by newer I mean in the last like year or two. But that was when I became vegan and more in tune with some of the environmental issues. I was like, very focused on like agriculture, and that kind of thing. And then I don't remember what sparked it, probably something on social media that I saw about fast fashion, and I just had, like the biggest lightbulb moment of like, oh, that shit matters to totally, and then you just dive in and do.

Kristen Mandala

And then it's like, oh, god, there's another useful other facet that I've been ignoring. And I think that's the one that kind of harm that happens with social media is that sometimes you kind of with the algorithm, like the way it is, you kind of create your own vacuum of information. And I think sometimes that means that like when I was in that really like intense begin phase, everything that I was learning and consuming and posting was really circulated around that the only issue and I remember going to hawks, and they would talk about transportation, I always have things I'm like, this is a waste of time, they're not even talking about animal agriculture. They're in the pocket of the big, like, whatever, like lobbyists groups, and I'm like, Okay, I'm losing sight of the big picture, because you do need all these different people fighting for climate crisis from all these different facets. And fast fashion is one that's so important, because everybody wears clothes. And everyone kind of has that disconnect. When they look at a cotton shirt. They're not thinking that a farmer had anything to do with that process. They're not thinking about soil depletion, they're not thinking of the water or the land use. And that for me was a huge lightbulb moment, as you said, well for yourself as well. We were like, Oh my God, I've been completely blind to this. And although I did love, love thrifting I didn't come from it from a particularly environmental stance, I just kind of liked again, the granola and you like like the looks and having like unique pieces, and I liked going to thrift stores. But I didn't necessarily have the direct information to understand why environmentally fast fashion was just so terrible and ethically like it's just it's an absolute crapshoot. Yeah.

Carly Puch

Can you talk a little bit more about some of what you've learned in terms of like environmental impact? And like, I guess, what is fast fashion? Because I think, yeah, I've had so many great conversations on this podcast. But one of the things I was excited to talk to you about was that is something I haven't explored very much. And I really love the information you share on it,

Kristen Mandala

I think. Yeah. So basically, I'll do like a cliff note version of how I understand fast fashion versus slow fashion and slow fashion was just a term that I kind of became more aware of in the past few years, but fast fashion basically being a traditional, like clothing industry, the the traditional way of that we've understood it by producing clothes, which is like h&m czar, they're really big brand names of clothing manufacturing that have come to create like 52 different styles or like 52 different releases one for every single week, constantly producing clothes constantly pushing them out. And then in order to maintain any type type of like, I guess I guess exclusivity for their clothes. A lot of companies end up burning whatever excess is after after a season. So it's a completely wasteful and kind of ridiculous model for making clothes.

Carly Puch

Burn excess?

Kristen Mandala

Yeah, a lot of big name brands or like department store brands if they want because they like the exclusivity of like how it's hard to get their items. So it's illegal now in some parts of the EU. But it's like a very common practice for a lot of big brands to burn. They're like whatever is leftover in stock. And to be honest, like I think the biggest thing that got me was just the amount of water and resources that is needed to make the amount of clothes that are being produced every single year. It's a pretty oval. I don't have like stats on me, or if I did, I feel like I mean, I'll make them up and then they're going to be wrong. But I can give you some if you'd like after this, I share a bit more prepared. But just like synthetic fabric, polyester, all the different types of elastin and elastics that are put into our clothes all come from, like fossil fuels from oil, that are made into plastics and then put into our clothes, which have actual damage on not only being placed on our skin, but then also their afterlife, which I feel like it's something that a lot of people don't necessarily talk about when it comes to fashion. But the fact that like, if you buy a shirt, that's polyester, or like any type of shirt that has a synthetic fabric, and it's literally never going to break down, and these clothes are getting put into our landfills, and they're not going anywhere for our lifetime. So that's why Yeah, it's just hard to think of the way that we consume clothing right now, especially I think, in the Instagram age is so detrimental, because we really love looking at like all these pictures, let's say and we're not going to be necessarily like repeating outfits very often on our page, like, especially with a lot of these influencers that go for like Fashion Nova, or Zara, or any of these big, fast fashion brands. And I think it makes it so unrealistic to assume that people don't repeat their clothing, like obviously, people repeat what they wear, and they should be repeating what they wear. But because Instagram kind of seems like this vacuum of of perfection and fashion and all these different things, we're not seeing that aspect of it, where people are like caring for their clothes, yeah, wearing them for years. And now it's kind of just like this crazy cyclical model of again, this is kind of a pre COVID era where people were like going out all the time. But we're for every different event, you're buying a new shirt or a new pair of jeans or a new heel or whatever it may be. And it just it is a complete it just like an unsustainable way of consuming products.

Carly Puch

I remember in college and undergrad literally looking at photos. It was on Facebook at that time. Not on instagram.

Kristen Mandala

I remember.

Carly Puch

Looking at photos and being like, what did I wear last time we went out, so I wouldn't be in the same outfit.

Kristen Mandala

I remember that exact same thing, where literally I would have to remember or ask my friends being like, what did I wear? Or like? Yeah, again, looking at pictures. And I remember like liking this one shirt so much. And I was like, Oh crap, I really want to wear it to this party. But I wore it last weekend. And that's just such a ridiculous mindset to be in. Because to expect everyone to be wearing something new every single time that they see people. It's just it's so ridiculous. But I think social media has really exacerbated that. I think when we were in the Facebook era, that was one thing, but the consuming that happens on Instagram, especially when you can literally buy things off of the platform now. It's just so much. Yeah, it's just so much more exacerbated.

Carly Puch

Yeah, and when I think about it, too, like anybody was gonna notice. No, people are all worried about their own stuff. They don't care about what you're wearing. Yeah, exactly. Like anybody was gonna be like Carly wore that shirt three weeks ago.

Kristen Mandala

Yeah, exactly. And also affects that person that they need to get a hobby. Yeah, seriously.

Carly Puch

Um, that's so interesting. So like, what sparked your interest? Like, how did you kind of dive into that world.

Kristen Mandala

So about this time, last year, maybe a little earlier, I started kind of teaming up with my friends Annie, and she worked in the sustainable denim industry. She works with a few organizations that kind of just talks about. So fashion versus fast fashion denim is actually a product that takes I think it's 2500 gallons of water to make a single pair of jeans. So it's one of the most wasteful and resource intensive items of clothing that we that we purchase and that we wear. So her cool kind of specialty is surrounding the denim industry finding ways to kind of reimagine the way that we produce denim right down from like the fabric to the stitching, and everything in between. and even like the washes like the chemical washes, I had no idea were like, severely detrimental to those in the factories that were working with them. Because I had all these terrible, like unregulated chemicals in them. It just is so terrible. And it's such a complex industry. But when we started hanging out together, she was also very good at taking pictures of me. So we would go into parks and stuff. And the two of us would just take pictures of each other for each other's Instagrams. And she just started talking to me about fashion and slow fashion and how she It was kind of like her niche. And it really kind of blew the door open for me in terms of, Okay, now I actually have to be much more mindful about the companies that I really want to choose to spend my money on. I was already doing that in terms of how I was grocery shopping and how I was doing other goods but with fashion, it wasn't necessarily as stringent like I still definitely made exceptions when I was going to events or stuff like that. But a lot of it's just having a little bit more creativity when you when you claim For something a little bit better, you can wait easier find like a unique piece, either online or in a shop if that's obviously possible for you.

Carly Puch

Yeah. And I think that there's a lot of greenwashing happening right now to where?

Kristen Mandala

Oh my god yeah.

Carly Puch

You know, some of those big fast fashion companies are like, oh, people are starting to care about where their clothes are coming from. And it's environmental. So we're gonna, like, put these labels on them. But it's bullshit, right? H&M isn't doing enough or whatever, you know?

Kristen Mandala

No, yeah, totally. And I think that's something it what I see it from in twofold on one side, greenwashing is so ridiculous. And it's obviously, a bold faced lie in a way for them to just like garner more attention and more money. But on another way from another angle, I'm actually kind of happy that it's happening, because it's showing where the market is. And obviously, these big companies are recognizing that the consumers do care about environmentalism, I think it makes consuming consciously, much more difficult, because it kind of muddies the water in terms of what you can't like what you shouldn't act like should not be purchasing. But big brands care about their bottom line. And if their bottom line and their market is saying that the consumer cares about the environment, it cares about where their materials are coming from, and they're adjusting accordingly. Like, that's also kind of exciting. I wish that they went about it in a little bit more of a holistic way, where they're actually transforming their production and actually being transparent about who they pay and how they pay them and all the different things that are so secretive in in the fashion industry. But I kind of am happy to see that. Like they're responding by being like, yeah, we know that you guys like this. It's just it is deceptive at the same time, which is why it's so disheartening, because yeah, there's like the h&m conscious collection. And then, but the rest of their question is obviously business as usual. And it's like, odd. It's so patronizing. Yeah.

Carly Puch

And I think it's confusing for people. Because it's like, what about the people who are not going to spend their days researching what brands to buy, or I had this moment, like, my mom and I were shopping this weekend. And she was looking at, like fabric softener, laundry detergent. And we were at Target, and they have some better brands now. And you know, they're doing some cool things. And she asked me, she, you know, she's someone who wants to, like, do better, and like, start getting better products because of conversations we've had. And she was just like, so how do I know? And I was like, how do you know what? And she was like, How do I know this is environmentally good brand? That and I was like, Huh, that's such a good question. And I don't have an easy answer. Like, we could research all these. Yeah, we could. I don't know packaging, and it's so hard. Because it's like, good, because the market like you're saying is responding. So like, you know, Target has this like clean section for beauty products and a clean section for laundry, so or whatever. But it's like, Okay, how do I know like, what is the sign that this is a good thing? And I don't have the right answer yet.

Kristen Mandala

Totally. And I think that's such a testament to how truly manipulative these brands are. Because confusion is what keeps you in a store longer, and it also buying more products. I remember reading this thing, because my mom is in marketing. And she was talking about how they design grocery stores to make things kind of confusing. And so you have to go through more than one aisle in order to get all of your products. And that's because the chances of you passing more things, especially at eyeline view, like buying things you kind of weren't planning to purchase when you first walked into the store, etc, etc. And like, it's not like a conspiracy. Like, it's not like I'm like, Oh, the big pharma or the big, whatever. But like there are like, tactical ways that people try to confuse us so that we do make different consumer choices. And I think in terms of green products, it's no secret that they put certain kind of product like they'll greenwash a label, like by tied to have like a little bit of a leaf. Even though if you actually read the ingredients, it's no different than their other one. But they've done a really good job of kind of aligning themselves with the packaging that's around them without actually doing the due diligence of changing any of their production. And it is really confusing and it is really difficult and like, despite like my parents best efforts also go up and visit them. And I'll be like, what the heck is this? Like, where'd you get this product from? Or where'd you get this? And they're like, Oh, well, it was in that green section or Oh, I thought it was good. And it's like, How upsetting is it that like we can't even do the bare minimum which is like not like poisoning our own bodies not poisoning our water systems, not. Yeah, using chemicals that we know are harmful for ourselves in the planet because these companies Like refused to take any accountability for what they're putting in their bottles. And it is it is definitely very frustrating especially because there's no legal, there's no legal ramifications for saying eco friendly, there's no legal or all natural or made with the planet in mind, that doesn't mean anything. Like, elicits an idea in our head that we align with or we don't align with, but there's no like, made with the planet in mind board that's now going through and testing each and every product, there are certain ones like vegan and like animal tested and all those things, but there are actual organization. So you have to buy, like a membership to to have a sticker and have people like check out your products or whatever. But for so many of these words, they're just buzzwords and they they get you in by eliciting the feeling that you want to align with your products, which I think is like, so sad.

Carly Puch

Yeah. And it's like I, I feel for people, like people shouldn't have to spend eight hours researching no 12 different companies...

Kristen Mandala

No.

Carly Puch

...to buy laundry detergent

Kristen Mandala

Totally.

Carly Puch

Like the fact that we have to be so diligent, like it's so frustrating getting like, all fired up. I'm...

Kristen Mandala

Me too, I'm like let's keep chatting about this. This is terrible.

Carly Puch

I'm just so frustrated. Because I just, I don't know, I just had this moment looking at my mom like, trying to make a better choice and being like, How do I know? And I literally was like, I don't know how to like, I'm not sure this is what I get? Because I spent three hours on the internet...

Kristen Mandala

Right.

Carly Puch

...researching it. But you should not have to do that just to not poison yourself.

Kristen Mandala

Yeah, totally. And I think there's just such, there's two things, there's a lot of brands distrust, but there's also a lot of brand loyalty. And a lot of these companies rely on the fact that older people are less likely to make changes in terms of the brands that they've been using for generations. And they are likely to trust those brands into the like, into the long run. Like my mom's always like, Oh, well, I always use this brand. I'm like, Yeah, but if you always do something doesn't mean that it's, you know, what I mean? Doesn't mean that it's the best products. But getting people to change over especially when they are a little bit older, I think is really difficult. And those companies definitely know that you know what I mean? Even when it comes down to fashion, or food or any of these things like it's it's kind of in anything that we consume, like these, these marketing habits in these consumer habits, and it makes it very disheartening. When you want to try to give somebody like a quick fix, like my mom's just like, just tell me like the five products to buy. And I'm like, right, well, I don't know those things for you. Like, I don't know what products you want. I don't know what you want out of your products, I just think. Yeah, I wish I wish there wasn't such a monopoly on these big things that that made it so difficult for people to buy responsibly,